Sunday, May 31, 2009

Memphis-Style Beef Ribs

First of all, Mr. Kluges made this with pork ribs and it was still delicious. Also, we so didn't do that many ribs for just our little family! Once again, from "How to Grill" by Steven Raichlen. He also points out in his introduction that "Wet refers to sweet, sticky, sauce-slathered ribs in the style of Kansas City, while dry refers to the spice-crusted ribs of Memphis, Tennessee."

2 racks of beef ribs (2 1/2 to 3 pounds each) [or pork ribs]
3 Tbl. sweet paprika
2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
2 tsp. mustard seeds
3 tsp. coarse salt
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 cup distilled white vinegar
North Carolina Vinegar Sauce (optional) [from elsewhere in his cookbook]

1. Rinse the ribs under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Combine the paprika, hot pepper flakes, mustard seeds, 2 tsp. coarse salt, pepper, brown sugar, celery salt, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and cumin in a small bowl or spice shaker. Set aside 2 Tbl. for the mop sauce.
2. Sprinkle about 1 Tbl. of the rub on the meat side and 1/2 Tbl. on the bone side of each rack of ribs, rubbing the spices on with your fingers. Set the remaining rub aside for serving. Let the ribs sit for 20 minutes while you make the vinegar mop sauce and preheat the grill.
3. Combine the vinegar and remaining 1 tsp. salt with the 2 Tbl. reserved rub in a small bowl and stir until the salt is dissolved.
4. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using charcoal, place a large drip pan in the center. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips or chunks in the smoker box or a smoker pounch and preheat the grill on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium. [We didn't use wood chips with our gas grill.]
5. When ready to cook, if using a charcoal grill, toss half the wood chips or chunks on the coals. Place the ribs in the center of the hot grate away from and cover the grill. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When the ribs are cooked, they will be mahogany brown and tender enough to pull apart with your fingers; the meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones. If using charcoal, add 12 fresh coals per side and toss on the remaining wood chips after 1 hour.
6. Transfer the ribs to a clean cutting board. Mop on both sides with mop sauce and sprinkle with remaining rub. Cut the rack into individual ribs and serve at once with any remaining mop sauce or the North Carolina Vinegar Sauce, if desired.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday Fun #85 - Introducing "The Wednesday Chef"

Ok, people, it seems to me as though we need a bit of a break from the question-y Wednesday Funs because, well, they haven't been especially answer-y lately. Fine and good, I say, for I shall take this opportunity to begin the food-related website sidebar dealie which I proposed a few weeks ago.

I don't know quite how I stumbled upon The Wednesday Chef, which foodie sites led me to which links which led me to hers, but oh, I know why I stay. Luisa introduces her recipes with such elegant, inviting writing, such poetry, with descriptions that make me swear I'm going to try that recipe, no, this recipe, no, oh, did you read this recipe?*

I mean, listen to this excerpt from her post on Florence Fabricant's Moroccan Carrot Soup with Mussels:
This soup! So unassuming. So simple. And yet. With just one spoonful, something steals over you. A strange and piercing Wanderlust, almost impossible to battle with. You close your eyes and as you eat, you feel yourself transported to a cool, tiled courtyard, with a tiny fountain babbling quietly and the scent of rose petals in the air. It was all I could do, once my spoon scraped the bottom of my bowl, to keep myself from booking a flight, right then and there, to Morocco.

Or listen to this, from her recent trip, April in Paris:
If you don't already know about the cheese course at Astier, in the 11th, consider this your nudge. When you're in Paris, have dinner there. Skip the desserts, they're nothing special. But whatever you do, don't skip the cheese. The waiter, winking, will bring you this straw platter covered with...can you count how many cheeses? With a few knives and a nub or two of bread, settle in until he comes by again, cluck-clucking, to take the cheese away and bring it to another deserving table.

Or, for a non-travel-y excerpt, she write about her uncle's way with artichokes:
And, lastly, my uncle - as I think I've mentioned before - is an artichoke whisperer. He closes himself into the kitchen with a sharp paring knife and a bowl of acidulated water and, and meditates or something, goes into a fugue state, cleaning big mountains of thorny little artichokes, transforming them into silky, delicious dishes that make me want to park myself with a fork at his table and never, ever leave.

And her pictures? Gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

Inspiring, huh? So go, check out The Wednesday Chef...

...and then, when you make something from there, let us know just how poetically it turns out, m'kay?

*Ok, I must confess I actually haven't made any of the recipes from her blog yet, but that's only because I forget to go look at them whenever I make up my weekly menu plan. But, oh, they sound so good!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday Fun #84 - Kids eat the darnedest things...

I've heard the story a hundred times - whenever Mom needed a green pepper for a recipe, she always had to buy two... because I'd eat one, like an apple, while we were in the store. Don't know how old I was, but apparently, I thought green peppers were divine.

My own kids have already done some of that "you want WHAT?" sort of eating. I've talked about Pumpkin's unusual food likes as a toddler before, and Penguin was chowing down on bleu cheese yesterday and asking for more.

How about you? Got any stories about strange foods you'd eat and love as a child? Or got a kid of your own who is more than willing to munch some not-usually-considered-kid-friendly food? Let's hear about it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Fun #83 - Fruits, Take 2

So 1,000 fruits just sounded too overwhelming to y'all? Ok, let's try this then....

Name 3 (or more) fruits.

Bonus points if they are related in some way - start with the same letter, all stone fruits, all eaten on a recent trip to Mexico (Hi, Big Daddy! You rock!), all ones you hate, whatever!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday Fun #82 - Tasting 1,000 Fruits

I don't know if any of you read Maggie over at Mighty Girl, but she's got a life list of things she'd like to accomplish. One of them is to taste 1,000 fruits. She writes about some of them here.

It got me thinking... how many fruits have I tasted already in my lifetime? I mean, you've got some basics like apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, and peaches. And don't forget about grapefruit, lemons, limes, apricots, pineapple, cherries, and strawberries. Speaking of berries, you've also got raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries... And what about rhubarb? That's not really a fruit, now, is it. So, never mind that one...

So, I don't know about tasting 1,000 fruits, but I'm wondering how many we can name? Wanna list away in the comments? (I'll stop now so I don't use up all the easy ones! ;) )

(Hmmm... I forsee a later WF where we use that (compiled) list to count how many of the fruits on it we have each tried!)

P.S. If you've had the opportunity to travel and sample some unusual fruits not necessarily found (or easily found) in the US, please, list away - we'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Matambre aka Stuffed, Rolled, Grilled Flank Steak

According to the intro to this recipe in "How to Grill" by Steven Raichlen, "matambre" means "hunger killer." I think it should mean, "Oh pretty! Look at all the stuff wrapped up into that steak like a spiral! How did they DO that?" Don't decide to do this too late in the day though - it cooks for 1 1/2 - 2 hours! It can be assembled ahead of time though...

For the beef:
1 flank steak (1 1/2 - 1 1/4 lbs.)
6 thin slices bacon
coarse salt & black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbl. red wine vinegar

[You'll also need aluminum foil (heavy-duty might be best) and butcher's string/kitchen twine.]

For the filling:
1 piece (6-8 oz.) kielbasa, or other cooked smoked sausage, cut lengthwise into thin strips [We used precooked smoked Polish sausage.]
4 ribs celery, cut lengthwise in thin strips
2 large carrots, cut lengthwise in thin strips
6 oz. smoked cooked ham (sliced 1/4 inch thick), cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips
6 oz. Romano cheese (sliced 1/4 inch thick), cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips
[Mr. Kluges said he had a lot of everything left over that wouldn't fit into his flank steak roll.]

1. Butterfly the flank steak - Position the flank steak lengthwise at the edge of the cutting board. Place one hand on top to hold it flat. Using a sharp, slender knife, cut through the side of the steak to butterfly it (open it up). As you cut, fold open the top to help you see what you're doing. Open the meat up like a book.

2. Place a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, 24 inches long, on your work surface, shiny side down. (Double up two smaller pieces if needed.) Arrange the strips of bacon on a sheet of aluminum foil, running parallel to an edge and leaving 1 inch spaces between slices. Lay the butterflied flank steak on top of the bacon, with the grain running parallel to the bacon and season with salt, pepper, oregano, and vinegar.

3. Place a row of kielbasa strips at the ege of the meat closest to you, followed by rows of celery, carrots, ham, cheese and bell pepper strips. Repeat this sequence until all the filling ingredients are used up [or you run out of room]. Leave the last 2 inches of meat uncovered.

4. Starting at the edge of the meat closest to you, and using the aluminum foil to help you, roll up the meat with the filling to make a tight roll, like a jelly roll. Wrap the foil around the meat. Twist the ends of the foil to seal the roll. Make shallow holes in the foil all over, and to ensure a perfectly cylindrical shape, tie the roll in a few places with butcher's string. The matambre can be prepared up to this stage several hours ahead. Store, covered in the refrigerator.

5. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium. When ready to cook, place the roll on the hot grate and grill until cooked through and the meat is very tender, 1 1/2 - 2 hours, turning with tongs every 15 or 20 minutes. If using a charcoal grill, you'll need to add 24 to 30 fresh coals after 1 hour. To test for doneness, use an instant-read meat thermometer: The internal temperature should be about 180F. Transfer the matambre to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove the string and foil and cut the roll crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Theme - Grilling

Well, hey, look at that... May's theme is grilling. Guess I coulda waited a couple of days to post that Olive Tapenade Stuffed Pork Loin, huh? :)

So maybe you should make that with The Sexy Blonde's Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs Stuffed with Blue Cheese as an appetizer.

And invite me over! :)

Happy Grilling! Let's get some yummy grillables or grill techniques/tips & hints or whatever grill-related wisdom/recipes you've got posted in May 'cuz we got the whole summer coming up for that char-marked goodness! Hooray!