Category Archives: Sauces and Dressings

Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Glaze for Valentine’s Day Brunch

xo pancake

UPDATE: This post is from last year, but I’m reposting it because Valentines Day is tomorrow! From the looks of what I posted last year, February is just a crazy busy month- this year proves to be no exception. With one kid off at college, and another with a drivers license, I won’t be making a bit brunch, but I do plan to make a gluten free version of the pancakes for my Valentine friend Rob. ūüôā

I have been working 16 hour days pretty consistently for a couple of weeks; my kids (and blog) have been pretty neglected in the food department. Valentine’s Day is later this week, and I won’t be able to celebrate it with them, so I decided to celebrate it with them in the few hours I had free this past Sunday. We had a great brunch – five teenagers and me! We enjoyed red velvet pancakes with a cream cheese glaze, a huge plate of bacon and sausage, sausage and baconscrambled eggs,scrambled eggs and some beautiful bright red berries. Valentines day brunch table 2The pancakes were a total cheat because I started with my favorite pancake mix (Krusteaz Buttermilk) and just added cocoa, powdered sugar, and some red food coloring gel. The glaze was also really easy – it was essentially my cream cheese frosting made a little thinner and with a little less sugar. If you would like to make heart shaped (or any other shape) pancakes, use a cookie cutter as your form. Note: the shaped pancakes are more time consuming, so I did a combination of plain round pancakes and made a few special shaped and decorated pancakes for each person.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Favorite Pancake Batter (mix or made from scratch)
  • 1-3 TBS. Cocoa Powder (use about1 TBS. for every batch of 6-8 pancakes)
  • 1-4 TBS. Confectioner’s (powdered) Sugar (can substitute granulated sugar, but be sure to mix really well)
  • Red Food Coloring Gel (I have never tried with regular liquid food coloring, but it would probably work fine)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Prepare pancake batter in desired amount as directed on mix (or according to recipe). Add cocoa and sugar and mix well until incorporated. Add food coloring until desired color is reached – you can experiment from everything from a light pink to a deep red.pancake batter Heat a non-stick pan or griddle. Ladle batter into pan. If you want to make shaped pancakes: generously grease a cookie cutter and lay in the pan; ladle batter into cookie cutter and spread to fill out the form – but don’t make too thick.valentines pancakes 1 When top of batter begins to show signs of bubbles, flip and continue cooking until cooked through (another 30-60 seconds depending in thickness of pancake). heart shaped pancake cookingIf using a cookie cutter to shape pancake: flip the cookie cutter over and gently push (from the cooked side) the pancake through and out of the cutter into the pan – then cook on remaining side. Serve with syrup of cream cheese glaze (see recipe below). If using glaze, you can decorate as desired.stack of decorated pancakes 2

For the CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:

  • 4 Oz. Cream Cheese – softened
  • 1/4 Cup Butter- Softened
  • 1.5-2 Cups Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar
  • Optional: 1-3 TBS. Milk

Combine all ingredients using enough sugar to reach desired consistency. cream cheese frosting for pancakesIf you want a thinner glaze, add milk to the mix. Drizzle over pancakes or add to a squirt dispensary bottle to write a message or decorate.pancake stackvalentines pancakes 2)

 

1.5-2 cups powdered sugar

Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Root Vegetables

Traditional Corned Beef Cabbage and Vegetables

Traditional Corned Beef Cabbage and Vegetables

I love St. Patrick’s Day because I love corned beef! I moved to Michigan on St. Patrick’s Day of 2000 – I moved from the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire, so I carried with me live lobsters. That was the only year I can remember not having the traditional corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve heard conflicting stories about how traditional this meal actually is – I’ve also heard conflicting stories about how Irish I am; so the way I figure, my alleged Irish heritage is as empirical as this dish. I’ve learned over the years that this dish is one of those “love it or leave it” dishes. On several occasions I’ve served this meal expecting elation from my guests, only to instead hear “I’ve never really liked corned beef.” And let’s be honest, the corned beef is the star of the show here – the cabbage, potatoes, carrots, parsnips etc., well, they’re really just boiled vegetables. In such situations, one must be sure to have great bread, and great dessert (see other posts). I know people who prepare this meal in the slow cooker – I’m sure it’s equally good, but I have always cooked it the way mother did (she never had a slow-cooker), boiled on the stove. I serve this with a variety of good mustards and horseradish cream sauce (see below). Use leftover corned beef and potatoes to make corned beef patties and serve as benedict for¬† breakfast.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5-6 Lb. Corned Beef Brisket (with seasoning packet*)
  • 2 Large Sweet or White Onions – peeled, cut in half
  • 6 Large or -12 small Potatoes – peeled or skin-on(use favorite potatoes – redskins, baby redskins, Yukons, small white, fingerlings) (cut potatoes in 1/2 if using large)
  • 8-10 Large Carrots/Parsnips – or combination (peeled and cut into 1.5″ pieces) (can substitute baby carrots- about 2 cups)
  • 1-2 Heads of Cabbage – core removed and cut into wedges (use toothpicks to secure wedges if desired – I never bother)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place Corned Beef Brisket, seasonings, and onions in a large stockpot and cover with water (water should cover meat by about 6″). Bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Reduce heat so that water is at a high simmer or gentle boil (you don’t want it to boil over – it’s messy) and cook for 3.5-4 hours. Add remaining vegetables to pot and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes until potatoes and vegetables are tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove vegetable and transfer to a large serving bowl or high rimmed platter. Remove brisket and slice – add to platter and serve immediately.

Horseradish Cream Sauce:

  • 1 Cup Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche
  • 2 TBS. Prepared Horseradish (more if desired)
  • 2 TBS. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper – to taste

Mix all ingredients until well combined. It’s best to allow the sauce to sit in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to really develop the flavors. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving so that sauce is close to room temperature.

St. Patrick's Day Table 2013

St. Patrick’s Day Table 2013

 

 

Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Glaze for Valentine’s Day Brunch

xo pancakeI have been working 16 hour days pretty consistently for a couple of weeks; my kids (and blog) have been pretty neglected in the food department. Valentine’s Day is later this week, and I won’t be able to celebrate it with them, so I decided to celebrate it with them in the few hours I had free this past Sunday. We had a great brunch – five teenagers and me! We enjoyed red velvet pancakes with a cream cheese glaze, a huge plate of bacon and sausage, sausage and baconscrambled eggs,scrambled eggs and some beautiful bright red berries. Valentines day brunch table 2The pancakes were a total cheat because I started with my favorite pancake mix (Krusteaz Buttermilk) and just added cocoa, powdered sugar, and some red food coloring gel. The glaze was also really easy – it was essentially my cream cheese frosting made a little thinner and with a little less sugar. If you would like to make heart shaped (or any other shape) pancakes, use a cookie cutter as your form. Note: the shaped pancakes are more time consuming, so I did a combination of plain round pancakes and made a few special shaped and decorated pancakes for each person.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Favorite Pancake Batter (mix or made from scratch)
  • 1-3 TBS. Cocoa Powder (use about1 TBS. for every batch of 6-8 pancakes)
  • 1-4 TBS. Confectioner’s (powdered) Sugar (can substitute granulated sugar, but be sure to mix really well)
  • Red Food Coloring Gel (I have never tried with regular liquid food coloring, but it would probably work fine)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Prepare pancake batter in desired amount as directed on mix (or according to recipe). Add cocoa and sugar and mix well until incorporated. Add food coloring until desired color is reached – you can experiment from everything from a light pink to a deep red.pancake batter Heat a non-stick pan or griddle. Ladle batter into pan. If you want to make shaped pancakes: generously grease a cookie cutter and lay in the pan; ladle batter into cookie cutter and spread to fill out the form – but don’t make too thick.valentines pancakes 1 When top of batter begins to show signs of bubbles, flip and continue cooking until cooked through (another 30-60 seconds depending in thickness of pancake). heart shaped pancake cookingIf using a cookie cutter to shape pancake: flip the cookie cutter over and gently push (from the cooked side) the pancake through and out of the cutter into the pan – then cook on remaining side. Serve with syrup of cream cheese glaze (see recipe below). If using glaze, you can decorate as desired.stack of decorated pancakes 2

For the CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:

  • 4 Oz. Cream Cheese – softened
  • 1/4 Cup Butter- Softened
  • 1.5-2 Cups Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar
  • Optional: 1-3 TBS. Milk

Combine all ingredients using enough sugar to reach desired consistency. cream cheese frosting for pancakesIf you want a thinner glaze, add milk to the mix. Drizzle over pancakes or add to a squirt dispensary bottle to write a message or decorate.pancake stackvalentines pancakes 2)

 

1.5-2 cups powdered sugar

 

Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches

Beef Tenderloin Platter

Beef Tenderloin Platter

Christmas Day at our house usually involves hanging out at home in our new pajamas (a Christmas Eve tradition). I always invite people to stop by (in their pajamas if they’d like) and I put out an all-day buffet feast. The dessert tray is usually popular, as is the shrimp cocktail and smoked fish assortment, but the real star is the beef tenderloin. Since there’s no set time for dinner, there’s no way to keep the beef hot, so it’s best used for sandwiches. I always start with a good quality, well trimmed tenderloin. I don’t do much in the way of seasoning, I cut some slits in the meat and add some garlic cloves, add olive oil (I used bacon grease because I had it leftover from breakfast – I will definitely use it again in the future) to the top of the meat, rub the meat down with salt and pepper and add some “filet herbes” that my sister-in-law brought back from France (any combination of dried parsley, basil, shives, oregano, thyme – or whatever your favorite herbs are would fine). My personal favorite accoutrements for the tenderloin are: baby arugula, sliced tomatoes, and, of course, hollandaise sauce. I put out a variety of rolls – ciabatta, French rolls, Brioche, and, my son’s favorite; Hawaiian King rolls. I arrange everything on a large platter (the colors work great at Christmas time) and allow people to assemble their own sandwiches – I’ve never had a single complaint! Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the best (it helps to make them look good too).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Beef Tenderloin Filet (trimmed and silver skin removed)
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic
  • 2-3 TBS. Dried Filet Herbs
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil or Bacon Grease
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Bag Baby Arugula
  • 3 Tomatoes – thinly sliced
  • Hollandaise sauce (see below)
  • 12 Good Quality Rolls

Preheat oven to 500 Degrees. Cut 6-8 slits into the top of the tenderloin (deep enough to hold garlic clove) and place 1/2 peeled garlic clove in each slit. Drizzle olive oil or bacon fat over the top of the meat, season well with salt and pepper and “rub” it into the meat. Add the dried herbs to the top of the filet. Place the filet in a broiler pan and put in the preheated oven. Immediately turn the oven temperature down to 400 Degrees. Cook the tenderloin for 35-55 minutes (the time will depend on the size – particularly the thickness – of the filet until the internal temperature reaches 140 Degrees for medium rare. If your tenderloin has a thinner “tail” you will be guaranteed some more well-done meat. If you prefer, you can cut off the tail and cook it for a shorter period of time to keep it medium rare. When tenderloin has reached desired temperature remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice beef (thin, but not too thin), and place in the center of a platter. Surround the beef with the arugula and tomato slices and serve with a side of Hollandaise or your favorite sauce (you can use plain or flavored mayonnaise or a horseradish sauce).

For the Hollandaise Sauce:

  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 2 TBS. Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (optional)

Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne in a blender; blend until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter until bubbling, but do not allow to burn.With the lid on, turn the blender to medium speed; remove the blender lid insert, and, in a slow, steady stream, add butter to blender. It is important that the hot butter be added slowly so that it cooks the eggs in the sauce.

Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

Chicken and basil cream sauce

Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

We love having Matt, our foreign exchange student from Brazil, live with us, but I must confess that he is a challenge to cook for. He does not eat a single vegetable or fruit – you should have seen the look on his face when he saw the chicken stir fry I made for my son’s birthday dinner! He literally picked the chicken out of the pan and noticed he had a “green thing” in the mix; he said “Oh no Kath, can you get it off my plate?” I just view it as a new cooking challenge; or maybe a challenge to get him to embrace some fruits or vegetables (he did eat some apple cranberry tart the other night). So, I had some leftover chicken breasts from the stir fry dinner and I know he likes cream and cheese sauces, so I threw together a revised version of my chicken in creamy pesto sauce. I did warn him that there were “green things” in the dish, but I promised they were not vegetables but herbs to add flavor. He accepted that and enjoyed the pasta- it may be baby steps, but it’s progress!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 2-3 Cups Heavy cream
  • 2 TBS. Unsalted Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese- grated
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Basil – chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 Lb. Cooked Linguine, Fettuccini (or other favorite pasta)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cut chicken into bite size pieces (I prefer thin slices) and season generously with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan, melt butter. Add chicken to pan and saute/brown until fully cooked.brown chicken Add cream and chopped basil to pan and simmer, stirring occasionally,  over medium until cream is reduced by about 50%. chicken basil cream reducingAdd cheese and stir until cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Serve over pasta* Рgarnish with additional basil if desired.

*If you prefer, add cooked pasta directly to the saute pan and toss until liberally coated with the sauce – this will help to further thicken the sauce.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes- Traditional Favorites and some Random Surprises

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving Table 2013

For more photos see posting on Tables

I love turkey, but, for many people, the side dishes are the highlight of the Thanksgiving meal. The other night we celebrated and gave thanks with friends in a gathering aptly named “Friendsgiving,” and, despite a gorgeous 34 lb. fresh turkey (when I say “fresh,” I mean fresh – it was slaughtered the day before), the side dishes occupied the majority of the real estate on the guests plates. My invitation for Friendsgiving suggested that if guests wanted to, they could bring a side dish of their choice – either something reminiscent of their childhood Thanksgivings or a side dish they knew would not be served at the Thanksgiving feast they would attend this year. I think everyone has experienced the disappointment of attending a Thanksgiving feast where your favorite “traditional” side dish is absent. However, the flip side is attending a gathering where you discover a new favorite (for me, sauerkraut and corn pudding – not together- make that list). This year I had a couple of vegetarians on the guest list, so I made two types of stuffing (my traditional stuffing includes sausage); I loved the new Quinoa stuffing and will make it in future years, whether or not I have vegetarians attending. This year’s Thanksgiving featured the following side dishes:

  • Sausage Cornbread Stuffing (with mushrooms, apples and pecans)
  • Quinoa Stuffing with Mushrooms and Apples Dried Cranberries
  • Roasted, Pureed Butternut Squash (click here for recipe)
  • Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
  • Corn Casserole
  • Sauerkraut
  • Ginger Pear Cranberry Sauce
  • Guajillo Chili Cranberry Sauce

I also served vegetarian chipotle pumpkin soup and corn muffins. For dessert we enjoyed homemade pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and apple pie – but that’s a whole separate post.

corn puddingCorn Casserole

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Cans Creamed Corn
  • 2 Cans Corn (do not drain)
  • 2 Cups Sour Cream
  • 1.5 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Butter- melted
  • 2 Boxes (8 Oz.) Jiffy Corn Mix

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Spray or grease a 9×12 baking dish or equal sized casserole dish and pour in mixture. Cover and bake for 30 minutes; remove cover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Sausage Cornbread Stuffing 2Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Lbs. Breakfast Sausage (can combine 1 package country style, 1 package sage sausage)
  • 1 Large Sweet Onion (about 2-3 Cups)- chopped
  • 6 Stalks Celery (including leaves)- chopped
  • 3 Granny Smith Apples – peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 12 Oz. Mushrooms (button, baby bellas – or combination) – chopped
  • 6 Oz. Pecans – chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Sage- chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley
  • 3 TBS. Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1-3 Cups Turkey or Chicken Broth
  • 14 Oz. Cornbread Stuffing
  • 14 Oz. Herb Cubed Stuffing Mix
  • Salt and Pepper – to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cook sausage in a large saute pan. Remove sausage from pan and set aside. Add butter to pan and melt. Add chopped onions and celery and saute until softened. Add mushrooms, apples, pecans, sage and thyme. Cook until apples and mushrooms are softened. In a large bowl or stockpot, combine sausage, sauteed vegetable mixture, and two types of stuffing. Mix well and add broth (a bit at a time) until stuffing mix is moistened as desired. Season with salt and pepper. Add stuffing to cavity of turkey and cook accordingly. Heat remaining stuffing in an oven safe baking dish (you may want to add extra broth to the stuffing which is not cooked in the bird).

quinoa stuffingVegetarian Quinoa Stuffing

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 Cups Quinoa
  • 3 3/4 Cup Vegetable Broth – plus extra
  • 4 Stalks Celery- chopped
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion – chopped
  • 12 oz. Mushrooms – chopped
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples – peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2-3 Oz. Dried Cranberries – chopped
  • 1 Bag (12 oz.) Herb Cubed Stuffing
  • 4 TBS. Unsalted Butter (or Vegan margarine)
  • 2 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 2 tsp. Fresh Sage – chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat quinoa and vegetable broth in a medium saucepan and cook for 15 minutes until quinoa is cooked. In the meantime, in a large saute pan melt butter and saute celery and onion until tender. Add mushrooms, apples, cranberries, and herbs and saute until tender. Combine quinoa, stuffing, and vegetable mixture, season with salt and pepper and moisten with additional vegetable broth if desired. Heat at 350 Degrees in a covered casserole dish until warmed through.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 Lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes (or Russetts) peeled and cut into 1‚Ä≥ chunks
  • 1 Cup of Buttermilk (or Heavy Cream)
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

To a stockpot, add enough water to cover potatoes. Bring water to a boil and add potatoes. Cook until potatoes are fork tender (but not mushy), about 10 minutes depending on the type of potato and the size of your chunks. In the meantime,aAdd buttermilk (or cream) and butter to a small saucepan and heat to just below boiling. Drain the potatoes and mash with a masher or potato ricer. Add hot buttermilk mixture, salt and pepper (to taste) and mix thoroughly (if you like really smooth potatoes, you can use a hand mixer and whip the potatoes). Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper as necessary.

Guajillo Chili Cranberry SauceGuajillo Chili Cranberry Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Cups Fresh Cranberries (about 1.5 bags)
  • 1 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Orange Zest
  • 1 Cup (1 block) Piloncillo (can substitute light brown sugar)*
  • 1 Dried Guajillo Chili
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds – optional, for garnish

* Piloncillo is available in most Mexican markets – it has a deep earthy brown sugar taste and is worth seeking out. It is usually sold in a cone shaped block.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Rehydrate guajillo chili in warm water for 20 minutes. Bring orange juice to a boil in a medium saucepan and add piloncillo until it melts and dissolves – stirring regularly. Add cranberries and simmer over medium heat until cranberries start to pop. Use a spoon to slightly mash up the cranberries. Remove the stem and seeds from the guajillo chili and finely chop. Add chili, orange zest and cinnamon to cranberry mixture. Allow to cool and serve at room temperature garnished with pumpkin seeds.

Ginger Pear Cranberry SauceGinger Pear Cranberry Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 Oz. Fresh Cranberries
  • 2 Medium Pears (ripe but firm) – peeled, cored and diced
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 3 TBS. Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBS. Orange Juice
  • 1 TBS. Freshly Grated Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 5 TBS. Crystallized Ginger – chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except crystallized ginger. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer until cranberries start to pop (about 5-7 minutes) and use a spoon to help mash cranberries – continue cooking until mixture thickens (about another 5 minutes); stir in crystallized ginger. Remove cranberry mixture from heat and allow to cool – serve at room temperature.

Barbequed Babyback Ribs

 

Thru March 20 129So now that I’ve publicly admitted it is fall, I felt compelled to revert to summer mode this past weekend. Who says barbequed ribs are only for summer, and who says a girl can’t grill up super tender and tasty ribs? I take issue with two suggested premises: 1.) certain foods can only be cooked/eaten at certain times of the year 2.) men are better on the barbeque. Ooh, the English teacher in me just realized that the second premise sounds like I am suggesting men should be thrown on the outdoor flames – well, that has, on occasion occurred to me. However, for the purposes of this post, I am suggesting that men are not necessarily more skilled at grilling food on the barbeque. (If anyone is sensing any resentments there, it simply isn’t true – LOL!) With regard to the first premise, as long as foods are not grown seasonally and are readily available year-round, I think they should be eaten year round. For those of you who have ever attended one of my Thanksgiving in July gatherings, you know what I’m talking about. So, now for the ribs. Over the past few years I was introduced to a new method for slow cooking ribs which includes starting them off in the oven and then transferring them to the grill. Michael Chiarello was the inspiration for this style. Let me tell you, the ribs come out moist and tender – practically falling off the bone. If you’re looking for a dryer, rip your front teeth out style of rib, this recipe is not for you. You can certainly use whatever barbeque sauce you like (I never discount the worthiness of bottled sauce – there’s a reason these people/companies are able to sell their product: it’s good), but I have included my recipe for a spicy/zesty sauce similar to an Open Pit style, and also this link to Michael Chiarello’s Espresso Barbeque sauce which is amazing and unlike any other barbeque sauce I’ve tasted. If you’re making your own sauce, I recommend making it a day in advance so that the flavors really develop, however, since the ribs take 3-4 hours, worst case scenario: start your barbeque sauce when you begin prepping/cooking the ribs. You can also use your favorite dry rub (there are many commercial brands available – or make your own), but if you do so, eliminate the salt and pepper – I do recommend keeping the garlic because it adds such good flavor as the ribs slow cook in the oven. I use a gas grill, because that’s what I have, but a charcoal grill would only intensify the flavors and add to the overall flavor. These ribs go great with blue cheese coleslaw, caprese pasta salad, garlic and bacon smashed potatoes, or grilled vegetables (to be posted in the future). I served them with grilled corn (it’s probably the last of the season, so I had to embrace it) and roasted golden beets (also to be posted in the future). This is a great meal for a crowd – particularly if you can find the ribs on sale. The measurements here are for two full racks of babyback ribs, but can easily be adjusted. (Serves 5-6).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Full Racks/Slabs Babyback Pork Ribs
  • 6-10 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • Kosher or Good Quality Coarse Salt- can be a blend (I use a blend that my sister-in-law brought from France)
  • Seasoned/Mixed-up Pepper
  • Barbeque Sauce (see recipe below or link above)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 Degrees. Cut ribs between every 3-4 bones. Place one layer of ribs in a roasting pan (I use a disposable foil pan) and rub with 1/2 the garlic and a generous amount of salt and pepper (or dry rub). Add a second layer of ribs and repeat rub process. through Sept 24 001Cover roasting pan with aluminium foil and seal as tightly as possible. Place in preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove from oven and rotate the layers so that the top layer becomes the bottom layer and vice versa. Repeat this process every 45 minutes. Thru March 20 101Overall cooking time for the ribs is about 3-4 hours – cook until they reach desired tenderness (I go for practically falling off the bone). After last rotating process, prepare a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill. Remove ribs from oven, coat with a generous amount of barbeque sauce (on both sides) and place on grill meat side up. through Sept 24 009Grill for about 10 minutes and baste ribs again with sauce. Flip ribs so the meat side is directly on the grill and grill until desired “crispy crust” is achieved. through Sept 24 012Serve immediately with additional sauce.

Zesty/Spicy Barbeque Sauce:

  • 3/4cup White Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Cider (apple) Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar (cherry if available)
  • 2 TBS. Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (depending on desired heat)
  • 1/2-1 TBS. Hot Sauce (my favorites are Frank’s or Texas Pete’s)
  • 2 TBS. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 TBS. Honey
  • 1/2 – 3/4 Cup Molasses
  • 1.5 Cups Ketchup
  • 1 TBS. Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium/high heat (whisking until all ingredients are incorporated) until sauce reaches a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer sauce for at least 2 hours. Adjust seasoning according to taste.

 

 

 

Steak Salad

Sirloin Steak SaladThis is a classic kitchen sink recipe – it was a combination of ingredients I had available; the result was great. My daughter came home while I was eating my salad and I thought she was going to steal it right out from under me – instead she just said “I know you’re planning on making me one of those.” As always, I encourage you to modify based on the ingredients you have on hand, but remember to include a variety of flavor elements, including, if available, savory, sweet, salty, spicy. One unique ingredient that I used which may be hard to find is a rosemary pistachio cracker which I broke into small pieces and used almost like a crouton. I loved the crunch and the flavor it added – see what happens when you experiment with what you have in the cupboard? I’m including a picture of the crackers – they’re worth looking for – they are delicious smeared with goat cheese. For my local followers: they are available at Westborn Market.Pistachio rosemary crackers 002While the steak would appear to be the star of this salad, I would argue that it is the veggies that make the salad. The steak was a simple NY Strip seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked to medium rare on the grill. You can use a variety of cuts (or even substitute chicken or salmon), but make sure you use a tender but flavorful cut. As for the veggies and other toppings – I used yellow tomatoes from my garden (love the low acid and sweet flavor), English cucumbers, fresh radish slices, goat cheese, and mixed spring greens. I topped the salad with a homemade cherry balsamic vinaigrette, but use your favorite dressing. My daughter suggested using more cheese – I would agree. I think it would have been even better with blue cheese crumbles, but goat cheese is what I had. Again, I loved the addition of the rosemary pistachio crackers, but as an alternative, you could add nuts and croutons. As with most of my salad recipes, I haven’t included measurements – use whatever amounts suit you.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Spring Salad Mix (or your favorite greens)
  • Radishes – thinly slices
  • Fresh Tomatoes (yellow, or your favorite variety)
  • English Cucumber – sliced
  • Goat Cheese
  • Rosemary Pistachio Crackers – crumbled
  • NY Strip Steak – grilled to desired temperature (shown medium rare)- trimmed and thinly sliced

Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • ¬†1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Cherry Balsamic Vinegar
  • 5 TBS. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 heaping tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a jar or container with a lid. Shake well until all ingredients are well combined.

Chimichurri Sauce

ChimichurriI can’t take any credit for this recipe. My friend Michael brought it over the other night when he came for smoked brisket. This sauce is my new addiction (besides homemade ice cream, cupcakes, scones, and anything roasted on the grill). It has a bold garlic flavor and a hint of heat (my “hint” might be equal to a little more than a hint, but you can adjust down the spice if you’d like). The cilantro and parsley flavors marry so well together that neither stands out too agressively (I love cilantro, but some people find it overpowering). So, enough about the sauce…what can you use it on? It is really meant to be used with grilled meats. Meat, however, is a term I would use generously. This sauce is so versatile – it’s sort of like the south of the border pesto. This would be great on poultry, seafood (look for a grilled shrimp post soon), and I recently used it in a pasta salad (also to be posted soon). It would also be great drizzled over grilled bread (or serve alongside so people can dip). It would also be delicious on boiled or roasted potatoes or roasted or steamed vegetables. And for breakfast…I will find a way to incorporate this right into hollandaise, but in the meantime, it will be great on cheesey scrambled eggs or a southwestern omelette. So now do you understand why I might require a chimichurri intervention? I don’t have any photos of the sauce in process – but you all know what a bunch of stuff looks like in a blender. I suggest making a double batch of this sauce – you will find yourself looking for ways to use it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

Purée in blender or food processor & serve at room temperature. Enjoy!!