Corning beef is an easy project, but it takes a couple of days' worth of forethought. If you choose to go the easy way and buy it in a store, you will certainly save time, but you also get that familiar packaged taste.
Place the corned beef brisket in a large pot of water, and bring to a boil (if you are not using the store-bought packet of spices, you can use garlic, rosemary, and black pepper). Once the water has boiled, lower the heat, and at a brisk simmer, cook for approximately 2 hours. The beets will take about 30 minutes to cook (they are done when their skins rub off easily) in slightly salted boiling water. Keep peeled beets in warm water until everything is ready to serve (beets are also tasty cold).
When the beef is about 20 minutes from being done (when it's done, you should be able to stick a fork into the middle with ease; so when it's almost done, you should still feel some resistance), add the potatoes and carrots to the pot. At the same time, boil the cabbage and apple in another covered pot (done when you can stick a fork easily into the cabbage).
Slice the beef and place on a platter. The beets, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and apples can be served in bowls. Make sure to save and serve the beef stock (you can serve it as gravy in a gravy boat). Be sure to have lots of white vinegar, mustard, and horseradish to accompany this bland but hearty meal. Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 2 hours