Who says you can’t have tender falling off the bone ribs, in your home oven. Well sure they can’t possibly rival the best smoke joints in town, but in just over 3 hours, you can have falling off the bone, lip smacking ribs that satisfy that urge to eat with your hands and savor the dense, delicious taste of slow cooked meat. I took a rack of pork ribs, seasoned them liberally with a grocery store creole seasoning, and placed them on a baking rack suspended over a sheet pan. At 300F it took just over three hours to get these ribs moist and delicious. The secret is that when the ribs are done (which you will know because the bones will easily move around and almost fall out), lift the entire slab onto some heavy duty foil and cover tightly with additional foil. Let them steam in the foil outside the oven for about 15 minutes and serve immediately. Eat them right away because refrigerated and later reheated ribs just don’t cut it. Enjoy!
2 and ½ pounds of short ribs, enough for 2 ribs per person
1 medium onion, chopped finely
½ cup carrot, chopped finely
½ cup celery, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 bottle red wine (Pinot Noir, Cabernet)
1 cup tomato puree
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper
¾ teaspoon dried ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ cup chopped apricots
¼ cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 450F. In a large Dutch Oven with lid, toss the short ribs and ½ cup of olive oil in the Dutch Oven and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes until browned. I do this in the oven to avoid the mess on the stove top.
Take the ribs out of the oven and remove them from pot and place in a separate bowl. Reduce oven temp to 325F. Blot out all of the viscous fat with paper towels and place on the stove top over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to pan.
Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sweat down for a few minutes until it the mixture is limp and beginning to take on color (5 min). Season with salt and pepper during this process. Add the balsamic vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan until the balsamic is almost gone through evaporation. Add the bottle of wine and begin to simmer. Light a match and flame the wine to remove the alcohol from the mixture. Do this with caution with the lid of the pot ready to cover the pot.
Add the tomato puree, the brown sugar and all of the spices. Taste and re season with salt and pepper. Add the short ribs and cover. Place in a 325F degree oven, covered for about 2 hours until the meat is fork tender and the sauce has reduced.
Take out of the oven and add the apricots and raisins and let sit until warm and ready for service or while you prepare the mash below. And if it takes a few extra minutes to make the mash, reheat the short ribs over a low flame and serve.
Sweet Potato, Carrot and Butternut Squash Mash
3 cups Butternut Squash (1 medium squash), peeled and chopped into ½ inch dice
2 cups Chopped Sweet Potato, peeled and chopped into ½ inch dice
1 cup carrot, peeled and chopped into ½ inch dice
1 garlic clove, chopped finely.
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon cilantro
2 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 400F. In a large roasting pan place all of the vegetables (except the garlic) and about ¼ cup of olive oil together and toss. Cover with foil and roast in the oven until all of the vegetables are tender and soft when pieced with a knife. In the last 10 minutes throw in the garlic. The whole process should take about 40 or so minutes and by roasting with foil on you avoid the vegetables taking on too much color.
Remove from oven and place all of the vegetables into the bowl of a food processor. Add all of the remaining ingredients (except cayenne, salt and pepper) and process until smooth. Taste, and then season with the cayenne and the salt and pepper.
Serve the short ribs on a bed of these mashed vegetables with the sauce drizzled over top.
In one of the more unusual flavor combinations, David L. of A Perfect Scoop, proposes a Sweet Potato Ice Cream which I churned on Friday night. If I am being honest, it didn’t bowl me over. First off, there were no eggs in this recipe, that is to say, no base custard was made before the pureed sweet potatoes were added. That’s a problem. The eggs seems to emulsify the mixture and add a velvetiness that is otherwise not present. The ice cream was good, but not great. It certainly does not approach my cheesecake ice cream (recipe below). The cheesecake recipe also did not have the presence of eggs but in that case, the velvety quality I was looking for was achieved by addding cream cheese and sour cream to the base. Back to the drawing board. I’ll make a base vanilla custard with eggs and add the sweet potatoes and spices and report back! But for now, you can enjoy the photo!
I eggplant medium sized, unpeeled and chopped into one inch cubes
1 large red onion, cut also into cubes, about 1/2 inch wide
1 red bell pepper and 1 yellow pepper, each cut into slices about 1/2 inch wide
6-7 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup capers, well rinsed
1/4 cup each chopped flat leaf italian parley and basil
Salt and pepper
Place the eggplant, peppers, onion and garlic in a heavy roasting pan and coat with the olive oil and vinegar. Season well with salt and pepper and place in a preheated 400F oven until the room is fragrant with the smell of garlic!-About 40 minutes. Stir periodically. Add the capers after 40 minutes and roast for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley and basil. Serve warm over fish or chicken or cold as a side salad. It eez delicious!
So I borrowed my brother’s self contained ice cream unit. It is the Williams Sonoma model–you know, the one that’s been discontinued. That night I spent the evening churning recipes from David Lebovitz’s book, The Perfect Scoop. I knew from a prior posting that I wanted to turn my Ginger Peach Cheesecake into an ice cream, so upon buying the book I turned to page 62 and found a recipe for Cheesecake Ice Cream. By adding 1 cup of peach puree and the gingersnap portion of the cheesecake crust which I baked and cooled, I had the MOST delicious frozen dessert which I am polishing off as we speak. The picture shows it layered with peach sorbet which is simple enough to make. The gingersnap pieces really send it over the top.
Peach Cheesecake Gingersnap Ice Cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup half and half
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon dried ginger
1 cup of peach puree made by whirling peeled and pitted peach slices in a food processor (feel free to use frozen if you like)
2-3 tablespoons of Amaretto
1 cup of crust pieces from Peach of a Cheesecake recipe (made ahead and cooled)
Mix all of the ingredients except Amaretto and crust pieces in a blender until smooth. Chill for a few hours and then freeze according to your manufacturer’s directions for an ice cream machine.
At the end of freezing, refer back to my peach cheesecake recipe and stir in the crust pieces, already crumbled as well as the Amaretto. Process for a minute or so to incorporate and then remove and place in a plastic tub.
Freeze in your freezer until ripened and allow to soften for a few minutes before serving.
We are celebrating the last of the summer tomato crop on Sunday. The recipes will include:
Roasted Tomatoes on Bruschetta
Wood fired pizza with Marinara sauce
Vegetarian Stuffed tomatoes with pine nuts and golden raisins
Stay tuned…we’ll be cooking all weekend!
Remember my peach cheesecake, published last month as my recipe of the month? Well didn’t I say then that the cheesecake flavors would make a great ice cream? Well I was right. Right now, chilling in my fridge is a bowl of peach gingersnap cheesecake ice cream base. With credit to David Lebovitz and A Perfect Scoop of course which incidentally has the most unique and mouth watering recipes contained within it’s beautifully photographed exterior. I made the ice cream base and the cookie crust. I am heading to my brother’s this afternoon to pick up his self contained ice cream maker that chills and churns. Very excited. I am going to layer the ice cream with a peach sorbet as well and scoop it out tomorrow morning, if I can wait that long. I post the photo as soon as I have it! Enjoy!