Search This Blog


Aug 20, 2015

Rib Ticklin’

If you love beef on the grill but have been less than satisfied with how your grilled ribs turned out, you are not alone.  The best beef ribs are slow roasted or grilled over low heat for hours until the meat is literally melting off the bones. Most home cooks don’t want to spend hours at the grill watching and turning the ribs. Boiling the meat in a marinade, brine or juice mixture eliminates the need to cook the meat for hours yet achieves the same tender, finger-lickin’ results.  In addition, having the ribs precooked allows you to begin preparing earlier in the day freeing up your time for last minute things like salad and side dishes. You don’t even need to feel like you are cheating on the grilling—just say “all the best barbecue cooks are doing it this way”!
Try one of our tasty recipes today and be sure to stock up on napkins!

for the ribs:
15-18 spare ribs on the bone
1 cup bourbon (Old Williamsburg shnapps)
2 cups water

for the spice rub:
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder

for the sauce:
2 cups ketchup
½ cup honey
1/3 cup bourbon
¼ cup mustard
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons hot sauce, optional

Prepare the ribs:
Place the ribs in a wide stockpot.  Pour the bourbon and water over them and bring to a boil.  Cook one hour over medium heat until the meat is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the liquid and pat dry. This can be done earlier in the day and refrigerated once the ribs are cooked.
Grill the ribs:
Grease the grill racks with an oil-dampene

d paper towel.  Preheat the grill on high for 10 minutes if you are using a gas grill.  In a charcoal grill, allow the briquettes to burn until uniformly grey.   Mix together all the spice rub ingredients.  Sprinkle spices on the ribs, coating generously.  
Turn off two burners and lower the remaining one to medium on a gas grill or arrange the charcoal to cover 1/3 of the bottom of the barbecue.  Arrange the ribs on the rack over the area that has no flame or coals.  Close the grill and allow ribs to cook for 45 minutes.  The temperature in the grill should be between 300 and 325 degrees. 
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepot.  Bring to a boil and continue to cook until sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes.
Open the cover and spread the sauce liberally over the ribs, turning to coat both sides.  Grill 15 minutes longer or until meat pulls easily away from the bone.  Spread with more sauce before serving.

Here’s an even simpler version:

2 1⁄2-3 lbs beef ribs
16 ounces barbecue sauce; original or hickory flavored

Place the ribs in an 8-quart stockpot. Add enough water to cover ribs. Mix in about 1 cup barbecue sauce to the water. Cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat. Simmer covered for 2 hours, until ribs are tender.  This can be don’t a few hours before dinner.
Preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium.
Remove ribs from water and place in a large bowl. Brush the ribs generously with additional barbecue sauce.
Transfer ribs to preheated grill. Close grill lid. Grill for 10 to 20 minutes, basting generously with barbecue sauce & turning often. Be careful not to overcook the ribs, as they will dry out

Aug 13, 2015

Tomato, Tomahto

Once thought to be poisonous, tomatoes are now one of the widely consumed vegetables and summertime is the best time to enjoy them.  Tomato farming has expanded to include amazing varieties of multicolored and deliciously flavored species. Tomatoes range from the darkest of black skin to pale yellow and orange varieties. Each is carefully cultivated and perfected. Some varieties are grown from old seeds and are known as Heirloom Tomatoes. Others are new breeds created by grafting different colors and shapes.
Enjoying tomatoes during the summer months when their flavor is at its peak requires nothing more than a sprinkle of salt or a drizzle of olive oil. Slice colored tomatoes, season and enjoy a feast for the eyes and tongue.
Roasting and grilling tomatoes enhances their sweetness and makes a great addition to your favorite burger. Serve broiled or grilled tomatoes with pesto or layer them with portabella mushrooms for a delicious appetizer. 
Store tomatoes on your countertop; never in the refrigerator. The cold destroys their amazing flavor. Use raw tomatoes within a few days or cook them in your favorite sauce. 

This salad is a feast for the eyes before it touches your tongue!

1 pound scrubbed small beets
2 pounds tomatoes, heirloom or colored
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, checked
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beets in a foil packet, sealing tightly. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, about 75 minutes. When cool, rub beets with a paper towel to remove skins; slice. Slice large tomatoes, and halve cherry tomatoes, then arrange with beets on a platter. Top with feta, basil, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Spaghetti and Fresh Tomato Sauce
This is a far cry from pasta with a can of tomato sauce thrown over it!

2 1/4 pounds ripe tomatoes (choose pretty colored ones)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, checked
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, checked
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (from 2 garlic cloves), plus more if desired
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound spaghetti or linguine
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Finely chop tomatoes, basil, parsley, and garlic, and mix together with oil (or pulse ingredients, including oil, in a food processor to blend).
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, and toss it in a serving bowl with the raw sauce. Transfer to 6 shallow bowls, and drizzle with oil. Serve with cheese.

Gazpacho is a cold soup made of pureed raw tomatoes. Traditionally made of red tomatoes, this light colored version will enhance any summer meal.

1 1/4 pounds ripe yellow tomatoes
1 1/4 pounds ripe orange tomatoes
½ an English cucumber, peeled and seeded
10 yellow grape tomatoes, quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
4 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
For garnish: 2 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped or diced tomatoes or croutons

Using the large holes of a box grater, grate yellow and orange tomatoes, into a large bowl; discard skins. Using the small holes of the box grater, grate cucumber into bowl with tomatoes.
Add grape tomatoes, garlic, vinegars, salt, and oil. Season with pepper. Whisk well to combine. Refrigerate gazpacho until chilled, at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day).
Divide chilled gazpacho among 4 bowls. Top each with garnish just before serving.

Aug 6, 2015

Soup? Cool!

These soups are cool! Chilled soup recipes are unique because many are not even cooked.  Pureed vegetables with added flavorings are extremely refreshing.  They also keep your kitchen cool and comfortable.  Others are cooked then chilled for a few hours before serving.  Many cold summer soups are made of fruits while others may even combine veggies with fruit for unique flavor combinations.
This next recipe is great for do-ahead cooks.  It tastes better a day after it is made—so go ahead and prepare it in advance.
For the soup:
3 cups whole milk
3 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut from cobs, cobs broken in half and reserved *
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cups water
2 tablespoons parsley, checked and chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 bay leaf
Ground white pepper

For the garnish:
1/3 cup fresh corn kernels cut from about 1/2 ear of corn
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Sour cream

Bring milk and reserved corncob halves (not kernels) just to boil in heavy medium pot. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep while sautéing vegetables.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sprinkle with salt and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes (do not let onion brown). Add corn kernels, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook until vegetables are soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups water, herbs, bay leaf, and milk with corncobs. Increase heat and bring to boil. Cover partially, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors.
Discard corncobs and bay leaf. Cool soup slightly. Puree soup using a blender until very smooth. Strain into a large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Season soup to taste with salt and white pepper. Cover and chill overnight.
Mix corn, scallions, and pinch of cayenne. This can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature or refrigerate overnight.
To serve, allow soup to come to room temperature. Divide among bowls. Sprinkle with corn and scallion mixture.  Top with a teaspoon of sour cream and serve.
*This recipe can be prepared from frozen corn cobs; just defrost before beginning.

3 ripe avocados
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup walnut halves
1/3 cup fresh dill sprigs, plus more for garnish (optional)
1/3 cup diced red onion,
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Halve and pit two avocados. With a spoon, scoop out flesh and transfer to a blender or food processor. Add milk, butter walnuts, dill, red onion, vinegar, salt, and 1 cup water and puree until smooth.
Cover the blender and refrigerate until the soup is well chilled, at least one hour. Halve and pit remaining avocado. Cut into four sections lengthwise, and then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch chunks. Divide soup among four bowls and garnish each with diced avocado and dill, if desired.

If you like things cold and “hot” our next soup is for you! Very cool cucumbers combined with hot wasabi cream are a unique combination.

Chilled Cucumber Soup
3 English cucumbers, peeled and cut in chunks
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

For the avocado  cream:
1 ripe California avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 (8-oz) container plain yogurt
2 finely chopped scallions
1 1/2 cups ice cubes
Garnish: finely chopped scallion greens

Purée cucumbers with water, vinegar, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
Mash together avocado, lemon juice, and remaining teaspoon salt until smooth. Whisk in yogurt and pepper to taste.
Just before serving, blend soup with ice until smooth. Serve topped with avocado cream and a sprinkle of chopped scallions.

Jul 30, 2015

Grilled Goodness

There is no reason that grilling should get a bad rap! Grilling can be a healthy method of cooking and one does not need to indulge in hot dogs every time you turn on the heat. Make sure you serve plenty of vegetables along with meat and chicken prepared on the grill and you will never feel like you are copping out on your family’s well-being.
Grilled vegetables can be simple sliced vegetables brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Choose vegetables that cook quickly like zucchini, mushrooms and peppers so you don’t have to watch over them for long.  You can also incorporate grilled vegetables into delicious salads and side dishes for your next barbeque.

For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup parsley leaves, checked and chopped

For the salad:
4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed and discarded
4 ripe plum tomatoes, halved
1 Vidalia onion, sliced in rounds
1 bag checked romaine hearts

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium hot.
Whisk the vinegar with the mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream to make a smooth, slightly thick vinaigrette. Whisk in the parsley and set aside.
Lay the mushrooms, tomatoes and onions out on a pan and lightly brush them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms on the grill smooth side down. Grill until juices collect in the cap and mushrooms soften, about 3 minutes. Turn them over and cook until slightly charred around the edges and the center is very tender, about 3 minutes more. Put the tomatoes on the grill skin side down and grill until juicy and charred, about 6 minutes. Grill the onions, turning once or twice, until they are tender, about 20 minutes.
Divide the romaine, mushroom caps, tomatoes and onions among 4 plates. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salads and serve.

12 medium portabella mushroom, stems removed
2 large beef tomatoes
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt

for the pesto:
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves, washed, dried and checked
½ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
½ cup pine nuts (pignolia)
½ teaspoon kosher salt

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine basil, garlic and pine nuts.  While the motor is running, pour in the oil.  Turn off the food processor.  If the mixture seems too stiff to spread, add 1-2 tablespoons more olive oil and process once more.  Season with salt and set aside.
Preheat the grill for 10 minutes.  Using a small spoon, scrape away the black gills on the underside of the mushrooms.  Clean the mushrooms by wiping with a damp paper towel—no need to peel.  Slice the tomatoes into three rounds and remove as many seeds as you can without damaging the flesh.  Brush both the mushrooms and the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place the mushrooms on the grill, cap side down and grill for 6-7 minutes.  Turn them over and use a spatula to press out as much liquid as possible.  Grill another 4 minutes and remove.  Place the tomatoes on the grill and cook for 7-8 minutes then carefully turn with a spatula.  Once again, use the spatula to press out as much liquid as you can.  Grill 5-6 minutes longer and remove.
Set 6 portabella caps stem side up on a platter.  Place a tomato slice on each cap.  Spread a heaping tablespoon of pesto on each tomato.  Top with another mushroom cap to form a little sandwich.  Serve at room temperature.
Hearty appetite!

Jul 23, 2015

Breaking the Fast

We have all been told that 3 glasses of water is the way to go when breaking a fast; it hydrates and keeps you from over-eating heavy foods that will make you feel sick. But once you’ve watered your system you will want to enjoy a light filling meal that doesn’t require lots of preparation. One of the first things that come to mind is omelets. Adding some vegetables makes it an even better option.

2 large or extra large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
Paper towel dampened with a bit of canola oil

Crack and check the eggs and pour into a mixing bowl and beat them until they turn a pale yellow color.
Heat a heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet or frying pan over medium-low heat. Wipe the pan with the oil-dampened paper towel.
Add the milk to the eggs and season to taste with salt and pepper. Try to beat as much air as possible into the eggs. When the pan is hot enough, pour in the eggs. Don't stir! Let the eggs cook for up to a minute or until the bottom starts to set.
With a heat-resistant silicone spatula, gently push one edge of the egg into the center of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the still liquid egg to flow in underneath. Repeat with the other edges, until there's no liquid left.
Your eggs should now resemble a bright yellow pancake, which should easily slide around on the nonstick surface. If it sticks at all, loosen it with your spatula.
Now gently flip the omelet over, using your spatula to ease it over if necessary. Cook for another few seconds, or until there is no uncooked egg left.
If you're adding any other ingredients, now's the time to do it. You can add shredded cheese, diced vegetables or chopped herbs. Spoon your filling across the center of the egg in straight line.
With your spatula, lift one edge of the egg and fold it across and over, so that the edges line up. Cook for another minute or so, but don't overcook or allow the egg to turn brown. If necessary, you can flip the entire omelet over to cook the top for 30 seconds or so. Just don't let it get brown.
Gently transfer the finished omelet to a plate. Serve immediately.

A frittata is somewhere between a kugel and an omelet. 

4 tablespoons butter
1 large potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
8 ounces frozen peas, thawed
8 ounces frozen corn niblets, thawed
5 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning or oregano and basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a 9-10 inch frying pan melt the butter over medium heat. When it begins bubbling add the potatoes and fry the potatoes very gently until soft, being careful not to brown. Add the peas and corn and heat through.
Beat the eggs with the milk, season with salt and black pepper to taste; add Italian seasoning. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cook until nearly set, gently pushing aside the eggs to allow any raw batter to run underneath.  Continue cooking without stirring, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent the frittata from sticking, until the bottom is golden and cooked and the mixture set. Using a large dinner plate, flip the whole thing over so that it is transferred to the plate cooked side up.  Add 1 spoon of oil to the frying pan and slide the frittata back in. Cook for another four to five minutes until it is brown on the second side. Cut into wedges and serve warm with salad.

Wishing all an easy fast!

Jul 20, 2015

Dairy Delights

If your family is strictly “meat and potatoes”, finding dairy recipes that will satisfy may present a challenge.  Unless you prepare fish for dinner most people find dairy meals to be a lot less filling than fleishigs.  You may find yourself with your head in the refrigerator shortly after leaving the table—not great for dieters and those watching their weight.  To round out the meals always include low calorie soups and salads.  Pasta dishes with added vegetables are nourishing and need not be loaded with fat.  You can even try them with whole wheat pasta for added fiber. Here are some ideas for you to try this week.

For the crumbs:
3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs from leftover challah
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup parsley, checked and chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, divided

For the mushrooms:
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 cup)
1 cup hot water
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/4 pounds fresh white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, checked and chopped
1/2 kosher teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup milk
1 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Butter a 13- by 9-inch or other 3-quart glass or oven-to-tableware dish.
Spread out crumbs in a shallow baking pan and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, then toss with garlic, parsley, olive oil, pepper, and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
Soak porcini in boiling-hot water in a bowl until softened, about 20 minutes.
Drain porcini in a sieve set over a bowl and reserve soaking liquid, then rinse porcini. Pat dry and finely chop.
Heat butter and olive oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté onion and garlic, stirring, until onion is golden, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms, oregano, parsley salt, and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms are browned, about 10 minutes.
Stir in chopped porcini, reserved soaking liquid, and milk and simmer 1 minute.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a 6 quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until al dente. Drain in a colander, then transfer to baking dish and stir in mushroom mixture and remaining cheese.
Sprinkle bread topping evenly over pasta and bake, uncovered, until crumbs are golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

32 jumbo pasta shells
32 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
15 ounces ricotta or farmer cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (about 4 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese, divided 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled
½ teaspoon nutmeg
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups marinara or spaghetti sauce, homemade or store-bought

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook pasta shells in 6 quarts boiling water for 10 minutes or just al dente. Drain and rinse.
Squeeze spinach dry and place spinach in a large bowl. Add ricotta or farmer cheese, mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, nutmeg, basil and garlic to bowl. Stir in salt and pepper and mix well to blend all filling ingredients.

 Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce evenly over the bottom of 9x13-inch baking dish. Fill each pasta shell with 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons spinach mixture. Place shells, filling side up, in dish. Pour remaining marinara sauce over shells. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Cover loosely with foil and bake until heated through, about 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Jul 9, 2015

More S’mores

A few years back we told you about the incredible popularity of s’mores.  The word “s'more” appears to be a contraction of the phrase, "some more". This informal name reflects the fact that s'mores are traditionally served when you’re just hanging around.  Its meaning indicates that folks enjoying them around a campfire are not satisfied by just one. Some have theorized that the name originated from people who were so busy eating the tasty treat that they did not have time to speak in complete sentences, or possibly, that their pronunciation was compromised by the fact that their mouth was still full of the previously eaten s'more.
S'mores were originally associated with camping and bonfires. Part of the enjoyment of this simple dessert is the way in which it is made on such camping trips. A marshmallow is skewered on the end of a skewer and held just above a campfire until its outer surface starts to brown. Once heated, the inside of the marshmallow becomes soft or molten. The marshmallow is quickly pinched off its stick with the waiting graham crackers, one of which has a piece of chocolate on it. Ideally, the heat from the roasted marshmallow partially melts the chocolate. However, you don’t need a campfire to make delicious versions of s’mores at home. Try one of our tasty recipes below for kid-friendly dessert.
A whole s’more culture has sprung up with s’mores appearing in cupcakes, pies and even rolled up desserts.

Deep Dish S’mores
One 12-ounce bag mini chocolate chips
3 cups mini marshmallows
Graham crackers, broken into squares, for dipping
Preheat the broiler on high.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly into a heat-proof skillet or oven-to-table dish. Spread the marshmallows over the chocolate chips. Place the skillet under the broiler until browned on top.
Serve with graham cracker squares for dipping.

S’mores Pie
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine, at room temperature
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3 full graham crackers
1 12 ounce bag mini chocolate chips
3 cups miniature marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream together the brown sugar, and margarine. Beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir.
Grind the graham crackers in a food processor or blender until crumbs. Stir in with the dry ingredients.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and press into the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch oven-safe skillet or deep pie dish.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove and immediately top with the bag of chocolate chips. Spread the chocolate chips around to coat the entire surface.
Then add the marshmallows. Press them on to cover the chocolate chips. You can add more or subtract some depending on preference.
Broil at 550 degrees for about 30-45 seconds or until the tops of the marshmallows are lightly browned.
Allow to cool and set up before serving.

S’more Ice Cream Pie
1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
3 cups miniature marshmallows
12 ounces mini chocolate chips

Grease a 9-inch pie plate.
Stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar until well blended. Press crumb mixture evenly on bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate. Freeze 5 minutes before filling.
Stir together ice cream, marshmallows and chocolate chips; spoon into crust. Cover; freeze until firm.
Soften slightly to serve. Garnish with whipped cream, marshmallows and chocolate chips, if desired.