- 1 (10 oz.) pkg. chopped spinach, thawed (use the microwave) and squeezed dry (in a spinner, if you've got one)
- 1 1/2 c. sour cream
- 1 c. mayonnaise
- 1 pkg. Knorr Swiss dried vegetable soup mix
- 8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped finely
- 3 green onions, chopped
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
We'll be back to real recipes on Wednesday.
Friday, December 26, 2008
- 2½ cups of Saturday's (12/20/08) meat sauce (about ¼ batch), fresh or thawed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and black pepper
- Toasted buns or hearty sandwich bread
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until the surface becomes shimmery. Add bell pepper and saute until it starts to brown, 5-10 minutes. Add sauce, sugar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer until thickened, 5-10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on toasted buns or sandwich bread. Makes 8-10 sandwiches.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
- 1 box (1 pound) pene, farfalle (bow tie), or fusilli (corkscrew) pasta, slightly undercooked
- 5 cups (about half a batch) of Saturday's (12/20/08) meat sauce, (fresh or thawed)
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 4 eggs
- 32 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesean cheese (about 1 ounce, you probably want to use the good stuff)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsely
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Nonstick cooking spray or vegatable oil
Monday, December 22, 2008
- 5 cups (about half a batch) of Saturday's (12/20/08) meat sauce, thawed (or freshly made!)
- 1 packet (1 ounce) taco seasoning mix
- 6 tortillas (flour or corn), 8-1o inches across (or whatever tortillas you have lying around!)
- 1 head shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
- Toppings (any or all of the following, as you like them)
- diced onion
- fresh tomato, chopped
- sliced jalapenos
- sliced olives
- crumbled corn chips
- beans, regular or refried
- shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
- sour cream, ranch dressing, or queso dip
Mix sauce and seasoning in a medium saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly toast each tortilla over medium-high heat in a dry skillet or saute pan until they just start to become brown and crispy. Put each tortilla in a wide, shallow bowl or dinner plate. Add lettuce, seasoned sauce, and whatever toppings you like.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
(Sorry for no pictures this week, I'm on vacation!)
- 2 pounds lean or extra-lean ground beef
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2-4 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 cans (28 ounces each) diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
- 1 can (4 ounces) tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
Put beef in a large skillet or dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat until it starts to brown, about 5-8 minutes. Add onions, salt, and pepper and continue to cook until onion is completely cooked, another 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, about 1 hour. Cool to room temperature before putting into two 48-ounce freezer containers. Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze up to 3 months. When using, place frozen container in microwave on high for 3 minutes, then stir (or break up) the sauce with a large wooden spoon, and repeat until thawed.
Stay tuned here over next week to see what you can do with this incredibly convenient stuff!
Friday, December 19, 2008
- 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomato, drained
- 1 can (7 ounces) diced green chiles
- 1 cup frozen corn
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 24 ounces ground beef
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Butter Lettuce Leaves
- Shredded Cheddar or Mexican cheese blend (optional)
Simmer tomatoes, chiles, and corn in a small saucepan till the corn is cooked and the mixture tightens up, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Chill in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes (if desired).
Gently mix all hamburger ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Your hands are the best tools for this - overworking the mix is not good for the texture of the patties. Form into 3-inch patties. Grill over medium heat (or place under a broiler 4-5 inches from the heat) for 3-5 minutes on a side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
Place 2 hot patties on a chilled lettuce leaf. Top with salsa and cheese. You could also add salad dressing (Catalina or French would be good), sour cream, or sliced Jalepenos.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
- 3 cans (14 ounces each) fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
- 24 ounces beef broth (use vegetable broth for a vegetarian option)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced fine
- 1 cup quick-cooking barley (uncooked)
- 1 teaspoon rosemary, ground in mortar or blender
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
Place tomatoes (with juice), broth, garlic, barley, rosemary, and Italian seasoning in a large pot. Bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly (about 3 minutes). Add fresh basil, vinegar, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: If fresh basil is not available, you may use 1 teaspoon dried basil, added with the Italian seasoning.
Serving Suggestions (Try one or all of them!)
- Add fresh pasta and simmer for another 3 minutes (or until al dente, 7-8 minutes for dried pasta)
- Put a 1/4 cup of cooked (or canned and rinsed) white beans in each serving bowl before pouring in soup
- Top with freshly toasted sourdough croutons and Parmesan cheese
Monday, December 15, 2008
- Nonstick cooking spray with flour
- 1 pkg (18-21 oz) traditional or chewy brownie mix
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 pkg (1.5 oz each) peanut butter cup candies
- 1 bag (10 oz) peanut butter morsels (1 2/3 cups)
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray Torte Pans with nonstick cooking spray with flour. Place 8-in. circles of parchment paper over centers of pans; set aside. In a 4-qt. mixing bowl, combine brownie mix, eggs, 1/2 cup of the oil, water and peanut butter; mix well. Divide batter between pans, spreading to edges. Bake 10-12 minutes or until centers feel firm to the touch.
Meanwhile, dice peanut butter cups; set aside. In a Classic Batter Bowl, combine peanut butter morsels and remaining 1 tbsp oil; microwave on HIGH 1-2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring after each 30-second interval. Spoon 1/4 cup of the peanut butter mixture into resealable plastic bag; set aside. Fold marshmallows into remaining peanut butter mixture.
Remove pans from oven to Cooling Rack; let brownies stand in pans 4 minutes. To assemble torte, invert one brownie well-side up onto a platter. Using a spatula, spread marshmallow filling into brownie well. Invert remaining brownie well-side up onto cooling rack; slide onto bottom layer. Evenly distribute diced peanut butter cups into brownie well. Trim corner of filled bag to allow peanut butter mixture to flow through; drizzle over torte. Serve immediately.
Yield: 16 servings
Nutrients per serving: Calories 470, Total Fat 24 g, Saturated Fat 10 g, Cholesterol 40 mg, Carbohydrate 53 g, Protein 10 g, Sodium 250 mg, Fiber 2 g
Cook's Tip: To easily cut torte, knife into hot water between cuts and wipe dry with a damp paper towel.
It's best to use a nonstick cooking spray containing flour (for baking) when baking these brownies.
Friday, December 12, 2008
- 16 oz whole cranberry sauce (from the can or homemade)
- 12 oz frozen unsweetened raspberries
- 24 oz. ginger ale, plus more for drinking (we use Diet Canada Dry, no corn syrup)
Place mixture in gallon-size re-sealable food storage bag. Add remaining 12 oz of ginger ale, seal tightly and shake to blend ingredients. Place bag in freezer overnight or until frozen.
To serve, use meat mallet (not the pokey kind!) or side of a can to crush frozen cranberry mixture in bag until slushy. Spoon into dessert cups or wine glasses and enjoy as an ice or pour more ginger ale over it for a slushy drink. Serves 10
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
- 12 ounces peas (fresh or thawed), about 2 cups
- 6 ounces chopped fresh cauliflower, about 3 cups
- 2 ribs celery (about 6 ounces total), split in half and thinly sliced
- 4 strips bacon, fried, drained, and crumbled
- ½ cup chopped toasted cashews, about 3 ounces
- 2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, parsley, green onions, and pepper in a small bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and gently toss. Fold in dressing. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes before serving
Monday, December 8, 2008
- 3-4 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1” cubes
- Kosher salt
- Vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, medium chop (1½ cups)
- Celery, large chop (¾ cup)
- Carrots, large chop (¾ cup)
- ¼ c. flour
- chicken broth and beef broth, 1 can each
- 3-4 garlic cloves.
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 6 small potatoes – red bliss or Yukon gold
- 1 tsp. rosemary, crushed (in mortar or blender)
- ½ tsp ground thyme
- 2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped – divided
- 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 4 oz. peas, frozen
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Place cubed beef in a large bowl. Season beef with salt, drizzle lightly with oil, then toss to coat. Lightly brown the meat (in batches) in a Dutch oven on medium high heat. As the batches cook, remove beef to a clean bowl, set aside. Add 2 Tbs. vegetable oil to Dutch oven. Saute celery, onion, and carrots on medium high heat until onions begin to cook down and carrots are softening. Sift flour into veggie mix (use a mesh strainer or flour sifter). Cook until flour is lightly browned.
Turn heat down to medium. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant. Add equal parts beef and chicken broth to just barely cover everything (about 1½ cup each) & deglaze the pan. Add potatoes, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and 1 Tbs. parsley. Bring mixture to a simmer, then place in oven. Cook for 2 hours.
Remove stew from the oven, and add peas and 1Tbs. parsley. When peas are heated though, serve.
Friday, December 5, 2008
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and partially cooked in the microwave for 3 minutes.
- 8 ounces of Italian or country sausage (hot or mild, your choice), casings removed and cut/broken into ½ inch cubes/chunks
- 1 onion, frenched - i.e. ends removed, peeled, cut in half longitudinally, and then sliced radially (see illustration)
- 8 eggs
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- salt and black pepper
Thinly slice the potatoes about ⅛ inch thick (you can use a mandolin slicer or food processor). Put the potato slices in plenty of cold water and soak for 5 minutes to remove extra starch. Remove potatoes from water and rinse in a collander under running water (do not just dump potatoes into the collander or all the starch in the water will collect on the potatoes as it runs over them). Dry potato slices in a spinner or with paper towels. Heat oil in your largest skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and salt and pepper to taste (about ½ teaspoon each). Fry the potatoes until deep golden brown, gently stirring them over every minute or so to ensure even cooking. Meanwhile, put sausage in a large skillet and turn on medium heat. When the sausage is just starting to brown, add the onions. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until the sausage is cooked through. When both the potatoes and sausage are done, gently fold the sausage into the potatoes and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Fry the eggs in the other pan. Serve with toast and juice.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 red bell pepper cut into short strips
- ¾ pound pork tenderloin, cut into short strips
- 1 small zucchini or summer squash, cut into short strips (about ½ cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced fine
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1½ cups fresh shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 4 large flour tortillas
- 1/4 cup plum sauce
- 1 gallon peanut or safflower oil
Heat sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides. Move pork to a clean plate and add bell pepper to the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes and add zucchini. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini softens slightly (about 5 more minutes). Add cabbage, garlic, and ginger. Cook, tossing frequently until the cabbage starts to wilt (about 2 more minutes). Add browned pork and hoisin sauce, cook for one more minute.
Heat oil in deep fat fryer or large dutch oven to 350 degrees. Fill each tortilla with the stir-fry mixture, tightly roll up (securing with toothpicks, if necessary), and deep fry, 2 at a time, for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack
Monday, December 1, 2008
- 8 ounces lean ground beef
- 4 ounces italian sausage, casings removed
- 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 8 shredded wheat crackers (like Triscuits), about 1½ ounces
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon basil (divided)
- 1 tablespoon vegatable oil
- 12 ounces spaghetti sauce (about 1½ cups)
- 1 french baguette, split in half lengthwise and then halfed crosswise (making 4 open-faced sandwiches)
- your favorite Italian dressing (I like the Good Seasons packets)
- 1 cup Shredded mozzarella or Italian cheese blend
Mix together beef, sausage, spinach, crackers, eggs, and 1 tablespoon basil in a medium bowl until thoroughly integrated. Shape into 16 meatballs (I use a #40 disher). Heat a medium nonstick skillet (just large enough to hold all the meatballs in a single layer) with 1 tablespoon vegatable oil over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmery and just barely starting to smoke. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, turning frequently. Once the meatballs are brown all over, add spaghetti sauce and remaining basil and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 8 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Cover and keep warm.
Preheat the broiler. Slightly hollow out each piece of bread (save the removed bread, it makes good croutons or breadcrumbs). Put the bread under the broiler until lightly toasted. Remove bread from broiler and brush lightly with Italian dressing. Add 4 meatballs and sauce to each piece of bread. Sprinkle the sandwiches with the cheese and toast under the broiler for 2 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble. Serve immediately with salad or chips.
Friday, November 28, 2008
- 1 cup plain or butter-flavored shortening
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup rolled oats
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl (or stand mixer) cream together shortening, white and brown sugar, and peanut butter. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Slowly add the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the oats and stir until they're evenly distributed.
Drop by tablespoons (I use a #60 disher) onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until just light brown (don't over-bake). Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes and move to a wire rack until completely cool. Store in an airtight container.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
- 2 cans of salmon (7 ounces each), drained
- 1½ cups of saltine crackers (about half a sleeve), crushed
- ½ cup mayonnaise (homemade from Monday's recipe would be nice)
- ¼ cup finely minced onion
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (you could also use dill or cilantro)
- vegetable oil for frying
Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl until combined. Form into 6 patties about 1½ inches thick. Let the patties sit on a wire rack for 10 - 15 minutes so the moisture from the mayo can be fully absorbed (this helps "set up" the salmon cakes and improves the texture). Meanwhile, heat about 1 inch of oil in a large skillet to 350 - 375 degrees. Pan fry for about 4 minutes on a side, or until deep golden brown. Alternatively, you can deep fat fry them. Let them drain on a wire rack for a couple of minutes and serve.
Monday, November 24, 2008
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (white wine /champagne vinegar works well)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh-squeezed, please)
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon fine or "pickling" salt (I don't like table salt because of the iodine-metallic taste)
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups canola or safflower oil
Put all ingredients except the oil in the work bowl of your stand mixer or food processor. Use a hand whisk (or the whisk attachment of the mixer in your hand) and mix until well combined. Put the bowl on the mixer with the whisk attachment and turn it on its highest setting (if using a food processor, put in the blade, put the lid on, and turn it on). Slowly drizzle in the oil over about 90 seconds. Pour the mayo into a jar and let it sit on the counter for about 2 hours. This lets the acids in the lemon and vinegar kill any bacteria that may have been (unlikely, but possibly) present in the eggs (alternatively, use pasteurized in-shell eggs). After the those 2 hours, keep refrigerated and use within 2 weeks.
Friday, November 21, 2008
- 3 English muffins, split and toasted (keep them warm in an oven set to low)
- 6 slices Canadian bacon or ham
- 6 fresh eggs
- water for poaching
- white vinegar
- Hollandaise Sauce
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon water
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (1½ sticks), chilled and cut into small pieces (about 1-2 teaspoons in size)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt - kosher tastes better though)
- the juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
Bring one inch of water to boil in a large, non-stick, straight-sided skillet with one teaspoon of vinegar per cup of water (don't overdo the vinegar, it makes the eggs rubbery). Crack one egg into a small custard cup or prep bowl (about 1 cup in size), then carefully pour the egg into the boiling water (as gently as possible). Repeat with remaining eggs then remove from heat and cover the pan. The eggs should be set in 8-10 minutes (you may want to include a "test egg" for sampling). Using a slotted spoon, carefully move the eggs to an ice-water bath and set aside.
Bring an inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, in a medium metal bowl whisk together the eggs and 1 teaspoon water for about 90 seconds, until the eggs lighten in color. Add the sugar and whisk for another 30 seconds. Turn the pan of simmering water down to low and place the bowl with the egg mixture over it (the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk constantly for 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened enough for the whisk to leave a clear trail in the bowl (or the mixture will coat the back of a spoon). Remove the bowl from the pan and gradually whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, until fully incorporated. As the butter cools down the sauce, move the bowl back to the simmering water just long enough to keep the butter melting in as you whisk (be careful not to overheat it - completely melting the butter will break the sauce). Once all the butter is in, mix in the salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Pour the sauce into a thermos, or place the bowl on a heating pad set to low to keep warm until ready to serve.
Bring the poaching water back to a boil and remove from heat. Meanwhile, put each English muffin half on a plate with a slice of bacon on top. Using a slotted spoon, take the eggs from the ice water and reheat in the poaching water (it should not be boiling now). Place an egg on each muffin and add sauce. Serve immediately.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I'm trying to post 3 times a week. I haven't come up with anything new, so I thought I’d share a lunch idea I had about a year ago:
1 Package Ramen Noodles (I used beef flavor, but chicken or oriental would work too)
1 Package Aidells Teriyaki Meatbals
2 Cups Water
Put Ramen (with seasoning packet) in small saucepan with water and simmer until the noodles just begin to soften. Add meatballs and simmer until heated through. Serve (or, if you're me at home by myself on a Saturday afternoon, just eat out of the pot while standing over the sink!) Yum.
Monday, November 17, 2008
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes.
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika.
- 1-2 canned chipotle chillies, chopped (there are generally several whole chilies in one can).
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the canned chilies). This stuff is very spicy, so use less (or leave it out) if you like your food mild.
- 2 tablespoons butter.
- 2 tablespoons sour cream.
Put the sweet potatoes in a steamer. If you do not have an electric steamer, you can use a metal colander set inside a large pot with a couple of cups of gently boiling water in the bottom (do not let the water come up through the bottom of the colander). Cover and steam for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft (but not mushy). Drain off water and put potatoes back in the pot (or a large mixing bowl if you used an electric steamer). Add remaining ingredients and mash together with a hand masher. Using an electric mixer is not recommended, as sweet potatoes will turn pasty/gluey if over-beaten. Serve with minced chives or green onions (or even onion rings!).
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
BBQ Baby Back Ribs
- 2 full racks of baby back pork ribs, weighing between 3 and 4 lbs
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin (freshly toasted and ground from whole seeds would be best)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (regular paprika would also be OK)
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne or chipotle chile powder (1/2 tsp if you don't like heat - wimp!)
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes (optional - leave it out for mild sauce)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine all rub ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Rinse the ribs under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place each rack on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Sprinkle ribs with salt, putting about twice as much on the meat side as you do the bony side. Liberally apply the spice rub to the ribs (you won't use it all this time - store leftovers in an airtight container in a cool, dark place), focusing on the meaty side of the rack and patting it on to ensure good adhesion. Wrap the foil up around the ribs, meat side down, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours on a sheet pan (to catch drips).
Cooking - 3 to 6 Hours
Whisk together all sauce ingredients in a medium bowl until integrated together. At this point you have a few choices:
Water Smoker Method
If you have a water smoker, you are in good shape as this is the best way to cook ribs. Get the smoker going with your desired wood, between 200-250 degrees. Mix the sauce with 1/2 gallon of boiling water and put it in the smoker's water pan. Smoke the ribs for 3 hours, meat side up, adding hot coals and/or wood as needed. After 1 hour, check the water pan every 1/2 hour, adding hot water as needed to keep the sauce liquid and prevent burning/scorching.
Hot Smoker Method
If you have a regular hot smoker you can remove the ribs from their foil pouches and smoke for 1-2 hours (depending on how smokey you like the ribs). However, you will need to braise the ribs in the oven for a couple of hours afterwards. If you totally cook the ribs in a hot smoker, they will be tough and leathery - dry heat just cannot duplicate the process that breaks down collagen into gelatin and creates the lip-smacking goodness that makes ribs so tasty. So after smoking the ribs, proceed to the oven braise method.
Oven Braise Method
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Unwrap one end of the aluminum foil packets (or re-wrap the ribs if joining us from hot smoking) and pour half the sauce into each. Tilt the open end up to allow the sauce to percolate through the ribs. Re-seal the foil and put in the oven (still on the sheet pan) for 2 1/2 hours. Remove ribs from oven and drain the sauce out of the packets (this is most easily accomplished by suspending the packets over a large mixing bowl and cutting holes in the middle where the ribs hang lowest). Transfer the sauce to a medium saucepan and boil for 5-10 minutes, until thickened. Activate the broiler. Leaving the ribs on the pan, unwrap the pouches and brush on the sauce. Broil the ribs until the sauce slightly caramelizes, adding a second coat of sauce (if desired). Serve with remaining sauce.
Hearty Green Saute
- 1 lb hearty greens (such as kale, collard greens, or swiss chard), washed, trimmed of thick stems/ribs, and chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed/minced fine
- 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- fresh ground pepper
- Thicken the yogurt for the Tzatziki sauce (see the toppings section)
- Make the pitas (optionally, buy pitas from the store, but they won't taste as good)
- Prep the toppings & sauce
- Do the meat
- 1 package yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1½ cups warm (110°) water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting & rolling)
- Non-stick spray
- 1 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil
On a lightly floured clean work surface, roll the dough into a tight ball. Place in a clean bowl or bin that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, rolling the dough around to coat the top of the ball with the spray. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until the dough doubles in size.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and lightly punch down to redistribute the gasses. Divide into 8 equal portions, keeping each dough ball covered under a damp tea towel. Let rest under the towel for 15 minutes. Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium-high heat or heat a pizza stone in a 500° oven. If using a griddle/skillet, lube very lighly with oil to prevent sticking. With a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball into a thin circle 8-10 inches across. As each pita is rolled out, cook on the griddle or pizza stone for 3-4 minutes as you roll out the next one. If using a griddle/skillet, flip each pita halfway through cooking time. As the pitas finish cooking stack on a plate and keep covered under a sheet of aluminum foil. Keep in a warm oven (i.e. not 500° any more) while you work on the rest of the Gyro stuff.
I like the following on top of my Gyros:
- sliced onion
- chopped cucumber
- sliced tomato
- shredded lettuce
- sliced olives (I like green, but black work too)
- crumbled Feta cheese
- Tzatziki sauce (recpie follows)
This recipe makes a lot of sauce. You may want to make a half batch.
- 16 oz plain (unflavored) yogurt
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped fine.
- Kosher salt
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced fine or pressed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 5-6 fresh mint leaves, finely minced OR 1-2 teaspoons dried mint (to taste)
Spread out the chopped cucumber on a couple of layers of paper towel on a sheet pan. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Add more paper towels on top and press with another sheet pan to squeeze out water. Put drained cucumber and thickened yogurt in a medium mixing bowl and combine with remaining Tzatziki ingredients. Add additional salt to taste. This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Although lamb is the traditional Gyro meat, steak is much easier to find where I live. I like flank steak because it is very flavorful, inexpensive, and is already a thin cut from the butcher (making it cook quickly and slice easily).
- 1 teaspoon each dried rosemary leaves and whole peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon each fennel seeds, dried oregano and dried thyme
- Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2-4 lbs steak such as flank steak, skirt steak, fajita steak, or stir-fry steak, about 1-2 inches thick
It looks like we did it! To assemble, place a few slices of steak on half of the flat side of the pita. Add other toppings as desired. Fold the pita over and eat. Yum!
I made this for a church activity a couple of months ago (The 2nd Annual Pleasant Springs Ward Chili & Pie Cook-Off), and this seemed like a good recipe to christen my blog with. I’ve always said that good chili is not simply cooked, it is crafted. I’ve been working on this recipe for years, and I think I’ve finally come up with my final version. Please note that there are no beans in this chili - I believe a good chili either has meat or beans, so if you like meat (and I do), you must leave the beans out!
2-4 lbs of stew beef (chuck shoulder, bottom round, etc.), cut into one-inch cubes
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)
2 jalapeño chilies, seeded and chopped with ribs removed (leave in the ribs if you like it hot)
1 jar (16 oz.) of Pace Thick and Chunky Salsa1 (mild, medium, hot - your choice)
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder2
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup crushed tortilla chips. (I like Tostitos Yellow Corn)
Preheat oven to 200°. Toss cubed beef with oil and salt in a large bowl until evenly coated. Heat a large dutch oven over high heat. Working in small batches, evenly brown the beef on all sides3. As each batch finishes, move the browned beef to a clean bowl. Once all beef is browned and in the bowl, reduce heat to medium and add the jalapeño, sautéing until just starting to brown around the edges. Add the tomato sauce and salsa. Use a wooden spoon or spatula and deglaze the bottom (scrape any brown bits off the pot). Dump the beef (and any collected juices) back into the pot. Add the spices and the chips and stir thoroughly to combine. Bake in the oven for 3 hours or until the meat is as tender as you like it4.
- Yes, I call for a jar of salsa. I like Pace and it works well, but that’s not to say others won’t work also. If you are offended by the thought of putting commercial salsa in “homemade” chili, then you can go out to the farms, pick the best produce (in season), and spend 30-60 minutes (depending on how fast you work) cleaning, chopping, and sweating your vegetables. I don’t have the time for that, and since thats exactly what Pace does down in San Antonio, I’ll let them do the work for me.
- Homemade chili powder is best. I actually do make my own. You can find many recipes on the internet (Alton Brown’s is good) or you can come up with one on your own. I find a good ratio of spices to be 50% dried & ground chilies and 50% other stuff (cumin, oregano, garlic, paprika, etc.), however it is a matter of personal preference. It is best to toast whole spices in a dry skillet and cool completely before grinding in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or blender.
- The idea here is to brown the beef on the outside without cooking it through. The less cooked the inside of the beef is now, the more tender the finished chili will be. To accomplish this, you want the pot as hot as you can get it. Working in small batches is essential. If you crowd the pot (no space between each piece of meat or the meat not in a single layer), steam and juices will build up that cooks the meat without browning it - which will certainly toughen the meat and reduce the flavor and texture of the chili. Please note that if you do it correctly you will generate some smoke (from the high heat), so you should turn on your range vent and open a window.
- If you don’t have 3 hours, you can do 2 hours at 250° or 1 hour at 350. The quicker you cook it, the tougher the meat will be (see #3 above).