Brining & Cooking a NY Style Corned Beef

3 Apr

I decided to embark on a journey and make my own corned beef from scratch. And man, was it worth it. I semi-followed a bunch of recipes and below is my version.

About 3 kilos of beef brisket or navel (#3 cut of meat – ask the butcher to remove all of the fat)
2 liter of  water (enough to cover submerge the meat and then some)
8 ounces kosher salt, by weight
Pickling spices (recipe below)
4 cloves garlic (whole, smashed or pressed)
1 large food grade container to fit the meat and the water (cannot be metal, aluminum, garbage bag or cast iron)

To prepare: 

Step 1. Boil at least 1/2 liter of water

Step 2: Pour hot water into (cleaned) food container

Step 3: Measure the salt using a scale.

Step 4: Pour the salt into the water, stir

Step 5: Pour the pickling spices into the water

Step 6: Pour in the remaining COLD water

Step 7: Wait until the water is room temperature

Step 8: Submerge the meat and hold it there until it gets heavier and stays below the water line. You can place a plate on top of the meat to keep it submerged.

Step 9: Place in the fridge for 5 days

To cook:

Step 1: Spill out the liquid and rinse the meat

Step 2: Fill up a large enough pot and submerge the meat in clean water. On a low simmer, boil it for one hour

Step 3: Remove from stove top and pour out the water.

Step 4. Fill up the pot and meat with clean water

Step 5. Put the pot back on the stove top and cover, let it simmer for 3 hours.

Step 6: Pout our the water, let the meat rest in a clean container

Step 7: Refrigerate whole  or serve

Step 8: Cut AGAINST the grain. Pay attention to the grain.

Homemade Pickling Spices:

1/2 cup of mixed peppercorns (red/green/black)

6 Bay leaves

6-10 cardamon   pods

1 tablespoon of all spice berries

1 tablespoon of ground ginger

1 tablespoon of sweet paprika

3 whole cinnamon sticks

I hope y’all enjoy it!

Ratner’s Nostalgic Recipes

17 Dec

I remember Ratner’s on the lower east side

My folks are in town for Chanukah and I invited them over for latkes. My dad’s response? Only if they are like Ratner’s latkes.

So I googled “Ratner’s Latkes” and came across two different recipes. One is for Ratner’s Potato Latkes and the other for Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets + Gravy.

Ratner’s Famous Potato Latkes

7 potatoes
1 onion
2 large eggs
1/2 cup matzoh meal
1.5 teaspoons of salt
Grapeseed oil

 Peel potatoes and grate into a bowl of COLD water. This is to remove excess starch and makes the potatoes stiff.

Finely grate 1 onion and add to a second bowel. Take 2 eggs and beat well, then add to bowel with the onion. Mix in the matzoh meal, salt and paper.

Drain potatoes, press out ALL of the liquid. If it is wet, the potatoes will not be as crispy as they could be.

Stir potatoes into bowel with the eggs+onion+salt+pepper+matzoh meal.

Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet and wait until the oil is hot. Use a medium heat.

Drop 1 tablespoon of batter into hot oil and flatten it to around a 4″ pancake and fry each side (slowly). Do not crowd the skillet.

Serve with either applesauce or sour cream – up to you.


Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets
Makes 12 to 15 cutlets

6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup butter
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2/3 pound)
6 mushrooms, chopped
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced carrots, drained (see Arthur’s Two Cents)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can cut green beans, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can peas, drained
3 eggs
2 cups matzoh meal (approximately)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water for 20 minutes, or until tender. Mash.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat butter and sauté onions and mushrooms until tender.

Pour mushroom mixture into a bowl with mashed potatoes. Stir in carrots, green beans, peas and 2 eggs. Blend thoroughly. Add enough matzoh meal so that mixture can shaped into large patties. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Shape into 12 to 15 patties. Beat the remaining eggs well. Brush patties on both sides, coating thoroughly. Place on a well-greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly golden browned.

Serve hot.

Arthur’s Two Cents: Canned diced carrots seem to be no longer available. Use sliced carrots and dice them.

Also: These reheat very well.

Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlet Gravy
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 cup chopped celery
1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 (1-pound) can tomatoes, undrained
3 cups Mushroom Water (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon mushroom powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter and sauté onion, carrot, celery, green peeper and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes

Add tomatoes, mushroom water and mushroom powder. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Mix remaining 2 tablespoons butter and flour and enough water to make a paste. Stir into saucepan and cook until sauce bubbles and thickens.

Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Serve hot spooned over Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets.

Mushroom Water
Makes 4 cups

2 pounds mushrooms, chopped
1 quart water

In a large saucepan, combine mushrooms and water. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.

Strain broth and chill until ready to use. (Remaining chopped mushrooms may be chilled until ready to use in any dish.)

Ratner’s Onion Rolls

24 rolls


1 package active dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm water 
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
3 large eggs 
6 tablespoons oil
4-5 cups all purpose flour
Egg Wash
1 egg, well beaten, for wash 

1 cup finely chopped onion 
1 teaspoons salt 
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds 
1 cup dry bread crumbs 
1/4 cup oil 


In a bowl whisk the yeast in lukewarm water. Stir in sugar, salt, eggs, oil and enough flour to form a stiff dough. Knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn to grease top. Let rise, covered, in a warm dry place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. from the other side.

Punch down and knead on a floured surface and roll dough into a 18 x 24 inch oblong. Cut dough into twelve 6×13 inch pieces. To prepare filling, mix all ingredients in a bowl. Spoon 3/4 of the mixture over dough. Fold 1/3 of the dough over onions and fold 1/3 over again

Place rolls, seam side down, on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten rolls until they are five inches long.

Cut rolls in half.

Brush rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with remaining onion mixture. At this point, you can freeze the dough for later use

Let rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Bake rolls in a preheated hot oven (400 degree F) for 15-30 minutes.

Frozen Rolls:

When ready to bake, place frozen rolls on a greased cookie sheet and let rise, uncovered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Bake rolls in a preheated hot oven (400 degree F) for 15-30 minutes.

Smoked Paprika, Spinach and Artichoke Dip

26 Nov

Two days ago I went hunting for a recipe for the most addicting party dip dish ever – the famous Spinach & Artichoke cheese dip. When I think of that dish – I think of the former Bennigan’s (near Roosevelt Field Mall) and how it was nothing like I had ever tasted.

Fast forward to this week and I had offered to make this dish for a friend’s birthday party. I live outside of America and do not always have access to American products (like Philadelphia cream cheese) and decided to make do with what I could find in the local supermarket.

So here is my version of a highly addicting and delicious spinach & artichoke dip.

Smoked Paprika, Spinach and Artichoke Dip

You will need one pot + vegetable steamer, fine mesh strainer, a 8×8 lasagna dish, 2 small bowels and one large mixing bowel, a cheese grater, cutting board and can opener.


  • 1 Bag of frozen spinach
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts
  • Half of a large white onion
  • Half a cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Half a cup of freshly grated English Cheddar
  • Half a cup of grated or thinly sliced Mozzarella
  • 1 cup of cream cheese (or here in Israel – I used shament)
  • 3 cloves of fresh pungent garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder (I prefer McCormick’s for a strong flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • Vegetable oil for greasing the dish

To Make:

  • Turn on the oven and to 400 F (or 200 C)
  • Grease the 8×8 baking dish (I use vegetable oil with a paper towel to cover the bottom and the sides of the dish)
  • Defrost the spinach  (I prefer using a vegetable steamer in a big pot on the stovetop)
  • Grate the English cheddar into a bowl and transfer the shavings into a measuring cup to make sure you have enough. then return it back into the bowl.
  • Grate the Parmesan into its own bowl, transfer the shavings into the measuring cup and make sure you have enough then return it back into the bowl.
  • When the spinach has defrosted, place it into the fine mesh strainer over the pot and press down to remove any additional water. Let it sit there for 5 minutes to make sure all extra liquid has drained.
  • Chop the 3 garlic cloves into small itty bitty pieces and dump into the mixing bowel
  • Finely chop the half onion and dump into the mixing bowel
  • Chop the artichoke hearts into small pieces and dump into the mixing bowel.
  • Add the smoked paprika, regular paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper and now mix
  • Throw in the spinach and mix (using a fork)
  • Toss in the Parmesan and English Cheddar and mix well with the fork.
  • Now don’t forget to add the cup of cream cheese
  • Add the 2 tablespoons of milk and mix again
  • Place the mix in the greased 8×8 lasagna dish and bake for 25 minutes
  • Pull the hot dish out and try not to eat it while spreading the Mozzarella across the top of the dish
  • Turn on the broiler as high as it goes and put it the dish back in the oven for another 2 to 5 minutes. You want to take it out of the oven when the top has light brown crunchy cheese top.
  • Serve hot with pita bread or french baguette or even your favorite corn tortilla chips.

Enjoy! Oh, and remember, this dish is highly recommended by your taste buds but definitely not recommended by your doctor or nutritionist


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