Are You Ready for Some Football?

Hello friends! You may start to notice that a few things look a little different around The Blind Pig Blog.  We are trying out some new plug-ins for our site.  We are also attempting to improve our social media presence on Pinterest.  We added an Instagram, so you can follow us at theblindpig.  If you do, you will see what celebrity Craig hung out with this week on the Queen Mary.

beer brisket sandwiches

Next weekend is the Superbowl.  Our favorite team, the Chiefs, did not make it, so we are a little meh about the whole thing.  Thank goodness for the commercials, right? Many of you will probably be hosting or going to a gathering to watch all of those great commercials, so Rhonda we decided to share with you an easy, tasty and fresh recipe to serve at your Superbowl gathering:  Beer Brisket Sandwiches.

We found the recipe in Better Homes and Gardens, January 2017 issue.  You will be shocked to find out that this recipe does not contain any liquor. Say what??? Nope.  No liquor.  However, the recipe does include wheat beer which gives this brisket a wonderful flavor and aroma.  Aside from the wheat beer, there is another surprising little ingredient that will give this brisket an added flavor to wake up your taste buds — cloves.  We have never added cloves to a brisket recipe before, but we can tell you it is was an unexpected delight.

First you will season the brisket with salt and pepper and brown it in a large skillet on both sides at medium to high heat.

beer brisket sandwiches 1

While the meat is browning add sliced onions, crushed garlic, and the wheat beer to the crock pot.  We used Blue Moon Belgian White for our wheat beer.

Next whisk together dijon mustard, hoisin sauce, and ground cloves.

beer brisket sandwiches 2

After the meat is browned place in the crock pot on top of the beer and onions.  Then spread the dijon mixture over the top of the brisket.  Cook on low for 10-12 hours or high 5-6.  Next sit back and enjoy the wonderful aroma of wheat beer and cloves waft through the house.  We can always tell when we are going to have a winning recipe, because our teenage-boys perk up and ask what smells so good.

After the meat is finished cooking.  Remove from the crock pot and let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing against the grain.

beer brisket sandwiches 3

The recipe calls for ciabatta bread and we recommend it. Other buns would probably get too soggy from the brisket. We purchased the Le Brea Take and Bake Ciabatta bread from the Kroger bakery section.  Our loaf only made 4 sandwiches.  If you anticipate a larger crowd, purchase more.

_beer brisket sandwiches 4

Place pieces of brisket on sliced ciabatta bread with cabbage and carrots.  We used a package of slaw mix for our garnish.  Then you are ready to serve!  This recipe also lends itself to making smaller slider sandwiches, as well.  Just slice your ciabatta loaf into eight small sandwiches instead of four larger ones.

One of our new features is the print recipe option below.  Try it out and let us know if you have any feedback!  Have a great week!

Print Recipe

Beer Brisket Sandwiches

Hands-On Time 20 minutes

Slow  Cook 10-12 hours (low) or 5-6 hours (high)

Makes ten servings.

  • 3 1/2 – 4 pounds beef brisket (flat half); fat-trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 12 ounce bottle of wheat beer
  • medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 1-pound loaf rectangular ciabatta bread, split, toasted and cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 1 package cabbage and carrot slaw mix

Season brisket with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper.  In a large skillet brown meat in hot oil over medium high heat.

Place beer, onion and garlic in slow cooker; top with brisket.  In a bowl whisk mustard, hoisin, and cloves.  Spread over top of brisket. Cover; cook on low 10-12 hours or high 5-6 hours.

Remove meat to a platter or tray. Cover to keep warm.  Skim fat from cooking liquid.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.  Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper. To serve sliced beef across the grain.  Top bread with beef, carrots, and cabbage.   Serve with cooking liquid.




Double Menta

thin mentas 9

Have the girl scouts been out and about in your neighborhood?  They are in full force around the Dallas area selling their boxes of irresistible confections.  Thin mints are one of our favs, but this year we are making our own grown up thin mints. We shared one of our favorite mint liqueurs with you in other posts like,  3 Hot Chocolates With a Twist and Who Needs Half-Price Shakes After 8?Who Needs Half-Price Shakes After 8? Branca Menta is the perfect amount of mint to give these chocolate cookies a little zip. Not a cookie person?  No worries!  We have a thin mint in a glass for you, as well.

branca mentaWe found the cookie recipe last March on with a few minor adjustments we made it our own.  Start by whisking together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

thin mentas1

Then beat the sugar and butter until creamy with a mixer.  Slowly add the eggs and the extracts.  Next add the flour mixture slowly to the mixer until combined. The dough is super sticky.  (We will talk about that more in a moment.)

thin mentas2

Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.  Do not skip this step or it will become very difficult to work with later.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  You will need to roll the dough into little 1 1/2″ balls.  To make this easier, wash your hands carefully.  Then spray your hands with cooking spray.  (You will be glad you did!) Scoop a spoonful of dough out of the bowl and into your hands. Roll the dough until a nice ball forms.  Since you chilled the dough and sprayed your hands with cooking spray, the balls form nicely and do not stick to your hands!

thin mentas3

After rolling the dough, flatten the balls with the bottom of a glass.  Remember how you sprayed your hands with cooking spray?  Spray the bottom of the glass before flattening the cookies.  It keeps the cookies from sticking to the bottom of the glass.  The recipe calls for making the discs about 1/4″ thick.  We couldn’t get ours quite that thin.

thin mentas 4

Bake the cookies, and flip them to the other side to bake after about 4 minutes.  Bake for a total of 8 minutes.  Let the cookies cool slightly on the tray and then transfer to a cooling rack.

thin mentas6

Meanwhile, you can melt the chocolate chips.  Instead of using a double boiler, we usually melt our chips in the microwave.  We set the cook time for no more than 30 seconds each interval.  After 30 seconds is up, we remove the bowl, stir, and return to the microwave for 15-30 more seconds until the chips are melted and smooth.

Dip the cooled cookies into the chocolate one at a time to coat.  Shake off excess chocolate and place on parchment paper to set.

thin mentas7

Now you are ready for some delicious homemade Thin Mentas!  While these cookies do not taste exactly like the cookies the Girl Scouts sell,  they are still a delicious treat.

thin mentas8

Thin Mentas

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk brought to room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons of Branca Menta
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 12-18 ounces of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a larger bowl on a mixer stand beat together the sugar and butter on medium speed until creamy.  Reduce the speed and add first the egg and then the egg yolk, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts.  Slowly beat in the flour mixture until just combined.  The dough will be super sticky.

Shape the dough into a ball and chill for 30 minutes.  After chilling the dough, shape the dough into 1 1/2″ balls and place on cookie sheets.  Flatten with the bottom of a glass till about 1/4 inch thick.  Bake the cookies for about 4 minutes, remove flip and bake for another 4 minutes until dry and crisp and firm around the edges.  Let the cookies cool slightly on the cookie sheet and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Melt chocolate chips in the microwave at 15 second intervals stirring until smooth.  Dip cookies into the melted chocolate and turn to coat .  Shake off any excess chocolate and place on parchment paper to cool.

the thin mint

 The Thin Mint

Add one part Branca Menta and one part Seagram’s Cookies and Cream Vodka in a rocks glass.  Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Then sit back and drink your girl scout cookies.

Which will you try first?  The drink or the cookies?  We would love to hear about what you think.


Ice, Ice, Baby!

Baby, is it cold outside where you are?  It has been a little chilly in Texas this week, and as we look at the weather map, that is true about much of the country.  In fact, ice is even in the forecast for the Dallas/Fort Worth area tomorrow.  In honor of the cold weather, we are going to talk with you about ice.

You might think, “Ice?  What is there to talk to about with ice?”  Well, my friends, in the world of beverages, believe it or not, ice is a HOT trend.  We shared some information with you about ice back in August when we commemorated the eclipse.  This week we will look at ice and how it can change the taste and the look of your beverage.


It’s got the look.  One reason that ice has become a hot trend in the cocktail world is that the size and shape of your ice portrays a certain image or attitude for a cocktail. It is an easy way to garnish your beverage and instantly amp up the appeal.


Gin with sphere ice

Using a sphere of ice is a big trend in many restaurants and upscale bars. We showed you in August how you can join in on this trend by  purchasing some less expensive sphere molds, such as the Neptune Ice Ball tray  or going high-end and purchasing one from Sharper Image or Williams Sonoma!

Another trend is to use large cubes. We have a mold that is similar to the one that you can purchase at Target.  We’ve also seen similar molds at World Market and Home Goods.

The large cubes not only give your drink a clean and sophisticated look, they also have a practical purpose.  By containing less surface area, the larger cubes melt much more slowly. Thus keeping your drink cool without watering down the taste. The larger cubes are typically used with classic cocktails like a boulevardier or if you want to drink a spirit neet.  No one likes the taste of a watered down cocktail, right?

boulevardier cube

Boulevardier with 2 inch cube ice


Crushed ice is great for beverages that you want to keep really cold.  Rhonda is a sucker for Sonic drinks, and all of the credit definitely goes to the ice.  The combination of the crushed Sonic ice with the styrofoam cup keeps the drink at a deliciously cold temperature.  The same is true for margaritas, pina coladas, and other summery, beachy drinks.  The crushed ice is the perfect garnish and temperature to keep those slushy drinks cool, calm, and collected.  Here’s a great tip: Purchase bags of Sonic ice from time to time when entertaining to give your frozen drinks a little something special.

sonic ice

Sonic ice

cranberry rum slush3

This drink was mixed in a blender to create slushy ice.

Corralejo Jalapeno Popper Margarita

A Margarita with Sonic Ice = Love

Want to add a little garnish and keep your drink stylishly cool?  Add mint leaves, rosemary, or even berries to your ice cube tray as you fill it up.  This look works well if you are serving a clear spirit, lemonade or sparkling water.

mint ice cubes

Want your ice cubes to be clear?  Add boiling water to your mold.  The boiling temperature rids the water of gases that can cause that cloudy look.  Either way the ice is still cold has has the same taste– just a different look.

Regular freezer ice does have its place.  Freezer ice is great for adding to a shaker to cool down a concoction and works just as well as any other ice.

-zaya dark and stormy 2

Whether you are serving lemonade or a Manhattan, the ice you choose can make a difference in the appearance and taste of your drink.  The next time you entertain, don’t forget to think about the ice. What kind of mood you want to portray with your signature cocktail? If you try out one of our tips, we would love to hear about it.

Thank you bunches to everyone who is helping us with our challenge to double our number of followers.  We saw many new subscribers come across our feed this week and we are happy to have you join us.  Don’t forget to continue to share our blog with family and friends.

Top Ten Posts for 2017

Happy New Year, friends.  Did you ring in the new year with family and friends or did you spend a cozy night in?  We had a get together at our casa and the Infused Pineapple Vodka did not disappoint.

As we look forward to the new year with optimism and enthusiasm, we also reflect on 2017.  We were surprised to see that we have already posted 33 times on our little blog.  Time flies when you are busy cooking and concocting.  We wanted to share with you our top ten posts that received the most buzz and views.

  1. Zaya Rum Mojito zayamojito5
  2. Tequila Fish Tacostequila fish tacos6
  3. Watermelon Warswatermelon wars 3
  4. Mary Ann or Gingermary ann or ginger
  5. Carpano Antica Sangriasangria 8
  6. Zaya Banana Breadzaya banana bread 1
  7. Zaya Rum Manhattanzaya manhattan 7
  8. Pumpkin Spice Martinipumpkin spice martini 4
  9. Kerrygold Ice Creamkerrygoldicecream
  10. Salted Whiskey Caramel Corncaramel corn 013

Next week we will bring you more recipes and ideas for entertaining and your delight, as well as some more low calorie alternatives for entertaining.

It is our resolution to double our followers in 2018.  Refer our blog to a friend and encourage him/her to select the “following” button in the lower right hand corner to receive our little blog to their inbox each week.  Look for us on Pinterest at theblindpigblog and repin our posts!