Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Ribs

Potluck at my friend Mary's for Memorial day. Everyone contributed, Mary made pasta salad, Diane brought a green salad-she grew the lettuce, she's a big gardener, Pat brought garlic bread-he burnt it. Judy brought white cake with chocolate frosting-she bakes from scratch-no mixes. My contribution was the ribs. I made three kinds, Tandoori, terriyaki, and sweet barbeque. I didn't get a picture of the bbq, but here are the other two. I just sliced them all and loaded them into my larger copper oval pan. Caitlyn, (pat's daughter and Dan's niece) played her sax for us. She is an accomplished musician and will be studying music at SIUE next year after she graduates high school. We all laughed and played cards until late into the night. A great big slice of Americana.
This tandoori paste is also really good on rotisserie chicken.


2 cups of plain yogurt

1/4 cup grated fresh ginger root

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 hot chili (I used a bird's eye), minced

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 Tablespoon cumin seed

1 Tablespoon mustard seed

1/4 cup commercial tandoori spice

Combine all of the ingredients except the yogurt in a mortar and pestle and mash into a paste.

Spread the paste over two racks of baby back ribs and marinate over night.

Grill over indirect heat until the ribs are tender, brushing with additional yogurt mixture, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours-keep the heat very low.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Crawfish Boil at the couple's wedding shower

The ubiqitous shower (both wedding and baby) is changing. In the past few years I've cooked for more and more couples showers. These showers usually move to the evening rather than afternoon, and the boyfriends, husbands, fathers, brothers and other males are invited to these formerly all female occaisions. The typical shower menu of chicken salad, tea sandwiches, and petit four are also becoming more male-friendly. One recent hostess chose a crawfish boil although she wasn't a big fan of crawfish. We added lots more shrimp, although crawfish were definitely present.

I purloined (can purloined be a verb?) anyway, I took some leftovers to use for breakfast the next day, which I made while watching the Sunday political shows. I cut the corn from the cobs, and sauteed everything in some butter, deglazed the pan with some Marsala wine and poured it all over grits. Just incredible.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Birthday Lunch

I celebrated my 56 th birthday last Sunday (a couple days late). My parents were visiting, so I decided to make something special. I chose lobster, corn on the cob and fingerling potatoes. My parents are such light eaters I didn't make any hors douevre or salad. I did mix up a pitcher of Whiskey Sours, which is a cocktail that their generation really seems to appreciate. Birthday cake was purchased at Wei Hong, a chinese bakery on Grand Avenue a couple of blocks from my house. We served chocolate gelato with it.

I count myself blessed to be able to celebrate with my parents this year. It was a lovely day.

Whiskey Sour
1 orange sliced
1 lemon sliced
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups of bourbon
Muddle the fruit with the sugar and let it sit for 1/2 hour to draw out the juices and oils.
Combine the rest of the ingredients in a larger pitcher and chill until ready to serve.
To serve pour over ice and garnish with lemon, orange and maraschino cherry.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Braised Lamb Shank

It has been such a cold and rainy Spring that a braised dish seemed perfect for a late lunch last Sunday. I gave this one some Moroccan flavors with dried plums and apricots, olives, orange, cinnamon, and cumin.

1 or 2 meaty lamb shanks

1/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 T oil

6 dried apricots

6 dried plums

2 small turnips, quartered

4 red "B" potatoes, quartered

2 carrots, sliced

1 onion, sliced

2 cups of beef stock

1 cup red wine

Zest and juice of one orange

1 cinnamon stick

1 T cumin seeds
1/4 cup mixed green and black olives

Dust the shanks with the seasoned flour

Brown the shanks in the hot oil in a Dutch oven

Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil

Cover the Dutch Oven and place in a preheated 300 degree oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours
1/2 hour before finishing cooking, add the olives