Thursday, October 24, 2013

Slow Cooked Ribs

I have compiled this recipe from a few sources, added a few things here and there and greatly reduced the sugar content (although there still is quite a bit).  The more time you can cook in the oven, the better...and just finish on the grill!  Can be cooked ahead of time and grilled the day of.

2 racks ribs (I use 2.5 kilos)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 large onion (minced)
5 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups ketchup
2 tbsp tomato concentrate
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 honey
1/2 cup brown beer (belgian quadruples work well here)
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp dijon mustard (spicier is better)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper

Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pot, add onions and garlic.  Cook over low heat until onions are trasparent.

Stir in remainder of ingredients, gently bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (with the sugar content it is prone to burning if left unattended).  Let cool completely.

Place ribs in a Dutch oven, and cover them with BBQ sauce.  Cover, and place in preheated 80 C oven (175F).  Turn every 2 hours and apply more BBQ sauce.  Cook for at least 9 hours, 12-14 is better at a slightly lower temperature!  You can cook over the course of two days and refrigerate overnight if timing is short in one day.

Grill over coals for only a few minutes, be sure that the fire is not too hot to burn the ribs.  You may need to place and remove ribs with a spatula instead of tongs as they may be falling apart!

Serve with mac 'n cheese made with stinky cheese.  Serve with extra  BBQ sauce

Saturday, September 7, 2013


This is a wonderful way to use stale bread when tomatoes are in season. I think it is especially good with lamb shoulder chops that have been cooked on the BBQ. The recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma Savoring Italy cookbook which was written by Michele Scicolone.  I used the amounts given in the recipe as a very rough approximation. A mandolin helps immensely to speed up the chopping of the onion and the cucumber.

2 large/6 small flavorful tomatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more if needed
3 tblsps balsamic vinegar, or to taste.
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6-8 slices stale pain de compagne or other hearty bread, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
Combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and basil in a bowl and drizzle with the oil and vinegar and season with salt and paper. Toss to coat evenly. Place half the bread in a wide, shallow bowl, cover with half the vegetables. Layer on the remaining bread and then the rest of the vegetables. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Toss the salad and then taste and adjust the seasonings. If the bread is dry add a little more oil and or vinegar, to taste. It is ready to serve. If you have leftovers, they still taste great the next day though the salad tastes fresher the first day.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shortcake Biscuits

This is my mother's recipe for shortcake biscuits. Heap split biscuits with whatever sort of fruit you prefer and top with sweetened whipped cream. Small shortcakes with fruit are a great dessert, but larger ones make a fantastic breakfast. Strawberry shortcake is no sweeter than pancakes or waffles with syrup and makes for a happy morning surprise.

Shortcake biscuits
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter in cubes
3/4 cup milk
Place dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse until blended. Add butter and pulse. Add milk and pulse until dough just comes together in clumps. Drop the dough on a greased baking sheet or a Silpat sheet on a baking sheet in 6 to 9 biscuits, patting a bit to flatten. If you are making the shortcakes for dessert make them smaller, if for breakfast they can be larger. Bake in a 425º oven for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Split the biscuits and serve with lightly sweetened fruit and sweetened whipped cream.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pan Seared Round Bone Lamb Shoulder Chops

These lamb chops are inexpensive and cook quickly. We had them this evening with a savory bread pudding. That made for a very good combination. Delicious! Makes 4 servings.

Round Bone Lamb Shoulder Chops
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp herbes de Provence
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 round bone lamb shoulder chops
Smash the garlic with the side of a French chef knife and smear it on a cutting board with the salt until you have a paste. Mix the salt and garlic paste with the herbes de Provence and the olive oil. Pat the lamb chops dry with a paper towel and then rub the paste all over them. If you have the time, let the chops sit for an hour with the paste on them. They are still very tasty if you don't have the time to do that. 
Heat a cast iron frying pan large enough to hold the chops over medium-high heat. Sear on one side until browned, about 2 minutes, and then flip and sear on the other side for about another minute. Slash the edges in a couple of places to keep flat. Lower the heat to medium and cook until medium rare, about 5 minutes. Cut to check for doneness. That's it. Fast, easy, and very good. Do not overcook or they will be tough.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Rösti with Fried Eggs

Chris saw this recipe in the February Bon Appetit magazine and he fixed it for our dinner one night. It was very good and we decided to add it to the blog so that we wouldn't forget to make it again. It is great for a simple dinner for 4.

Rösti with Fried Eggs  
3 russet potatoes (about 1.5 lbs)
kosher salt
6 Tbsp. unslated butter, divided
freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. raclette or Gruyère cheese, sliced (we used Gruyère)
4 large eggs
chopped flat-leaf parsley
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and add cold water to cover. Season generously with salt. Bring to a boil: reduce heat and simmer until the tip of a paring knife slides easily about 1/2" into the potatoes, 8-10 mins. Drain potatoes and let cool. Chill until firm, about 2 hrs.
Preheat oven to 300º. Peel potatoes and grate using the large holes of a box grater. Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a 12 ovenproof skillet over med-low heat. Add Potatoes, season with salt and pepper, press gently to compact. Cook, occasionally shaking pan to loosen, until bottom is golden brown and crisp, 15-20 mis.
Slide rösti onto a plate. Carefully invert skillet over plate and flip to return it to the pan, browned side up. Dot 1 Tbsp. butter around edge, allowing it to melt around and under rösti. Season with salt and pepper and cook until second side is golden and center is tender, 10-15 mins. longer.
Top rösti with cheese and bake until cheese melts, 5-8 mins.
Melt remaining 1 Tbsp butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat and add eggs, cooking until whites are just set, about 4 mins.
Cut rösti into quarter, top with eggs, and garnish with parsley.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash and Kale

This was inspired by a Thomas Keller recipe in his Ad Hoc at Home, "farro and black rice with roasted autumn squash". I have made his recipe as written a few times and it is delicious. This evening I wanted something similar but simpler for a family dinner. I served it with chicken grilled on the bbq. It would be great with sausages and could easily be adjusted for vegetarians.

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash and Kale
1 cup farro, cooked according to package directions
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 large bunch lacinato kale, stems stripped off and cut into ribbons
diced shallots
olive oil
salt (sel gris and kosher)
vinaigrette salad dressing (made with champagne vinegar, rice vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper)
Toss the squash and onion with some olive oil and sel gris and roast at 425º until squash is easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Turn the oven up to 440º and continue to roast until the squash is lightly browned. Sauté the shallots in a large frying pan for 2 or 3 minutes in 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the kale, sprinkle with some kosher salt, and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until wilted.
Toss the farro with vinaigrette. Be conservative with the vinaigrette. You can always add more later. Add the squash and kale to the farro, mix, and you are done. You now have something that is not only very tasty, it is good for you. This serves 4 adults.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ham-sta (Peppery lemony creamy ham pasta)

This is my favorite week day pasta recipe. Really easy, quick, and tasty for when you can't think of anything else, and might want some leftovers the next day. I learned it from one of my roommates during my junior year abroad in Exeter and have been making it at least once a month since. Mess around with the recipe as you please. I now add a lot of the spice at the end (on my plate) instead of the beginning 'cause Eeva didn't like it burning her mouth. Ingredients: 2 thick cut ham steaks, 1 cup cream, 1 lemon, 1 lb fusilli, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt (for the pasta water).  Salt and set pasta water to boil. Cube ham. Put olive oil in skillet and heat. Add pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Cook for a minute and add cubed ham. Cook the ham 'til nicely brown. Then squeeze half the lemon over the ham. Cook until the liquid has disappeared then add cream. About this time the water should be coming to a boil. Add the fusilli and cook until al dente. When cream has started to thicken squeeze on the other half o' lemon. Leave on a minute more so sauce will re-thicken. Mix sauce with pasta and spice up with pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

My Go To Brownie Recipe

This was the brownie recipe my mother always used and she got it from a Hershey's baking chocolate box. It is fast and easy and seems to make the perfect number of brownies for a smallish group of people. That way stale brownies are not a problem at all. They disappear completely in a couple of days. These days I use Sharffen Berger chocolate rather than Hershey's and unsalted butter rather than the margarine my mom always used. The most time consuming part of making these brownies is melting and cooling the chocolate mixture.

2 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup butter
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup sifted flour
1/4 tsp salt (use a bit more if you use unsalted butter)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Butter an 8" square pan. Melt the butter (cut in pieces) and chocolate (chopped) over hot water, in a microwave, or over an extremely low flame if your cook top goes that low. Cool the chocolate and butter and add the vanilla. Sift the dry ingredients (except the sugar) together. Beat the eggs, continue beating as you add the sugar in a stream. Stir in the chocolate mixture and then add the dry ingredients. Stir in the nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean and the sides pull away from the pan.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Refrigerator Rolls

I have had another bread request. This one was from my other son. This is a great recipe to have in your repertoire because the dough can be made up to 4 days before the rolls are baked. Also it only needs kneading for 1 minute. This recipe comes slightly changed from Sunset Favorite Recipes I, the original edition, and makes 2 dozen soft sweet rolls. I think the flavor is somewhat better if the dough doesn't sit longer than 2 days.

 Refrigerator Rolls
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1pkg yeast (=2 1/4 tsp=1/4 ounce)
1/4 cup warm water
3 eggs, slightly beaten
4 3/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
Scald the milk and pour it over the sugar, salt, and butter in the bowl of a mixer. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm. Meanwhile soften the yeast in the warm water. When the milk has cooled mix in the softened yeast and the eggs. Gradually beat in the flour. Cover the bowl with the dough with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until it begins to puff, about 30 minutes. Punch down, cover again with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours. Punch down again and knead the dough on a lightly floured surface just until smooth, about 1 minute. Return the dough to the bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 4 days. Divide the dough into quarters. Divide each quarter into 6 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place 8 of the balls into one of 3 buttered 8" round baking pans, evenly spaced. If you prefer you can use a scale and weigh the rolls as you form them. Each roll should weigh 62.5 grams. Cover the pans and let the dough rise in a warm place until almost doubled. (The original recipe says you can cover the pans with plastic wrap and refrigerate for another 3 to 4 hours at this point, but I haven't tried doing that.) Bake at 350º for about 25 minutes or until browned.
Leftover rolls make great little sandwiches when filled with turkey and cranberry sauce.

My Mother's Cornbread

My son needs my cornbread recipe and it is really my mother's recipe. I have no idea where it came from, but it is what we have always had in our house. It is good and it is easy. Can't ask for more than that.

1 cup corn meal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
Sift the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter. Lightly beat the milk and egg together and then stir into the dry ingredients until they are just mixed. Do not stir anymore than that. Bake in a buttered 8" square pan in a 425 º oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
I always make corn bread in my food processor. I dump in the dry ingredients, process, add butter, process, add liquids, barely process, and voila, the cornbread batter is ready to go into the pan.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Tuscan Bean Soup

I found this recipe in Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Vegetables and tweaked it a bit. It is a great hearty soup that makes enough to easily feed 8. There were 6 of us and I had more than enough left over for a dinner for 2. The original recipe called for farro but when I pulled the bag I had out of the cupboard, bugs had been snacking on it and so I threw it away. Instead I used a similar but smaller ancient form of wheat from France called petit épeautre. The orginal recipe also called for red pepper flakes, I used piment d'Espelette instead. I meant to add kale to the soup, but in the end I forgot to add it. I think it would be very good in this and it would also add a color contrast. I also increased the amount of vegetables in the soup.

Tuscan Bean Soup
2 cups dried beans of your choice
1large onion, diced
2 small leaks, just white part, sliced
1 large carrot
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
5 small tomatoes, peeled and diced, canned if you are making this out of tomato season
a couple of sprigs of thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp piment d'Espelette (you may use a pinch of red pepper flakes instead)
2 or 3 slices of good smoked bacon, diced
6 cups chicken stock
grated parmesan cheese

1 cup petit épeautre or farro
salted water

Soak the beans overnight.  Cook all the vegetables except the tomato in the olive oil in a large nonreactive pot over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until they are translucent. Drain the beans and add them to the pot along with the tomatoes, bacon, piment d'Espelette, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock, bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat until the soup simmers. Cover leaving the lid ajar, stirring from time to time. When the beans are almost cooked, after about an hour, add the salt. Cook for another 15 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, cook the petite épeautre or farro in a second pot in salted water that covers it by a couple of inches. I used 1/2 tsp salt in the water. When the grains are cooked, after about 40 or 45 minutes, drain them. they should be a little al dente, not mushy. When the beans are cooked, stir in the grain and simmer for another 10 minutes. I served the soup with grated parmesan.