mmmm . . . ribs

This past weekend, after our house nearly burned down, we were in a several-day long period of hysteria trying to get the roof patched, circuits rewired and figure out how to get the clothes washer to turn on. In the middle of this panic, I decided to slow things down a notch and take 6 hours to cook some ribs. I bought these half slabs at the local grocery store. Gave them a light rub with a ground mixture of:

Dave's Rib Rub
brown sugar, 4T
salt, 2T
black pepper, 2T
oregano, 2T
chili powder (hot one), 2t
paprika, 2T
cumin, 2T
dry mustard, 1T
parsley, 2T

Then I plopped them on the infamous Weber set up for indirect and cooked 'em at 250 +/- 25-deg-F for 6 hours. Gave them an hour rest tented with foil and served them up with a little sauce on the side.

I used to brine ribs, but these were fatty enough, I didn't think there was a chance of them drying out. I was right. They were tasty.


Carbs, Lots of 'em

In celebration of National Carb Awareness Day, we had a pesto dish. Not just pesto, but it had boiled red potatoes in it and we had, as usual, a crusty baguette with it. But seriously, I didn't make this up. It was leftovers from our semi-monthly vegetarian dinner we hosted the other night. I found this really nice basil at the market and just had an itch for pesto. Mario Batali had this recipe which was a pretty standard pesto, with pasta, french green beans and boiled potatoes. I was a bit nervous at the amazing amount of starch in it, but it worked. It was a nice combination. A good meal to kick off Summer.


Focaccia - a repeat

Another recipe of a focaccia I got from Artisan.net. This time it was a double size:
water, 350 g
unbleached white flour, 500 g
salt, 8 g
active dry yeast, 2 t
olive oil, 36 g
Straight dough, 1 long rise, 1 rest, 45 minute final proof as a 13 inch diameter disc. Docked just before baking at 430F for 35 minutes on parchment on clay tiles. Topped with fresh rosemary and coarse (La Baleine sea salt) salt.


To-Do List

1. I was buying some chocolate covered strawberries (yum) the other day at this bakery (Mother's day you know) and noticed a sign advertising their homemade scones FROZEN for sale. Said, just pop 'em in the oven at 350F for 45 minutes. I'm going to give this a shot. Make them the night ahead and put them in the oven frozen. Anyone have any luck with this?

2. I'm pulling out the most massive mortar and pestle ever to make a batch of pesto this weekend. I've heard there's actually a difference when it's made using a mortar and pestle vs. food processor. Any comments?

3. Jam packed weekend. Will not get to smoking ribs. Darn. Maybe next weekend.


Food Finds Columbus - Cedar's Bakery

A busy week prompted us to have take out last night. Believe it or not, I got some hummus, pita breads (fresh baked), baklava and some olives for $9 at a nifty place on the way to daycare. It's called Cedar's Bakery. This link is a bit old but pretty accurate. It's a Turkish place selling baba, hummos, stuffed grape leaves, etc. and they cook their own pita breads. They're only $1 for 10! It was quite a feast and pretty healthy too. Frankie even had some hummus.


Bootleg Bailey's

Trish asked me the other night if we could make Bailey's at home? Hmmm. Sounded like a great project that could be accomplished between diaper changes. Since I have MUCH less time for experimentation than I used to, I looked for an authoritative source for a recipe. Research Buzz is a great source for new developments in data sources on the web. A recent discussion regarding the redesign of About.com sounded encouraging. Despite the design/advertising complaints, the site bears human-generated content. Here, I found this recipe for a Bailey's imitation. Reproduced here for my convenience:

Irish Cream

1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 oz.)
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 1/2 Cup Irish Whiskey
3 Eggs
1 Tbsp. Chocolate Syrup
1 tsp. Instant Coffee
1 tsp. Almond Extract
Beat eggs, add rest of ingredients and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Bottle and store in refrigerator. Keeps up to one month.
(A month? Yeah right.). I'll update when I give this a shot. Hopefully tonight.

Results - 05-May-04
I whisked the eggs using an immersion blender for a couple seconds. Then mixed all the other stuff together and just before I added the alcohol, I gave it another quick shot with the immersion blender. Once the alcohol was added (total volume about 1 L), I stirred it and refrigerated it. I ran out of chocolate syrup and owe the batch about 2 teaspoons but I thought it was excellent. Bailey's is 36 proof. By my quick calculation, not correcting for any air incorporated into the final mix by blending, this concoction is about 34 Proof. I didn't do a side by side comparison because I was so tired, even Bailey's would've knocked me out last night. I thought it was a pretty successful expt. Even with the sinister Ohio prices of alcohol, it was about 35% the cost of store bought Bailey's.