Monthly Archives: August 2013

Dry-Rubbed Spare Ribs

We love to gather around our Weber grill on a leisurely Sunday afternoon and grill up good, old fashioned ribs for our friends and family. There are different philosophies to seasoning ribs: some prefer wet (i.e., with BBQ sauce), and some prefer dry (i.e., with a dry rub). We fall into the latter category. We use a unique blend of spices and an interesting cooking technique to achieve lip-smacking, fall-off-the-bone ribs. We often buy a rack of spare ribs that we can find at Ralph’s for only $8, but feel free to use baby-back. This is a cookout classic you’ll keep coming back to.

Ingredients:

  • Rack of spare ribs
  • 2 tsp. ground paprika
  • 1 Tbs. red pepper
  • 2 Tbs. cumin
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 cup of granulated garlic
  • 2 Tbs. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. ground sage
  • 1 tsp. ground oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. seasoning salt (we like Tony Chachere’s)
  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • 2 Tbs. black pepper
  • 1 bottle of beer
    Makes 4 servings.

Mix all spices together in a bowl.

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Massage into both sides of the ribs, and let sit for at least an hour (up to overnight).

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Prepare your grill with hot charcoal on one side, and a pan filled with beer on the other. For 3-4 hours, place the ribs over the side with the water pan and cover. This grilling technique is known as the “2-zone setup” and helps to lock in moisture. For a more detailed explanation, click here. After the ribs are tender to your liking, place on each side for just a few minutes over the hot coals to caramelize the rub.

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Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Note: We personally are not skilled at grilling. We came up with the rub, but the true grill master is Betty’s boyfriend. Email us in the contact form for any questions you may have for him!

Creole Jambalaya

I was born and raised in South Louisiana, and jambalaya was a staple in our diets. It only takes about 30 minutes to cook, and is a veritable “one-pot-wonder” that includes nearly every food group (as is custom in Louisiana cuisine). Save for the andouille, we almost always have these ingredients on hand. We are able to find Aidell’s Andouille Sausage here in California, but if you’re in the south, my favorite truly authentic brands are Savoie’s and Richard’s! If you can’t find andouille, save the recipe for another time…italian sausage or brats simply just won’t do. I hope you enjoy adding a little creole flavor to your dinner table!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 links Andouille sausage
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbs. paprika
  • 2 tsp. red pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
    Makes 6-8 servings.

Saute or grill the andouille for about 8 minutes, until browned on all sides. Chop into bite sized pieces.

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Sautee the bell pepper and onion in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes in a large pot. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute, until fragrant.

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In a separate skillet (or the same one, if it’s big enough), heat oil, then add 2 cups of rice. Stir it around until it develops a bit of color (about 5-10 minutes). This step is optional, but I think it adds a nutty, more nuanced flavor to the rice.

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Add the rice to the pot with the vegetables. For firmer rice, add 3 cups of chicken stock; for softer rice, add 4 cups of chicken stock. Add the andouille and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.

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Do not lift the cover during the cooking process! Once most of the liquid has evaporated and the rice is the desired firmness, fluff with a fork and serve. Your guests are sure to love this creole staple!

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Lemon Rosemary Salmon Filet with Rosemary Potatoes

This is a healthy and well-balanced meal that takes only about 30 minutes to whip up. I bought a frozen salmon filet because it was cheaper (about $8 for the whole thing!), but you can certainly use fresh salmon. I also used small golden potatoes that have a smooth, buttery flavor. While the salmon and potatoes were in the oven, I whipped up a salad with the greens I had on hand. You can use any variation of sides with this salmon; I just went with rosemary potatoes to tie into the rosemary I used to season the salmon.

Ingredients:

  • Filet of salmon
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1.5 lemons, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
    Makes 4 servings.

If using frozen salmon, thaw in fridge overnight, or in cold water for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place skin side down on a sheet pan, and season with olive oil, pepper, rosemary, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Top with lemon slices.

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Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

Important: Do NOT season with salt until after it is baked. Doing so before can dry out the salmon.

Simultaneously, cook the potatoes in the oven.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 small golden potatoes, quartered
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
    Makes 4-6 servings.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place all ingredients in a pan, and toss with hands. Bake for 30 minutes.

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For the salad, I simply mixed arugula, grapes (halved), slivered almonds, and feta, and topped it with a simple lemon vinaigrette (lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, olive oil). You can use any greens and veggies you have on hand – I just thought the plate could use some vegetables. Enjoy!

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Penne with Spinach, Mushroom, White Wine Sauce

This is one of our go-to recipes for a quick and easy weeknight meal. We almost always have the ingredients on hand. It only takes 20 minutes, but it tastes like a gourmet pasta dish! Plus, we like to exclude meat from our diets at least one day out of the week, so this is a great meal for Meatless Mondays and for vegetarians. Follow these instructions for a dish you’ll come back to over and over!

Ingredients
Makes 3-4 servings.

  • 1/2 box of penne (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1.5-2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup of chopped button or crimini mushrooms
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

While penne is boiling, chop mushrooms and garlic. Sautee mushrooms in olive oil for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and saute for an additional minute.

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Add white wine, and let reduce for about 5 minutes. Then add spinach and saute until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper.

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Drain the pasta, and toss in the saucepan. Serve, and top with grated parmesan cheese.

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Notes: For some added protein, you can throw in some grilled chicken. You can also nix the pasta and cut the wine and garlic in half for a delicious spinach mushroom side dish!

Sloppy Joes

Sometimes, we like to make a meal that’s highly nostalgic – for instance, sloppy joes! In this recipe, we ditch the canned Manwich and make a savory and sweet sloppy joe in the crock pot. Plus, we make it much leaner with ground turkey instead of beef. This is a meal kids and adults are sure to love.

Ingredients:
Makes 6-8 servings.

  • 1.5-2 lbs ground turkey (or beef, if you prefer)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 3 Tb. of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tb. of hot sauce
  • 2 Tb. of mustard
  • 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • Hamburger buns

Chop vegetables. Saute bell pepper, celery, and onions about 5 minutes in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic and saute for one minute.

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Add ground turkey, and cook until browned.

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Transfer the turkey and sauteed vegetables into your slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients (until hamburger buns) into the slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours.
IMG_3650After 8 hours, it should look like this:

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Toast your hamburger buns, and top with the sloppy joe. Enjoy!
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