sweet & spicy ribs with potato wedges

ribs & potatoes

I know, I know — I did it again.  This time it wasn’t just a few months since I’ve posted, but almost a year! It’s not that I didn’t want to, but this past year has been crazy! If you remember this post, you remember that I made some big life changes last spring.  I can now say that I successfully completed my first year of my Ph.D. at Stony Brook, I celebrated one year with both my kitty and my new car (still so in love with both), AND some more big news — I got engaged in January! Most of you who read this blog probably know this already since I totally took over Facebook with pictures and posts about the big day. But, basically, Mike proposed in the city on my birthday weekend and everything was as perfect as could be. I have to share one picture (that most of you have seen) just because this was the best moment of my life so far…

the best moment of my life

Anyway, with all the craziness of school and starting to wedding plan, I unfortunately have barely had time to cook anything exciting.  This led me to realize that not cooking  = stress levels through the roof.  Spending half a day on the weekends preparing a fantastic dinner for my fiancé (still so fun/weird to say!), my family, or some friends is just one of the most fun and relaxing things in the world.  This year has forced me to see that I really need to make time for myself despite how busy life can get. Starting now, I am doing my best to be more committed to cooking (and I guess exercise since a girl’s gotta fit into her wedding dress!)

This past weekend it finally felt like summer, so I took Saturday to enjoy myself and do all my favorite summery things .  I spent the morning at the farmer’s market, where my best find was bottled cold brew coffee from Gentle Brew Coffee Roasters. As you can see, I re-used the bottle to hold some fresh flowers and I just find it to be adorable.  I then spent the afternoon preparing this recipe for sweet and spicy ribs that I found in June’s Bon Appetit. What says summer more than BBQ ribs!?  We enjoyed this with roasted potato wedges and my Oma’s famous cucumber salad (recipe not included here because it deserves its own post). Pair this with your favorite summer cocktail (mine is gin & tonic) and surround yourself with your favorite people and chow down outside and relax — that is what my family and I did!

Ingredients

sweet & spicy ribs

  • 2 St. Louis style ribs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper (cut this in half if you’re not a huge fan of spice!)
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

roasted potato wedges 

  • large potatoes (I used 5 which generously served 3 people)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

sugar & spiceribs are rubbed

Method

For the ribs:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine brown sugar, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt in small bowl and set aside 1/4 cup of the spice mixture.  Rub the ribs with the remaining spice mixture.  Wrap the ribs tightly in two sheets of aluminum foil and place on baking sheet.  Bake 2-3 hours, until tender. Let cool. Remove ribs from foil and save the juices by pouring into a heat proof measuring cup/bowl.

Melt butter in medium sauce pan until foaming and just starts to brown (do not burn).  Add 1/4-cup reserved spices and juices from baking the ribs. Simmer until reduced by a third.  Remove from heat and stir in apple cider vinegar.

Prepare the grill on medium high heat and oil the grate. Grill ribs, basting with sauce and turning occasionally, until charred in spots (about 5-10 minutes).  Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice between ribs and serve with remaining sauce.

Ribs can be baked one day ahead and stored in the fridge.  They should be brought to room temperature and grilled before serving.

For the potatoes:

Slice the potatoes into thin wedges. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast at 425 for 30-45 minutes, until golden brown. (After the ribs came out of the oven, I upped the temperature and tossed these babies in — the timing was perfect!)  Serve right out of the oven topped with parmesan and chopped parsley.

taters   ribs on the grilllll

Rib recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

How I eat it: with a Tanqueray and tonic outside on the porch

Enjoy! And I promise to be back soon with more recipes 🙂

the meal

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mint and cumin-spiced lamb chops with grilled baked potatoes

DSC_0768

Getting depressed about the summer coming to an end? It’s bittersweet for me.  We all know that I love autumn, especially September, but I will miss the long days and warm weather.  I’ll also miss my little brother who heads back to college in upstate NY for his senior year tomorrow! Anyway, don’t despair, there’s still some summer left! And here’s an amazing meal of which all the components can be cooked on the grill while you sit outside and enjoy the last days of August.  Some of you may have seen that I posted a “blog preview” of this meal — I know I made you wait long enough for the recipe (sorry) ! 

                 DSC_0735       DSC_0742

Ingredients

Mint and cumin-spiced lamb chops

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. ground paprika
  • 2 tsp. allspice (shout out to the neighbors who ground us some fresh allspice!)
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 lbs. lamb chops
  • Vegetable oil

Grilled baked potatoes with chive butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 baking potatoes

Method

For the lamb:

Pulse onions, parsley, mint, cumin, paprika, allspice, and crushed red pepper in a food processor until finely chopped. Season with salt.  Place lamb in a large dish and rub with the spice mixture. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours (you can also marinate overnight).

Prepare grill for medium-high heat and oil the grate. Grill lamb to desired doneness and let rest five minutes before serving.

For the potatoes:

In a small bowl, mix the butter, chives, sour cream, salt and pepper until smooth. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. 

Slice a raw potato cross-wise at 1/3-inch intervals, cutting down but not all the way through. Add chive butter to each slice. Wrap each potato in aluminum foil. Set the potatoes on the grill over low heat and cook until tender, about 45-50 minutes, turning occasionally. Garnish with more sour cream and chives.

How I eat it: with sautéed green beans on the side and a glass of cabernet

Lamb adapted from Bon Appetit; Potatoes adapted from Food & Wine

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skirt steak with accordion potatoes & cucumber-radish salad

the full meal

Oh, yes — spring is upon us. And it’s finally starting to feel like it (okay, maybe I’m jumping the gun a little bit with that statement). I know I haven’t posted since January but here I am, back with a full meal for you.  And even better, it’s a meal for the grill to get you pumped up for the warmer weather to come!  I know a post with a meal may be overwhelming, but I am always debating what sides to make with a certain meat or fish, so I hope you find the ideas helpful!

This Sunday dinner was inspired by the May 2013 Food & Wine Magazine.  All three components of this meal are a slightly modified recipe from the spring-filled edition.

Ingredients

For the skirt steak:pre-mise en place

  • 2 lbs. skirt steak, trimmed of fat and scored
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

For the potatoes:DSC_0719

  • 1 lb. fingerling or baby white potatoes
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • bay leaves

For the salad:

  • 1 large cucumber or 3 Kirby cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small dried red chile, crushedsmoked peppahs
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 large radishes, thinly slice
  • 1 cup mixed herbs (I used parsley and dill)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

For the steak:

In a food processor, combine parsley, red onion, red pepper flakes, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and salt and pepper. Puree until nearly smooth.  Scrape marinade into large resealable bag. Add steak and turn until well coated, pressing marinade into steak.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Remove steak from marinade and let stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.  Light a grill, oil the grates, and brush steak with oil. Grill steak over high heat, turning once or twice, until lightly charred outside and medium inside (about 5-6 minutes per side).

Transfer steak to carving board and let sit for 10 minutes.  Slice across the grain.

marinade   DSC_0780

For the potatoes:

Slice potatoes at 1/8-inch intervals, cutting down but not through the potatoes.  Transfer to a baking sheet covered with tin foil. Whisk olive oil with paprika.  Drizzle potatoes with 5 (out of the 6) tablespoons olive oil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.  Insert small bay leaf into each potato and roast 45 minutes longer. (Note: Roasting time may depend on how large your potatoes are or how well your oven cooks — I adjusted the initial recipe times of 20 and 20 minutes.) Remove potatoes from oven, discard bay leaves, and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

paprika oil   little potatmins

For the salad:

In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine the cucumbers, garlic, chile, sugar, salt and 1 tablespoon of the lime juice.  Seal bag, shake, and squeeze slightly to mash the cucumbers and release the juices.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Drain cucumbers, reserving 2 tablespoon of cucumber juices. Discard garlic and chile. Whisk cucumber juice with remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add cucumbers, sliced radishes, and herbs. Season salad with pepper.

DSC_0755   DSC_0716

DSC_0772

Recipes adapted from Food & Wine Magazine

How I eat it: with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon =)

sausage, fig, & spinach pizza

Grilling pizza dough = best idea ever.  Actually, grilling anything seems to make it better.  I love that smoky flavor and those charred edges that you get when you prepare a meal on the grill.  Surprisingly, everyone in my family, even my picky dad and brother, loves this sausage and fig pizza so it has become a common summer dinner.

This recipe was inspired by one that I found in Food & Wine last summer.  My mom and I made quite a few changes to the original recipe and last night I think we really perfected it. Sorry for the lack of measurements, but really you can put as much or as little of each ingredient on your pizza as you want. Take away the sausage and it makes for a yummy vegetarian pizza too!

Ingredients

Fresh pizza dough, regular or whole wheat — we use 2 store-bought packages to make 4 large “personal” pizzas

Italian hot sausage — a 1 lb. package is more than enough for 4 pizzas

Shredded mozzerella cheese 

Red onion, sliced

Olive oil

Fig preserves

Fresh spinach

Fresh basil


Method

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Boil sausages for 15-20 minutes — I learned from my mom that this assures that the sausages are thoroughly cooked, they are not something you want to eat rare!  It also reduces fat content in the sausages. Meanwhile, prepare barbeque on medium-high heat. Grill sausages until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove sausages from grill, slice, and set aside.

Heat about 1 teaspoon olive oil (enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan) in a small saute pan.  Add onions and let cook until soft, stirring often.

On a well-floured board, roll out the pizza dough to your desired shape and thickness (we like our dough pretty thick, so we roll it out to about a half inch in thickness).  Brush top with olive oil.

Grill pizza dough (side brushed with olive oil down) until golden brown, about 4 minutes.  Brush the other side with olive oil and turn over.

Top pizzas with cheese, sausage, and onions.  Cover and grill for about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and bottom is golden brown.  Remove pizzas from grill and top with fig preserves, spinach, and basil.

Recipe inspired by Food & Wine’s Grilled Sausage and Fig Pizza

How I eat it: LOTS of cheese, light on the fig preserves, & with some freshly cracked pepper on top.

For some reason our pizzas always end up in this odd, oblong shape – but hey, it doesn’t change the taste!