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Showing posts with label sauces. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sauces. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Texas Baby Back Ribs for Father's Day

Sure it's a cliche, but one you can hang your hat on: most guys like meat.
On any other Sunday, you'd probably find dad in front of the grill, doing damage to burgers, dogs, shrimp and steak. With red hot mesquite or briquets supplying the fuel, dad happily flips his victims until he's got caramelization underway and char marks in all the right places.
But not this Sunday. Oh, no.  This is Father's Day when everyone else should be rolling up their sleeves and doing due diligence in pursuit of dad's favorite food.
What's special about this day is that dad can rest. Drinks and food will be laid on the table without any effort on his part.
As a dad, myself, I enjoy this day. My sons, Michael and Franklin, are very good cooks. They grill and saute with the best of them and, like their dad, they fill the table with lots of choices.
Recently I visited West Texas and enjoyed myself immensely at the Wildcatter Ranch, a delightfully rustic resort, about an hour and a half north-east of Abilene.

Chef Bob Bratcher, self-taught and a cowboy at heart, showed our group how to break down a beef tenderloin and cut ribeye steaks out of what he called the "stick".
For two days we feasted on chef Bob's creations, not the least of which was a magnificent 14 ounce, bone-in ribeye steak with a peppery crust on the outside and perfectly medium-rare, juicy inside.
One of the other memorable dishes he shared with us was his baby back pork ribs, coated with the Wildcatter Ranch dry rub he makes himself.

The ribs were tender and sweet. The bone side of the rib had a thick coating of chef Bob's dry rub. Unlike traditional powdery, dry rubs, his was thick with cracked black pepper and celery seed. That added a pleasing crunch as we gnawed on the bones.
Chef Bob was kind enough to share the recipe with us and it's perfect to make for Father's Day.
Wildcatter Ranch Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs
Cooking the ribs at low temperature for a long time is the secret. Slow roasting brings out the sweetness of the meat.
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Marinating Time: overnight
Cooking Time: 3 hours
Ingredients
2lbs pork baby back ribs
¾ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups Rib Rub (recipe below)

Bob's Rib Rub
The rub can be made ahead but because the garlic is fresh, use within 24 hours of preparation.
Ingredients
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
1 cup dried oregano leaves
½ cup paprika
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon celery seed
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 ½ cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon (ground)
2 teaspoons dry minced garlic
2 teaspoons granulated garlic

Directions
Mix all ingredients together in bowl and store overnight in airtight container until ready to use.

Pull the silver skin off the backs of the ribs.  Season the racks liberally with fresh lime juice and the rub.  
If you have a barbecue grill or a smoker, get it hot on one side and place the ribs on a rack over an aluminum lined pan on the cold side of the grill.
If you're using the oven, heat until 250 degrees.
In either case, cook for 2 ½ hours. Fork-test the meat to confirm it is tender.
The ribs can be cooked ahead of time, even the day before.
30 minutes before serving, wrap the rack tightly in foil, and bake in a 200 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Cut the ribs apart and serve on a platter.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Eating Well Makes Good Sense

For those who think that going without meat, sugars, and processed foods means a bland, boring diet, think again. Buying local, seasonal, fresh produce and paying attention to what you eat pays off with big dividends.


The truth is, you'll save money and feel better. What's more, you won't be giving up convenience. Most of these dishes can be made in 30 minutes or less.



Salads


Arugula Salad with Avocado


Arugula Salad with Hazelnuts, Carrots, and Avocados


Arugula Salad with Persimmons and Pomegranate Seeds


Black Kale, Kabocha Squash, Cheddar Cheese and Almonds

Bulgar Salad with Celery



Carrot Salad with Lemon-Soaked Raisins


Chopped Parsley Salad



Cole Slaw with Capers


Couscous Salad with Grilled Vegetables


Egg Salad


Farmers' Market Fresh Chopped Vegetable Salad


Grilled Corn Salads


Grilled Vegetable Couscous Salad


Grilled Vegetables


Parsley-Grilled Corn Salad


Potato Salad with Corn


Risotto with Summer Vegetables


Roasted Beet Salad


Salad-e Shirazi: Iranian Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, and Onions


Spinach Salad


Tomato and Avocado Salad


Tomato, Avocado, Corn and Garlic Toast Salad


Wilted Spinach Salad

Soups, Snacks, Sauces, and Side Dishes


The Amazingly Versatile Blackened Pepper


Baked Sweet Potatoes with Sauteed Shallots, Garlic, and Mushrooms


Braised Sprouted Broccoli

Cannelini Beans with Roasted Tomatoes and Spinach



Caramelized Vegetable Pasta

Chermoula Sauce for Salads, Side Dishes, and Entrees




An Easy Saute with Brussels Sprouts and Carrots


Grilled Artichokes


Grilled Corn on the Cob


Grilled Vegetables


Farmers' Market Fresh Vegetable Saute


Homemade Vegetable Soup

Kale Sauteed with Garlic and Farm Fresh Vegetables



Kimchi Ramen Soup


Kosher Pickles



Mushroom Soup


Potatoes, Mashed, for Breakfast


Quesadillas, Open Faced


Ramen Soup with Kimchi and Farmers' Market Fresh Vegetables


Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Roasted Garlic-Tomato Sauce


Roasted Tomatoes


Roasted Tomato Sauce


Salt Crusted Fingerling Potatoes


Salt Steamed Broccoli


Sauteed Beet Greens


Sauteed Kale with Vegetables


Steamed Artichokes


Summer Vegetable Risotto


Sweet Potatoes Grilled


Sweet Potato Inari Sushi


Tapenade the Frugal Cook's Secret Weapon


Tomato-Vegetable Soup


Tomatoes, Roasted, for Easy-to-Make Sauce


Tomatoes, Roasted Whole or Sliced


Vegetable Soup


Vegetable Soup for Cold Weather


Entrees


Brown Sugar Pork Ribs


Chicken Wings with Kimchi Glaze

Curry, Easy-to-Make

Ginger-Soy Sauce Poached Black Cod

Cioppino with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic Toasts

Ginger-Soy Black Cod

Green Garlic and Clams

Grilled Shrimp

Grilled Shrimp with a Tex-Mex Dry Rub


Kimchi Chicken Wings

Low Cal Breaded Fish Fillets


Israeli Couscous with Vegetables

Italian Sausages and Roasted Tomatoes

Native American-Style Salmon

Pasta Alla Checca

Pasta with Roasted Corn and Garlic

Ribs, Brown Sugar Glaze

Risotto with Farmers' Market Fresh Squash Blossoms and Baby Zucchini

Roasted Cherry Tomato and Shiitake Mushroom Pasta

Salmon with a Garlic-Citrus Glaze

Sauteed Fish with Capers, Corn, and Tomatoes



Skewered Cherry Tomatoes

Tequila Glazed Shrimp

Tofu, Beet Greens, and Brown Rice

Tofu with Crispy Toppings


Desserts



Baked Cherries

Baked Plums

Custard

Fig Tart with Crystalized Ginger Crust and Roasted Almonds

Honey Poached Apples and Pears with Cinnamon, Vanilla, Raisins, and Peppercorns

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Barbrix Opens in Silver Lake

The front wall of Barbrix (242 Hyperion Avenue, Silver Lake 90027; 323/662-2442) is no wall at all.

On hot summer nights, crowds will no doubt start inside at the bar, then, drink in hand, move outside to claim one of the half dozen tables and settle in for an evening sampling the appetizers that include marinated olives, burrata with tapenade, shrimp & chikpea flour tortillas (a favorite), and crostini topped with soft and sweet crescenza, fig relish & prosciutto.

Go deeper into the restaurant and you'll discover intimate groupings of tables, some against the side wall under the picture windows, others tucked into semi-private alcoves.


The stylish restaurant was recently opened by a husband and wife team, Claudio Blotta and Adria Tennor Blotta who met when they worked at Campanile.

They designed Barbrix so it would feel as inviting for couples out for an intimate meal as for groups of friends who want to spend an evening hanging out. The bar offers wines and beers from around the world to pair with the savory offerings on the affordable, tapas-style menu.


At the back of the restaurant there is an open kitchen designed around an L-shaped counter. Chef Don Dickman keeps a watchful eye over his chefs as they plate--to the left--the appetizers, salads, cheese plates, and charcuterie while on the right he directs the finishing of meat and fish courses--the wild boar sausage with a bean ragu, Niman Ranch porchetta style pork belly, and grilled skirt steak on a wild arugula salad.

For those who prefer seafood, the menu offers plates of pesto manila clams, grilled sardines with preserved Meyer lemon & mint aioli, monk fish swimming in a spicy chorizo sauce with chickpeas, and roasted Alaskan halibut resting on a funeral pyre of sunchokes, chard & alba mushrooms with gremolata.

Mediterranean ingredients give Barbrix its flavor edge. The take-away for me--unfortunately we took home no doggie bags that night because we ate everything we ordered--was the memory of a very pleasant evening and a new love for chermoula.

Served on the Roasted Cauliflower Salad, the charmoula added multiple levels of flavor to the caramelized vegetables.

When we came home I was determined to make my own version of the classic North African sauce. I experimented over several nights and discovered its versatility. I used it with fish, grilled meat, roasted vegetables, salt-crusted potatoes, and as a dipping sauce for a vegetable crudite.

Chermoula Sauce

Yield 4 servings
Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

3 garlic cloves, skins on
1/4 cup cilantro, mostly leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Italian parsley, mostly leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of Cayenne
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

Char the cloves on an open flame. Clean off the blackened skin, mash, and finely chop. Use a mini-grinder and puree the garlic, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Season with sea salt, paprika, cumin, and cayenne. Stir well, taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Refrigerated in a sealed container, the sauce will keep 3-4 days. Serve at room temperature.

Variations

Add 1/2 teaspoon chopped preserved lemon
Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Use dried parsley instead of fresh

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Secret is in the Sauce

Sometimes what I crave isn't the thing itself but the sauce that goes with it. Years ago when I was a vegetarian, I did very well without eating meat except for a recurring craving for hot dogs. I couldn't go to a Dodger's game or a county fair without being taunted by the sight of a hot dog stand. Even now, writing this, my mouth waters at the thought. In time I realized it wasn't actually the hot dog that I missed, it was the mustard, relish, and chopped onions that had me questioning my commitment to vegetarianism.

I have to confess to a lack of enthusiasm for fish. Over the years I have found appetizing ways to prepare salmon, sand dabs, tuna, and sole, but fish isn't my "meat" of choice. Recently though I discovered halibut, which is quite good, if it's available fresh from a Farmers' Market. Lately I've been getting great fish from Tropical Seafood at the Sunday Palisades' Farmers' Markets. What makes the dish work, though, is homemade tartar sauce. It is delicious on the side, if the halibut is served with vegetables, or on a grilled roll, with avocado and hearts of romaine, which is how I had it for lunch today.

Tartar Sauce

Since there are fresh ingredients, the sauce can keep for a week if it's refrigerated in a sealed jar.

1 cup Best Foods mayonnaise
1 tablespoon capers, drained, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, washed, dried, leaves only, finely chopped
1 scallion, the ends cut off, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
Pepper

Mix together.

Serves 4. Preparation Time: 5 minutes.

Breaded Halibut

The halibut can either be sautéed or baked. Traditionally when fish is breaded, an egg and/or milk wash is used to make the bread crumbs stick to the fish. I prefer using seasoned olive oil, which is lighter and adds a pleasant crunch.

1 pound fresh halibut, washed, dried
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, washed, leaves only, finely chopped
Sea salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet butter

Cut the halibut into 2 equal pieces. Mix the parsley into the bread crumbs. Put the bread crumbs into one flat bowl, the olive oil in a 2nd bowl. Season the olive oil with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dredge the halibut through the seasoned olive oil on all sides, then through the bread crumbs. Sauté the halibut with the butter and what's left of the seasoned olive oil, or bake the fish on a Silpat sheet or piece of tin foil on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven. Whether you sauté or bake, turn the fish over in 5 minutes.

For a sandwich, grill or toast the bread with a drizzle of olive oil. For an entrée, sauté some fresh vegetables. I like a shallot, garlic, mushroom, carrots, and spinach combination with a pat of butter for flavor. In either case, the halibut is made all the more delicious by a generous serving of tartar sauce.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Reduced Balsamic Vinegar

Because I like to use vinegars with less of an edge, I used to buy saba and aged balsamic vinegar. Problem is, they're expensive. $25.00 - $75.00/pint.

There's no substitute for saba or aged balsamic vinegar, but I discovered a way to use ordinary balsamic vinegar and increase its flavor.

Buy the cheapest balsamic you can find. At a restaurant supply store like Smart and Final, you can buy a gallon of balsamic vinegar for under $20.00.

Pour the vinegar into a large pot and put on the lowest flame possible. To avoid a "cooked" flavor, all you want to do is accelerate evaporation.

A gallon of vinegar will take 10-15 hours to reduce the balsamic to 20% of the original volume. Taste the vinegar. You're done when it has a slightly sweet flavor.

Wet a piece of cheese cloth and put it inside a funnel. To get rid of any solids that might have built up, pour the reduced balsamic through the cheese cloth. Pour the "syrup" into squeeze bottles, the kind you get from a restaurant supply store for catsup.

Use the syrup on salads, drizzled with olive oil, or to finish homemade pizza, or on vanilla ice cream and strawberries.

For an individual serving, take 1/4 cup of vinegar and reduce over a slow flame. That will take 10-15 minutes and make about a tablespoon. Let cool and add to a salad that serves 4.