Tag Archives: Mile End Cookbook

Cook the Books April! The Mile End Cookbook’s Beef on Weck!

23 Apr

So wow, April is almost over and I haven’t told you guys shit about what I’ve been cooking from this month’s book, The Mile End Cookbook. It’s been kind of a strange month, here at the homestead. First, as I already told you guys, Double S and I started the month on an Idaho-Utah road trip. It was so fun! Then, as mid April rolled around, I got knocked on my ass by the flu, the Noro virus to be exact. Oh lawd, did it suck. Do not, repeat, do not google the Noro virus if you’re about to eat a meal, ride public transportation, or otherwise be around a shit ton of people. I was out of commission for pretty much a full week. On the bright side, I caught up on some teevee I’d been meaning to watch. I’m looking at you, Bunheads and Awkward.  Recommended!


But never fear! Of course I did some cooking from this month’s cook the books book o’the month!


I made Roast Beef (page 41), the Beef Stock/Beef Jus (page 92-93), Weck Rolls (page 182-183), and Pickled Horseradish (page 86). Put it all together and I got Beef on Weck sandwiches (page 128-129)!


I picked Beef on Weck cuz I used to live in NYC. A good friend of mine was living in NYC, but missed her beloved upstate New York. She told me about a sandwich she used to enjoy back in the day, a specialty of the Buffalo, NY, area called Beef on Weck. I’d never heard of it, but I was intrigued. Tasty roast beef, delicious au jus, horseradish and a tasty roll. Well, shit! That sounds good. I always remembered her story, and stories of other chums with fond upstate memories (like another Rochester, NY specialty, the garbage plate), but never had a beef on weck. Fast forward more than ten years and there I was paging through The Mile End and lo and behold, beef on weck! I was in! thanks for letting me know about this treasure, Big L! She’s a vegetarian now. maybe it was too many garbage plates back in the 80s.

OK, so here’s what I did, First, I made the beef stock/beef au jus. Holy shit was that good. Sure, it took many hours, but if you have the time on the weekend, it’s worth it, and most of the time the meat and bones and veggies were roasting.  This was by far the most time-consuming item I made for this dish. The main difference between this stock and other stocks I’ve made is that it uses actual meat in the stock, here stew beef, as well as meat bones. I used stew beef and soup bones. I wasn’t able to find a calf’s foot, and it didn’t make a difference on my end; the stock turned out amazing.  First, you roast the stew beef.


Then you toss the bones with a water/tomato paste mixture, then roast those.


After you roast the meat and the bones, you roast some veggies, including onions and lotsa garlic.  After everything is done roasting, you cover the whole shebang with water, salt and pepper, and then let it cook for 6 hours.  Wow!  This turned out so flavorful.  Highly recommended.

That same day I made the pickled horseradish. Hey, remember when I made pickled horseradish long ago and far away in the past? Yep, I did it again here. I love horseradish. But this time I followed the directions from Noah and Rae in The Mile End. It again, turned out great. Not much different from my recipe, and this recipe makes a ton and it stores forever. So this will come in handy for sandwiches, cocktail sauce, and so on. Very easy to make too. No need to buy pre-made at the store, its often full of preservatives that way anyway.




And hey, even my local regular old mainstream grocery store had a horseradish root, so no biggie.


Also that same day, I made the dough for the weck rolls. Again, very easy.  You need to make the dough a day in advance, then let it rest in the fridge overnight after punching out the air.



The hardest part was rolling the dough into nice little sandwich rolls the next day.  With Double S’s help, I got it done and they turned out beautifully.

See, I did it!


Weck rolls traditionally have caraway seeds and coarse salt on top.  Even though I pride myself on my spice rack, we were out of caraway seeds and didn’t feel like going out to the store again.  So we used coarse, poppy seeds and dried onion.  The rolls were good, but caraway seeds would have made them even better.  Our pup Mozy likes to watch.


Gorgeous!  I was impressed!  They looked fairly brown on top, but the consistency of the rolls on the inside was perfect.



On the day we were going to eat these sammies, I made the roast beef. Wow, was this simple to make!  I got my beef at my local standby butcher, Bob’s Quality Meats in Columbia City. The butcher there recommended the cut I got and it turned out perfect. Just simply seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted on very high heat (500°) for an hour, then left in the oven with the heat turned off. Literally no fuss, no muss.



That night, the eve o’my horrible flu, we ate these delicious sandwiches!  I slathered pickled horseradish on the bottom bun, then dipped the top bun in the delicious au jus.  There were great eaten with a tangy pickle and some salty tater chips.  Recommended!



Ok, so I know that this cookbook hasn’t been perfect, and that there’ve been problems with overly salty pickles and strange directions, but I gotta say the roast beef, the weck rolls, the pickled horseradish, and the beef stock gravy/au jus that turns into a beef on weck sandwich turned out perfectly and was easy (if not quick to make ) and delicious.

I’ve made more too! I’ll let you know this week. And holy shit! As I write this, I have a beef brisket on the smoker. Will it turn out? Well, shit! I hope so!


So stay tuned to hear about the impromptu dinner party we had with Grow and Resist, and to hear about my adventures with smoked meat!  If you’re c0oking along with us this month, please get us your link by the weekend or so.  Email it to cookthebookschallenge@gmail.com.  Happy cooking!


Field Trip! Jewish Deli in the Land of Mormons!

10 Apr

So it’s April here in Cook the Books land. Have you made any Jewish deli food from The Mile End Cookbook yet?  I haven’t. I feel bad, but I have an excuse! Last week, Double S and I went on a road trip from Seattle to Salt Lake City. Yeah, we road-tripped the shit out of Idaho! Jealous much? Washington to Eastern Oregon to a helluva lot of Idaho to Salt Lake City.  We saw wineries and National Parks (Whitman Mission and Hagerman Fossil Beds and Craters of the Moon) and Oregon Trail stuff (them emigrants be crazy!) and hot springs (SO FUN!) and birds of prey and the Snake River and Hells Canyon and animal bones and Boise and Twin Falls and Mormons…Mormons galore!  Food and beverage highlights? Well, I’m glad you asked, friendo!

There were these tamales in Union Gap, Washington.  In the spring, they make asparagus tamales.  We missed them by one week!


There was Sleight of Hand Cellars in Walla (so nice they named it twice) Walla, Washington.  Their tasting room was sweet!  Vinyl lines the walls and we listened to Queen as we sipped wine.  I fucking love vacation.


Neil Patrick Harris is a member of their wine club and has his face on this bottle!  Suit up!

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This local and very Ron Swanson-ly named breakfast spot in Walla Walla.


Will you look at their menu?  Believe me, the cuteness and locovore focus was much appreciated after all the chains and urban sprawl we saw.


These Snake River Brewing beers we got in Boise that are brewed in Wyoming.  Tasty!

The Boise food co-op was awesome.  Have I mentioned how much I love food co-ops?

The Bittercreek Ale House in Boise.  Lotsa local brews with local food.


Believe it or not, Boise has a Basque population and a scenic street with multiple Basque restaurants and shops.  We enjoyed a long lunch like you can only have on a Monday afternoon on vacay.  Tapas and a whole bottle of white wine enjoyed outdoors with lotsa laughs.  Did I mention how much I effing love vacay!?

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Boise was actually kinda awesome.  Local food coming out of lots of pubs and restaurants, a huge co-op and a separate, large co-op wine shop.  Great trails right in the city for hiking.  People so friendly at first it was almost off-putting!  Boise…heck yeah!


This blizzard from the DQ in Twin Falls, Idaho. Peanut butter cup, all day every day, BTW.  Speaking of Twin, as I learned the locals call it, there is some SHITTY Thai food there.  Do.  Not.  Eat.


But what I wanted to say was that, even if my roadtrip prevented me from cooking Jewish deli food, i was still on assignment, yos.   I ate Jewish deli food on the road! And I did that shit in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by Mormons! Heck yeah!  I dragged Double S and our friend, a reluctant resident of SLC, to Feldman’s Deli. This was before we hit up Temple Square, so I wasn’t as freaked out as I otherwise might have been.


Feldman’s was good. The website describes it as NYC chic meets ski chalet comfort. We lol-ed at the description, but once we arrived we saw that it was kinda true.  The place was nice!



I had the Sloppy Joe: corned beef and pastrami on rye with slaw and thousand island dressing. Good, juicy meat but the rye bread was too soft. I like toothy, chewy bread on a sandwich like this. This was far from it. It had all the softness of wonder bread from my childhood. Downgrade!


Double S had a bagel with cream cheese and lox. They skimped on the lox. Double S, you gotta order salmon in the Pacific NW, not in Utah. The bagel looked good though. Bagel beggars cannot be bagel choosers outside of NY.

Double S also had the matzo ball soup. It was bland. I think I gotta try making this with the Bernamoff’s recipe.


Our chum Gita had a Reuben with turkey instead of corned beef.  Oh, and some delicious fries.


SLC is a trip.  There are mountains and Mormons everywhere.  And incredibly fit, tall, white people everywhere.  Dis.  Con.  Certing.  This is not a Mormon in this picture, but check out those mountains, right outside the deli window!  You’re not in NYC anymore, Double S!


One negative, no pickles. Come on! I had just wondered and lamented the lack of pickles when we overheard the owner tell another customer that they are having a hard time getting pickles.  They’re trying to see if the pickle delivery that goes to the couplea good Jewish delis in the Phoenix area will make a stop on the way out.  Come on, bro! You gotta make that shit in-house if you ask me.  But hey, the dude does live in Salt Lake.  Let’s cut him a break!  And don’t fret, my pets.  I went to Temple Square with my camera around my neck.  Right after eating Jewish deli!


We avoided eye contact with all the young people we saw, with their smiles and their literature and questions.  We weren’t in the mood.  Not to worry.  They have information kiosks.  Super modern ones!


We escaped after I snapped a few more pictures. And arranged for this one.  Just a (former) Catholic and a Lutheran, hanging out in Temple Square!


You have Jewish deli in your town? Hey, if I can find it in a sea of Mormons, so can you!  Check it out!  And I’m finally gonna cook some Jewish deli this weekend.  My smoker is on its way!  Time fo some smoked meat!