Archive for September, 2012

Plum Crazy Pork Ribs

If my mother were alive, she’d hit me on the side of the head for saying that grilled pork ribs are like the Second Coming of Christ. She isn’t, so I will indeed make that analogy. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get tired of those smoky ketchup-based barbecue sauces and like to think a bit out of the box. These are incredible ribs, mostly because they aren’t allowed to sit on the grill for longer than 15 minutes. The grill is used to apply the barbecue glaze and brown the ribs. Instead, the ribs are baked in the oven before grilling.

You can buy ribs two ways — as a rack (which you’ll have to cut after grilling) or ribs that are already separated. The last time I made these, I bought the ones already separated. It’s much less aggravating. I’d rather spend my time cooking than presenting food. I’m thinking cookout here, so this recipe is for about six pounds of ribs.

Ingredients for Baking Ribs

6 lbs. Pork Ribs

1-2 small onions, sliced into rings

1-2 lemons, sliced into rings

Sea salt and pepper

Directions for Baking Ribs

Place the ribs in shallow baking pans (I like to line mine with aluminum foil first to minimize cleanup). Cover with sliced onions and lemons. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake covered in a pre-heated 375-degree oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until ribs are tender. (This should not require more than 1 hour and 30 minutes tops.) Remove the ribs and set aside. Simple as that.

Ingredients for Barbecue Glaze

2 cups of plum jam (Trappist makes a great plum jam)

1/4 cup vinegar (red wine, apple cider or malt works)

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup canola oil

6-8 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 tbsp. dried ground ginger powder

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1 tbsp. chili garlic paste (see the Stock This Stuff page for more info)

Directions for Grilling Ribs

First, put the oil, onion and garlic and chili garlic paste in a microwave safe dish and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for about 3 minutes or until the onions are tender. Stir once or twice during the process. Remove it from the microwave and allow the mixture to cool just a bit.

Once cooled, mix all the ingredients together with a whisk. This makes a great barbecue glaze, a little sweet and a little spicy. I might add that it’s great without the chili garlic paste (if you’re inviting weenies to your barbecue), but I find that the chili garlic paste adds just the right amount of zing.

Fire up your grill and get ready! Cook the ribs for about 10-15 minutes, basting frequently with the glaze and turning them several times until they become golden brown. You can serve the ribs with the rest of the glaze. These are falling-off-the-bone outrageous.

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Mediterranean Mussels

This is an incredible feast for very little money. Mussels are among the most economical shellfish, and they are delicious. If you pick them up at a supermarket, they are cleaned and debearded. All you need to do is rinse them in cold water prior to cooking (and be sure to discard any that are broken open). If you purchase them from a fish market, cleaning may be a bit more complicated, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

You need Fines Herbs for this recipe. You can buy them in a jar all prepared, or you can make some yourself. The recipe for them follows the main recipe.

Ingredients

2 lbs. Mussels (cleaned and/or rinsed)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 yellow onion (chopped)

1 fresh lemon (seeds removed; cut in quarters)

2 Roma tomatoes (seeds removed and chopped)

8 cups water

1 cup white wine

1 cup clam juice

3 tbsp. fines herbs

3 cloves garlic (coarsely chopped)

2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup fresh parsley (chopped; for garnish)

Loaf of Ciabatta bread (I like rosemary and olive oil), Italian bread, or garlic bread (you choose)

Directions

Use a nice, big pasta pan for this dish. Add olive oil, garlic and onions to pan. Cook for about 5 minutes. No more. The idea here is to add a bit of flavor, but not to overwhelm the flavor of the delicate mussels.

Add the water, salt, fines herbs, clam juice, tomatoes, lemons, and white wine. Heat for a bit, but do not bring to a boil. Add the cleaned mussels. I can’t give you a definitive time here. All you do is cook them until the mussels are opened. Serve in bowls with plenty of broth. That’s what the bread is for.

Great with white wine. If you’re not a white wine drinker, have some red. I’m not a believer in red for meats and red-sauce pastas; white for fish and chicken. You should be drinking what you like. The food police are not welcome on this blog, thank you very much.

I like this dish with an arugula salad. A simple arugula salad, which means just arugula and a simple Italian dressing. I’m going to give you the recipe for the Italian dressing below also.

Spoon the mussels into individual pasta dishes, throwing some chopped parsley on top for garnish. Don’t be shy with the broth. It’s delicious. That’s why there’s bread in the recipe.

Here is the recipe for Fines Herbs.

Fines Herbs

1 tbsp. chopped tarragon

1 tbsp. chopped chervil

1 tbsp. chopped chives

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

1 tbsp. chopped marjoram

That’s it. A lot of recipes out there tell you the marjoram is optional. It isn’t in my book.

Simple Italian Dressing

This is a great dressing. I’m not a fan of heavy olive oil in my dressings. I like the light olive oils that are used for dressings and marinades. If I don’t have that on hand, I use canola oil.

McCormick  makes an awesome Tuscan Seasoning. It’s a mix of black pepper, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, basil, red pepper, onion, garlic, sun-dried tomato, red bell pepper and salt. Trust me. You don’t need to create this yourself. I keep a bottle on hand all the time. It’s one of those must-have things.

1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (for dressings and marinades; not the one for cooking)

1/2 tsp minced garlic

2 tsp. Tuscan Seasoning

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Shake it up. It’s ready. If you’re a cheese-o-holic like me, you can put some shaved Parmesan or Asiago on your salad. If not, it’s fine without.

By the way, I love those Good Seasons cruets for dressings. I don’t use the packets, but it’s worth buying the package just to get the cruet. Keeps well in the fridge for the next time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Good Karma’s Absurdly Delicious Slow-Cooked Beef Brisket

For this recipe, you need about a 4 lb. beef brisket (and you cannot substitute corned beef brisket either). Visit your local butcher or call your supermarket (which is what I do) to order yours in advance if brisket is not readily available. The key to this dish is slow cooking.

It also calls for two cups of dark, brewed coffee. Forget Dunkin’ Donuts and forget supermarket brand coffees. For this recipe, you need Starbucks Gold Coast, Italian Roast or Sumatra. Nothing else will do.

Ingredients

1 4-lb. beef brisket

1 large Vidalia onion (coarsely cut)

8 cloves of garlic (cut into fourths)

2 tablespoons of chili powder

2 tablespoons of cumin

2 tablespoons of coriander

2 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons of sea salt

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. sambal oelek

2 bottles of Magic Hat No. 8 Beer

2 cups of malt or apple cider vinegar

2 cups of dark coffee

1 can of tomato puree

1 can of chopped tomatoes

Directions

A pasta pan is the right attitude for this dish. Place the olive oil, a handful of the onions and several hunks of garlic in the pan to get the process going. While things are heating up, make a rub with 1 tbsp. each of the cumin, coriander, chili powder, black pepper, and 1 tsp. of the salt. Rub each side of the brisket with a bit of olive oil and spread the rub over both sides.

Once the oil is fairly hot and you can smell the onions and garlic, place the brisket in the pan and brown nicely on both sides. Everything gets easier from here. Remove the brisket and add the beer, vinegar, brewed coffee, tomato puree and chopped tomatoes. Then add the balance of the spices (coriander, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper). Add the 2 tbsp. of sambal oelek, as well as the rest of the garlic and onions. Stir.

Place the brisket back in the liquid and allow it to come to a boil, then turn to low and allow it to cook for a minimum of six hours. It is important that you taste what you are cooking the brisket in and adjust the spices to your liking. There is no right and wrong here. Personally, I love garlic. Prior to browning my brisket, I actually poke holes in it and place additional cloves of garlic in the holes. It all depends upon what you like.

When done, it’s quite possible that the meat will be hard to cut. It may just fall apart. This is a good thing.

Drain the fat and oil off the remaining liquid and cook down to make a sauce. You can also add a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with water to hasten the process. It’s great to serve this dish with yellow rice, placing the beef on top and covering the entire thing with the sauce.

Even people who claim to “hate” beef will devour this dish.

 

 

 

 

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