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Sunday, April 7, 2013

You will love these "Aloha" baby back ribs!

OK, please forgive me, I forgot to take pictures. I know, hard to believe since I usually have my trusty iPhone in hand....but I was so excited by using our new Bradley Electric Smoker that I just got into the recipe and food and failed to take pictures. You will love this recipe if you have a smoker, though!
Brian and Patty came over for dinner tonight. We haven't hung out with them for a while so we wanted to do something special and the first thing we though of was...ribs. And, cole slaw. And, Hawai'i.
Albertsons had a pretty good price for babyback ribs so we bought two full racks. Go Big, or Go Home is our motto!
We marinated them overnight with this mix that I made up since it sounded good and Hawai'ian-ish:
1/2 cup of tamari (dark soy sauce)
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
2 tbsp. of dried ginger ( I could not find fresh for the life of me although I would strongly suggest fresh!)
1/4 cup of pineapple juice ( or whatever you can drain from a small can of chopped pineapple)
1/4 cup of orange juice (or Sunny Delight, hey, use what you got!)
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. Hawai'ian salt (oh! just happened to have some around from our trip in Feb-Mar)
1 Tbsp. of freshly ground Szechwan peppercorns ( or red pepper flakes if you can't find them)

 Then today, I drained the marinade (SAVE THE MARINADE) , patted the ribs dry and deeply seasoned and patted in the following dry rub that was mixed together well:
2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. Hawai'ian salt
2 tbsp. smoked sweet paprika
2 tbsp. light brown sugar

Then, we put them in the smoker at 225 degrees on a couple of racks for 1.5 hours.
Boil the marinade for at least 5 minutes. Add some water if needed, so it doesn't turn into a sludge. Cool.

After the bark has developed on the ribs, remove from the smoker and place each set of ribs in an aluminum foil pack with a little of the boiled marinade brushed on either side. Seal tightly and place all the rib packs on a tray in a 300 degree oven. Bake for 2 hours.

Unwrap, and serve. This does not need sauce. We served a vinaigrette cole slaw, brown jasmine rice and a mix of zucchini and yellow squash.
Sorry for no pics, but I was otherwise engaged!
Oh, and serve with a wonderful old vine Twisted Old Vine Zin. We drank several bottles...and didn't need any desert!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Chili Rellenos

Last night I was flipping through the channels and landed on one of my favorite shows, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives". It's on Food Network (a large source of inspiration for me) and I just love Guy Fieri. He has such a big personality and is so good on TV! He makes everything look delicious! I know he does not appeal to everyone, but I just like him!
He was at a Mexican food restaurant where the owner was using, "Grandma's recipe" for a chili relleno tomato sauce....even though I was not hungry, the sauce cooking in the pot made me drool.  I too, have a delicious sauce recipe for chili rellenos.
Yes, I will admit, I am a Californi-can. Although my heritage is a mix of English, Irish, Scots, French-Canadian and German, I know there must be some Mexican in me from being born and raised in Southern California for 47 years. I have to modestly say that I make extremely good authentic Mexican food!
So, what did I do while watching the show? I started to think about which ingredients I had on hand to make some chili relleno sauce.
We usually have an over abundance of cherry tomatoes each year, and since they are a pain in the neck to peel and seed, I just toss them in a ziplock gallon bag and freeze them to make sauce or whatever during the winter.
I had about a half bag of tomatoes in the freezer, so I tossed them, frozen, into my dutch oven.
I also still have about 12 giant jalapenos in the fridge from the bacon wrapped sausage and cheese stuffed jalapenos experiment from a couple of weeks ago, so I tossed a couple in the pot with three more fresh tomatoes, a chopped onion, 4 cloves of garlic, a tsp. of cumin, oregano and 3 cups of chicken stock. (Homemade, of course) When everything was soft, I blended the heck out of it with my handy stick blender, cooled it off on the counter and put it in the fridge overnight. It tasted fabulous.
On Tuesday, I stopped by the store and picked up some poblano peppers.
I washed and dried them, roasted them in the oven until all sides were blackened.
Then, I carefully put them in a plastic baggie, covered them with a towel, and let them steam for about 20 minutes. (right after I let the baggie lean up against the tray I roasted the peppers in- which was burning hot and melted one of the corners of the plastic baggie. Oh, Well.)
I took the peppers out and picked off the loose skins, but a small slit in the side and yanked out the seeds and stem. OK, I never do that quite right, so I ended up ripping the entire pepper open. This is also when I started to heat my cast iron fry pan with about 3/4 of an inch of oil. I used grapeseed oil since I had a big bottle of it.
Then, I separated 3 FRESH eggs from my backyard hens, especially since I have 4 dozen in the fridge. Anyone need some eggs??  I used a whisk to whip the egg whites into a soft peak stage. Yes, my hand hurt, but this is better than dragging out the Kitchenaid mixer and having to wash all that:)
I whisked the yolks a little, then carefully folded the yolks into the whites. One, two, three quick tosses with a spatula. Gently, gently.

I stuffed the chilis with a chunk of cheese. OK, I only had some white Vermont cheddar in the fridge, but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. It's better than ham salad or lettuce, the other two things in the fridge! (Well, come to think of it, ham salad might have been pretty good) Since I ripped the chilis, I used a toothpick at either end to secure the chilis. I usually remember to pull them out of the chili after frying....most of the time.
Then, I rolled the chilis in a little flour and then dipped them in the egg batter.

Then, I tossed them into the hot oil, two at a time.
I flipped them over a few times until they were golden, brown and puffy and then drained them on a rack over a cookie sheet. I placed them on my plate, and topped them with the warmed sauce from last night.
It was incredibly delicious!
Guess what I'm having for lunch and dinner tomorrow?
Sorry, Kevin. I know you love my Mexican food but you are fishing in Reno so that is the price you pay!
Hope you all enjoy this recipe!
I can't give you exact amounts of what I added, so you will have to just use this recipe as a guide. I do have about 4 quarts of relleno sauce available in my freezer.....