Brisket. Mmmm. There is nothing quite like Texas brisket. I took a trip with a friend of mine this past week to Austin, our old hometown. We hadn’t been in Texas 24 hours before we were sitting down to a plate of brisket, ribs and sausage. It was heavenly.
Sometimes called the National Dish of Texas, brisket is a cut of meat from the lower chest of beef. Since cattle do not have collar bones, the brisket muscles support the majority of the cattle’s body weight during standing and sitting. Because of all the connective tissue in this cut, brisket meat is normally tough
But in the hands of a barbecue pit master or a savvy home cook, brisket becomes a tender, delicious cut of beef that all but melts in your mouth. That was definitely the experience my friend and I had eating brisket at an East Austin barbecue joint.
Besides getting our fill of the amazing brisket, we also enjoyed some yummy Tex-Mex and several bowls of queso, aka “cheese dip of the gods” while on our trip. Every day was a culinary experience filled with memories.
Lest you think that all we did was eat (well, that’s partially true), we also visited with our friend that recently moved to San Marcos, just south of Austin. And bunked with another friend that moved back to Austin after many years in California.
Naturally, we visited our alma mater, University of Texas and enjoyed walking the campus once again. UT is a big school. Correction: UT is a huge school.
The student population averages around 50,000 students. It’s no wonder that my friend and I went to UT the same years but never met or knew each other then. We met here in California long after graduation.
You will be surprised to learn that some of the best food we ate while on our trip was actually made by our friend in Austin. She is on the keto eating plan and made several Keto meals for us. I know you are thinking, “what the heck is that?”
The Ketogenic Diet, or Keto as it is known, is an eating plan that is low carbohydrate, high fat and high protein. The eating plan forces the body to burn fat rather than carbs for energy. I was impressed with the delicious dishes made from our friend’s keto cookbook.
This week’s recipe comes from the book The 30-day Ketogenic Cleanse by Maria Emmerich and is one we enjoyed while in Austin.
The meatiness of the mushrooms and protein shot from eggs leaves you satisfied. Especially if you’ve eaten too much brisket.
Warm Spring Salad with Basil Chimichurri
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 lb. portobello mushrooms, quartered
- 1/2 lb. fresh asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add eggs and lower heat to a slow boil. Cook 14 minutes for hard-boiled eggs or cook six to seven minutes for soft-boiled eggs. Remove eggs from the water and plunge into a bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water. Let sit for five minutes, then peel eggs and set aside.
While eggs are boiling, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high-heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until starting to brown. Add the asparagus pieces and continue to cook until mushrooms are golden brown and asparagus is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
To make the chimichurri, place basil leaves, oil, chives, vinegar, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.
To serve, place the sautéed asparagus and mushrooms on a serving platter along with any juices from the pan. Slice eggs in half and arrange on top of asparagus mushroom mixture. Drizzle everything with the basil chimichurri and garnish with fresh basil leaves before serving.