Sunday, February 3, 2013

Corned Beef and Cabbage (and Coconut Custard)

Yesterday was a busy one, and I didn't get everything I wanted to done. 

- pour candles
- bake cookies
- Dr's appointment around noon.
- trip  to P.A. Bowen farm to buy our month's supply of grass-fed/pastured meat.
- grocery store to finish necessary shopping
- start Corned Beef cooking
- (Michael) construct new cabinet for our new altar location
- ritual to sanctify new altar/tools
- eat dinner
- hold Imbolc observation.

...and then, get up early today and head up to Baltimore for a day of window shopping and then hanging out at a Starbucks while Michael attended a meeting at the Grove.

Um... yea.  We are crazy people with no sense of what we can actually accomplish.  And by 'we', I mostly mean 'I'.

No candles or cookies - because Saturdays are ALSO the day I take methotrexate and spend the morning feeling sick.  And also, no Imbolc celebration because by the time we finished eating, we were both tired and dozing and just not up for it.

Michael did get the cabinet set up though - if you'd like to see how the altar area looks, you can see it at The Cauldron Born.

Also - I am not in Baltimore.... I waved him good bye and am happily hanging out at home getting things ready for our slightly-late Imbolc tonight, and recovering from yesterday.

Now... our Imbolc dinner last night was lovely and made me giddy proud because we ... wait for it ... CORNED OUR OWN BEEF THIS WEEK.

Now - after you see what that involves, you won't be so impressed, because it was easy peasy.  While it was cooking last night, the house smelled like the most mouthwateringly wonderful deli you ever visited in your deli-dreams.  SO good. So doing this again.

How to Corn Your Own Beef without Salt Peter

(yep - corned beef is usually made with potassium nitrate - saltpeter, as in 'makes gun powder'.  It's why you don't want to eat too many standard cured foods, because they have adverse health consequences if eaten in large quantities.  And, it turns out, it isn't necessary if you do this at home.)

1 grass-fed beef brisket, about 2 1/2 pounds.  Much easier to work with if you cut this into halves.

In a medium pot, combine:

1 cup water
2 T whole peppercorns, cracked
2 T pickling spice (I used Spice House's pickling spice)
1 T juniper berries, cracked
1 T coriander seeds
8 bay leaves
1 T. dried thyme (or a few sprigs fresh)
4 cloves garlic, minced

Bring to a boil, then lower and let steep for about 5 minutes.   Turn into a large glass bowl and let cool a few more minutes.  Add:

6 cups water
3/4 cups sea salt
1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, or rapadura

Stir until the salt and sugar have melted.

Now you can do one of two things (we did #2 because we didn't have a large baggie handy):

1 - Put the brisket into a 2 gallon ziplock bag, add the brine and a few ice cubes (to rapidly cool down the brine).   Seal it up, put it in a bowl, and refrigerate.  Twice a day for the next three days, flip the bag over.

2 - Toss a few ice cubes into the brine in the bowl to cool it down.  Add  the brisket and weight it down with a small plate to keep the meat in the brine.  Cover the bowl and store in the refrigertor.  Twice a day, take it out, and flip the meat, weight it down again and put it back in the fridge.

The 2nd method is more labor intensive over the next few days, but I'm not even sure how you'd get that brine from bowl to baggie without a disastrous mess, so maybe it evens out!

Once it's brined for at least three days, you're ready to cook it!

To prepare the corned beef to cook:  remove the beef and set aside.  Dump the brine.  Then rinse the meat so it isn't too salty (don't worry so much about stuck on bits of seasonings).

Corned Beef and Cabbage

1 corned beef brisket, about 2 1/2 lbs
2 T pickling spice in a muslin bag
1 head cabbage - shredded, chopped or quartered as desired

Put corned beef into a pot, add water to cover, and tuck in a muslin bag of pickling spice.  Heat to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 3 hours.  Your house is going to smell amazing.

Remove beef from water and set aside without cutting.  Put the cabbage in the cooking water and simmer about 20-30 minutes, until tender.

Serve in a bowl - some cabbage, a few slices of corned beef, and a bit of broth.  Heavenly!

For dessert, we ... by 'we' I mean 'not me, but Michel' made some coconut custard while the corned beef was cooking.  It was a warm and soothing end to a very full day, reminding us of the returning sun (and a bit of summer tropical promise with the coconut).

Update:  Don't miss the delicious Reuben Cabbage Rolls we made with the leftover corned beef!

Shared with: Pagan Blog Project - C,  Sunday School Blog Carnival, Think Pink SundaysSunday Show Off, Sunday Linky Party, Creative Blogger's Party, Craft Create & Inspire, Just Something I Whipped Up, One Creative Weekend, Simply Natural Saturdays, Get Schooled Saturday, Saturday Show-licious, No-Rulesa Weekend, Hello Weekend Motivate Me Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Marvelous Monday, Make It Yourself Monday, Homestead Barn Hop, Craft-O-Maniac Monday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, On the Menu Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Make Your Own Monday., {Gluten Free} Weekly Menu, Mom's Test Meal Mondays, Mealtime Monday Recipe Link, Natural Living Monday, Motivated Monday, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Monday Funday, Manic Monday, Making Your Home Sing Mondays, Made By You Monday., Made From Scratch Monday, Thank Goodness It's Monday, Busy Monday, The Creative HomeAcre Hop, Mop It Up Monday, Mondays with Countrified Chicks, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Family Table Tuesday, Tuesday Greens, The Backyard Farming Connection Hop, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, The Gathering Spot, Trick or Treat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Hearth & Soul Hop, Tutorial Tuesday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Seasonal Celebration Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Whimsy Wednesday, Wheat-Free Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Wednesday Fresh Foods Link-Up, Wellness Wednesday, Works For Me Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Wicked Awesome Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Two Girls and a Party, Show & Tell Linky, Down Home Blog Hop, Whole Foods Wednesday, Real Foods Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday. Manic Monday Linky Party.



  1. I have never made corned beef and cabbage but that coconut custard looks yummy!

    I am sorry that you feel bad whenever you take that medicine. I hope that they are able to manage your nausea effectively with something!

    Thanks so much for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

  2. Thanks for the kind words! I'm hopeful that after I get used to it, it won't affect me so much!

  3. Great idea! Hope you are feeling better :) I found you on the Barn Hop and I would love to have you join the fun on my Creative HomeAcre Hop!

    Hope to see you there!

  4. This would be great to make my husband, I know he has asked for it in the past. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Great job. This looks delicious. Can't wait to try it. I would love for you to come over to my blog hop and share this and other posts there! I am also your newest follower and hope you will return the favor.

  6. You are inspiring me to try home-corned corned beef this year for St. Paddy's day. Thanks for posting!

  7. I LOVE corned beef, but have never considered making it myself. I WILL try this recipe. I have a brisket in my freezer from the grass-fed beef we bought this past year. Thank you for linking this recipe up on Wellness Wednesdays @

    On a side note, do you have a facebook page for your blog? I've tried searching for it so I can follow you, but haven't been able to find it!

  8. Oh that's great - let me know how it works out for you! Also, I just posted up some delicious Reuben Cabbage Rolls that uses this corned beef.

    I do not currently have a Facebook page attached to this blog - I need to do that, and will get around to it soon!

  9. You are my hero! I absolutely love corned beef but my sister in law, who lives with us, can't have nitrates. Plus the rest of us don't need them either. I can't wait to make this an have corned beef sandwiches with homemade bread. Yum!

  10. Yay! Let me know how you all like it!

  11. Love this! Thanks for sharing on The Creative HomeAcre Hop!

  12. this looks fantastic!! i can't believe you did that all on your own :) good on you sister. i'm not a huge fan of corned beef but i adore your enthusiasm and the fact that you did it yourself. very self sufficient!

    thanks for sharing with us at the wednesday fresh foods link up. i look forward to seeing what other seasonal & real/whole food posts you have for us next week!! xo, kristy

  13. I have to admit I had to google the word Imbolc :D My husband would love this. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Would you believe I've NEVER made corn beef and cabbage? I'm from the south, but still. It is sad. I hope to try this!

  15. This is an excellent tutorial for making corned beef. It definitely sounds healthier than the commercially prepared variety, and it looks delicious.

  16. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures' Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  17. Thanks for posting this. I am always looking for a healthier corned beef recipe. Thanks for linking up with Tuesday Greens!

  18. Thank you for sharing your corn beef project with us and I hope very much to see you over at Seasonal Celebration today! Rebecca @Natural Mothers Network x