JUDY'S TABLE: FEBRUARY 2009
(Feb. 2, 2009)—Depending on who's making it, a pastrami sandwich can either be a food of the gods or a food of the mortals. Sometimes it is both at the same time. No mistaking, the pastrami my oldest brother Joseph Leon treated us to yesterday was sheer Heaven.
With occasional daydreams of visiting Carnegie Deli in Manhattan or Langer's in downtown Los Angeles, I felt in complete luxury feasting on a classic deli-style pastrami sandwich, piled for portion control, in between two warm slices of rye and spread with spicy brown mustard.
Starting with corned beef, Joe spiced the meat with coriander seeds and peppercorn, then smoked it for about seven hours. After refrigerating it overnight, he slow cooked the corned beef over the stove for about another six hours until it could practically melt in your mouth.
The rest of my family and I played the domino-inspired Mexican Train as the scent of hickory wafted through my parents' house and pre-game highlights playing in the background, while Joe spent time in the kitchen also preparing his potato salad.
Each part of the entire meal was fantastic, with bold flavors and contrasting textures. With the pastrami, it was the crunchy spice brought on from peppercorns and coriander, combined with the tenderness of the meat. With the potato salad, it was the eggy creaminess and potatoes cooked to perfection, blended with crisp celery, chopped pickles and smooth black olives.
Add to that a beer and sour kosher pickles, and this meal was definitely one for the gods and goddesses. And while the team we rooted for didn't win—it was the food and family that made the occasion spectacular!
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