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s ’ y a d o T Vol.3 No.2

Reap the Fruits of Your Labor in Your Retirement

Boomer Travel

Tracing Irish Roots

Tax Time Tips: Keeping Your Taxes Due Down Social Security: Prep is Key for Your Retirement

Boomer Healthy Eating

Corned Beef : New England Style

Fabulous @ 50! Cars and Stars that celebrate 50 years of greatness and are still going strong!

106th Chicago Auto Show: A Boom for Boomers Today’s BoomeR

Featuring The Only B2B -Business 2 BoomeR Marketplace!

Up Coming CruisesBook Now! A Tulip Time River Cruise “Credit Union Success Symposium” April 5-April 12th, 2014 Alaska Voyage of the Glaciers “Credit Union Volunteers Forum” June 20-June 27th, 2014 Viking to Czars A Scandinavia/Russian Voyage “Credit Union Winds of Changes Symposium” August 1-August 13th, 2014 Cambodia & Vietnam Riches of the Mekong “Credit Union Survival to Thrival Forum” August 19th-September 3, 2014

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This Issue March/ April 2014 Volume 3, Number 2

Social Security


’s y a d To

Preparation is key for your retirement

Founder John Vardallas & Alexandra Maragha

Boomer Travel

Editor-In-Chief Alexandra Maragha


Contributing Writers :

Tracing Irish Roots

Tax Time Tips


Karyl Richson: Social Security Chef Eben Atwater: Healthy Eating

7 Most Missed Tax Deductions and Credits

Advertising: Team

Tax Time Tips

5 Things That Could Trigger a Bigger Tax Bill

For Letters to the Editor, articles and feedback as well as advertising inquiries email

Planning for Retirement 10

The American

Reap the fruits of your labor

John Vardallas CEO/Founder Professional Speaker Business/Lifestyle Strategist Boomer Sage and Blogger (608) 577-8707


Chicago Auto Show 12 106th show, A boom for Boomers Fabulous After 50


Boomer Healthy Eating 17 Home Cured Corned Beef

B2B Marketplace


Business 2 Boomers Marketplace

Alexandra Maragha Co-Founder, Editor-In-Chief Today’s BoomeR Today’s BoomeR Vol.3 No.2 Today’s BoomeR is published six times (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/ June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec) a year by The American 769 North Star Drive (Suite 207) Madison, WI 53718 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

The American Boomer @American_Boomer Today’s BoomeR 3


’s y a d To

Slow down and take time The world is a busy place and it seems that time is never slowing down and always speeding up. Work, commitments, and even family obligations can create a chaotic atmosphere with little time to stop and appreciate the small things that make up each part of any day. This issue is to take time and relax during this time of year that invites a lull between the start of a new year, and before the warm weather of summer (feature)invites another p. 10 shift of busy schedules to take place. We provided tax time tips to help you get your taxes done in a more efficient way and included information about care in your retirement and how to prepare so you can enjoy not only the benefits but most importantly, the time. With business aside, we took time to enjoy the beauty of fifty, with the Mustang celebrating 50 years at the Chicago Auto Show, and a glance at Hollywood celebrities who are fabulous at and past turning the big 5-0. And it cant be spring without a great trip in mind, so we offer a tour of Ireland and complimentary cooking in our boomer healthy eating to take some time to appreciate the sights, smells and with a little Irish luck, p. 4 wonderful tastes to savor. We thank you for your time with us and encourage you to slow down, enjoy, and make each moment count! Spring forward!

p. 12 Alexandra Maragha Editor-In-Chief Send Letters and Feedback to:

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Social Security: IN IDITAROD AND RETIREMENT, PREP IS KEY By Karyl Richson , Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, held each March in Alaska, is

on the trail. For retirement planning, you’ll want to test out the

one of the harshest, most challenging races known to man (or

Retirement Estimator to see how changes in your income,

dog). Mushers embark on a race from Anchorage to Nome that

retirement age, and other variables may change your overall

takes between 9 and 15 days. Contestants bear sub-zero

plan. Use our Retirement Estimator, where you can get a

temperatures with gale-force winds that can cause wind chills

personalized, instant estimate of your future retirement

as low as negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit! It takes endurance,

benefits using different retirement ages and scenarios. Visit the

preparation, and careful planning to make it from start to finish. Retirement Estimator at The same can be said for your race toward retirement and

Out in the cold, you’ll be thankful for the provisions you’ve

Social Security. No one would hit the trail without being ready

brought along. In retirement, you’ll understand why it was so

for the challenges. Similarly, no worker today should be

important for you to save early on. The sooner you begin your

navigating toward retirement without a little bit of preparing,

financial planning, the better off you will be. Social Security

planning, and stick-to-itiveness.

replaces about 40 percent of the average worker’s

Choosing your steps is as important as selecting the right sled

pre-retirement earnings, but most financial advisors say that

dogs. Your first step in planning for a comfortable retirement is

you will need 70 percent or more of pre-retirement earnings to

to look at your Social Security Statement, which you can do

live comfortably. You also will need other savings, investments,

online easily with a my Social Security account. The online

pensions or retirement accounts to make sure you have

Statement is easy to use and provides estimates you should

financial security to live comfortably when you retire. Visit the

consider in planning for your retirement. It provides estimates

Ballpark Estimator for tips to help you save. You’ll find it at

for disability and survivors benefits, making the Statement an

important financial planning tool. Your Statement allows you to

Use our online library of publications as your trail map or

review and ensure your earnings are accurately posted to your

guidebook to help you when it comes to planning for

Social Security record. This feature is important because Social

retirement. Check out When To Start Receiving Retirement

Security benefits are based on average earnings over your

Benefits. It and many other useful publications can be found at

lifetime. If the information is incorrect, or you have earnings

missing from your record, you may not receive all of the

As you mush, mush, mush toward retirement, remember that

benefits to which you are entitled in the future. Visit

it’s not about the destination, but all about the journey. to set up a my Social

Spending a little time to prepare along the way will make all the

Security account and get started.

difference when you cross the finish line into retirement.

Before heading into the snowy terrain, you want to make sure you have prepared for a number of different possible obstacles

Today’s BoomeR 5


By Carla Waldemar

“With 50 million Irish in America,” declares our guide, “we should be the 51st state.” Plus, 23 U.S. presidents claimed Irish blood. And that doesn’t include O’Bama. The story of Ireland is a story of migration. Galway was a prime departure point. Columbus stopped here to study a map of an earlier crossing, on view in St. Nicholas Church. Dan O’Hara made the journey, too. His cottage is preserved at Connemara Heritage and History Centre, a tribute to the farmer evicted during the potato famine of the 1840s—the Holocaust of Ireland—forced to migrate on those notorious coffin ships.. Dan’s wife and children died en-route. Overseer Martin lends his tenor to “The Ballad of Dan” aside the cottage’s turf fire, then pours a drop of the gut-blazing moonshine called potsheen. He shoulders a spade to demonstrate how Ireland’s peat is cut into turf logs for fuel.

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A turf fire welcomes us to Renvyle House, once site of a powerful Celtic chieftan, and host to more modern potentates—politician Churchill, poet Yeats, writer Joyce— aside the pewter-colored sea. Borrow a bike, golf club or kayak before heading on. We pass Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain where Patrick, its patron saint, spent 40 days fasting and praying. But no fasting in Westport, our destination. Winner of Ireland’s Tidy Town award, the streets glisten with newly-painted storefronts, including the rimson of Matt Molloys. Matt, of Chieftans fame, frequently plays here while bartenders pour the best Guinness to be had.

Titanic in search of a better life. Eleven perished. But this is more than just another Titanic story. As guide Alex Nolan explains the tragedy, men without jobs, couldn’t marry. Girls faced spinsterhood. Today the church’s stained glass windows depict the disaster and its bell tolls every April 15. The new park hosts bronze figures of those emigrants. Foxford Woolen Mills is more than just a gorgeous shopping op; it’s also a symbol of a turnaround in Ireland’s fortunes. Here a nun, sent to teach those in misery, put first things first: jobs for the hungry. She envisioned harnessing the river to power a woolen mill to employ townfolk, and strongarmed even wary Protestants into making it happen. Today, the mill offers an interactive history tour as well as delights for home and body.

We don our Wellies at Ballycroy National Park to tramp the panoramic blanket bog. “How’re youse?” inquires Denis at the Visitors Centre where Winnie, via video, explains her childhood’s cookery—churning butter, butchering pigs. Then Denis takes us walking the bog itself—like slogging on a soggy trampoline.

Foxford’s blankets grace Mount Falcon, a gorgeous estateturned-hotel that’s Eden for outdoors types: clay pigeon shooting, golf, water sports, and my tamer choice, fly fishing. Afterward, relax in the spa.

Then on to the wild moors and majestic cliffs of Achill Island, also victim to the infamous famine. In abandoned village of Slievemore, we scramble among tumbling stone cottages, burnt by absentee landlords to evict tenants unable to meet rent. Then on to Addergoule and its new Titanic Memorial.

Then off to Dublin to trace Ireland’s history at Glasnevin Cemetery, where 1.5 million lie buried—everyone from the heroes of The Rebellion to New York’s Mayor LaGuardia. To salute them, we retire across the street to Gravediggers’ Pub, where it’s “Howya? How ya keepin’?” as we lift a final pint.

Why here? Because, in the famine’s aftermath, there were no For information check jobs. So 14 of its sparse populace booked steerage on the Photo credits: Courtesy of Tourism Ireland

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7 Most Missed Tax Deductions and Credits From job search expenses to gambling losses, don’t overlook these ways to reduce your tax bill

By Lisa Greene-Lewis

Tax deductions and credits can save you money at tax time, but 2013 tax year, so don't miss out on this one. many taxpayers miss them because they don't realize things 4. Earned income tax credit they do in their everyday life can give them more money back. The earned income tax credit is a refundable tax credit given to One thing you filers who earn low- to moderate- income from their jobs. The should know is tax credit can be worth up to $6,044, depending on income and deductions and how many dependents you have, but one in five tax filers overcredits help your tax look this opportunity, according to the Internal Revenue Sersituation in two vice. You have to file your taxes in order to get it, so even if different ways: Tax you make less than $10,000 (the IRS' minimum income filing deductions can save requirement) you should still file your taxes. you money by lowering your taxable income. Tax credits directly reduce the taxes you owe, and if you qualify, you can claim a 5. Job searching credit whether you itemize your deductions are not. If you were looking for a job last year, you may be able to deHere are seven of the most-missed tax deductions and credits you don't want to overlook: 1. Charitable contributions Our lives are busy, and taxpayers may forget what donations they gave last year may get them a bigger refund. If you cleaned out your bulging closet and dropped off clothing or household goods at your favorite charity, don't forget this may be deductible on your tax return.

duct costs related to your job search – even if you didn't secure a new one. Job search expenses such as preparing and sending resumes, fees to placement agencies and even travel related to searching for a new job can be included. 6. Retirement saver's credit

This credit is often overlooked and seldom talked about, but if you have an income up to $29,500 ($59,000 for married filing jointly) 2. Tuition and fees deduction you can save for retirement and Taxpayers taking a full course load and working toward a deget an tax credit worth up to gree can receive education benefits through the American Op- $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 portunity Tax Credit for college expenses, but those who took for couples if you contributed to a even just one class to further their career may be able to take qualifying retirement plan such as the tuition and fees deduction. With this credit, you can deduct an individual retirement account up to $4,000 for tuition and fees, books and educational supor 401(k). The retirement savers plies for you, your spouse or dependents. This tax deduction is tax credit is a win-win situation since contributions to your IRA especially important to remember if you qualify because the may also be a deduction from income. offer expires after tax year 2013. 7. Gambling losses 3. State and sales tax deduction Taxpayers who weren't so lucky gambling last year should Taxpayers can deduct state income taxes, but what about peo- know that their losses can be deducted if they itemize their ple who live in states that don't have a state income tax? The deductions. However, your amount of losses cannot surpass state and local sales tax deduction is useful for those who your winnings, which must be reported as taxable income. For don't pay state income tax because they can deduct sales tax example, if you have $2,000 in winnings and $4,000 in losses, paid on purchases. Even people who live in states that pay your deduction is limited to $2,000. Make sure you have docustate income tax can benefit if they paid more sales tax due to mentation such as receipts, tickets and other records to suplarge purchases. This is another tax that is going away after the port your losses. 8 Today’s BoomeR

5 Things That Could Trigger a Bigger Tax Bill

3. Forgiven debt

If you had debt forgiven by a credit card issuer, mortgage or student loan lender, or other financial institution, it may create "phantom income" that's taxable. Under the Mortgage ForIf you had self-employment income, giveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, borrowers are exempt from unemployment benefits or forgiven debt taxes on forgiven mortgage debt (short sales, foreclosures or loan modifications) up to $2 million on a primary residence. last year, your tax bill might surprise you. This expired at the end of 2013, but Congress may still extend this tax relief. If your debt doesn't fall under MFDRA, don't desBy Susan Johnston pair. You may still be exempt from taxes if you fall under the The last thing anybody wants come April 15 is an unexpectedly Internal Revenue Service's insolvency large tax bill. But if you didn't have enough money withheld exclusion -- meaning your debts surfrom your paychecks or you didn't plan for certain activities pass the value of your assets. "When that affect your taxable income, you might have an unpleasant people have forgiven debt, they surprise in store. Here's a look at five factors that could trigger shouldn't automatically think they're unexpected taxes as well as strategies for planning around going to be taxed on that income," them. says Andrew Schwartz, founder and 1. Self-employment income managing partner of accounting firm Schwartz & Schwartz in Woburn, If you had income from freelance or consulting work and didn't Mass. "If somebody's debts exceed their assets, that 1099-C have taxes withheld, your tax liability might catch you off[the tax form for forgiven debt] isn't taxable." guard. Self-employed taxpayers are responsible for their own contributions to Medicare and Social Security, as well as the 4. Distributions from a retirement account contributions that would have been made by an employer (also Withdraw money from a retirement account such as a 401(k) known as "self-employment tax"). When someone sets up a before age 59½, and you're typically subject to penalties and business, "they get this big shock when they owe selftaxes. Some financial institutions will withhold federal taxes employment taxes," says JeFreda Brown, CEO of Brown Acbefore distributing your money, but it may not be enough to counting Solutions in Birmingham, Ala. One way to avoid this cover your federal tax liability and you may still owe state inend-of-the-year surprise is to pay quarterly estimated taxes as come tax on distributions. "I see this snowball effect where you money comes in so you don't spend the money in other ways. lose your job and you tap your IRA, but then you don't have Taking deductions for eligible business expenses can help lower the money to pay the tax," Johnson says. "Now you're dealing your tax bill, Brown adds. with the IRS on some sort of installment agreement." If you 2. Unemployment benefits truly need the money in your retirement account, Schwartz suggests opting for a 401(k) loan if you're still with that emFor some, it's a cruel irony that unemployment benefits are ployer and your plan allows it. "With a 401(k) loan, you don't taxable. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expay taxes, and you pay yourself back plus interest," he says. empted the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits from feder"Another thing to do is to stop contributing to the 401(k) al taxes, but that provision has since expired. One way to avoid [temporarily]. That'll free up some cash flow." a huge tax bill is to have federal taxes withheld from your unemployment checks (however, you may still owe state income 5. Getting married tax) or set aside the money yourself so you'll have the money If you got married last year and you and your spouse both to pay taxes. "With a married couple, if one person goes on work, changing withholding status to married with two allowunemployment, maybe the working spouse would [increase] ances may result in more taxes owed. That's because the withtheir withholding," says Neil Johnson, a partner in The Dolins holding tables assume one spouse isn't working. "In a lot of Group, a financial planning firm in Northbrook, Ill. If you itemcases, not nearly enough taxes are being taken out, and that's ize deductions, you might also offset some taxes on unemployan unpleasant surprise for the newlywed," Schwartz says. ment benefits by deducting eligible job search expenses such "When somebody fills out [their withholding], single is one opas travel or lodging. tion or married, but withhold at the higher rate." Today’s BoomeR 9

Reap the Fruits of Your Labor in Your Retirement What you need to know to prepare for your long-term care By Nicholas R. Abts Members of the Boomer generation are just beginning to reap the fruits of a lifetime of hard work by beginning their second lives retirement. Since most can expect to live into their eighties, they now face a new challenge - the possibility of needing long term nursing care as they advance in age.


Planning for long term care is not merely a luxury, but a necessity. Even those who do not find themselves in skilled nursing care (also known as nursing home care) may have significant medical needs which may not be covered by Medicare. The only way to be prepared if and when the time comes is to be educated about the planning options available and the risks of failing to utilize them. Will You Need Care? The Numbers You Need To Know It’s difficult to see the future, but statistics can offer a window into the probability of facing a long term care need, as 70% of people that reach the age of 65 can expect to need some form of long term care during their remaining years. This means that a married couple reaching age 65 together has about a 90% chance of facing a long term care need. These statistics suggest that such care will play a significant role in lives of a vast majority of the population. With that in mind, any retirement or estate planning should address the issue of long term care costs. How Much Will I Pay For Care? A number of factors determine cost of care, and each individual has unique care needs. Some aging individuals need only a few hours of assistance per day in the home; others require full-time supervision in a skilled nursing facility. Memory care facilities are an option for those with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. In-home nursing care averages around $20 per hour nationally, and full-time nursing care typically costs an individual over $200 per day. Even assisted living averages nearly $40,000 per year, so advance planning is important, as is knowing local options. How Will I Pay For My Care? As the cost of long term care becomes clear, so does the need to plan for payment. By carefully considering cost scenarios in advance, Boomers can put themselves in position to receive the care they need without losing the ability to create a legacy with their estates. Savings may be enough to cover the care Boomers need if they’ve been fortunate enough to build up a safety net. The ability to pay with cash provides access to a wider range of options. This is called “private pay”, and while it does not guarantee that an individual can have everything he or she desires, it does provide opportu10 Today’s BoomeR

nities for greater comfort and flexibility of care. Commitment is key in making it possible to pay privately. Advance financial and estate planning combined with diligent savings habits can make a big difference, even for Boomers getting a late start in putting aside money for themselves. Long term care insurance (LTCI) pays a daily benefit that can be used to help pay for care. LTCI has the benefit of having premiums that are partially tax deductible under certain circumstances and payouts that are not taxable to the insured. While LTCI policies can fall short of the costs of care, the benefits they provide can make a big dent in out-of-pocket expenditures and preserve the advantages of the private pay world. LTCI is most effective when purchased in preretirement years, when it is less expensive. The best policies are purchased from highly rated companies and have inflation protection, in-home care options and returns of premium if the policy is not used.

locally. A wide range of public benefits can be available to those that meet the requirements, but these can be difficult to navigate without professional legal assistance. Public medical assistance is not an option for everyone. The means-testing requirement means recipients need to “spend down” assets, which can make leaving a financial legacy for future generations challenging. However, state Medicaid programs allow some assets to remain exempt from spend-down requirements. Careful planning is a must when utilizing public medical assistance. Estate planning attorneys that specialize in Medicaid planning can assist individuals in understanding available benefits and can in some circumstances provide options for protecting assets. How Do I Start Planning?

All of the options discussed in this article have one theme in common - the earlier you start, the more prepared you will be for long term care needs. Estate Medicaid or Medical Assistance is a publicly funded planning attorneys can help, particularly those with option for long term care protection. Medicaid is a experience in the Medicaid arena. Concerned means-tested program, which means applicants must individuals can also seek out financial professionals meet a very low threshold of assets in order to that specialize in long term care protection and have qualify. Medicaid varies by state in its administration, experience working with Boomers. The biggest key is but has federal guidelines that the states must follow to take advance precautions and seek the assistance in implementing it. of qualified professionals. Today 47 million Americans receive some sort of medical assistance. Many also take advantage of other means-tested programs that can be found

With proper planning, Boomers can age gracefully, live in comfort and still leave behind an enduring legacy.

Retirement Resources you Need!  20Summary.pdf Today’s BoomeR 11

106th Chicago Auto Show: A Boom for Boomers

By John A. Vardallas, Founder/CEO, The February Chicago Auto Show ended on a hot note despite being held during one of the coldest winters on record. This year s show showcased plenty of muscle keeping in theme with the 2014 Chinese Year of the Horse with plenty of High Tech/Eco Friendly accessories to accompany those power rides. Even though this boomer was impressed by a variety of new foreign kool hot rides (BMW/Jaguar/Audi), American Auto Makers celebrated the return of the muscle car era in style. 12 Today’s BoomeR

well as gives you room for more coolers in the trunk. The 300-horsepower, 3.7 liter V-6 and the 420-horsepower, 5 liter v8 will be joined by the new 305 horsepower, 2.3 liter twin turbo EcoBoost four cylinder. Boomers will be lining up this fall when the Mustang goes on sale this fall just like we did after we got our first drivers license. General Motors muscle was also present in a big way in Chicago. The new Chevy Corvette ZO6 with a 6.2 liter, 625 horsepower supercharged V-8 is teamed with a seven-speed

Horsepower was the focus for Ford who celebrated 50 years of American Muscle with the introduction of the sixth generation of Mustang. The new smoother style of this pony car will impress boomers who have been Mustangs fans

since the model was introduced in 1964. While retaining the long hood, short deck roomier styling, the new generation Mustang is lower with a wider stance that improves traction and handling as

manual or new eight-speed automatic will give you plenty of hold your breath acceleration moments. The new Vette features a wider tires and a wider stance for optimum performance handling and more lateral support during aggressive motoring. Cadillac showcased its luxury again with great new model ATS and CTS coupes and sedans. They featured high performance V sports versions with a choice of front or all wheel drive. The new Cadillac Elmiraj was Best of Show Concept Car. The new car colors also reflected a retro theme witnessed by all of the Mellow Yellow, Candy Apple Red, Today’s BoomeR 13

Bright Orange and Green as well as Purple Passion dominating most exhibits. Here Come the Muscle Trucks! If you are a fan of trucks, all manufacturers featured a variety of tricked out trucks for mainstream drivers. This boomer was totally impressed with the new Ford

F-150. Redesigned and re-engineered, the best-selling vehicle in the industry the past 32 years went on an aluminum diet to shed 700 pounds in order to boost mileage. All body panels are now aluminum which cost more than steel. No word yet on pricing. All trucks will feature EcoBoost engines and 360 degree exterior cameras to help navigate off road trails. High Tech also complimented new car models in abundance. Boomers will have to get more tech savvy when looking for a new ride. Automakers have embraced technology by offering a variety of high tech accessories to compliment driver motoring. In addition to GMs OnStar and Chryslers uConnect, more dashboard consoles will feature 4 G connections and music apps like Slacker and iHeartRadio capability.

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Cars at the show featured a variety of new tech driving accessories: 

Text Buddies featuring voice to text capability as well as readers for incoming messages

Self Park: For those who hate to parallel park.

WiFi Hot spots (pioneered by Audi and now more wide spread applications in American automakers) will allow your passengers to work online or for your kids to watch a movie on an I-pad

Nav 2 Go App: Free map updates application on some of the new Chevrolets models

Second and Third sets of Eyes: Back up Cameras featured on Hondas, Ford and Jeep offer SUV Systems to see in those blind spots.

Remote Interaction: Apps to start your car, unlock your doors and check when your car needs its next service.

The Chicago Auto Show wrapped up with the Best of Show Awards. Winners in each individual category are sure to make this car buying season for boomers exciting and full of retro fun! 

Best All New Production: Ford Mustang Best Concept: Cadillac Elmiraj

Best Green Car: Cadillac ELR

Best Exhibit: Chevrolet

Car I would most like in my driveway: Bugatti Veyron

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Fabulous After 50! As award season in Hollywood has come and gone we wanted to pause to see our winners of celebrities who are fabulous after 50 years!

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BOOMER HEALTHY EATING: Being from New England, I love house made corned beef and pastrami, fine examples of easy to make and highly satisfying home charcuterie. I was somewhat dumbfounded when a reader noted "Why bother? It's cheap to buy at the store?"

Recipes and Photos from Chef Eben Atwater

or pickle. It's a bit of a stretch, I know, but suffice it to say that 'corn' was a catch-all term for any local grain, and in a pinch, salt would qualify, (Sorry, Well, the why bother part is because what you make at home will couldn't resist...) always, with a bit of practice and patience, be far superior to The next most common question we hear is 'What's the difference anything store bought. As for the cheaper part, I seriously doubt it, between corned beef and Pastrami?' The answer is, not as much given that you can use very inexpensive cuts of meat, and the as you might think. It has to do with the most common cuts used processing cost comes from your hands, not your pocket. and the curing process. While either variety can be made with House made provides you the luxury of not only choosing the cut brisket or round, pastrami is sometimes made from the plate cut and origin of meat to use, but customizing your spice/pickling/ as well. As for process, either can be made by wet brining, though corning blend. This means that, within reason, you can control not pastrami is fairly often done with a dry rub in the first stage of only the amount but the kind of salt used, and furthermore avoid curing, then pepper crusted and lightly smoked. These are any other extraneous preservatives and junk that comes so often generalizations, of course; the end product varies as widely as the in processed meats. Just as we all have favorites for BBQ rubs, fancy of the makers. you'll develop a similar hankering for your own special spice As I mentioned, I grew up in Massachusetts, so I am very fond of New England Boiled Dinner, that ethereal combination of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots, daubed liberally with fresh horseradish. If you've never tried it, you should. I also absolutely adore the Reuben sandwich, which, as blasphemous as it may sound, I make with either corned beef or pastrami. If you get interested in the art of meat curing, AKA charcuterie, you'll find a myriad of resources online and if you'd like a great reference volume to add to your cookbook library, Charcuterie-Craft-SaltingSmoking-Curing/. blends for corning. It’s also a lean and relatively healthy cut of meat, so you can eat guilt free, too. We hear a lot of questions regarding the term 'corned'; it came into common use in the 16th Century and stems from the AngloSaxon word for grain or granule, referring to the salt used to cure

So, all fact checking and history aside, how do you make this stuff? We'll focus on corned beef this time and save pastrami for another day.

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You'll need a brine solution and a spice blend. If any or all of this seems overwhelming, go the easy route and grab a preblended pickling spice from one of the suppliers listed in our links; down the line, for all things pickling, you can and should do a bit of study and build your own signature blend. The recipes here will work for a 2 to 3 pound corned beef; you can scale up or down as you like, but this is a very manageable starter size. For the Brine: 1/2 Gallon nice, clean water 1 Cup Sea Salt, (Do not use iodized!) 1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar 3 teaspoons Curing Salt (AKA Pink Salt, or sodium nitrite) 2 Tablespoons Pickling Spice Set water in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Toss in salt, sugar, curing salt and spices and boil until all granules are dissolved. Remove from heat, transfer to a mixing bowl and set over an ice bath for a rapid cool. Once the brine has cooled to room temperature, place your meat in a glass container big enough to have it covered by at least an inch or two of brine. If you just don't have a suitable container, you can use a doubled large zip lock bag. Cover the meat with brine as noted above, at least an inch or two above the meat. If your cut tries to float, you'll need to weigh it down so it remains completely submerged. If you go the Ziplock route, squish all the air out and put the bags in a pan in case of a blowout. Put your bounty into the fridge where it will live for the next 6 or 7 days. Make a note to self to flip the meat daily, to make sure everything gets a nice, even brine soaking. On the appointed day, pull your corned meat out of the fridge, and rinse it gently in very cold water.

Put the meat into a pan just big enough to hold the cut. Cover with water to about 2" above the meat. Add another tablespoon of your pickling spices to the pot, bring the heat up to high until you reach a rolling boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until fork tender, about 2 to 3 hours. Remove the meat from the pot, set on a cutting board and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Your finished product will last a good 5 to 7 days in the fridge, (As if it'll survive that long...) Time to enjoy that New England Boiled Dinner! This version is mostly steamed, which keeps a bit more of the good stuff intact and provides better flavor all around. For two, you’ll need: 1 pound Corned Beef 1 small head Cabbage, outside leaves removed 4 Carrots, peeled 4 small red or white Potatoes 1 sweet Onion Take potatoes, carrots and cabbage and zap ‘em for three minutes in your microwave. Add a couple of inches of clean water to the bottom of a large stock or soup pot. Toss in a couple bay leaves, a few pepper berries, a couple of juniper berries, an inch or so of fresh Rosemary, (Dried is fine, ¼ teaspoon), and a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Place everything in the pot with a steamer basket or other spacer such that you’ve got a good three inches between the goods and the bottom of your pot. Sprinkle a pinch of good sea salt and a few twists of pepper over the goodies. Steam over medium-high heat until the cabbage and veggies are fork tender. Transfer to plates, serve with horseradish, fresh lemon wedges, good salt and pepper, some fresh bread and a nice dry white wine.

Eben Atwater is a Chef and writer who began cooking professionally in the 1970’s in Washington State and Idaho. In addition to a food blog he publishes with his wife and partner-in-crime Monica, Eben is an accomplished musician and instrument maker. He lives in western Washington State where he manages a bakery-café. Visit 18 Today’s BoomeR



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Today's Boomer Vol.3 No.2 March/April 2014  

This issue is to take time and relax during this time of year that invites a lull between the start of a new year, and before the warm weath...

Today's Boomer Vol.3 No.2 March/April 2014  

This issue is to take time and relax during this time of year that invites a lull between the start of a new year, and before the warm weath...