Summer Menu With Ribs and Crisp Fennel, Orange and Beet Salad

June 30, 2012

If it’s summer, it has to be ribs for dinner.

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Moist and Sticky Barbequed Ribs with Summery Salad

I did baby back ribs and paired them with a luscious summery salad of crisp shaved fennel, juicy orange segments, roasted yellow beets and red onion on a bed of baby arugula.  I made the dressing with fresh orange juice and orange zest, fresh lemon juice, chopped shallots, grated ginger and extra virgin olive oil.  I topped the whole thing off with a few crumbles of feta cheese.  I used fat free feta, but you can use your favorite.

I just read through the new issue of bon appetit, the July 2012 issue.  On the cover is a picture of amazing looking ribs.  So, I was inspired to try their “ultimate do-ahead ribs”.  This is a great recipe for company because you can do the bulk of the cooking several days before the ribs are finished on the grill.

Crisp Shaved Fennel with Roasted Beets and Orange Segments on a bed of Arugula with a sweet tart Ginger Dressing.

First, I rubbed the slab of baby back ribs with a mixture of salt, pepper, brown sugar and ancho chili powder.  You could use any kind of chili powder.  Then,I wrapped the full slab in heavy duty tin foil.  I placed the packet on a cookie sheet and baked them in a 350 degree oven for two hours.  I drained off the liquid the ribs generated into a glass bowl and refrigerated for later. I wrapped the ribs back up in the same foil and put them in the refrigerator.

At this point, you can leave the juices and ribs in the fridge for up to 3 days.  When you’re ready to eat, add the reserved rib juices to store bought barbeque sauce or your own homemade sauce.  Put the cold ribs onto a hot grill and slather them with the sauce/juice mixture.  Turn the ribs over every minute or so and slather on more sauce each time.  Do this for about seven minute or until the ribs are heated through, nicely glazed with some nice char marks.  Delicious!!

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Christmas Dinner – Pork Rib Roast

December 29, 2010

David gave me the best present ever this Christmas!  He gave me a professional photo studio light set, complete with reflecting umbrellas and 250 watt light bulbs.  Wowee, I about fell out of my seat.  Of course I set the whole thing up immediately, in the dining room.  My dinner guests were extremely good sports and waited for dinner for an hour and a half while I played with my lights.  The food shots on this page are all with the new system.  What do you think?

My Christmas Menu:

Pork Rib Roast, Frenched and Roasted with Rosemary and Garlic

Herb Roasted Potatoes

Mashed Butternut Squash with Butter and Salt and Pepper

Rustic Dressing with Apples, Pork and Calvados (apple brandy)

Steamed Green Beans

Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

Pork Rib Roast With Rosemary and Garlic

Somehow in the flurry of Christmas preparations, I mixed up which pork roast recipe I had planned.  Can you believe it?  I had planned on using a recipe from Williams and Sonoma for Crowned Pork Roast with Calvados Sauce.  I made this a few Christmases ago and it was fantastic.   I was reviewing my own pork rib roast recipe and saw that I usually do it exactly the same way I do a rack of lamb, only I extend the oven time a bit.

Pork Rib Roast with Pan Sauce

So, off to the races.  I mixed up a nice marinade of olive oil, rosemary, garlic, lemon and white wine.  I massaged it into the pork roast entirely,  covered it up with plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge.  Oops, does that sound like apples and apple brandy?  No, it sounds an awful lot like the rosemary and garlic marinade I put on my lamb.  I had temporarily time traveled back to Easter I guess.  Do I panic?  Heck no, I just decided to make the pork dressing with the apples and calvados instead.  The pork roast was still going to be delicious with the lamb treatment.  Problem solved!

Rustic Dressing with Apple, Pork and Calvados

For the dressing, I used left over french bread that I had cubed and toasted in the oven on low for about half an hour.  I used the left over pork from the frenching of the roast, the process of removing all the meat from the end of the bones.

Most good butchers will either grind this up for you or, at least, give you the scraps.  So I cut it up very fine, browned it with apples, onions,  celery and butter.  I added calvados, apple brandy and chicken stock, then simmered it for a bit before adding it to the french bread cubes.  I like to add an egg to oven baked stuffing.  So, before adding the bread cubes to the meat and vegetable mixture, I cooled it off a little.  Once cooled, I added a beaten egg.  This prevents the egg from scrambling, but still allows the egg to keep the dressing moist and a little custardy.  It came out great.  Very moist, very tender, very delicious!

Herb Roasted Potatoes

I made herb roasted potatoes because they are simple to make and you can’t mess them up.  I had planned on roasted redskin potatoes, but the ones I bought in a big bag were more scraggly looking than I had thought.  I had to peel them.

I have to say, about the only thing I hate to do in the kitchen, is to peel potatoes.  I don’t mind peeling carrots, peeling apples, chopping, dicing, slicing, I just hate to peel potatoes.  Maybe I had too much KP duty in a former life.  Anyway, peel away, I did.  I roasted them by coating with a bit of olive oil, salt and a tiny bit of chopped rosemary.  A little rosemary goes a long way.  I roasted them at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes, turning them halfway through.  Just before serving, I dressed them with a little melted butter.  Wow, very tasty and because they were peeled, they were extremely tender.  No tough pieces of skin that sometimes become leathery.  So, my advice, peel the potatoes!

Butternut Squash

I made the squash the day before.  I bought a few small butternuts.  I cut them in half, seeded them and roasted them, cut side down in a baking dish with a little water in the bottom at 350 degrees for about an hour.  I almost ruined them.  I was taking a little snooze while they were in the oven and my nose woke me up.  Yikes!  Burning squash!  Well, not to worry, my nose always tells me when things are done, even if sometimes, just in the nick of time.  David says I don’t need timers, my nose always tells me what time it is.  Once the squash cooled, I scooped it out of the skin, mashed it with a little butter and salt and pepper and I was good to go.  It reheats beautifully.

I added steamed green beans, the ones I buy from Publix, already cleaned and trimmed in a microwavable bag.  I poked a few holes in the bag, zapped them for 4 minutes and dumped them into a pretty serving dish.  I dotted with a tiny bit of butter and added salt and no pepper – Mum hates pepper.  So, I always serve the pepper on the side at the table.

As for dessert, I made baked Alaska with flaming brandy and homemade cherry sauce from fresh cherries I pitted myself.  Ha Ha!  No I didn’t!  I served Mrs. Smith’s frozen pumpkin pie and it was fabulous!  Give me a break!

Mum - She had a little curl......

Mum was the best sport of all, as always.  She spent the whole day with us and pretended she was enjoying herself while I was photographing all the food for at least an hour and a half.  When I’m in the photo mode, I have to mock up certain dishes so they don’t get cold and overdone when reheated.  The process can get pretty involved, especially with a big menu like this one.  Mum, so patiently, waited while I went through my hi-jinks.  I’m sure she was starving, but she never said a word, except, “isn’t this fun”.  She is a dear!


Labor Day Mixed Grill

September 10, 2010

Rustic Tart with Mixed Stone Fruit

The highlight of this Labor Day’s menu was dessert.  The low and slow grilled beef and pork ribs were an adventure as well.   Let’s start with the dessert.  I made a rustic tart with mixed stone fruit; peaches, three kinds of plums and fresh cherries.  I used a puff pastry sheet, which always simplifies a dish.  See the recipe for the details on how to make this beautiful and delicious dessert.

Hickory Grilled Beef and Pork Ribs

I have never made beef ribs before and they have been calling to me lately.  I think Labor Day is probably one of the biggest grilling days of the year, so I thought grilled ribs would be perfect.

And since I am always seeking that extra WOW in my menus, I decided to do a mixed grill; beef AND pork ribs.  I followed a recipe from the Food Network cooking couple, the Neeley’s.  The Neeley’s are famous for their barbecue.

Well, it turned out to be a disaster!  All my efforts to make these ribs ended in over-cooked, dry and inedible ribs.  Thank goodness Mum is such a good sport.  She insisted her charred beef rib was delicious.  What a dear!

I can’t leave well enough alone, so I went out the next day and bought more ribs and tried again.  I went with the same basic method, but cut way back on the cook time.  The ribs were amazing the second time around.  I especially loved the beef ribs.  I will feel confident to try my modified recipe again.   Check it out on the recipe page.

So Simple Potato Salad

I am not a big fan of potato salad, but it seemed that potato salad would be perfect for a Labor Day barbecue.

I reached back to my Connecticut days and resurrected a recipe that a co-worker would always bring to office pot lucks.

It is a very simple recipe and the only potato salad I have ever liked.  It is very simply; potatoes, chives, mayonnaise and salt and pepper.  I also added a dollop of sour cream.  The trick that makes it so tasty is to mix everything while the potatoes are still hot from the boiling pot.  Peel the potatoes and chop them before boiling them.  That way, you can drain them and immediately mix everything while the potatoes are still hot.  They absorb the mayonnaise and seasonings so much better when they are warm.  This salad is very delicious.  Give it a try and see what you think.

Grilled Veggies

The entire menu:

Mixed Stone Fruit Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream


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