Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Brisket, Baked Beans and Potato Salad

I had a great time Sunday celebrating my and my friend’s May birthdays. As I said, it was a hot day. I think the thermometer reached into the high 90’s, so Brian showed a massive amount of dedication barbequing a brisket. Brian is a master with a barbeque; in fact, he won the neighborhood throw-down with his brisket. It is that good! Sandy told me he got up at 6:30 in the morning on Sunday to start the meat cooking. (I know! On a Sunday!) My compliments to the chef! I am hoping to get the recipe someday, but I am not in a rush as long as Brian promises to make the brisket for our May birthday celebration every year.
I contributed more that just sangria on Sunday. I made my famous baked beans, and I tried a new potato salad recipe from Ina Garden. I’m a little afraid to share my recipe for the baked beans, because I’m usually hailed as a cooking hero for these beans. When this happens, I shake my head humbly, and say that they are just doctored canned beans, but I’m not sure anyone believes me once they taste them. These are just doctored beans, but they do taste great. I originally found this recipe in Taste of Home. I have adapted it over the years, and instead of cooking the beans in the oven, I cook them in the crock-pot. I like that these beans are so easy since I usually make them for parties.

Country Baked Beans
Adapted from Taste of Home Magazine
3 28-ounce cans of baked beans
1 12-ounce bottle chili sauce
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound of bacon, cut into one inch pieces and cooked
2 cups packed brown sugar

Drain the baked beans, and then combine all ingredients in a 4-quart Crock-pot, and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. I usually turn the Crock-pot up to high for the last hour to reduce the liquid.

Ina Garten’s Old-Fashioned Potato Salad was a delicious addition to the beans, brisket and Paula’s yummy green salad. I like that this potato salad was more than just a vehicle for mayonnaise. Don’t get me wrong, mayonnaise is one of the ingredients, but the mustard and dill in the dressing really change the dynamic of the mayonnaise and potatoes. My daughter told me I should make this potato salad again. High praise indeed!

Old-Fashioned Potato Salad
From Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten
3 pounds small red potatoes
kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup buttermilk, milk, or white wine (I used milk since I didn’t have any buttermilk)
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons whole-grain mustard
½ cup chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup medium diced celery
½ cup small-diced red onion

Ina has an interesting way of cooking potatoes for the salad. She places them in a pot of water with 2 tablespoons of salt, and brings them to a boil. She cooks the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Then, this is the interesting part; she drains the potatoes in a colander, and then places the colander over the empty pot with a towel over the potatoes. This steams the potatoes until they are perfectly cooked. I tried Ina technique, and it worked beautifully. So, while the potatoes are steaming, mix the dressing. Mix the mayonnaise, milk, mustards, dill, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.

When the potatoes are cool enough to work with, cut them into half or quarters, depending on the size. Put the potatoes in a large bowl and mix in the dressing. I set a bit aside in the refrigerator, so I could add more later if needed. Mix in the celery and onion, toss and chill for at least 2 hours to let the flavors combine.


  1. I will make Brian smoke a brisket for our birthdays every year if you keep inviting us over to celebrate! This brisket was especially good - probably because he had to deal with the sweltering heat while he was cooking it. Sunday was a great day with good friends and good food. No surprises there...


  2. Hi Sandy, That sounds like a yearly plan to me! We had a great time too. Thanks for offering up Brian and his brisket for our future celebrations!



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