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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cavatelli with prosciutto, leeks, & arugula

the dish

Despite my busy school schedule, I treat myself pretty well when it comes to dinner on weekdays.  But the weekend is when I really look forward to cooking and trying new recipes. One of my favorite times of each month is when the new Bon Appetit arrives.  I love browsing through the magazine for inspiration.  This month the pappardelle with arugula and proscuitto really stood out. I love proscuitto and the leeks, lemon, and arugula just screamed spring.  The local grocery store unfortunately didn’t have fresh pappardelle or fettuccine which is what Bon Appetit suggests, so I settled for what has become the usual pasta in my house — cavatelli! Also, I need to credit my neighbors for the Parmesan cheese that I realized we didn’t have right as I started to cook!

fresh flavors

By the way, I am totally aware that it is Cinco de Mayo and I am posting a completely un-festive recipe.  This was actually last night’s meal.  But if you are looking for a celebratory treat try this guacamole or these fajitas which I will be making tonight!

Cavatelli with Proscuitto, Leeks, & Arugula

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen cavatellimise en place
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, quartered lengthwise, sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 bunch arugula (about 4 cups)
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, torn into 1-inch pieces

Method

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large skillet.  Add leeks, and cook until softened but not brown (5-8 minutes).  Add pasta, lemon zest, chives and 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Cook, stirring often and adding pasta water as needed until a glossy sauce coats the pasta (about 4 minutes).

Add arugula, Parmesan, and pepper.  Toss to combine.  Add prosciutto right before serving and toss again.  Garnish with a touch of lemon zest and more Parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

How I eat it: with a lot of Parmesan, crunchy bread, a fresh salad, and Chardonnay

ready to eat!

cheddar cheese & chive puffs

What’s better than cheese? Seriously. The creamy goodness of brie and brown sugar in puff pastry, the salty taste of parmigiano-reggiano on pasta, fresh buffalo mozzerella in a caprese sandwich, or the bite of melted gorgonzola on a nice piece of steak  – I’ll ask you again: what’s better than cheese!?

I came across the basis for this cheese puff recipe while working out. Yes, working out.  What do I do to entertain myself as I elliptical? Watch Food Network. As I attempt to get in shape, I am also discovering new recipes that will do just the opposite.  It’s a vicious cycle. Last week I caught an episode of Barefoot Contessa and Ina was making cheese puffs for her new neighbor.  Even though I love Ina’s recipes, I just really can’t stand her scripted scenarios on Barefoot Contessa.  These shows don’t need a story line! Just show me how to make the food!

Ina used gruyere and parmesan in her puffs, but I decided to use sharp and flavorful New York style cheddar cheese.  Cheddar cheese is also less expensive than gruyere, which is always a plus! I also had some chives on hand that I threw in to add a little extra something. I’m planning on serving them along side this potato leek soup and a fresh chopped salad.

Cheddar Cheese & Chive Puffs

 Ingredients (yields ~20 puffs)

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1 tbsp. chopped chives
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water for egg wash

Method

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg over medium heat until scalded. Add the flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for two minutes over low heat. Transfer the hot mixture to a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Immediately add eggs, cheese, and chives and pulse until the dough is smooth and thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag (or freezer bag with one corner cut) and pipe in small mounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets. With a wet finger, press down tips on the top of each puff so that they don’t burn.  Brush the top of each puff with egg wash and sprinkle with a bit of cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown on the outside, but soft on the inside.

  

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Cheese Puffs

How I eat it: one after another after another..

Before I leave you for today, I must announce some exciting news: Just this weekend my last post featuring french yogurt cake was recognized on Bon Appetit’s “Bloggers Cook BA” page! I was so thrilled to see a picture of my cake and an excerpt from my blog as the caption. Make sure to click the link and check it out – I am picture 10 of 12 under the “Bloggers Cook BA… En Francais” section. You can also see how the cake, and other yummy Bon Appetit recipes, turned out for some other food bloggers!