The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Our Fundraiser for Boobies

Boom Boom made it through the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk this past weekend!  Physically, there were only a couple blisters and really tired legs to deal with.  Like many things, the mental challenges are often harder.  In this case, it’s keeping motivated for training and keeping sanity after running out of things to talk about with her walking partner.

There was also the pressure of raising enough money for the walk.  She did the usual reaching out to friends and posting about it on Facebook, which turned out well.  But then she turned to something that’s right in her wheelhouse – throwing a party.  She’s organized a few fundraisers for the kids’ school before, and they were both fun and successful.  For those events, she was able to secure some sweet deals on catering.  This time around, she got cheapest caterer around.


She and her friend were able to secure some cheese, fruit, and dessert trays from local businesses.  So it was up to me to come with a savory dish that would feed about 40 people.  “No problemo,” says me.  I had visions of a making my horseradish-crusted beef tenderloin or  maybe even a big ol’ piece of prime rib.  I thought it would be cool to set-up a carving station and put on one of those ridiculously large chef hats.  But there were a couple of problemos.  First, I had other duties that meant I couldn’t stand around slicing meat. The other problemo was that I had a to keep food costs under $75.  Oops.

That meant it had to be something easy to serve, can be done ahead of time, and inexpensive.  I made a joke about hitting White Castles to grab a couple hundred little pieces of heaven.  But then it hit me – I can make a whole bunch of sliders on the cheap.



I went with four kinds – two pork and two beef.  For the pork, I bought a giant 8-pound shoulder which, at around $3 a pound came in at under $25.  I was able to cook this the day before using my pulled pork recipe.  When done, I split up the batch and put some in the vinegar-based sauce and the rest in regular barbecue.  Halfway done!

For the beef, an acquaintance turned me on to a Marcella Hazan recipe from her classic book “Essentials of Italian Cooking.”  It’s only slightly less  ridiculously easy as the pulled pork.   And since it uses beef brisket, was super cheap – around $30 for a brontosaurus-sized slab.  The recipe calls for “larding” the beef – inserting slices of pancetta or bacon into it.  I went ahead and did it, but it would be just as delicious without it.  Also, the recipe calls for the beef to be cooked for 3.5 hours and then sliced for serving.  I cooked it for an additional 45 minutes so that it could easily be pulled apart for the little sandwiches.  From there I served half with barbecue sauce and half with just a splash of balsamic.

Add in about $20 worth of dinner rolls and – BAM! – right under budget. Thankyouverymuch.

Beef Roast Braised with Onions

– 1/4 lb pancetta or thick slices of bacon

– 2 lbs of beef brisket

– 5 cloves of garlic

– 4 thinly sliced medium onions.  You want to have around the same mass of onions as you do beef.

1. Preheat Oven to 325 degrees

2. Make long slits into the beef along the grain and shove the bacon into the slits.  The original recipe calls for a larding needle, but just used my fingers and the handle end of a spoon.

braised beef larded

3. Insert the garlic in a few of the slits at random

4. Put the sliced onion in a dutch oven large enough so the beef can snugly fit inside.

braised beef onions

Put the beef on top of the onions and season with salt and pepper.

5. Put it in the oven and cook for 3.5 hours.  You have to flip the beef over every 30 minutes, so that’s why it’s more complicated than the pulled pork.  But then again, if you consider flipping beef every 30 minutes to be complicated, then you better stick to making ice.

braised beef cooked

6. When done, slice the beef against the grain, top with the caramelized onions, and serve.

Remember, if you’re pulling it apart like I did, you’ll want to cook it for another 30-45 minutes.

braised beef pulled

Other Food

Twice baked potatoes – some stuffed with blue cheese and caramelized onions from the beef, others with white cheddar and bacon.

Twice baked potatoes – I stuffed some with blue cheese and caramelized onions from the beef, others with white cheddar and bacon.

Donated trays

Donated trays


The Drinks

We asked folks to bring a bottle of wine to share, so there were too many to list here.  The highlight of the evening was a 1979 Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley).

Spring Mtn cab


It was incredible – still luscious, well-balanced with some tannins left over.

Seeing that bottle, I was inspired to open what was easily the lowlight of the evening –

bonny doon chard


…a 1985 Bonny Doon Chardonnay (Santa Cruz Mountains).  For all you keeping score out there, that’s a good 25 years older than usually recommended for California Chards.  Another friend gave me a case of 1980s Chards and this is one of the few I have left.  All of them turned a beautiful amber color and most of them were actually still drinkable…  in the first 15 minutes.  This one was terribly oxidized.  The lawn died where we spit it out.

I also served this magnum of  Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose I won at a silent auction a couple years ago.

billecart magnum


It was an absolute stunner.  Not only was smooth, creamy, fruity, and lightly toasty, it had a beautiful pink hue that was perfect for the fundraiser.

And these bottles may or may not have taken major hits that night.

Yes, outside of the Buffalo Trace, they're all from Costco.  And all freakishly delicious.

Yes, outside of the Buffalo Trace, they’re all from Costco. And all freakishly delicious.


The Entertainment

Boom Boom originally wanted to have someone come in and play guitar and sing for everyone.  I thought – pshhhhh, why settle for hamburger out, when you can have steak at home?!?  So I volunteered my musical services.  (Ok, the guy couldn’t make it, but work with me here.)  I had the grand idea of doing acoustic karaoke to raise money – people would donate $5 to sing a song with me playing piano or guitar accompaniment.  We had an iPad out to pull up lyrics for the 50 or so songs I picked out.  I made sure to choose songs that I was confident I could muscle through even if super loaded.  And that theory was put to the test.

It was a BLAST!!  Unfortunately, we were a little too loopy to collect money for the songs.

Oh well, she still hit her fundraising goal.



About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

23 comments on “Our Fundraiser for Boobies

  1. Go Jules Go
    August 20, 2013

    Wow! I’m so impressed with you two – not for the walking and fundraising, but the karaoke and the implication that there might be any booze LEFT.

    No lie: Peppermeister and I have actually catered his birthday with White Castle, and people go NUTS.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      August 20, 2013

      WHy doesn’t that surprise me?!? A couple of years ago I showed up at THe Sicilian’s for Thanksgiving with the White Castle stuffing. If you knew her, you’d know how brutal that was of me… It was great

  2. The Dutchman
    August 20, 2013

    The sliders were great! The meat was tender – almost as if it came out of the crockpot.

  3. armchairsommelier
    August 20, 2013

    I’m so jealous you can buy tequila at your Costco. We can’t buy liquor at Costco in Virginia . . . only at the official state ABC store. And I’ve had the Costco tequila before — it’s pretty good! And what a treat to have that Spring Mountain Cab. Again, jealous. Salud!!

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      August 20, 2013

      Yeah, isn’t that tequila amazing? I think it’s on par with Patron which goes for $55-60 for 750 mL. The Costco goes for $24 for a full Liter. So Patron may still be better, but it’s not 3x better!

      Unfortunately, some strange liquor law here in Michigan prevents them from selling here. They also don’t sell the Buffalo Trace or Hendrick’s GIn either, but other brands are cool. I get some in Chicago every time I go.

  4. wildbluewonder
    August 20, 2013

    That sounds like a lot of fun… and the sliders look amazing! Glad to hear the fundraising and the walk were successful.

  5. rachelocal
    August 20, 2013

    Your twice-baked potatoes look delish, but I had them at a new restaurant opening recently and thought, “This is so 1989.” (There was no bacon or blue cheese involved).

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      August 20, 2013

      Never going to make them in large quantities again – major pain in the tookis.. I’ll definitely eat them though, with or without my zubaz. (Or whatever I was wearing back in ’89)

  6. talkavino
    August 20, 2013

    Nice work – from food to wine to the cordials! That 1979 Cab sounds really good! Your brisket recipe sounds good – mine has no bacon in it, and it takes between 5 and 6 hours in the oven and no flipping – really easy : )

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      August 20, 2013

      That does sound good. Temp? Any special seasonings or braising liquid? I liked how this just braised in the liquids from the onions and it’s own fat..

      • talkavino
        August 20, 2013

        I will probably make the official post with the pictures soon : ). But it is really easy in any case. in the evening, take the brisket and cover it with the dry spice rub – anything you like. Wrap completely in the foil and put it in the fridge (you can do 24 hours in advance). In the morning, pre-heat oven to 275F, take the baking pan, put dried fruits on the bottom (prunes, figs, apricots, raisins), unwrap brisket and put it on top (fat side up), cover whole dish with foil, put it in the oven. Check it in about 3 hours, take the liquid inside and pour on top of the brisket. Depending on the size of the brisket, it should be ready in about 5-6 hours total.

        • thefoodandwinehedonist
          August 20, 2013

          That sounds great with the dried fruits – can get really creative with the seasonings with those. WIll let you know how it goes!

        • talkavino
          August 20, 2013

          great, looking forward!

  7. UndercoverL
    August 20, 2013

    That is super cool and inspiring!

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      August 20, 2013

      Which part, the drinking of mass quantities of booze? 😉

      • UndercoverL
        August 20, 2013

        Hahahaha! That’s the fun part. The inspiring part is about the fundraising. Boom Boom is awesome!

  8. ksbeth
    August 20, 2013

    wonderful )

  9. Pingback: Simplicity, Brisket and Wine | Talk-A-Vino

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This entry was posted on August 20, 2013 by in Cooking, Drinking and tagged , , , , , , , .
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