Friday, June 17, 2011

ffwd - roasted rhubarb

I really like rhubarb. I like that it used to be known as "pie plant". Humble, homey. Good on it's own or alongside strawberries. To my mind, very old-fashioned, which has its appeal too.

Since I typically have yogurt and fruit for breakfast every morning, I thought - how fun. This is, of course a super-simple recipe. Not exactly a culinary challenge. OK, so maybe the part about only cooking it for a little while... I got sidetracked watching a ballgame, and didn't turn on the timer. But anyway, I liked the addition of the orange zest. And it really was quite tasty with some yogurt. As Dorie notes, this would be good served in many ways, with many things.  Certainly a nice way to enjoy rhubarb without that pie crust (not that I don't like crust - just don't need crust). I'll be enjoying it over the next several days.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

ffwd - cola and jam spareribs

"The best ribs. Ever!" exclaimed my sister-in-law as she tasted my latest Dorie offering. Now you should know, she's married to my brother, who is pretty well-known for his grilled ribs. In fact, her brother has dubbed him the rib-master... so pretty high praise, and though I kind of felt bad for my bro...well, not so much...

This was one of the recipes that I really wanted to make out of the cookbook. They just sounded like fun. And when I'm in the "valley of the sun" there's no bbq readily available, so I was intrigued with the idea of oven-roasted ribs. Of course, being in the southwest, and having spent a number of years in the Great State of Texas - I knew that for once, I needed to "tweak" the recipe just a little bit. So, while I kept the Chinese Five Spice (I am a convert - I think I've told you of my love of a certain spice cake our mentor Dorie created spotlighting that blend), I decided that I'd use peach jam, add some chipotle, and use Dr. Pepper instead - kind of a Paris, Texas combination...

Now, as people who are serious about their ribs know, there's a prep technique that's important in getting the right texture/tenderness in ribs - so as fair warning to the faint-of-heart, there are a couple of photos that follow that you may wish to avoid. For the rest of you - this is a great trick - whether you cook them with Dorie's method or any other.

as you see, some home-made peach jam, added chipotle and little of the Dr.
I used baby-backs, simply because that was what I could find in a reasonably-sized package
(warning: next two photos are pretty graphic in their depiction of un-cooked ribs)

there is a sheet of membrane on the back side of all ribs
"they" say that it affects texture - for sure, it keeps any rubs, marinades or other seasonings
from getting into the meat from that side
to remove - slip your knife under the membrane to start to pull it away from the meat and bones

then just pull the sheet of membrane off, exposing the meat on the back side of the ribs
it might need to come off in more than one piece
I use a paper towel to grip it, and then just pull it off

now that the ribs are prepared, the spice mixture is created

I put on a generous layer of the "rub" on both the front and back sides
I then chilled the ribs for several hours
(ok, to be honest, I didn't read the recipe correctly - the marinade could have been added
here too - but I only did the rub ahead of time)

glazed with the marinade and ready for the oven
I basted them as instructed, added the soda and basted them some more
I didn't have a problem with the pan burning

perfectly cooked - the photo doesn't do them justice
I also reduced the juices/marinade in the baking pan to pour over the ribs

delicious, meaty ribs with a litle extra sauce
As noted above, we really, really liked these. The cooking technique worked perfectly, and produced juicy, nicely crusted ribs. We also liked the Chinese Five Spice - we thought it added a great flavor, though definitely we also liked the smoky kick of the chipotle (I'd add a little more next time, probably). But they were delicious! Not exactly French to me, but delicious! I will definitely make these again.