Pulled beef ribs

October 25, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m not the greatest fan of beef ribs on the bone. Sure, they’re great, but pork, chicken, and lamb ribs are better! The main reason is certainly not the flavor, but rather the amount of fascia (connective tissue) and fat that does not melt away at times. So, I decided to slow cook the ribs, pull the meat off, discarding the bad bits, and stewing it into a rich, pulled beef to serve with soft dinner rolls. This isn’t a BBQ, per se. The ribs are braised in heaps of red wine, garlic, onion, celery, oregano, and other spices, then left to cool. Then the bad bits are taken out, and the resulting mass is stewed. Served on soft rolls, with a side of veg, yum!

The detailed recipe is after the photos…

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2 kg (4 lb) beef ribs

2 medium brown onions, minced

6-8 garlic cloves, minced

2 stalks celery, minced

500 ml (2 cups) red wine

1 medium can diced tomatoes (250 g, 8 oz)

2 bay leaves

1 Tb oregano

1 Tb cumin

1 Tb sweet paprika

1 Tb salt

Brown the meat using a bit of oil in an oven-proof dish, then add the onions. Once the onions are sweating, add the garlic and celery. Saute a bit, then add the red wine. Cook down the red wine by a third, then add the rest of the ingredients. Place a layer of parchment paper over the meat, then cover well with foil or lid, etc., and cook in the oven at 150 C (300 F) for about 3 h. Once cooled, pick out the bones, cartilage, fascia, etc., then transfer all the remaining meat and vegetable pulp into a deep dish, and reduce down over low heat until thick and rich. I served it with a side of broccoli and corn, sautéed in a bit of butter, cumin, and black pepper.

Classic pork chop with a bit of spice

It’s been awhile since I’ve cooked a pork chop. Wonderful when cooked properly, dry and chewy if over-cooked. But quick and easy. I’ve added a bit more than the standard salt and pepper, but the result is great.

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4 pork chops, at least 1 inch thick

1 clove garlic, finely minced

2 Tb ground cumin

1 Tb ground ginger

1 tsp ground allspice

salt and pepper to taste (approx. 1 tsp of each)

Mix all the spices and dry rub the pork chops. Let sit at least 30 min, ideally 4-6 h. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (350 F). In an oven-proof skillet, pan fry the pork chops on medium heat in a bit of oil, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the pork chops to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes, then serve. A reasonable amount of pork fat and juices will pool in the pan. Pour a bit over the meat just prior to serving.

Sweet potato, cabbage, and pecan (creamed) soup

This soup is sweet, nutty, and rich. The final addition of cream just before serving provides a smooth, creamy texture. The flavors are reminiscent of sweet potato pie, but there is no added sugar in this soup. All the sweetness is from the sweet potatoes and onions, offset by the cabbage and pecans. I served it with warmed bread from the oven. My girls enjoyed it.

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Ingredients

2 Tb oil

2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and cut into bite-size pieces (I don’t bother peeling; extra minerals and flavor)

1 large brown onion, minced

1/4 green cabbage, shredded

2 cups pecans

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)

1 Tb ground cumin

1/4 tsp each of ground cinnamon, allspice, and mace

1/4 tsp black pepper

salt to taste (most stock will have salt, unless you make your own)

1 to 2 cups cream (depending on final consistency desired)

Saute the sweet potatoes, onion, cabbage, pecans, and garlic until the sweet potatoes start to brown and caramelise. Add the stock and spices, bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat, and cook for about 25-30 min. Using a hand blender, blend the mixture until smooth. While still blending, slowly add the cream until the desired consistency is achieved. Salt if needed.

Spinach, basil, grana and mixed nut pesto

May 17, 2014 1 comment

There is no pretty photo with this post. The photo is portioned pesto for freezing. But the pesto is great, freezes well, twaws easily, and comes in handy for quick and easy meals. My girls love pesto in pasta, and this pesto, packed with spinach, pecans, and walnuts, packs a healthy punch. Taken from the freezer, I put the frozen zip-bag in a bowl of hot water, and by the time the pasta is boiled, it’s ready to toss with the pasta. It’s that simple. Though I often add a few more things on the day. Want some meat? Fry up some chicken thigh. Add some broccoli, some minced green beans, the options are endless. The recipe is below.

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Ingredients

1 lb (1/2 kg) spinach

200-250 g (1/4 lb, 4 oz) fresh basil

8 cloves garlic (approx. 1/2 head)

125 g (3-4 oz) parmesan, grana padano

1/2 grated nutmeg (1 tsp approx.)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 cups each whole pecans and walnuts

1 cup olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tb salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. You will likely need to slowly add the spinach and basil, because of the whole leaf volume, but the processed product will fit into most large food processors. Once thoroughly blended, portion out the pesto into zip-bags or other storage containers, and freeze. I portioned out into 5 large portions (each amount was about 3/4 cup+), each enough to toss with 4-6 servings pasta. If you don’t want pasta, the pesto also works well as a chicken/seafood marinade, or a dip with bread, biscuits, cheese, etc.

Pickled chiles

May 2, 2014 1 comment

I posted a photo of fermenting chiles a while back on Instagram, and now want to follow up with the recipe and final pics of the product. I am so enjoying these pickled chiles. Almost a bit sweet and sour with a hint of garlic and a finish of good heat. I’ve used the pickle as a spread on sandwiches, to spice up nachos, and used in stir-fry. Between the chiles and the probiotics in this pickle, your GI system will love you.

The recipe is easy.

1 kg (2 lb) fresh chiles, stems removed (I used a mixture of long, red and green chiles, cayenne or similar)

2-3 cloves garlic

2 Tb sea salt

1 L (2 cups) apple cider vinegar

In a food processor, blend the chiles, garlic and salt until finely minced. Transfer to a large glass or other non-reactive container, cover, and let ferment at room temperature for 3 days. Add the vinegar, mix well, and leave at room temperature for at least 1 week. I left mine for 3 weeks, as the flavors will develop the longer you age the chiles. Once satisfied with the flavor, return the chile mix to the food processor and blend thoroughly. At this stage you can strain the liquid using a fine sieve for hot sauce, or what I did which was use the mixture as is. Store in the fridge for up to 3 months.

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Hickory smoked pulled pork shoulder with chunky BBQ sauce

April 28, 2014 Leave a comment

I have only had my Texas off-set smoker for a few weeks, and the weekends are the only time I have to devote the time required, so I’m on a learning curve. But having said that, I was very pleased with the outcome. I started with a boneless pork shoulder, skin on and weighing 2 kg (4 lb). I then made a dry rub with the following:

4 Tb salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tb ground cumin

1 Tb ground allspice

1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

I dry rubbed the pork shoulder and left overnight in the fridge. The next morning, I packed the smoke box of the smoker with hickory wood and kindling, set it alight, and let the fire cook down for about 2 h, until there was a substantial amount of smouldering chunks of wood and coal.  I then topped up the wood a bit, closed up the smoker and closed the flues somewhat to limit the burn of the wood and promote smoke. I then placed the pork shoulder in the main portion of the smoker, and smoked it uncovered for 4 h, maintaining the temperature around 100 C (210 F). I then wrapped the shoulder in baking paper and aluminum foil to limit moisture loss, and continued cooking for 3 h (my next try will be to cook uncovered for the full time to see the differences). After resting the pork for 1 h, I ‘pulled’ the pork apart with two forks. The pork was very moist but not dripping wet, very meaty and it had a nice smoke crust on the outside. My first meal with the pork was with fresh bavarian rye bread, a generous portion of pulled pork, and home-made chunky BBQ sauce, which was made with the following:

1/2 butter, unsalted

1 medium onion, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 small can (8 oz, 220 g) whole peeled tomatoes

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 Tb ground cumin

1 Tb dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1 Tb ground sweet paprika

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp salt

Saute the onion and garlic in the butter for a few minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 1 h, until thickened.

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Broccoli quesadilla

April 25, 2014 Leave a comment

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You can put almost anything in a quesadilla and make it appealing. It is also a great way of making a quick meal when you have limited supplies in the fridge. So I always make sure I have tortillas and cheese on hand. On this occasion the fridge was pretty empty but I had broccoli. I sautéed the broccoli with a bit of onion and garlic and a splash of lemon, and cooked until just tender but still with bite. For the cheese I used a mixture of cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan. A simple and easy lunch!

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