Justin & Meredith Winokur's Kitchen Cooking Notebook

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Lasagna Soup

Monday, February 13, 2023, 07:16 PM

Lasagna Soup using Rao's. I updated the recipe though we had moved to this sauce a while ago.

Southwestern Egg Rolls

Sunday, February 12, 2023, 11:15 AM

We were meeting friends at the zoo for lunch and decided to pack Southwestern Egg Rolls [Liz Moody]. Meredith made it mostly following the recipe. We used slightly bigger tortillas (I think) which made it easier to roll. They were New Mexico Tortilla Company which are thin and good. They were not Albuquerque Tortilla Company, which tends to be thicker, drier, and harder to fold!

Meredith also made a dipping sauce by mixing Dion' Ranch with some jalapeño sauce.

Side Note

Picnicking at the zoo presented some challenges. Due to avian flu, all feeding stations for the ducks and geese were removed. Of course, the grass was still rife with goose poop (challenge #1) but it also left some hungry birds. So while we were sitting and eating, they kept coming really close to us. We were shooing them away with arms and hat. We though that was working until a goose attacked my back! I though Meredith was tickling me or something but then I realized it was a goose pecking at me! Well that was a new experience!

Veggie Egg Bowls

Saturday, February 11, 2023, 06:56 PM

Meredith had started to make these for herself and made them for both of us for dinner. Her notes:

Sautéed spinach/power greens with Trader Joes green goddess seasoning blend until wilted. Then browned some frozen artichoke hearts with more green goddess seasoning and heated up some diced roasted red peppers (plus a bit of leftover relish from fish tacos). Heated up a tbsp or so of kimchi. Topped with 2 over easy eggs and served with hot sauce.

Smoked Brisket -- Two Ways

Sunday, January 22, 2023, 06:25 PM

Fully Smoked Sous Vide

My friend gave me his old pellet smoker and I finally got around to testing it out. I wanted to compare doing it 100% on the smoker vs sous vide then finished on the smoker. I trimmed a full packer brisket and then cut it length wise. I sous vide the first half and then I did the second on the smoker.

BLUF1: I am almost certain I messed up with the smoker and it universally ran too hot. Everything about how they both came out fits this possibility. It is possible it is just observation bias but I do not think so. I think I messed up.


I followed the Sous Vide Smoked Brisket Recipe [Serious Eats] to make a simple rub of just kosher salt and pepper. It was 3 oz of peppercorns and 3.5 oz of kosher salt. I cut them both on Saturday. The priced weight was 15.74 lbs though I didn't confirm it. I trimmed off 2 lbs 13.125 oz. I did not weigh any liquid or the bag.

Sous Vide

On Saturday, the day before, I coated the brisket (6 lbs 8.75 oz) and vacuum sealed it. Since I have been kind of unhappy with the sealer, I did two seals (each a double) on both sides of the bag. I also made it super large to give myself lots of room.

I sous vide cooked it at 155°F for about 25.75 hrs.

I then put it on the smoker (see note about the smoker below) at 175° around 3:00pm on Sunday and then moved set it to 215°F at 4:00. I took it off around 5:30 pm. I wrapped it and let it sit in the cooler for an hour

It was pretty cooked at this point. You can see it in the photos above.

Fully Smoked

I followed Smoked Brisket [Traeger]

This was a struggle. On Sunday morning, I started the smoker around 7:15 (after going nuts trying to understand the setup. It just could not get to temp. I set it at 225°F and it couldn't climb above ~170°F. Fast forward, it was probably on the direct heat mode meaning it was actually much hotter but wasn't reading properly.

Anyway, while this was heating up, I coated the other half. This was a mistake according to the guide. I should have done it the night before when I did the sous vide one. Oops. Still, it got to sit for about 1.5 hours while I waited for the grill.

I finally gave up and decided to start it on the smoker and I could always do the post-wrap in the oven since thats less about smoke. Putting a towel over the smoker about an hour later which also helped a bit.

The meat temp climbed and climbed fast:

I wrapped it at 11:15 and put it back in until 1:00pm where it then was left to rest in the cooler until 6:30pm


Cutting and serving

Smoker ones Sous vide then smoked. Too cooked!

Again, it could be observation bias but I think it was too hot.

The sous vide one was way overcooked on the outside. Beyond bark. You can see it in the photos. I needed to use a serrated knife and it still didn't cut well.

The regular cut well, had a nice smoke ring, but was dry.

The Problem

In the guide book, it turns out it that it says something about the holes of the tray and a direct flame. I think I have them open. Not only that but cleaning it was insanely hard! Then my friend told me to wrap that in foil to cover the holes and make cleanup easier! I think everything ran way too hot and with some amount of direct flames.

Next Time

First of all, I will wrap the tray in foil to make clean up easier and avoid issues with direct flames!

I am interested in comparing sous vide again but honestly, for the sake of simplicity, I may just do the smoked one whole. I will also be trying other meats first so hopefully I will have all of the kinks worked out.

  1. Bottom Line Up Front 

Pickled Green “Wiggle” Beans

Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 11:03 PM

Meredith's Notes:

3/4 c white wine vinegar
3/4 c water
1.5 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
Fresh dill
Wiggle beans

Turkey Curry on Naan

Monday, January 16, 2023, 07:09 PM

We made Chicken Curry Naan [Real Simple] but with turkey. We actually had to split making it since we didn't have enough curry paste.

It was fine. Nothing amazing. Kind of one-dimensional and tasted more like curry paste than anything else.

I did like how they have you brown the meat. break it up a bit, let it sit, then break it up fully.

We didn't have enough naan so one was on tortilla which worked just fine.

Air Fried “Bagels”

Friday, January 13, 2023, 09:18 AM

I was in the mood for real bagels but didn't want to go out so I made Easy Bagels [Skinny Taste]. I did 225g of greek yogurt and upped flour to 6 oz. Did 15 min at 400°F in the Breville Air Fryer.

The dough ball was super rough but it worked out

Coffee Cake Oatmeal

Thursday, January 12, 2023, 08:49 AM

Coffee Cake Baked Oatmeal [Eating Bird Food]

Meredith's Notes: Added 3 scoops collagen protein, and did a combo of almond/cow milk. Brown sugar instead of coconut sugar. Almond meal in the topping instead of oat flour.

We liked this a lot!

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