There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary skill.
Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses
by Isabel Allende

Starting in November of 2009 Michelle at the Big Black Dog formed a group to bake its way through Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg. I loved Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, so I signed up with the group. Michelle first had us do a couple of warm-up assignments, which were my first attempt at blogging. The first "Official" post was on January 15, 2010, and it was followed by 41 more, on the 1st and 15th of each month. When I signed on I said I would bake the whole book, and like Horton (the elephant) I meant what I said and I said what I meant. I finished baking the book on October 1, 2011. Having completed that challenge, now I am just going to do some stuff, and post about it. As part of that stuff Michelle is posing a new, and different, challenge for us each month.

I am still baking bread, mostly the Five Minutes a Day kind, and if you would like to try the Five Minutes a Day bread method there are some links, with recipes, in the right hand column to get you started. Please give it a try.

But first, a word from my sponsor . . .
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One person, Greg Craven, has suggested changing the question from "which side is right" to "what is the wisest thing to do given the uncertainties and the risks involved?" To me, this seems like a very productive way to refocus the conversation. So, if you are confused about, concerned by, or interested in the issue of global warming please take a few minutes to watch his VIDEO. If you find it interesting or helpful, please pass it on to others.

This day be bread and peace my lot.
Alexander Pope

How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?

Julia Child

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.
Yiddish proverb
(And some are only half baked.)

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw, via Sharon

Of all smells, bread; of all tastes, salt.
George Herbert

Monday, April 11, 2011


I was browsing the web for woodworking tools (I got myself a lathe recently--not only did I turn this little vase, but the sawdust adds fiber to my bread)
 and came across a tool blog about making pastrami.  Pastrami is smoked corned beef.  And this particular blog was about making pastrami starting with store bought corned beef.  Corned beef goes on sale around St. Paddy's Day, so I stock up, and having some corned beef on hand, I thought I would give pastrami a try.

 There are two approaches here, depending on whether or not you have a smoker.  The blog that got me started, Cheater Pastrami and Getting Stuff Done is for those with no smoker, hence the "cheater" part.  You can also check out  Cheater Pastrami at Cheater Chef for another version.

I do have a smoker, an Old Smokey Electric Smoker, which I just love.
It is electric, so no fussing with adding charcoal to keep it going, and does not use a water tray since the smoker is basically a sealed drum. It is easy to use and I have used it to smoke brisket, chicken, salmon, pork tenderloin, catfish, and even cheese. 

So I started looking for a recipe using a smoker, and found one for Making Pastrami at  I pretty much folowed it to the letter.
You start by soaking the corned beef, to remove some of the salt.
 Then you make a rub, and coat the meat well,
 and put it in the smoker for about an hour per pound.  I used apple chips made from prunings from my apple trees.   To quote Ina Garten (who actually referred to The Hamptons as "The 'Hood"), how easy is that? 

 To make slicing easier, I put it in the fridge over night.  

Meanwhile, I baked a loaf of HB in 5 Whole Grain Rye.  I revisited my Pullman Pan technique, and used about 3/4 of a full batch of dough. 
 I put my foil wrapped cardboard lid on, and weighed it with pie weights.  Given the size, I baked it at 375 for an hour covered, then 15 minutes uncovered. 

My goal was a sandwich, though I am not sure what kind I made.  According to Wikipedia, a Reuben "is a hot sandwich of layered meat, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, with a dressing. These are grilled between slices of rye bread. The meat is either corned beef or pastrami, and the dressing is either Russian or Thousand Island dressing."  A Rachel "is a variation on the standard Reuben sandwich that substitutes pastrami for the corned beef and coleslaw for the sauerkraut."  Well, I used pastrami, and a homemade Quick Sauerkraut that was more like a slaw, and a remoulade type sauce I cobbled together.  I also used my panini press.   A rose by any other name ....

I sliced the pastrami thinly and steamed it;
added the Quick Sauerkraut (which is milder and, since it does not taste so much like old socks, is more to my liking than regular sauerkraut);
topped it with Swiss cheese and Dad's Remoulade;
and grilled it in the panini press. 
It was a resounding success!

So, if you have any corned beef hanging around, or even if you don't, you might give this a try. 
Dad’s Remoulade
 1/3 cup light Mayo
1/3 cup light Sour Cream
1 tsp Sweet Relish or Hot Dog Relish
1 tsp Horseradish
1 tsp Ketchup
1 tsp Spicy Brown mustard or Dijon Mustard
Several dashes of Hot Sauce
 Mix and let meld.


  1. WOW...Guss! I thought curing meat was a long, drawn out process but this looks so easy. And your sandwich looks delicious! I prefer cole slaw on my Reuben or Patty Melt any day!

    And your Dad's Remoulade Sauce sounds like the perfect sauce too. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    I just recently bought a Panini Press and now I don't know what I did without it for some long. I just love it!

  2. You never fail to write the most interesting posts. You always want me to go and do something new! That sandwich would make my hubby very happy!

  3. This has made me very hungry. Now, to buy the smoker - have corned beef, then I'm set. I always enjoy reading your blogs. You research, add history and links for a very pleasant reading experience. I will be referring to this page quite often until I have all my ducks in a row. To buy or not to buy, now I have an excuse. I'm going to make pastrami!! Thanks so much for posting this.