Monday, March 30, 2015



A small group of colleagues get together every Thursday to celebrate what we like to call "Fat Thursday". It is a small, weekly celebration of friends and food - every week we try to outdo the last person, which leads to some really tasty home-cooked meals.

My contribution to the tradition last time was Garlic Ginger Pork Steaks! As you can imagine, the marinade for the steaks involves garlic and ginger. Lots of it. Two whole heads of garlic to be precise. A thumb-sized piece of ginger. And other stuff...

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The kitchen looked like this when I was finished. Note the well-loved and falling apart Raichlen book in the back?

Here's my variant of the recipe -

2 cloves garlic, peeled
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons honey
1 cup of soy sauce
4 tablespoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

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Toss all this into the mixer and blend until it becomes a thick paste.

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Next, add pork. We made eight chops for four people, almost guaranteeing leftovers (mmmm, leftovers!)

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And, look! It's Tara, wondering loudly why she isn't getting any of that wonderful raw pork action!

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Yo, beat it cat! Ain't gonna happen!

After getting rid of the cat, I put the steaks in a plastic bag and filled it with the marinade. Squeezed out the air and left it to marinade in the fridge. The longer it is in, the better the meat tastes. 1-2 hours is the minimum amount of time you want to do this.

Y'all don't need to see a picture of that...

So, set your grill to a high heat, ready for direct grilling. Set the steaks direct over the coals for 3-4 minutes a side, turning once. I like to set them off to the side after direct grilling and let them indirectly cook with the lid closed for another 10 minutes. This assures that the steaks are juicy and tender but still done all the way through. Not everyone likes raw pork like Tara does...

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Once done, serve immediately, if not sooner!

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We recently bought a deep-fat fryer. This means homemade fries. What else goes better with such steaks than fries? That's right - nothing. Can't be beat.

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I urge all of you to get out the grill and try this recipe. It creates some of the tastiest pork that you have ever eaten, I guarantee! Go make some smoke!!!

I bid you Peace,


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pasta and Co.


Just so you all know that this isn't a food blog, here is a picture of my dog:

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Her name is Una. She's a good dog.

That being said, weekend before last we met with our friends Dirk and Rita and had a wonderful evening of food and drink and good company. Since Rita is a big fan of Italy, we had ourselves a regular feast!

The first thing that needed to happen was that I needed to start making the bruschetta at about 0730 on Saturday morning. I mixed tomatoes with some olive oil, fresh basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and grated buffalo mozzarella. Always use the buffalo mozzarella - it tastes loads better than the kind from cow's milk. I took a baguette, sliced it, and toasted it in the oven for about 3 minutes and then rubbed a clove of garlic on each of the slices. I then piled on the mixture and put the whole thing back in the oven for about 8 minutes.

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It was hard not to eat any of those bad boys as the came out of the oven!

So on to the next appetizer! Anelli de Ricotta... I got to make a whole bunch of very thin pancakes!

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Once these were taken care of, I spread a mixture of ricotta, spinach, and parmesan on each pancake and rolled them up and cut each into about three pieces. These went into a oven form and then were covered in the rest of the freshly shaven parmesan.

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Since we were going crazy and had a lot of mouths to feed, there were two different kinds of pasta sauces. Cause, you know, we might not have enough food...

There was Dirk's bolognese sauce:

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Then there was Rita's cream and shrimp sauce with green onion:

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Both of these were, as you can imagine, very light sauces that left plenty of room for appetizers and dessert...

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Now, there is soething that it really bothering me. Anna made both a traditional tiramisu (the kind with real cream, Amaretto, raw egg, etc. Not that cheap kind!) and an American cookie cream for the kids. Both of these were delicious beyond comprehension but I HAVE NO PICTURES OF THEM!!!! I am ashamed, as they were really the dot on the i for what was a really great evening of food and good friends.

I bid you Peace,


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Who doesn't like Ribs?


Seriously, this is NOT a food blog!


That being said, I would like to present to you last weekends toil - spare ribs, Rattlesnake-style! In all fairness, these weren't my favorite ribs as the sauce I used was totally and completely without spices as we had guests that can't eat spicy food. I personally like that my lips and fingers sting a little bit after eating but not everyone rolls like that. As a master of the grill, I must respect the wishes of my diners.

Here we have the eight racks that I bought, rubbed with a modified version of Raichlen's Basic Barbecue Rub. I replace the hickory salt with 4 tablespoons of smoked sweet paprika and use Turbinado sugar instead of brown sugar. Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention....

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Eagle-eyed readers will also note that the "rib racks" that I use are actually "Variera" pot lid holders from IKEA. They are adjustable, cheap, dishwasher-safe, and just beat the pants off any other racks that you can buy. Remember - the stupid idea that works is not stupid!

I set up an indirect grill using roughly a half of a chimney of briquets and let the ribs cook for 2 hours. Some people use the "3-2-1" method for cooking ribs - 3 hours cook uncovered, 2 hours in foil, 1 hour uncovered with sauce. I don't like this as it takes *six damned hours* and I have found that having the ribs uncovered for 2 hours and covered for 2 hours in a pan produce the same (if not better, IMHO) results. YMMV.

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I use one of those cheapo steel pans from IKEA (seeing a trend here?) and pile the ribs in and cover with foil. Before I do that, I pour a bit of cola in the pan to keep things moist and sweet. The last two pictures show the ribs after the 2 hour covered phase. I sauced them with Bullseye "Sweet & Spicy" - spicy being defined in the German sense "not spicy at all" - and left them uncovered for ten minutes to allow the sauce to glaze a bit.

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And here's the plate - A rack of my finest along with homemade corn muffins and slaw. Should anyone want the recipes, please leave a message in the comments and I will be happy to post them for you!

I bid you Peace,