Ribs On The Grill

After the vegetarian meal on Sunday, I made a meal fit for any carnivore. I’ve cooked a lot of different meats on my grill but I hadn’t done ribs yet, in part because Thing 1 and I really love ribs and it would be so disappointing to have them not turn out well. Meijer had frozen ribs on sale for $1.69/lb so I bought two slabs to try my hand with them.

Oh, YUM! They turned out perfectly. It was part of my ‘I’m feeling too lazy to cook’ day, so I just used some bottled Famous Dave’s Sweet and Zesty sauce, our current favorite. Too bad Thing 1 has a sore throat and a little cough because I don’t think she enjoyed them fully. If she were healthy, I’m not sure there would have been leftovers! 😉

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Won Good Soup!

This past weekend both Things 1 and 4 had fevers and tummy ickiness and the rest of us just felt generally worn out. So, while I was in The Grocery Store Saturday AM, I decided to add a little Chinese remedy for what ailed me/us. Won Ton soup. Ever since I was a kid, the only Chinese soup I liked was won ton (well, some restaurants also had one with lots of baby corn, mushrooms, peas, etc — Velvet soup? and I liked it too). True, I’ve never been a huge fan of soup in general, but egg drop just looked vile to me and sweet and sour was too spicy and brown. But, of course, to a kid who loves potstickers, something that looks like potsticker soup sounds perfect. Or as one friend called it — Chinese Tortellini Soup. It has lots of good things for the ill — chicken broth, garlic, ginger . . . mmm!

I probably haven’t made won ton soup in more than 5-6 years, so I was winging it in the grocery and the kitchen. It wasn’t quite my idea of ‘perfect’, but it was good. The youngest three turned up their noses, but the rest of us enjoyed it.

Thing 1 didn’t get to enjoy the added benefit of the ‘potstickers’ I made with extra wontons. They had a hard time in the frying because a won ton wrapper is no where near as thick as a potsticker, but they were good. And you smother them in that wonderful sauce of soy sauce, garlic, chopped dried peppers, and a dash of sesame oil . . . divine! Even The Husband enjoyed the lunch and he’s usually not much of a fan of Asian foods. We wiped those out pretty quickly, so there were no leftovers for Thing 1 when she began to feel better.

Won Ton Soup

Won Tons:
1 lb pork
splash of cooking wine (optional)
2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 can water chestnuts, finely minced
3-4 green onions, cleaned and finely chopped
clove of garlic, finely minced
a little fresh grated ginger
1 pkg won ton wrappers

Mix first seven ingredients together and fill wrappers with a teaspoon or so of meat mixture. Fold won tons to make a triangle, pressing the edge sealed with a little water or egg, then pull the corners from the long side together and press.

Broth:
2 qts chicken broth
soy sauce to taste (2-4 Tbsp)
minced garlic
ginger slices (I did this so I could easily pull it out b/c the kids don’t like it much)
peas
bunch of green onions, sliced

Heat the broth to boiling and add dumplings. Allow them to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Supposedly, when they come to the surface, they are cooked, but I usually let them cook a little longer just to be on the safe side.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Grills!

The funny thing about spring is that one day it’s cool and blustery and the next it’s too hot to think about using the oven for prolonged periods. Yesterday I didn’t want to have the oven on any longer than I needed while making the strawberry rhubarb pie, so I opted to cook our dinner on the grill. I love my grill. Yesterday I found a new reason to love it.

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I grilled a half pork loin. I first rubbed it with crushed garlic and rosemary and then set it on the grill, fatty side down. My grill has a thermometer of unknown reliability, but I think it’s not too far off. I kept the temps between 300 – 400 F; most of the time the gas was at the lowest setting. I grilled this loin for about 1.25 hrs, turning a few times and watching for flare ups. It came out beautifully. This is something I’ll do again and again. I served it with salsa, corn on the cob, asparagus, and green salad.

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He Is Risen!

We had the privilege today to celebrate the Risen Lord with a number of friends. The no-longer-blogging Gorfchild kept our guests from being too impatient while waiting for me to finish cooking by playing his guitar and leading us in some worship songs. I forgot to put the sweet potatoes in the oven, but thought I had, so we were 30 minutes behind schedule. There’s little so frustrating as opening your oven to find it empty when you are striving to have the other dishes finished at approximately the same time! But our friends are too polite to grumble over the tardiness of the meal. 😉

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Notice the abundance of men in blue button-down shirts (4 total)? The Husband is one of them at the end of the table in the bottom pic. When I was gainfully employed as a chemist and I had need of a service technician for my instruments, I learned the HP dress code was a blue button-down. Now I think of it as the ‘nerd uniform’. Hehehe! 😀 I only mean that in the best way — I like nerds, I married one. 😉

I think this was officially our largest Easter dinner. We had 19 adults, 5 kids, and 2 infants. We put 20 people at the big table and had a ‘kids’ table’ for the 4 youngest. The birthday girl (10 today) was very happy about being an ‘adult’ today! 😉

The menu for today:

Lamb roasted with oregano and garlic, rather like the lamb steaks I did earlier
Ham with apricot glaze
Praline Sweet Potatoes
Oven Roasted Yukon Gold potatoes with onion and spices
Steamed Asparagus
Orange Glazed Baby Carrots
Peas
Baby Greens salad with grape tomatoes, olives, and jicama

Dinner rolls (the only thing that I didn’t prepare myself — brown-n-serve rolls)

and for dessert:
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce
Lemon Curd Cake with Fruit
Zucotto (a chocolate bombe)

Recipes and more pictures to come . . . stay tuned!

Leftover Tuesdays #2

David at Cooking Chat started a wonderful event called ‘Leftover Tuesdays’ and Rachel is hosting the second one. I can’t wait to see what everyone cooked up!

I make pork loin about every other week and it’s a good source for leftovers. Sometimes I shred it for BBQ sandwiches or add green chile sauce for burritos, for example. This week I was intending to make a garlic filled Twice Cooked Pork, but plans often go astray. Instead, I made another fairly common meal for our house that I, ever so creatively, call ‘Meat, Beans and Rice’.

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There are a number of different permutations of this — ground beef, chicken, or pork for the meat, for example — but it typically has kidney beans, onions and tomatoes in it and corn makes a frequent appearance. Here’s this week’s method:

Three slices of cooked pork loin, torn into small chunks

1 can green enchilada sauce

1 (15 oz) can kidney beans

1 (15 oz) can corn

1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes

3 green onions (b/c I didn’t have any yellow ones but had these on hand)

cumin

oregano

2 cloves garlic, crushed

I put the pork in a pan and covered it with the green enchilada sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes before adding the beans and corn. I let that simmer a few more minutes before adding the tomatoes and seasonings and then let it simmer until the rice was done. I also made some guacamole to go with it. The Husband had a little sour cream and cheese on top of his.

A Tale of Two Loins

Saturday night is when our small group meets and we share a meal. This week my assignment was ‘main dish’. After being plagued by indecision, I looked through the Meijer ads and decided on pork loin. There are so many things you can do with one of those . . . oh, the choices. Because we number 14 adults and 6 kids, I bought 2 half loins and decided to do them differently.

I’ve mentioned before one of my favorite ways but I also wanted something more . . . interesting. While wandering the grocery aisles, I picked up a jar of inspiration . . . well, actually it came in a burlap sack. I bought some basmati rice and I cooked that with some onion, garlic, carrots and a splash of olive oil. Then I mixed in some (and then some more) jerk seasoning from mathuaerknedam (who doesn’t post enough 😉 ) a good scoop of apricot preserves, lime zest and a little more onion and garlic.

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Then I cut my pork loin in a ‘Z’ cut (cut the top in one direction until 1/2″ from the edge, cut the bottom from the opposite direction until 1/2″ from the edge and lay flat). I spread the rice mixture all over the pork and rolled it up and rubbed pressed garlic over the top. I covered it and baked it in a glass pan at 350F for about 1.5 hr then opened it up, smeared apricot preserves all over the top and baked it uncovered for about 15 minutes. Then I removed it from the oven and let it rest. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pics of the lovely finished product b/c I cut the ends off to keep for us and took the rest to the small group and didn’t stay b/c we had sick kiddos 😦

The other loin I made with garlic rubbed all over and rosemary sprinkled on top (baked similarly w/o the apricot) and I made some chunky applesauce to go with it. The applesauce was made with 5 braeburn apples, 1 golden delicious apple, sugar, a squirt of lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. I cooked it for about an hour but it wasn’t getting very saucy in that time so I added a couple spoons of unsweetened store brand applesauce. It was tasty. We had a discussion about how frequently people combine pork and apple — I actually don’t often, but it makes a tasty combo.

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Stuffed Mushrooms

I was inspired by Brilynn at Jumbo Empanadas and her special creations for the Food Holidays. Today is ‘Stuffed Mushroom Day’. I have been saving some cans of crab meat that were originally intended for the New Year’s Eve party and, boy, am I glad I used them this way!! Actually, tonight’s dinner is going to be the source of three separate posts . . . the Husband came home and wondered if it was my birthday and he forgot! 😉

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I didn’t follow a recipe for these and, as usual, I didn’t measure anything, so this is going to be a ‘free form’ recipe.

I bought four ‘baby portabella’ mushrooms — but they were still a good 2.5-3 inches across. I cleaned those up and scraped out the pretty ridges inside the cap. I saved two of the stems and chopped them into a bowl. I added half a can of crab meat, an egg white, a dab of mayo (2 tsp?), a pinch of breadcrumbs, a couple of squirts of Tabasco, about a tablespoon of very finely minced turkey ham, and about a 1/4 cup of finely shredded mozzarella b/c I didn’t have any more interesting cheese on hand.

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I put a bit of that on top of each mushroom, to fill the caps. I topped it with some more finely shredded mozzarella.

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I baked them in a 350 F oven for about 20 minutes.

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Then I served them with dinner. The kids, who moaned in agony that I would cook yucky blecky mushrooms (despite my telling them it wasn’t for them, but a treat for Mom and Dad), suddenly wished I had made more than 4 because, man, these are GREAT!!!

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