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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cookies

The 12 Days of Christmas are upon us, so in celebration I wanted to post another favorite Christmas recipe.  Here's another email from Cindy...

Happy to send you the Choc. Mint sticks recipe:  (It's the one my mom made every year, so it's really special!) 

Cream together until light and fluffy: 

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar

Beat in: 

2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

Blend in: 

2 - 1 oz. squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 c. flour

Pour into greased and floured 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan.  Bake @ 350, 25-35 min.  Cool, spread with mint frosting and choc.

Mint Frosting: 

Combine 1 c. sifted powdered sugar, 1 T. light cream, and 1/2 t. peppermint extract;  Beat well. (tint with 1 -2 drops green food coloring). 

Chocolate glaze: 

Melt 1 1/2 1-oz. squares unsweetened chocolate with 1 T. butter.  Spread over frosting by pouring onto the frosting then tilting the pan so the chocolate evenly disperses.  Chill until firm.

Pepparkaker: the yummy ginger crisp cookies they sell at IKEA, you can make them yourself!
From the kitchen of Linda Engdahl, a good family friend and true Scandinavian.

1 C. butter at room temp.
1 1/2 C. Granulated Sugar
2 T. Dark Karo Syrup
1 egg
3C. Flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. ground/dry ginger
2 t. ground cloves

Cream the butter and sugar, add the Karo Syrup and egg and slowly add the dry ingredient, mix all ingredients well. (do not chill)
Roll to 1/8 to 1/4 in. thickness, cut with cookie cutters and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes until edges are slightly brown.

Sour Cream Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Almond Frosting...The BEST!
From the Kitchen of Cindy Calvin, my Mom

1 C butter
1/2 C. Crisco or vegetable shortening
1 1/2 C. Granulated Sugar
3 C. Flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
2 eggs
3 t. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
 2 C. powdered sugar
2 t. almond flavoring
food coloring

Cream 1/2 C. butter with 1/2 C. Crisco. Add 1 1/2 C. granulated sugar.  In a separate bowl whisk 3 C. white, all purpose flour, 1/4 t. salt, and 1/2 t. baking soda. In a small bowl beat 2 eggs with 3 t. sour cream and 1 t. vanilla.  Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, then add to the creamed sugar.

Cover tightly with Seran Wrap and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, roll the dough to 1/8 in. thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.  Bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes, but do not brown.

After the cookies have cooled completely, they are ready for frosting. 1/2 C. soft butter, 2 C. powdered sugar, 2 t. almond flavoring and 1-2 T. milk depending on your desire for thickness.  Tint with 1-2 drops of food coloring and frost.

In my experience, the cookies are best after being frozen and thawed, but are good fresh too.   

Happy Baking!

Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

Tay's Brew

It's been a year of brewing and bottling.  18 distinct beers of have been crafted and it's only getting better with time.  If you haven't had a Beahrs Brew be sure to stop by and have Taylor select you the perfect pint.
Chinook IPA

Cream Ale

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall Soups

Famous Barr's Department Store French Onion Soup with my addition of homemade croutons

Serves: 16, Yield: 4 Quarts
5 lbs onions, peeled
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons paprika
1 bay leaf
7 (16 ounce) cans beef broth, divided (recommended Swanson's)
1 cup dry white wine 
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (such as Wondra) or 3/4 cup instant flour (such as Wondra)
caramel coloring (optional) or Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
French baguette (optional)

swiss cheese or gruyere cheese 
Prep Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 4 1/2 hrs
Peel onions and slice 1/8 inch thick, preferably in a food processor.
Melt butter in a 6-quart (or larger) stockpot. Add onions; cook, uncovered, over low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
(The long cooking time makes the onions mellow and sweet.) Stir in pepper, paprika and bay leaf; saute over low heat 10 minutes more, stirring frequently.
Pour in 6 cans broth and wine. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
Dissolve flour in remaining 1 can broth.
Stir into boiling soup.
Reduce heat and simmer slowly for 2 hours.
Adjust color to a rich brown with caramel coloring, season with salt. Refrigerate overnight. To serve, heat soup in microwave or on stove top.
If desired, pour into ovenproof crocks or bowls.
Top with a home made croutons and a sprinkling of grated cheese. Heat under the broiler until cheese melts and bubbles, about 5 minutes.
Leftover soup can be frozen.

    One of my dear friends just made this soup and pointed out I needed to explain how to do the croutons.  Super Easy and SO worth it!

    French or Rustic bread is best, the nice thing about croutons is you can use bread you've stored in the freazer or slightly stale bread and they still turn our great.  Cut into cubes, drizzle with olive oil and lightly season with kosher salt. Place on a baking sheet, single layer in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes, keeping an eye on the coloration, they should brown slightly.  SO GOOD!

    by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen
    Linguiça, a garlicky Portuguese sausage, and andouille, a smoky Cajun sausage, are both available at most supermarkets.
    Yield: Makes 4 servings
    Active Time: 45 minutes
    Total Time: 45 minutes

    1 16-ounce bag dried green split peas (2 1/3 cups)
    12 ounces fully cooked smoked pork linguiça or andouille sausages
    8 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
    5 Turkish bay leaves
    3 to 4 cups coarsely chopped kale

    Combine split peas, whole sausages, 8 cups broth, and bay leaves in heavy large pot. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until peas are tender, stirring occasionally, 30 to 35 minutes.
    Transfer sausages to cutting board. Cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick half-rounds.
    Puree soup (including bay leaves) 1 cup at a time in blender until smooth; return to same pot. Add sausages and greens. Thin with more broth if necessary. Simmer soup until greens soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    I used Trader Joe's Sweet Italian Sausage and it was delicious!

    Golden Potage Soup Served with Wheat Toast and Brie

    My first job out of college was was working for Brenda Langton at the late Cafe Brenda in Minneapolis and then Spoonriver by the Guthrie and Stone Arch Bridge.  Some of my favorite dishes out of her Cafe Brenda Cookbook are soups. 

    Potato Leek Soup

    I got this recipe from the Alice Waters "The Art of Simple Food" Cookbook, which my Brother in Law Rob gave to me a few Christmases ago. This is one of my favorite cookbooks because of its simple yet sensitive use of great ingredients.   I'm always using something fresh in a way that brings out the truest flavors. I got my leeks from the Oak Park Farmers Market.

    Makes 4-6 Servings

    Trim off the root and upper tough end from 2 Lbs. of Leeks
    Cut the trimmed leeks lengthwise in half and slice thinly.  Rinse in a bowl of cold water, let the leeks drain. 

    Melt over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot 3 T. butter
    Add the leeks along with: 
    2 thyme springs
    1 bay leaf

    Cook until soft, about 10 minutes and add: 
    1 lbs. yellow potatoes halved quartered and sliced into bite sized pieces
    Cook the potatoes for 4 minutes then add 6 cups of broth or water.
    (I used vegetable broth)

    Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender, but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.  Alice suggests to stir in 1/3 C. of heavy cream, but I left this out and was very happy with the simple broth. If you add the cream do not boil once it has been added.  She also suggests blending the soup before adding the cream, but I enjoyed the texture as it was.

    Garnish with parsley and fresh ground pepper

    Saturday, November 6, 2010


    Taylor's contribution to the test kitchen, a Sunday afternoon batch of Limoncello, you get the idea. 

    Taylor met a man named Dave at the Ridgeland Dog park who convinced him that Limoncello was his next project.  Taylor came home asking me to pick up 20 lemons at the store. Okay...

    The basic ingredients:
    Everclear 180 proof
    Lemon Zest

    Taylor made the simple syrup this weekend and integrated it into the Everclear/Lemon jug.  After 3 weeks we had our first taste.  I think it needs another week now that we added the sugar. 

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Phyllo Dough Chicken Pot Pie with Bacon and Marjoram

    by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen
    Crème fraîche—a French heavy cream that's slightly sour—can be found in the dairy section of some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.
    Yield: Makes 4 servings
    5 applewood-smoked bacon slices
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    12 ounces peeled whole baby carrots (about 2 1/2 cups)
    1 8-ounce package trimmed haricots verts or other slender green beans, halved crosswise
    4 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram
    1 3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
    2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon crème fraîche
    3 cups coarsely shredded chicken from 1 small purchased roasted chicken (skin removed)

    1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
    Preheat oven to 450F. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Chop bacon. Add onion to drippings in skillet; sauté until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add next 3 ingredients; stir 1 minute. Add broth; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to mediumhigh and boil until vegetables are almost tender and some liquid is reduced, about 8 minutes. Stir in 2/3 cup crème fraîche, chicken, and bacon. Bring to simmer. Season with pepper. Divide among four 2-cup soufflé dishes.
    Unfold puff pastry onto work surface; roll out to 12-inch square. Cut into 4 equal squares. Top filling in soufflé dishes with pastry; fold edges down onto rims of dish. Brush top of crusts (not edges) with remaining 1 tablespoon crème fraîche. Cut small X in center of crusts; pierce all over with fork. Bake until crusts are golden brown and filling is heated through, about 22 minutes.

    Test-Kitchen Tip:
    You can also make one large pot pie. Place the filling in a 9-inch-diameter deep-dish pie dish. Set the 12-inch pastry square over the filling, then fold down the edges onto the rim. Baking time will still be about 22 minutes.
    I went ahead and used the large pot pie version which turned out great and with less work. The Philo dough added a nice texture and airiness to the typical puff pastry option.  I used half the sheet layer on the top and half on the bottom.  Definitely be sure to use enough cream or creme fraiche so it doesn't dry out.  If you don't have creme fraiche, plain yogurt and whipping cream substitute well. 
    Taylor is begging me to make this again.  

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Red Velvet Cake/Cupcakes

    I made the cupcakes for a co-worker's birthday and the cake for my in-law's trip to Chicago in August.  I can't get enough of this cake and neither can my friends.  It's a hands down winner for birthdays and special occasions.  I also adapted the recipes I found on Epicurios

    Red Velvet Cupcakes Epicurious | February 2008
    by Allysa Torey
    More From Magnolia: Recipes From The World-Famous Bakery and Magnolia's Home Kitchen
    This is one of our most popular cakes at the bakery. Half of the customers love it because they haven't eaten it since their grandmother made it when they were kids, and the other half because they think the red color is really neat. But everyone thinks it's delicious.


    3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
    3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    2 cups sugar
    3 large eggs, at room temperature
    6 tablespoons red food coloring
    3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


    Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.
    To make the cake: In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
    In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
    Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
    When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting between the layers, then ice the top and sides of the cake with Creamy Vanilla Frosting .

    Read More
    I actually use a cream cheese-coconut frosting found on this link.  I think it's much nicer. 

    2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    2 cups sweetened flaked coconut (about 6 ounces), divided

    Beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar; fold in 1 cup flaked coconut. Spread frosting on cupcakes, leaving 1/2-inch plain border; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup coconut.

    Read More

    Read More

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Anne's Lemon Bars

    My sister-in-law, Anne makes the best lemon bars, which I've adopted as my own by adding lemon rind to the short bread and batter.   They were originally made famous as a staple treat at our Prayer Group that met regularly on Wednesday nights. ( I miss you guys!) These are also the bars my boss Ro pays me $20 for, that way when he doesn't feel like sharing with the rest of the office he wont feel guilty. 

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    A few of my favorite things

    Grilled Tuna steaks with Baked Sweet Potatoes dressed with cilantro butter and lime. Sectioned Grapefruit and steamed artichokes. 

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Taylor's Lemon Lime Grilled Shrimp

    Taylor modified the Grilled Shrimp Cocktail recipe on Epicurious, added rosemary and substituted lime juice for lemon.  We served without the cocktail sauce and had grilled veggies from our garden and garlic couscous.  It was delicious!


    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Best Ever Lamb Burger

    One of my absolute favorite dishes, great for the month of August and early September because of the fresh tomatoes. I never expected mint and tomatoes to be such a great pair, but their fresh flavors complement each other well. 

    2 lb. ground lamb
    1/4 c. red onion 
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    6 T. chopped fresh mint, plus fresh sprigs for garnish
    1/2 t. ground cumin
    1 t. salt
    1/2 t. coarsely ground pepper
    24 whole cloves garlic
    4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
    4 - 6 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
    6 slices rustic country style bread

    Combine the lamb, onion, minced garlic, 2 T. of the chopped mint, cumin, 1 t. salt, and 1/2 t. pepper.  Mix well and form 6 patties.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hr.  

    Bring a small saucepan 3/4 full of water to a boil. Add the garlic cloves and simmer, uncovered, until just soft, 10-15 min.  Drain, and reserve the garlic. 

    In a frying pan over med. heat, warm 2 T. of the olive oil.  Add the tomatoes,the remaining 4 T. of chopped mint, the garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer until the juices evaporate and the sauce thickens slightly, 5-10 minutes.  Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm.  

    Brush the bread slices with remaining 2 T. olive oil and place on grill.  Grill the lamb burgers at the same time, turning once, about 4-5 minutes for each side.  

    To serve, place 1 slice of grilled bread on each plate and top with a lamb burger.  Spoon the warm sauce on top and garnish with the mint sprigs.  Serve immediately. 

    (Williams-Sonoma kitchen library)

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Home-Grown Soup and Salad

    Since I live in Chicago I do everything I can to gather farm produce each time I'm home.  This last time I was home I nabbed a butternut squash out of Jordan and Christie's garden, threw it in my carry on and headed for the airport.  When the bag passed the through the x-ray the two TSA officers looked at each other and said, "thats some gourd".  I piped in with the variety as butternut, they laughed, then sent me on my way.  Traveling with food is always a good idea!

    Butternut squash soup with an apple, walnut salad and muti-grain bread.
    Taylor's home brew #13, the Petite Saision was the perfect beverage to round out the meal. 

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    Clarence's Test Kitchen, Taylor's Pathology Text Book

    Our 10 month old puppy had been roaming the house for the past few weeks while we were at work.  Nothing had gone wrong until Taylor came home to this.  His Pathology Text book in shreds on the floor, the entire renal chapter was torn to shreds.  Needless to say, Clarence is back in his kennel, or as Taylor likes to refer to it, his cell.

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    Dirty Martini

    Kettle One Martini, dirty, with blue cheese stuffed olives... Mmmmm...

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Open Faced Lamb Burgers

    I couldn't locate the recipe online in the William Sonoma Cookbooks, but knew my Mom would have it.  Here's the email she sent me with her typical greeting.  I love my Mom!

    Hi Ruthie-dear, 

    Here's the recipe: Perfect for this time of year when the tomatoes are ripe!

    2 lb. ground lamb
    1/4 c. red onion 
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    6 T. chopped fresh mint, plus fresh sprigs for garnish
    1/2 t. ground cumin
    1 t. salt
    1/2 t. coarsely ground pepper
    24 whole cloves garlic
    4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
    4 - 6 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
    6 slices rustic country style bread

    Combine the lamb, oniln, minced garlic, 2 T. of the chopped mint, cumin, 1 t. salt, and 1/2 t. pepper.  Mix well and form 6 patties.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hr.  

    Bring a small saucepan 3/4 full of water to a boil. Add the garlic cloves and simmer, uncovered, until just soft, 10-15 min.  Drain, and reserve the garlic. 

    In a frying pan over med. heat, warm 2 T. of the olive oil.  Add the tomatoes,the remaining 4 T. of chopped mint, the garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer until the juices evaporate and the sauce thickens slightly, 5-10 minutes.  Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm.  

    Brush the bread slices with remaining 2 T. olive oil and place on grill.  Grill the lamb burgers at the same time, turning once, about 4-5 minutes for each side.  

    To serve, place 1 slice of grilled bread on each plate and top with a lamb burger.  Spoon the warm sauce on top and garnish with the mint sprigs.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!  ( and think of home!)  :-)

    (Williams-Sonoma kitchen library)

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    Buttermilk Buscuits

    A friend is having us for dinner tonight.  When I asked her what I could bring she politely offered the idea of bread.  While I love french or rustic breads I've felt an overwhelming desire for home-made biscuits.   I'm excited for the flaky layers and the golden tops.  I think I'm going to add some fresh thyme and rosemary from our herb garden to the Gourmet recipe I found on earlier this morning. 

    I'll let you know how they turn out.

    Clothes Line!

    When we moved into our condo last July one of the first things on my wish list I was a clothes line, now a year late I finally have one. When I was little our neighbors the Quirks hung the clothes for a family of six outside.  I was friends with the Quirk girls and we spent lots of time in their back yard playing while their Mom hang and removed clothes from spring until fall.

    I always admired the quality that a full clothes line brought to their back yard.  Clean clothes drying in the sun, it was such a simple childhood memory.  I admired that instead of heading into the dark basement, Mary was able to spend time outside while getting her chores done.  I look forward to our next load of laundry and the time I'll get to spend outside hanging and folding our clothes.  Our new line is right outside the kitchen, Taylor rigged up some rope, metal loops and hooks; it's set up, take down at our convenience.

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Grilled Open Faced Portobella Sandwich

    A quick meal with great ingredients

    Grill a baguette that you've brushed with olive oil over medium high heat, 2-3 minutes
    Add the mushrooms that have been drizzled with olive oil, kosher salt and fresh pepper, 2-3 minutes

    Cut the mushrooms into 1/2 in. strips 
    Assemble the mushrooms on the grilled baguette
    Top with Provolone cheese and tomatoes
    Drizzle with a balsamic garlic reduction
    Top with fresh basil

    Taylor made the balsamic reduction...he'll have to weigh in here, the reductions are all him!

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    The Ultimate Comfort Food: Baked Chicken Parmesan

    After a long Monday at work with a few too many client issues that took up more energy than normal, all I wanted was a comforting meal, a glass of wine, and an evening out on our deck.  When looking for comfort, what better place to go than a classic family recipe.

    Grandma Ruth's Baked Chicken Parmesan: recipe coming soon, red potatoes with pan gravy and peas: Another BIG comfort food!

    The Garden Salad (literally, I picked the greens and mint out of the garden) with Red Wine Vinaigrette, Mint, Feta and Cucumber was a nice light accompaniment

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    Taylor's Test Kitchen/Brewery

    I got Taylor a brew kit for Christmas with all the equipment for brewing his own beer.  Since January he has crafted 13 with the Bourbon Barrel Porter as his most treasured brew.  

    The 1st brew, inspired by our trip out to Big Sky, MT Scottish Ale, wort

    Chilling the wort before pitching the yeast

    Seth and Meredith, being the faithful friends that they are came in February to assist with bottling day. 

    Seth is now well on his way to become a brew master with his own equipment, even turning his fridge into a Logger friendly aging environment while Meredith is in Baltimore.  
    We're heading to the Goose Island Brewery this weekend for a tour and some inspiration for these young brewers. 

    Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

    My Mom was on the way down to the Farm when I called her for the recipe she's used over the years, so I searched the web for this one.  It wasn't exactly the same, but it came pretty close.  Mini Chocolate Chips are key, although I'd recommend using more chocolate chips in the batter than a 1/2 cup.  

    Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

    1/4 cup butter, melted
    1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (about 18 cookies)
    3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
    1 can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand)
    3 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1 cup mini chocolate chips
    1 teaspoon flour
    Combine butter and Oreo cookie crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 9" springform pan.
    In a large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until smooth.
    Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
    In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of chocolate chips with the 1 teaspoon flour. Toss to coat. Stir into the cheese mixture. Pour over crust.
    Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over top.
    Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees F, or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool to room temperature and then chill until serving.

    Baby back ribs with my babe

    Taylor threw a side of baby back ribs in our cart while shopping last week.  I had never done ribs, but after reading a recipe in Real Simple, I thought we'd give it a try, how hard could it be?  I seasoned the ribs with a spice rub the night before, then had Taylor precook them in the oven as soon as he got home from the lab, almost 3 hours at 275.  I made my own sauce based off a few good recipes, and Taylor did the final touch by grilling them over charcoals.  

    Clarence was all about the smells coming from the grill and got in on the action a few days later when he found the tongs Taylor had used and forgotten to wash or put away.  Despite a little dirt and a few wood chips, he really enjoyed his little taste of our ribs.

    To balance the rich ribs I made a fresh salad with cucumber, tomatoes, corn off the cob, and avocados.

    Eating outside is a must if you have good weather.

    A happy boon

    Serves 4Hands-On Time: 15mTotal Time: 3hr 30m


    1 tablespoon chili powder

    • 1 tablespoon ground coffee
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • kosher salt and black pepper
    • 6 pounds spareribs (2 racks), trimmed of excess fat

    Mix the spices and rub into the meat, I allowed the meat to sit covered in the fridge for a night with the spice rub before pre-baking them.  Preheat the oven to 275 and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  Finish on the grill, basting with your favorite sauce.  I didn't care for the one on the original recipe so I made my own based off of it, adding: Worcestershire sauce, honey, and maybe a little lime. 2-3 minutes per side. 

    The best ribs I've ever had!

    A Soup with a mind of it's own

    The weather this week was almost cool and called for soup.  I intended to make a black bean soup with lime and cilantro, but without two cans of black bean I added garbanzo beans, a lot more vegetables, (because I had them) and tons of thyme.  The result was a warm pot of savory soup that fed me for dinner, Taylor for a late night snack, and both of us for a few days of lunches.  I'm not sure what I'd call it since it's a soup all its own.  Isn't that the beauty of soup, it's a unique creation every time. I love a good soup!

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    A Vegetarian Feast

    Wild Mushroom Quesadillas adapted from the following link

    Melt 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute

    2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
    4 large garlic cloves, peeled
    3/4 cup chopped onion

    12 ounces fresh wild mushroom, I used Cremini aka baby bella
    and stir until tender

    5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
    6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    2 medium tomatoes, seeded, chopped
    4 teaspoons lime juice
    1/2 cup sour cream

    Heat through for anther 3 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt.Assemble the filling inbetween two tortillas.  Grill on each side over medium high heat 2 minutes or until brown.

    Read More

    Served with my guacamole and home made salsa

    Garbanzo bean salad with corn, raisins, green onion, roasted red peppers, feta and olives, marinated in olive oil and red wine vinegar 

     Matthew Pechanio brought his first ever Peach Pie.  When I called him earlier that afternoon to discuss what to bring he and Kris were blanching peaches.  The result...delicious!