While in reality I may not strive to be totally like her, I can say with complete honesty that I really love Martha Stewart. I think it’s awesome that she came out of prison missing fresh lemons the most. And the fact that she can make a crumb cake with Ludacris and bake brownies with Snoop Dogg just endears me further. Martha seems to be able to bounce back — better than ever — no matter what happens to her and I admire that.
I also admire her seemingly always perfect recipes. There’s a reason the woman is an internationally famous domestic goddess. I haven’t ever had a recipe of hers turn out sub-par, which is why I chose several of them for our (pre*) Memorial Day party.
*My MO for Memorial Day (and Labor Day) is to host a BBQ on the Sunday prior. This is useful in case people have already made plans for Monday and it allows me to spend that day recouping and relaxing instead of entertaining. It’s a win/win strategy that I highly suggest.
Anyways, my husband wanted to do a traditional “Americana-style” BBQ. This means he was in charge of the grill — a task he took to happily, deciding to smoke a rather hefty (13 pound) beef brisket over apple wood. Here’s a sneak peek:
Oh yeah…it was serious!
I, on the other, took control of the side dishes. My husband had mentioned wanting mac and cheese so I used this recipe of Martha’s, which has a cult-like following online with commenters referring to it as “crackaroni” since it’s impossible to quit eating. Totally accurate name by the way, I actually had to pry myself away from the pan.
It’s fairly simple — make a bechamel, par-cook the noodles (to very al dente), mix together and bake. Familiar stuff if you’ve made mac and cheese before. But it’s the little details that make it outstanding. The blend of cheeses works fantastic together, remaining creamy not gritty, and the buttered bread cubes (not crumbs) on top were a total eye opener. Seriously phenomenal.
I will ‘fess up to being totally sad that there was only a tiny portion left of it at the end of the night. But I guess that’s good for my health — this dish, sadly, is what cardiologists have nightmares about.
I also used Martha’s recipe for Creamy Coleslaw. While we live in the age of Asian-style, Brussels sprout, apple-jicama and broccoli slaws (all of which I love by the way), we wanted old-school coleslaw and I trusted Martha to steer me right.
Her recipe is classic coleslaw to a T — cabbage, carrots and onion with a dressing made primarily from sour cream, mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar. I subbed out the sour cream for non-fat Greek yogurt but kept everything else as written. It was tangy, creamy and crunchy. In fact, my husband pronounced it perfect; I concur. It was also killer in a brisket/sweet roll sandwich — I’m drooling just remembering it.
And speaking of the brisket, look at this beauty!
We started it in the oven around 2am, seasoned only with salt and pepper. Around 11 am, my husband transferred it to the smoker for another 6 hours. It was divine — smokey, fatty, delicious. And enormous — we had enough food to feed a small army!
All in all, it was a pretty wonderful day — the weather wasn’t perfect, but there were a few hours where we could all sit outside and chat as we celebrated the beginning of grilling season with tasty beer and a bottle of bubbles. I also had a very special last-minute guest but that will have to be covered, along with dessert, in the next Very Martha post.
Until then here’s some more pictures of our feast!