Sunday, January 8, 2012

Spicy Southern Beef Brisket with Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts

Its that time of year again.  The time that everyone decides its time to get in shape and they descend upon the gym with a vengeance.  The parking lot is full, there aren't any lockers or cubbies for you stuff, you have to get to your group classes like an hour in advance to get a spot, and there is a larger than usual abundance of sketchy sweaty guys lurking in the corner.

But unlike a lot of people, I don't really get annoyed by the crowds.  I know this is hard to believe, because I pretty much get annoyed by everything (especially my fellow travelers, that you can read about here).  But I think new people should get a lot of credit for braving the gym when they've never been before and its so crowded with mean "regulars".  I was in line for spin class the other day, and these 2 girls (regulars of course) were talking about how much they hate new people clogging up the locker room and hogging the equipment.  They were ESPECIALLY annoyed that a non-regular would dare to come to spin class.  No matter that at some point, THEY attended their first spin class and possibly sat on a bike that a regular wanted.  One was like, "they should make new people go to a satellite gym in the parking lot so that way they can just annoy each other and stay out of our way".  And the other is like, "Totally.  And then once you go three times a week for sixth months you can apply to come to the real gym with the rest of us".  Ouch.  That's harsh.  Even harsher than I would ever be...I mean, at least I think other people should be allowed to fly on the same airplane as me (as long as they don't do anything to annoy me).

Anyway, spin class this morning filled up about 30 minutes before the class started, and there were some pissed off people.  I wasn't one of them because I know you have to get there early and that if you don't, you give up your right to b!tch about it if a newbie is perched on your favorite bike.  I thought the newbies did a pretty good job, and I only have two complaints to file. 

First - I understand that bike pants/shorts are not always the most flattering or comfortable things on earth (no matter who you are).  But, it IS a requirement to ACTUALLY WEAR pants or shorts of some sort during class.  You can't just wear your underwear.  You know who you are, blond girl in the front.  Other people have to sit on those seats.

Second - I know that spin class is hard.  You sweat a lot and breathe really hard (panting, even, is okay if you do it quietly).  At the end of an especially difficult song, the instructor even appreciates a nice "whoo!!!" from the crowd.  Those are examples of approved noises.  Unapproved noises are loud groaning, exaggerated "UUUHHHHH"s, screaming, or any sound that indicates that you are dying.  Its hard to concentrate on my own workout if I feel like I have to be ready to give you CPR any minute.  The class is hard, but its not THAT hard.

Other than that, I think the newbies are delightful.  It takes a lot of guts to go to the gym for the first time when its crowded and it feels like everyone besides you knows what they are doing.  It also takes guts to go to the gym without pants.

Well, on to food!  My sister in law made this brisket awhile back and was raving about how good it was.  I'm always a fan of anything cooked in cola.  Sounds weird, tastes delicious.  This came out perfectly....really tender and juicy, and it was the perfect amount of spicy vs. sweet.  I also trimmed most of the fat off to save some calories, and I don't think it sacrificed the flavor at all.  Served this with spicy sauteed brussels sprouts and oven roasted potatoes.  Enjoy!!

Spicy Southern Baked Beef Brisket
Source: Southern Living, December 2011

1 (12 oz) bottle chili sauce
2 cups ketchup
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ¼ cups cola
1 (1.9 oz) package dry onion soup mix
1 (3-4 pound) beef brisket flat, trimmed

Preheat oven to 350.

Stir together first 4 ingredients and both envelopes from soup mix package in a large bowl.

Place brisket, fat side up, in an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan.  Pour chili sauce mixture over brisket.

Bake, tightly covered, at 350 for 4 to 4 ½ hours or until fork-tender.  Remove from oven; let stand 20 minutes.  Cut brisket across the grain into thin slices using a sharp knife, and our pan juices over slides.

Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Siracha, Honey and Lime
Source: Authentic Suburban Gourmet

1 lb. Brussels sprouts
2-2 1/2 T Siracha
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. Honey
1 T. Lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for frying

Trim the stem end of the sprouts and cut each one in half. Keep any loose leaves.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sriracha, garlic, honey and lime juice.  Set aside.

Use a large skillet and add a couple of tablespoons olive oil and heat on medium high. Pan fry the Brussels until deep golden brown and season with salt and pepper during cooking process. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with the sriracha, garlic, honey and lime sauce. Taste for any additional seasoning and serve.

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