Thursday, July 15, 2010

Baby back ribs

Harris Teeter had bogo ribs a couple of weeks ago, and the baby back ribs looked too good to pass up. I trawled the internet for recipes for making these in the oven and came up with some really good sites. Most of the recipes called for a dry rub followed by 30-40 minutes in the oven, then a baste with barbecue sauce followed by another 20-30 minutes in the oven, and finally one last baste with the bbq sauce and short jaunt in the broiler. (video here and recipes here and here)

We followed a version of this and used Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce because it is Vince's favorite, and we were too tired to come up with our own creative version.

The verdict: Really tender ribs, so the method worked, but the BBQ sauce didn't do jack for the ribs. We ended up with a one-note flavor that got to be too much by the end. Thank goodness for bogo. We will certainly try again (with our own sauce of course!)

P.S. Sorry about the bad blackberry picture. I'm still having computer issues.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

May the Schwartz be with you!

Chef Michael Schwartz is at it again! Besides being a James Beard award winner, he has recently teamed up with Blue Star foods creator of crab products and come up with some delish-sounding recipes. I'm a huge fan of Michael's Genuine Food and Drink (in Miami and the Caymans) and of blue crab so these recipes definitely seem worth a try.

If the Schwartz vouches for these products they can't be half-bad, although I wonder how they stack up to a fresh dozen just pulled from the steamer and dripping with Old Bay.

Check out Michael's Blue Star recipes at

I plan to try some of these just as soon as I can get my hands on some Blue Star crab meat. Let's see if this man can write a recipe as well as he can cook.

P.S. I was not paid for this post, but if Blue Star wants to send me some free crab meat to home-test the recipes I would be happy to oblige. Just send me an email!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Heading to the 305

I'm off to Miami in a week. Yay! Any recommendations for new food spots? I'm up for some culinary adventures.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Gardening in Small Spaces

For all of you out there with the luxury of a balcony, terrace or even a backyard, here is a website that will help you grow to your full potential. My good friend John started Grown in the City a few months ago and it has grown up quite nicely. If you love fresh food there is nothing fresher than something that comes just a few feet from your door. Besides growing tips, John will clue you into the latest on guerilla gardening and policy/planning issues that affect urban areas.

I particularly like the DIY segments where John teaches you how to make self-watering containers out of recyclables!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Caprese Salad

This weekend we got lucky with a happy coincidence. Harris Teeter had a sale on the Perlini Mozzarella and hot house tomatoes, and Chris' basil was running wild. The result? Only the best caprese salad I've had this side of the Atlantic! OK, so maybe it wasn't the best, but it was pretty good. We ate it while we watched the U.S.A. soccer heart breaker, but at least our taste buds were happy.

This is definitely a recipe to entertain with or if you have any extra, and I don't think you will, you can always toss with cold pasta for a heartier salad. Quick disclaimer, these measurements are approximations. I'm fairly undisciplined in the kitchen and rarely ever use my measuring cups or spoons. I swear I'll reform when I get a dish washer! Until then consider these suggested measurements for your own creations.

7 oz. perlini mozzarella (mozzarella balls the size of marbles)
2 ripe hot house tomatoes diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, made into ribbons
1/3 cup fresh parsley, rough chopped
1/2 of a small red onion sliced fine
1/2 cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

After chopping and slicing, toss all the ingredients together and let sit for about 30 minutes for all of the flavors to meld together. Serve with bread or crackers.

P.S. I'll try and get a picture of this up on the web soon!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Scrumptious Strawberry-Spinach Salad

Ok, so you know I couldn't resist the alliteration. Lately, I've been working on healthy meals and sides that don't involve a whole lot of heat. Two valiant window units try desperately to cool our apartment and the oven/stove combo is often too much for them. Today's lunch consisted of leftover frittata (God bless the microwave!) and a spinach salad.

This salad is so tasty and quick to make you won't even think twice about it. Plus, spinach and strawberries are a nutritional power duo. The greens are packed with iron and the strawberries provide vitamin C to facilitate absorption of the non-heme iron in veggies. Add some walnuts and my favorite dressing Brianna's Blush wine vinaigrette and you have a sophisticated salad in minutes that is fit to entertain. For a calcium boost, try adding some goat cheese. Your taste buds (and waistline) will thank you.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
1 package Organics baby spinach
1/3 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (toasted if you like)
3 oz. cheese of your choice
Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette Dressing (to taste)

Toss and serve.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chicken Pot-pie Recipe

Every now and then I fiddle around with a recipe and it comes out GREAT! Then, I forget to write it down and can never recreate it again. Last night could have been one of those nights. I made a chicken pot-pie that was so delicious that Vince and Chris declared it was the best they ever had. So in the efforts of helping my fragile memory remember here it is:

Chicken Pot Pie

2 large chicken breasts
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup butter (salted)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of milk
2 cups chicken stock (make your own or use Swanson low sodium, trust me!)
1 med. onion
5 cloves of garlic
2 celery spears
6 oz. frozen mixed veggies
6 oz. frozen sliced mushrooms
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 sprig of rosemary
1 store bought pastry crust

Season chicken and cook until browned thoroughly in two tablespoons of olive oil with a sprig of rosemary on top. This adds so much delicious flavor! Add about 1/2 cup of chicken stock if you see that it is getting too hot or stuck to the pan. Once that is finished, pull out chicken breasts and cube. Discard the rosemary sprig. (While this is cooking you can prep the veggies.)

In the same pan, melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux. Once this has browned add the chopped celery, onions, and garlic. Stir until onions are softened. Add milk and chicken stock and stir together. Then add frozen veggies, mushrooms, bay leaf, salt and pepper and let this all meld together, about 5 minutes. Then add the chicken back in. Stir. Pour mixture into a deep pie dish and cover with the pie crust. Cut in a few vents and place in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until crust is golden.

If anyone tries this can you tell me if it works out? I'm trying to work on my recipe writing skills. Thanks! Bon Apetit!