Friday, September 20, 2013

My Best Beef Ribs and Yukon Gold Potato Salad

Beef rib, potato salad and peach-pepper preserves
Does this really need an intro?


7-10 beef ribs
1 bottle of cheap white wine
1/3 cup black-strap molasses
1 tablespoon salt 
1 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning OR a clove of garlic and a tablespoon of cracked peppercorns. 
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 bay leaves
enough water to cover the ribs in the pot

For glazing:
One bottle of Your Favorite Barbeque Sauce
1/4 cup peach jam preserves
1/4 cup pepper jelly

Cut your rack of beef ribs into one or two-rib portions. Place in a big pot with the wine, molasses and spices, then fill with warm water until the ribs are just covered. Put the heat on high, then as soon as it starts bubbling, turn the heat down to low and simmer for at least one hour, but no more than two.

After you put the ribs on to simmer, you can make the potato salad. 

24 ounces of small yukon gold potatoes, or honey gold baby potatoes (good potatoes are very important)
1/4 cup Best Foods, Hellman's or home made mayonaisse 
1/4 cup of sweet yellow onion, chopped very fine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Malabar black pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon of plain prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
zest of half a lemon
juice of half a lemon

Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or just until you can stick a butter knife through one of them. Set a timer, it really sucks when you overcook them, you'll end up with mashed potatoes. 

After you drain off the water, cut the potatoes, holding them with a paper towel so you don't burn your hands. If you have the baby potatoes, just cut them in half, if they are bigger, cut them in quarters (duh). 

While they are still warm, toss the potatoes in a bowl with the olive oil, chopped onion, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Leave them out on the counter to cool to room temperature. 

Once the potatoes are no longer warm add the mayo, mustard, dill, and lemon juice and zest, mix well, taste for salt. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Sometimes I sprinkle it with chopped chives or fresh dill on top so it looks pretty.

Back to the ribs-

When the ribs are done simmering (covered or uncovered, either way is fine), remove them from the liquid and put them either out on the barbeque on medium low for about ten minutes to crisp up, or stick them under your broiler in the oven for ten minutes to crisp up, either way is fine. 

Glaze them with your favorite sauce (I like Rufus Teague) mixed with the peach jam and pepper jelly. (I had my own peach-jalapeno jam, so unless you live in my house you won't have that.) Put the ribs back on the grill for a few miutes to heat the sauce and make it sticky, then they're ready to serve. 

Don't put the ribs with sauce under the broiler though, if you are using the oven instead of the grill, just turn it down to 400 degrees for the post-sauce cooking.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cream Tea Cakes

If you're having the girls over for tea, cake is always a good idea, but making a full sized cake sometimes makes people go into a calorie panic and they ask you for "just a tiny piece". Well, it's impossible to cut a truly tiny piece, and even more impossible to get that paper thin travesty from the serving spatula to the plate without it falling apart and looking crappy. 
Tiny cupcakes are of course a fine option, but even though they are trendy, they might seem a little juvenile for certain gatherings. My suggestion is to dispense with the muffin tin liners and use the large six-muffin pan to bake six small cakes, which can then be cut in half or in quarters to make delicate little pieces of cake, just the right size for a lady-like tea party. Butter and flour the inside of each cup, just as you would a cake pan.


1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
a pinch of cinnamon (just a hint, hardly noticeable) 

Mix all of the ingredients together in your mixer on medium speed for two minutes, or by hand for a few minutes longer. Pour batter evenly into the six cups of the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes, or until just golden brown and cooked. Try not to overcook them. When they are done, pull them out of the oven, wait a few minutes then run a butter knife carefully around the edges of each little cake and remove them from the pan to cool.

For the frosting:

1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 tablespoon cream
3 drops red food coloring
1 drop green food coloring

Mix well until fully blended and creamy, then pipe onto each cake to cover the tops. 
Try not to eat them all yourself.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Gigantes, Greek Baked Beans

If you've got vegans coming 'round for dinner, this is going to be way more substantial and comforting for everyone involved than just throwing together some Pasta Margherita.

To prep the beans for cooking: 
Hopefully you can find these beans dried, gigantes are basically like large dried butter beans or large lima beans, or you can use dried fava beans. Pour your bag of dry beans into a large bowl of water and let them soak overnight, at least 12 hours or more. Simmer them in a large pot of water (not salted) for about 45 minutes. You can taste one after 30 minutes to see if they're done, you want them to be soft enough to bite into easily, but not super mushy like canned beans. When you're done you should have about 2 pounds of soaked, simmered beans. (You can weigh out and use canned or frozen beans if you must, but I wouldn't.)

After you drain the beans, put them in a lasagne sized pan, and then in the pot you used to cook the beans, put in:

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil. (Yes, all that oil.)
1 large onion, roughly chopped

 Saute on medium heat for five minutes, then add:

1/2 small can (about 3 oz.) tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
(add a pinch of thyme or rosemary if you want to be different)

Saute for another five minutes.

Pour in 2 1/3 cups of warm water or vegetable stock, then pour this pot of sauce over the beans that are waiting in the pan. Mix it all around a bit. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour, uncovered.The top bits and the edges should look a little brown and crunchy when they're done.

STOVE TOP: If you don't want to heat up the whole house with the oven, after you saute the onions, just add the tomato and spice, then use equal parts of water to beans, and simmer on the stove for one hour uncovered (this is in addition to the 45 minutes you already cooked them,) up to two hours depending on how soft you want your beans. 

You can eat these hot, with big hunks of baguette, but I like to let them cool off a bit, then put them in the fridge and serve them the next day, they are more buttery and delicious served room temperature.

Here they are cooked on the stove top. No crunchy bits but still yummy!
stove top gigantes