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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ribs! The meat falls off the bone....

So, back from popular demand 2 nights ago, I was asked to make these bad boys again!  These are country-style spare ribs, and for the longest time, I always struggled with cooking them because I wanted them to be the kind of ribs where the meat falls off the bones, and they weren't always like that!  Well, I finally figured out how to cook them, and the first time around was amazing.  Unfortunately I only cooked one package of them, so there were no leftovers.  The natives were not happy with this!  Today my oldest was home for the day and asked me to make them for her, so let me share this with you...

Use however many ribs you need for your meal.  Wash them off and dry thoroughly.  Sprinkle with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, a little onion powder and as many ingredients that you have to make up my "baharat" spice I got in Cincinnati.  This is truly what makes these ribs taste so good!

Now you put them in a roasting pan that is lined with foil.  You have to stand them up on their sides so that they all fit in the pan.  Top with some sliced vidalia onion, spray with some vegetable spray, and cover with foil.  Pop in a 325 degree oven for an hour.  When the time is up, take the pan out, uncover the ribs, and dump out the liquid.  Apply your favorite BBQ sauce liberally to both sides of each rib! (I use Sweet Baby delicious!)

Put the pan back in the oven, uncovered,  and cook for another 20 minutes or so.

Here they are!

While they sit and fester, I throw together some cheater, easy garlic mashed potatoes, that... by the way, come out really delicious!   I make a batch of instant mashed potatoes, but at the start, I put a bunch of garlic powder, salt and pepper, and butter to the water/milk mixture.  Once I add the mashed pototo mix, I whip it up and taste.  It needs more garlic and salt.   Once added, I taste again...I add some grated parmesan cheese and my secret ingredient (alittle less than a 1/4 cup cream cheese)!  I usually don't measure things, I just cut a few chunks of cream cheese and throw them in!  This is truly what makes it!

Please, oh please, taste it because you may need to add more of something.  These mashed potatoes may not be totally healthy for you, but I can guarantee you they will be delicious!

Because I didn't have any fresh vegetables to prepare tonight, I took out a bag of Edamames and quickly cooked them according to the package.  When done, I drain them and quickly spray them with a little Pam so that the salt and pepper mix will adhere to the pods.  I sprinkle the sea salt and fresh ground pepper and toss. 

There you have it.   A really delicious rib dinner....  Tomorrow is a night off from cooking, but I will be back on Tuesday!  I'm feeling a yummy chicken dinner comin' on..... 

Have a great night!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A requested pasta salad recipe!

  • 1 bag of Cheese Tortellini (if you would rather use plain pasta, at least pick a unique shape!)
  • 1 box of cherry tomatoes cut in half (leave out on a paper towel to try to get most of the seeds out)
  • approximately 2 cups of Kalamata olives (cut in half) don't have to be exact!
  • 1 bag of Edamames (you can buy them shelled in the freezer section.  You just need to thaw them.)
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, cut into small wedges (use the canned hearts, not the marinated ones)
  • Shrimp, cut up (it's up to you how much you use!)
  • Fresh spinach torn up
  • Fresh basil (lots of it, cut up)
  • Capers (this is something you can leave out if you absolutely hate them!)
  • shredded Parmesan cheese
  • A couple of handfuls of pine nuts
  • 1 container of fresh mozzarella balls (cut them in half)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

If you don't like the shrimp idea, you can add chicken (like the Perdue cuts), just break up the big chunks...

and now for the dressing.....

3-4 fresh garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
5 drops of Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs wine vinegar
1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and cut up
Juice of one lemon

Put all of this in a blender and puree.  Reserve some to add to the salad prior to serving, only because the pasta tends to soak up the dressing when you make it the night before....

Don't forget to taste.  You may need to add some additional salt and pepper.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This is an easy chicken dish, especially for the inexperienced chefs.....

May I introduce you to the incredible chicken thigh!  This baby is extremely difficult to mess up!  It is a dark meat section of a chicken, which means it is always going to be more juicy and flavorful than a white meat section.   Even if you overcook it, it will still taste delicious!

All I did was mix 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger, 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cinnaomon, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice.  I mixed all of this in about a 1/2 cup of mayonaise.  I coated the chicken and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.  Then it was off to the grill....

Honestly, chicken is the friendliest meat to cook!   The key is to season it enough to be able to taste it!  There isn't a spice that doesn't go well with chicken......

I cooked a couple of bags of edamames, seasoned them with freshly ground pepper and sea salt to go with it.  Perfect!

Don't ever forget that everything tastes good as long as it is seasoned well.  You should be able to taste flavors!  If you add garlic, you should be able to taste it!  If you want to taste teriyaki, then you need to add enough sauce to the marinade.   You get my drift.... Don't be affraid to add enough!  It's all trial and error!  Once you find your sweet spot with the seasoning, you are golden!

This is for those who want easy quick recipes! Dinner in 60 minutes!

This is going to be a really quick post with minimal pictures, only because I didn't get a chance to take many!  Last night was my son's 18th birthday he wanted steak tips, wild rice and salad.  I made a delicious marinade that you really need to jot down:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
1/2 onion sliced
1 clove garlic, minced

mix together and marinade the steak.

I grilled the steak and sliced onions to perfection!

I ended up cheating and made boxed wild rice, but I added a little bit of me (dried chopped onion, fresh pepper, sliced almonds, parsley, and butter).

The salad was that of ceasar...

Dessert consisted of a birthday cake....angel food cake with chopped berries and whipped cream.  

I'm telling you, the meal was quick and easy.  Not as creative as I like to be, but definitely delicious!  Stay tuned for tomorrow.  My creative juices are beginning to flow again!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm back from vacation and what do I make my first night home? Stuffed pork tenderloin, of course!

So..... Provincetown was the bomb!  Whether it was a view from the roof deck or sunset at a cookout at Herring Cove beach, this town never ceases to deliver!  This is old-time Cape Cod.... the way it was 40+ years ago!  Great restaurants, beautiful scenery, unbelievable beaches... I could go on!

So coming home is always wonderful, just a lot of work to get back to where I feel comfortable!  But you all know the best place for me is in my kitchen!  Once I unpacked, the leftover food that was brought home included a pork tenderloin that longed to be cooked..... so here goes!  My favorite thing to do is to butterfly and stuff it, and tonight, I took a risk!  I really hope you try this!

I start with two tenderloins, I slice through them and open them up.  I then pound them until they are about 1/4" thin, and season them with sea salt and Montreal Steak seasoning.  Meanwhile, in a pot on the stove,  I make 2 cups of Pepperidge Farm Stuffing.  I added dried chopped onion, parsley,  and salt and pepper to the water before adding the stuffing.  Then I add thyme, 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, and parsley. I also added about a cup of Italian bread crumbs, along with about 1/4 cup of some home made Italian salad dressing I made up.  You can use whatever dressing you would like!   Next up are Bella mushrooms..... chopped, never cooked!

After the mushrooms comes about 1/2 cup of Romano cheese.  I never actually measure it!  I just dump a good amount in!  I tossed about a cup or so of pine nuts, and about a cup of raisins (after I soaked them in hot water for a couple of minutes.)  I also added a thawed package of chopped spinach (normally I would use fresh spinach, but after just coming home from being away for a week, I had to improvise!)  

Just to cheer you on?  All of this took about 10 minutes.  It sounds like alot of work, but honestly?  Once the stuffing is cooked, you can just add everything else in and mix together.  The last ingredients are about a cup of pine nuts and raisins (I soaked the raisins in hot water for a minute, just to soften them up).  How did I know raisins would taste good?  I took a little bit of the stuffing and added a few raisins and tasted it!  Delish!!!  

Now to stuff and roll....

I put the stuffing down the middle of the tenderloin, sprinkled some French's fried onions over the top, and rolled them up.  Once rolled, I tied them up and brown them in a fry pan.  Last step is something I decided to try.... I mixed a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise with a tablespoon of Country Dijon mustard and coated both tenderloins ( I thought this would keep them from drying out) and bake them in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  Don't cook them too long....15 minutes might be enough.

Oh, and while I am creating this master piece, my glass of Cabernet keeps me company!

I probably should have taken a picture of the finished product before I sliced it up, but everyone was too eager to try it....

 And the verdict was.... absolutely incredible!

So there you go....Yet another recipe for pork tenderloin.  I'm telling you, there are so many different things you can do with this incredible piece of pork!!!! When I was in Provincetown, one night I sliced up each tenderloin, pounded the slices thin, seasoned them with a mixture of flour and some spices, and quickly fried them in some canola oil.... I can't tell you how delicious they were the next day in a sandwich with a little mayo!

I hope I didn't lose too many of you while I was gone!  Stay tuned.....I have alot of great ideas up my sleeve!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Did you say turkey cutlets? Hmmmm, what can I do with them?

Tonight I was really tight on time for some reason.  Not sure exactly why?   Could have been the fact that I have been without a voice since Tuesday and am just worn out, or it could be that I have been flat out getting things ready for the week away?  Any way,  dinner tonight actually came out delicious!  Are you ready? It is called Turkey Scallopini with Capers and Lemon....


For four people, I used one package of turkey cutlets.  I dried them off and dredged them in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper, and paprika.


I then lightly browned each one in a pan that had a small amount of olive oil and butter. When they were done, I put them in a holding dish.  At this point, using the same pan I cooked the turkey cutlets in, I cooked 1 shallot, chopped up.  I then added the capers, a cup of chicken broth, some parsley, salt and pepper,  and lemon juice to the pan.  I let this cook down to about half of the original amount of sauce.  While all of this is going on, I cook about half of a box of wheat angel hair pasta.  When it was done, I drained it and mixed in some herb salad dressing that I had made and had left over.

So....all that is left is putting it all together.... I grabbed some angel hair pasta, and placed a turkey cutlet  on top with a little of the lemon caper sauce and sprinkled with some shaved parm cheese...
Well, folks, I am off for a week of fun in the sun in beautiful Provincetown, MA.  See you when I get back!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cookin' a little Sockeye Salmon's all about flavors!

I was looking through all of my dinners I have shared with you, and realized that other than cooking shrimp, I really haven't cooked any fish!  Salmon is always easy to prepare and it doesn't take very long to cook!  What really makes it delicious are the seasonings you use!  I really hope you enjoy this....

I washed and dried the fish and put it in a foil tray.  I sprinkled a little white wine and some lemon juice on the salmon.  I then prepared some herbed butter that I spread all over the top.  Take about 3 tablespoons of butter and let  it soften.  With the heat we have had lately, it doesn't take very long!  I blend in tarragon, parsley, lemon pepper, sea salt, and the spice mix I bought in Cincinnati that had the mint, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.  Don't worry if you don't have that one.... You can really add any herbs you like.  Blend them into the butter.  I added some grated lemon zest and some fresh garlic.

While I am waiting for the grill to warm up, I make a red pepper aioli sauce to serve with the salmon.

The recipe is as follows:

1 jar of roasted red peppers (drain and dry them) or 2-3 freshly roasted peppers (which is what I used)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of olive oil

This is a weird picture!  It is the aioli in my blender!  I just wanted you to see what it looks like!
Put the peppers, cut up, in a blender, along with the garlic and mayo.  Blend well.  Then add one tablespoon of olive oil at a time, blending well in between.  Add a little sea salt and pepper to taste.  Put into a container and keep in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

I put the fish out on the grill, and cook for about 15 minutes.  When it was done, I brought it in and threw it under the broiler just for a couple of minutes.

The only thing left to do was to make a quick salad of lettuce, craisins, feta cheese, and almonds.  Drizzle some homemade herbed oil and vinegar dressing, and a pan of rice pilaf, and Voila!

I have another fish recipe that I love to make, that I will share with you another time!  For now, I hope you will try some rendition of this...  Enjoy