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Sunday Cats #7

My cat.misc 003

He is a delicate, snowflake like creature.

misc 040Or maybe not.

misc 004But I do enjoy rubbing his belly.

Filed under: cats

Barbecue Spare Ribs from the Oven

From the Vault: This one is a wicked old post, way back in ’09. The pictures aren’t great, a lot of them were taken at night and all of them were taken before I really had any idea what I was doing. But the recipe is solid, I’ve made it a bunch of times and it’s always fantastic. Just reposting it here makes me want to make it again…

one rack of spare ribs

for the rub:
4 tbls light brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp kosher salt

1-2 cloves of garlic, cut in half
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (optional)
liquid smoke (optional)

Preheat the oven to 225, place a deep sided pan of hot water (I used a jelly roll pan) on the bottom rack. Mix together all the rub ingredients making sure to break up any lumps, particularly of the brown sugar. Trim the skirt off the ribs and remove the membrane. Rub one or two of the garlic halves all over the pork. Brush both sides with liquid smoke, if desired. Rub the rub generously on both sides of the ribs. Put the ribs on a roasting rack over a sheet pan and let cook for 4 hours, turning once halfway through. After 4 hours brush them with BBQ sauce and let cook for another hour.

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Ok, let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: is this “real” barbecue?

I don’t f*@#^&g care.

I don’t want to hear “oh, it wasn’t done in a smoker/grill/whatever, so it’s crap”. If you want to be like that, dandy, that’s your prerogative. But I don’t want to hear it and you are missing out on some seriously awesome ribs if you turn your nose up to these.

If you don’t have access to a grill or smoker or whatever then whip these up and you will be happy with the results. Unless you are a purist, then you can just go to a BBQ joint if you don’t have the equipment you feel you need.

Whew, sorry. In doing my research for this recipe I came across a great deal of venom from BBQ zealots towards people who dared to make ribs in the oven and I just want to nip that in the bud. I don’t need any of that crap here.

The only thing these were missing was that smokey flavor and if I had remembered to brush them with some liquid smoke before putting on the rub they would have had some. Or if I had used smoked paprika, but I didn’t have any. Or I could have made my own BBQ sauce and put liquid smoke in that. None of these are the same as a smoker, but they are still good options. And on the other hand, doing them in a smoker (if I had access to one) wouldn’t have made my apartment smell so good. So, pros and cons all around.

I want to give props to Cary over at Bakespace who suggested this method. A lot of people gave me good advice over there, but due to space and equipment restraints this is the one I picked. So, here we go.

Ok, spice rub time: brown sugar, chili powder, mustard powder, thyme, fresh black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper and paprika.

Mixed together with the lumps broken up.

Well, most of them anyway. Next I took my great big slab of pig. Folks, this is not a drill. This is a full rack of spare ribs.

Three and a half pounds of porky goodness. I am going to cook it. It will be fantastic. Now, I read several articles about trimming a rack of ribs. I wound up ignoring a lot of the advice. I don’t care if I have those edge bits that have small bones and cartilidge. I did however trim off the skirt from the back, that’s this flap of meat.

I wound up tossing it in the freezer, I will do something with it at some point. I also did my best to get off the membrane, but frankly I’m not sure how well I did. I must have done ok though because we didn’t notice it when we ate. Now I didn’t have any garlic powder to put in my rub, so I cut a couple garlic cloves in half and rubbed them all over the pork.

I don’t know if it did anything or not, but the ribs sure weren’t lacking flavor. Next time I’m going to make the rub the night before and rub some garlic on kosher salt to make fresh garlic salt for it. Anyway, then I rubbed the rub all over the ribs.

Now to get them in the oven. I had to cut the rack in half, there was no way the whole thing was fitting in my tiny oven. Plus the only roasting rack that is a decent size is a V shaped one for roasting poultry. It did a fine job, in fact a flat one wouldn’t have worked out for me. Again, due to my tiny oven.

I have the roasting rack in an aluminum foil lined baking sheet to catch the drippings and keep my oven from being a mess. On the bottom rack I have a jelly roll pan full of water. Which I forgot to get a picture of. Oops. Heh. I tossed the garlic cloves that I rubbed on the pork into it, I don’t know if it added flavor but it sure smelled nice. Ok, the oven is preheated to 225 and the ribs go in, bone side down. And let me tell you, after about a half an hour the aroma coming out of there is unreal. When my girlfriend came home from work the first words out of her mouth were “Oooooo it smells goooood in here!”. Two hours after they go in they come out and get flipped.

Two more hours of olfactory pleasure (or torture, depending on how hungry you are) and they get flipped again,

but this time brush them with BBQ sauce first.

And then again on the other side. Now this step is optional, with that rub you don’t *need* sauce. But on the other hand, BBQ sauce rules. And after another hour in the oven (no need to turn it up or broil it) it turns into this sticky glaze that you just want to rub all over your face.

Ok… maybe not quite so far. At least, you may not. But it is really good. And there you have it, oven barbecued ribs.

I had a hard time taking pictures of this particular dish once it was done. Not just because it was so delightfully messy, but because my girlfriend didn’t want to leave them alone long enough to let me snap the needed photos.

But once I was done we demolished them.

Is this a low fat, weight loss friendly meal? Oh hell no. But it is wicked, wicked good. I will be making this again.

Filed under: barbecue, pork, slow cooking

More Pizza

Seriously, I’m still in shock about how little pizza I have posted here. So, more.106

This is another one with that barbecue sauce I made but it also has broccoli, chicken, onions, cheddar and mozzarella. Came out wicked good, I love broccoli on pizza. It gets just lightly roasted in the fat from the cheese and gives a great contrast in texture.112

Plus it makes it healthy so you can eat twice as much. The chicken I just browned and braised in chicken broth seasoned with smoked paprika, garlic and onion. I shred it by hand so as to leave jagged edges for more browning. Browning is key as I’m sure you know.¬† 115Whew, ok, feeling a little better now that there’s two pizza posts. I’ll probably post more soon though. Heh. I need to do something about the lighting in my apartment, too. It’s made of suck. More experimentation is clearly needed.

Filed under: barbecue, chicken, pizza, sauce

Sunday Cats #6

187Is he hiding from the sun? Does he just like the way my sweatshirt smells? Either way I’m pretty sure he knows I need to wear it and that feeds his desire to be on it.

Filed under: cats

Kansas City Meets Thailand: Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce

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1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 small onion, grated
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 tbl oyster sauce
2 tsps sriracha sauce (or more!)
1 tbl liquid smoke
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste

Grate the onion and garlic and saute them on medium heat in a little oil in small sauce pan. Add everything else and let simmer for a couple minutes or until it’s as thick as you like. Let cool, store in the fridge.

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This sauce is an adaptation of the sauce I used in this post at the old site from the Cheater BBQ cookbook. My ex didn’t like that sauce very much but now that her taste isn’t a concern not only do I get to make it but I get to make it spicy! Hell. Yes. I also get to play with ingredients she would even let me bring into the apartment like oyster sauce. Oh, this is the sauce I used on the pizza I posted the other day, it doesn’t really taste asian it just has a unique something. Anyway, it was a spectacular sauce adventure, why not read on and vicariously adventure with me.

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The recipe calls for grated onion, so I grated some onion. I used the rectangular back and forthy side on the box grater. I’m not sure what it’s actually called, so that’s what I’m calling it from now on. It turned the onion into mush which is good since chunky bbq sauce is an abomination in my eyes. I also used that side to grate the garlic, mostly because I didn’t feel like digging out my press or chopping and squishing and so forth.

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Then I tossed it into a pan with a little bacon grease, because I have it that’s why, and sauteed it for awhile. Basically until it started sticking, then I just tossed the rest of everything in.

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The road to adding oyster sauce was actually semi-accidental. I was going to use sriracha because it is my not so secret lover and I use it in everything these days and I realized I was out of¬†Worcestershire sauce. BBQ sauce really needs some kind of brown umami flavor especially the sweet, tomatoey Kansas City style. I didn’t want to use soy sauce, I would have used hoisin but I was out of that too, then my eyes alighted upon the oyster sauce. Perfect, I thought, especially since I was already using another asian ingredient.

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So, yeah, a new favorite sauce was born, hell I even bottled it. I bet it would be even better with a little hoisin, next time I make it I’m going to toss some in. Maybe some ginger, too. And lemongrass. Crap, I need to use it up so I can make more.

Filed under: asian, barbecue, fusion, sauce

There Should Be Pizza

Holy crap, how did I spend this long on the new blog without posting pizza? It’s practically my signature thing! Well, here is some.

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This one is turkey pepperoni (surprisingly awesome, btw, I’ll share more about my opinion on that some other time), onion and bbq sauce.

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It’s even homemade sauce, I’ll post about that soon too. (Update: here is the sauce) The dough is the ABin5 stuff, makes a killer pizza. Not sure why my crust didn’t brown to speak off, but whatever. The cheese did and that, in my opinion, is the most important part.

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Whew, that’s better. I’ve been on WordPress over a month and I didn’t have a “pizza” category.¬† I did make this one in a pan, I’ve had some problems with transferring pizza from a peel to the stone. Lately I’ve been starting it in a pan and transferring it to the stone once it’s set up a bit. My clever sister told me that’s how she does it and it works just fine. So there’s a tip for you, too, this isn’t just filler, I swear! Heh.

Filed under: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, pepperoni, pizza

Sunday Cats #5

001Looks like he’s been there for a while, no? In fact he has been there less time than it takes to pee. He is a seat thief.

Filed under: cats

Leftovers: Boiled Dinner Macaroni and Cheese

From the Vault: Just realized that tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day and I have nothing even vaguely Irish in the ready folder. So here is a post from the old site of something I made with leftovers from a boiled dinner. Damn, now I really want to make it again. Hmm, corned beef is bound to go on sale next week…

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1 tbl butter
1 tbl flour
1/2 cup warm milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1/4 cup Guinness
4 cups cooked macaroni
1/2 cup shredded corned beef*
1/2 cup chopped cabbage*
1 cup lightly smashed, cooked potato*
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper

*leftovers from a boiled dinner are perfect

Preheat the oven to 375. Heat a little oil in a medium sauce pan to medium-hot. Add the cabbage and corned beef, lightly brown them and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add the butter and let it melt. Once it’s melted add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, constantly stirring, don’t let it get too brown. Slowly add the warm milk, still stirring and let it come to a simmer. Add the Guinness, cheese, black pepper and cayenne. Turn off the heat and stir until the cheese is melted. Taste it and see if it needs more seasoning, add some if it does. Add the macaroni and fold until it’s well combined. Spread the mixture in an 8×8 pan. Toss the potato with a little butter, salt and pepper and sprinkle it over the top of the pasta. Put it in the oven until browned, about 20 minutes.

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First, a disclaimer: that recipe up top is approximate. I had a detailed plan, I swear, but it went out the window as soon as the stove was turned on. I was wicked tired, I couldn’t find the recipe I was using as a base, my brain kind of exploded and all that was left was the desire for macaroni and cheese with corned beef, cabbage and Guinness in it. So I just winged it.

It came out wicked good. The pieces of browned cabbage and corned beef added awesome bits of texture and bursts of flavor.

It formed a decent crust, which is important to me, and had tons of cheese.

All good things. But. Next time I will definitely make more sauce, plus I might butter the pan to make more crispy crust. I love that.

The Guinness was much more subtle than I thought it would be, it probably wouldn’t hurt to add some more of that too. But that’s really more a to taste thing. All in all this was really good and I must say I’m pleased with it.

Plus since my girlfriend doesn’t like mac and cheese when it’s homemade all the leftovers are for me! Ha!

Filed under: beef, cabbage, cheese, leftovers, pasta, potato

Lamb and Beef Gyros

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  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 325. Whiz onion around in a food processor (chopping blades) for about 5 seconds then put it in a towel or cheese cloth, squeeze out the juice and put the onion back in the processor. Toss the juice, unless you have some kind of use for it. Put everything else in the processor and whiz it around until it’s a fine paste, about a minute and you’ll want to scrape the sides periodically. Press the mixture firmly into a loaf pan and bake in a water bath for 60-75 minutes. or until it’s about 170. Place the pan on a cooling rack and put a foiled wrapped brick or similar heavy thing on the meat. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, you want the internal temp to be 175. Slice and serve, or slice, fry and serve, with pita, tzatziki and anything else you like.
Adapted from Alton Brown
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Gyros! Pronounced like “hero”, just so you know. They are one of my very most favorite things ever and yet I had never made them until just a little while ago. They aren’t hard to make, although they do dirty up a big machine and a bunch of other stuff. But the meat also freezes well and reheats like a champ so it’s something you can make a big batch of without having to worry about waste. Enough talk, here’s the tutorial.
First, onions. You must whiz them(and yes, that’s a technical culinary term).
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Then plop them in a towel or in my case cheesecloth, and squeeze out the liquid. 255
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Feel free to throw out the juice, although if you have a use for it I’d love to hear it. Waste not, etc. Squeezing the onion is a step that some recipes call for and some don’t. I did it because I was aping Alton Browns version and he does it, but I have a hard time imagining that not doing it would make things too wet. There’s plenty of other liquids already and with the pressing at the end any excess will come out, I assume. Next time I make them I won’t do it and I’ll let everyone know how it works. Alright, now everything else.
Oh, wait, no.
My stupid grocery store doesn’t carry ground lamb. So I need to make my own. This is about half a pound of lamb shoulder chops (for stew) that I pulled off the bone and trimmed of fat and other stuff (which I then froze to make stock with, that’s another post though). 267
I whizzed it around until I felt I could call it ground.
Then I put everything else is. 269
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After that got pasted I filled this little Pyrex pan thing I have that isn’t really a loaf pan but I don’t have one so who cares.
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I also like to fill my sentences with more words than they can hold. Heh. Into the 325 degree oven, then out of the same.
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Mmm, lovely. Sort of. So, I don’t have a culinary brick like Alton or Shane , but I do have something similar.
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Hey, it’s just about as thick, heavy and unreadable as a brick. Heh. Anyway, that wrapped in foil and a couple cans performed the same function.
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Then it’s just wait (the hardest part, like the song says), slice, brown and eat. 008
Yeah baby. 017Browning the slices is technically optional, but really why skip it? It’s so marvelously delightful. So that’s how gyros get made, at least one way. The traditional way involves a spit, slices of meat and fat, a marinade and at least 24 hours. I don’t have the equipment for that, although I wish I did. So if anyone wants to send my an upright spit roaster I’ll be more than happy to do a post about making them like that! Just putting it out there. Heh.

Filed under: beef, Greek, lamb, sandwich

Hazelnut Chocolate Brownie Cookies

From The Vault: I’m running around like a nut this week but I wanted to put something up here. Plus I realized that I had no sweets on the new site yet! That’s just wrong. These are pretty much my favorite cookie, I suggest everyone make them right now.

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I love chocolate and hazelnuts together, it’s one of my all time favorite combos. But for some reason up until just the other day I had never thought to actually go out and buy a bag of hazelnuts. Can you believe that?

I’m not sure why, but I had hazelnuts stored in the part of my brain labeled “want/cannot have/weak”. Until one day I had an epiphany. Now, I remember this clearly because all of the things I was doing were so out of character.

I was sitting in front of the computer (this is where you gasp). Eating a hazelnut/chocolate bar (now you should clutch your pearls and emit a more startled gasp). And reading food blogs (you may now place the back of your hand on your forehead and faint from shock). When someone mentioned a bag of hazelnuts they had in their pantry.

And I said, “You can buy bags of hazelnuts!? $@#%!”.

I’m not sure why I was surprised, but there it is. Heh. So I went out and got some. Then I needed something to make.

I remembered reading this post over at Yes, We Cook! and thought some hazelnut chocolate cookies were in order. Then I remembered some brownie cookies my mom made once when I was a kid. They were wicked good, a perfect combination of chewy/gooey/awesome.

They were spectacular. I loved them. I wanted to make them, with hazelnuts. The only problem is that after that first time my mom made them she lost the recipe and we never found it again. It’s like some kind of Greek tragedy. Sort of. But fortunately the internet was there for me. I punched “brownie cookie” in and got a metric web-load of recipes.

The one I finally decided on was from Brown Eyed Baker and the only change I made was to add the chopped hazelnuts (I know you can’t see them, but I assure you they’re in there). The dough was quite thin when I first finished mixing it, but letting it rest for fifteen minutes or so made it thicker and easier to work with. I did make a batch with it right away (I only have one functional sheet pan right now) and it came out fine. But I liked it better after it had rested a bit. The cookies came out a bit taller too.

The bottom line, though, is this: the recipe is awesome, it’s now my default chocolate cookie. It’s also the closest to recreating those cookies my mom made that I’ve gotten so far. And frankly, I have a feeling those cookies have been flavored by nostalgia at this point and nothing will ever live up to them. Heh.

Filed under: chocolate, cookie, nuts

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