A Family Visit And A Feast

My family came up to Boston last weekend for my sister's track meet at BU. Since she goes to school in Ithaca, which is quite a trek, it was nice to have the opportunity to see her run here. We watched her run on Friday night and then my mom, dad, sister, brother, and Jeff and I spent the day together on Saturday, playing cards, watching UConn basketball and the Bruins, and cooking and eating.

Having everyone over was just the excuse I needed to try out some new recipes. On Saturday morning I got up and started by baking some chocolate cake layers for a German chocolate cake. Then I worked on getting a brisket in the oven. It was my first time making brisket, and I chose a recipe from The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook. Technically, the brisket should have been made the day before, but since my sister ended up running Friday night (we originally thought she'd be running Saturday), I had to make do with the timing I had. Luckily, the recipe included some same-day instructions too.

While I prepped the meat, I had my dad cut onions for me. I browned the meat in a skillet and then made a sauce for it with the onions, red wine, broth, and spices. When the sauce was ready, I had returned to cake making, so I had my mom spread the sauce in the baking dish and nestle the brisket in it. After that, it was super easy to just let the brisket slowly cook away in the oven. After 4 hours, I took it out, left it to sit on the counter, and set about preparing some sides.

I roasted fingerling potatoes, sauteed brussels sprouts, and, using a recipe from Cook's Country, made an asparagus gratin. Then I turned back to the brisket, finished the sauce for it, and had my dad cut it into 1/4-inch-thick slices. I set everything out, and everyone filled their plates. We truly had a feast.


Asparagus gratin

Then I broke out the German chocolate cake for dessert. This recipe was from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. The cake consists of dark chocolate cake layers, a sweet coconut-pecan filling, and some milk chocolate frosting. While the chocolate frosting was meant only for decorating the top, I couldn't help spreading some between the layers too. The cake was moist, rich, and decadent and the perfect end to a perfect meal.

German chocolate cake

What was the last big family meal you enjoyed?