Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ribs Cooked With a Dry Rub Low and Slow - Incredible!

 Hello, friends.  It was a beautiful day here in mid Tennessee.  We were busy painting furniture this morning, and then I did my afternoon canvas art.  There is always that proverbial "what's for dinner" question hanging in the air.  I wanted something really good, but easy.

Do you get tired of fixing the same things over and over for dinner?  I certainly do.  While grocery shopping at Aldi yesterday, I noticed they had some really nice looking baby back ribs that were super reasonable.  They were $9.00 for a rack of ribs.  I don't ordinarily buy ribs because I think they are way too expensive for what you get.  Sometimes it seems there is more bone than meat.  Well, these looked really good, so I bought some.  It was a wise decision.

While cleaning up my paint brushes from the furniture painting session, I decided it would be ribs for dinner.  Yesterday, I cooked a bit pot of fresh green beans with new potatoes and a big pan of fried corn.  Both were fresh from the farmer's market.  Can I say Yum?  Yum!  There was also a fabulous cantaloupe in the fridge that I had sliced.  Excellent!  All I had to do was cook the ribs and reheat the vegetables.  I LOVE when that happens.

To cook the ribs, I decided I would put a dry rub on them and cook them in the oven low and slow first.  Then, we would put them on the grill for a bit, just to get them good and brown.  I made up my rub using spices that I had on hand and I had to write it down tonight so I wouldn't forget it because I will be using it again.  These ribs were so juicy, tender, and flavorful that we could not stop talking about how good they were.  Fortunately, there are some left for tomorrow.  Yay!

Here is what I used in the dry rub.

2 tsps salt
1 tsps fresh cracked black pepper
2 tsps Mexene chili powder (use your favorite, Mexene is mine)
2 tsps paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme

Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly and rub on both sides of the rack of ribs.  (This was just enough for one rack of ribs.  Increase the amounts by doubling or tripling if you are planning to cook more than 1 rack.)  I let the ribs set out for about 30 minutes so they would come to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.  It's all about low and slow.  After the ribs have set out for about 30 minutes, place them on a baking pan with sides.  I used a sheet cake pan.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place the pan in the oven.  Cook the ribs for 2.5 - 3 hours on low heat.  They smelled so good while they were cooking I could hardly wait to eat them.   For the last half hour, remove the foil and let the ribs continue to cook.

When I removed the ribs from the oven, I cut the rack in half to make them easier to handle on the grill. Dan put them on the grill for about 10 minutes because I did not want them to dry out.  They were just perfect when he removed them from the grill.

Not only did they have beautiful color, they tasted amazing.  I cut the ribs apart and put them on a platter.  We were both picking at little pieces of the meat before everything else was ready.  Dan couldn't wait to dive in.  Oh my, they were so good - so tender and flavorful.

This post is mainly so I remember what I used in the rub, but I also wanted to share the recipe with  you.  This rub would be good on just about anything, but it made these ribs some of the best we have ever had.

Give it a try, I think you will certainly enjoy the end result.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Summertime bounty makes meals so enjoyable.  Support your local farmers!  donna

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Heavenly Hash Cake - AMAZING!

On July 4th weekend, we had a party for our youngest son and future daughter in love.  They were recently engaged and they were home from Denver for the weekend, so it seemed like the perfect time to celebrate with all their Nashville friends.

Cortney and Tyler asked me to make their favorite desert - Heavenly Hash cake so of course I did.  Everyone has probably had something called heavenly hash in their life, whether it is candy, ice cream, or some other kind of desert.  Heavenly hash usually involves marshmallows, but not this cake!  Instead, it uses angel food cake and unbelievable chocolate mousse.

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks called St. Louis Days, St. Louis Nights.  Our oldest daughter gave it to me for mother's day while she was attending college in St. Louis.  I have had it for many years and some of my all time favorite recipes are from this book.

The good think about this cake is that you can use a ready made angel food cake from the grocery if you don't want to bake one yourself.  That eliminates a lot of steps right there.  The rest of the cake is a fabulous chocolate mousse that is made from scratch and worth any and all effort put into making it.  Here is what you need:

12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
4 eggs, separated
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large angel food cake (store bought if preferred)

Melt chocolate chips over low heat; beat the egg yolks and add them to the chocolate after you temper it.  Do this by adding a little of the warm chocolate to the yolks and stirring thoroughly.  Now, add the yolks to the chocolate and mix completely.  It will be almost fudge like.  This keeps the yolks from scrambling.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites; add 2 teaspoons of sugar.  Beat until stiff peaks form.

In another bowl, beat the whipping cream and set aside.

Add the egg whites to the chocolate and egg yolk mixture.  Stir and add the chopped pecans, vanilla, and salt.  Don't be alarmed.  The egg whites dissolve into the chocolate mixture.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Cover the bottom of a large greased bowl with 1/2 of the angel food cake broken into chunks.

Cover with half of the chocolate mixture (if you can keep from eating it all).  Add the remaining cake broken into chunks.  Cover with the remaining chocolate mixture.

Refrigerate overnight.

Oh. My.  Goodness.  This is beyond good.  It is amazing.  Since I am gluten free, I cannot eat it with the cake, so I save a little of the mousse and eat it by itself.  SOOOOOOOO delicious.

This is a recipe that is fabulous to take to a pot luck dinner or for when you are having company.  It does make 12 servings, so you may not want to make it just for yourself (unless you intend to eat it all and it is that good)!

Heavenly Hash cake is so good, that I made it twice in 4 days for Tyler and Cortney to enjoy.  Yes, you want to make this one for sure - especially if you love chocolate.  Enjoy!

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

When someone asks you to make a favorite recipe for them - always oblige.  There is nothing like showing someone you love them this way.  donna

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sufferin' Succotash - Fresh and Delicious

When our youngest son was about 5 years old, I made lima beans for dinner.  He sort of came unglued and asked why we were having June bugs for dinner.  He was NOT interested in eating them for any reason.  I had to explain they were not June bugs, but lima beans and he was fine with that.  Quite relieved, actually.

We are from Indiana, and what we call June bugs are green beetle type bugs that appear in the summer.  We tied thread to them and you could fly them around for entertainment.  They were shaped like a lima bean and sort of the same color.  Hence, Tyler's consternation with what we were having for dinner.

You may or may not like lima beans.  I have always liked them.  Growing up, we ate what my mother put on the table, or we went hungry.   There were a few things I didn't like, so I didn't eat them.  After becoming an adult, I discovered that is was more the way the item was prepared than the item itself.  Squash was in that category.  My mom boiled it and it looked like scrambled eggs in the bowl.  I love it now, because I fix it a different way than my mother did.

We were at the farmer's market on Saturday, and one of the vendors had fresh lima beans - already shelled!  Yes!  I had already purchased lots of other fresh vegetables - corn, green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes - and I wanted a new and interesting way to fix the lima beans.  I found this recipe on Epicurious for succotash made in a slightly different way than what we had growing up.  Our succotash was corn and lima beans, nothing outstanding.  This recipe is REALLY good.  Here is what you need:

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 1/4 cups corn kernels cut from 4-5 ears of fresh corn
2 cups fresh lima beans or 10-12 ounce box frozen lima beans
3 TBSP thinly sliced fresh basil

I added some freshly grated parmesan cheese.  YUM!

First, heat the oil in a large skilled over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and sprinkle with salt.  Saute' until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the minced garlic, stir until fragrant - about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, corn, and lima beans.  *This recipe called for no liquid, but I added enough to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/2 way up the vegetables.  The other vegetables didn't produce enough liquid to cook the beans.*  Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, simmer until the lima beans are tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the sliced basil.

I added some freshly grated parmesan cheese to each serving.  This is DELICIOUS!  There are so many layers of flavor rather than just boiled corn and lima beans.  Food is so much more interesting than when we were growing up.  Gotta love it!

You might want to give this a try for different and wonderful summer fare.  I think you could add some browned sausage or ground beef and you would have a fabulous one dish meal!  We all loved this recipe.  Hope you give it a try.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Succotash is a very southern staple, but originated with Native Americans.  Just a little FYI.  donna

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Polenta Pizza Bites - Gluten Free

We have been living in a whirlwind of busy-ness these past two weeks.  Our youngest son and his fiance spent the 4th of July weekend with us here in Nashville after driving from Denver.  To celebrate their recent engagement, we had a lovely afternoon soiree shared with family and friends.  Let me say, we are SO excited to have Cortney joining our family.

I made a LOT of food and a good time was had by all.  Many of us eat gluten free by necessity and I tried to make as many things as I could that would be enjoyed by everyone.  One of my favorite recipes to make when serving hors d'oeuvres has always been these yummy pizza bites made on party rye bread.  Well, rye bread was not an option, so I had to come up with something different for the base.

I thought about polenta since it is made from corn and I did some research of possible recipes and these are what I came up with.  They are awesomely good and quite easy.  Here is what you need.

2 rolls of ready made polenta, sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jar marinara sauce
grated parmesan cheese
a handful of fresh basil leaves

Remove the casings from the Italian sausage and brown in a medium sized skillet.  Add the onion, and crumble the sausage while browning using a spatula.  Add the garlic when the sausage is browned so it doesn't burn.  Add the 1/2 jar of marinara sauce.  Set aside.

Slice the polenta into 1/4 inch rounds and place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. I filled two baking sheets from the two rounds.   Place the polenta rounds under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, until they are lightly browned and just a bit crisp on top.  Remove from the oven.

Spoon the sausage filling over each polenta round. They hold about a tablespoon of filling.   I had just enough to cover all the slices from the two polenta packages.

Next, cover each mound of sausage filling with freshly grated parmesan cheese and return to the broiler just until the cheese melts.  Remove from the oven and put a few minced basil leaves on each round.

Serve and enjoy!

These were a super big hit and everyone loved them.  They were so good there we none left.  These are great hors d'oeuvres or could even be served as an entree with a salad for dinner.  Give them a try the next time you want something different or for those who have to eat gluten free.  Yum.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

As our daughter said during her toast for the newly engaged couple, "love is the best" and it is.    donna