Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Oven-Roasted Barbecued Ribs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Recently someone asked my husband who makes his favorite barbecued ribs. I was so proud when he said, "my Mother-in Law." My mom does make the best ribs. Her ribs are the bar by which I judge all other ribs. I grew up on my Mom's ribs. The formula is really simple: quality meat and sauce. Ribs ought to be tender with a vinegar-based barbecue sauce that doesn't contain fake smoke. Period. Apparently my husband agrees! There is one more family secret you should know. My family is die-hard Open-Pit-Original-barbecue-sauce fans. I can't stress this enough, for ribs just like my Mom's use Open Pit Original. I still love the flavor of that sauce, but over the past couple years I've been trying to come up with a homemade version which is a story in and of itself. Anyway, these ribs are finger-lickin' good! And guess what? You can have these ribs year round since they are made in your oven!



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Oven-Roasted Barbecued Ribs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce
1 package of pork spare ribs, thawed

For Ribs like my Mom's use Open Pit Original

For the Homemade Barbecue Sauce (Kinda-Sorta Like Open Pit Original)
8 oz of rice vinegar (I use Marukan organic rice vinegar)
4 oz of apple cider vinegar (I use Spectrum organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar)
1/2 cup of tomato paste (I use Bionaturea organic tomato paste)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of mustard (I use Annie's organic yellow mustard)
1 teaspoon of chili powder (I use The Spice Hunter salt free chili powder)
2 teaspoons of onion powder
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of salt (I use Real Salt)
2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie's organic Worcestershire sauce)
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
1/3 teaspoon of white pepper
2 tablespoons of honey (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ribs meaty side down (back of the ribs facing up) on top of a wire rack on a cookie sheet. Pour two cups of water (or so) in the bottom of the pan and roast on the middle rack position for 1 1/2 hours.



2. While the ribs are roasting you can make the barbecue sauce, or use your favorite bottled barbecue sauce. Otherwise, gather and measure out all the ingredients for the sauce.



3. Heat vinegar, tomato paste, and brown sugar in a pot until the sugar is melted.



4. In a ramekin mix all the rest of the ingredients, except the honey, into a smooth paste and add to the the tomato sauce in the pot.



5. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to simmer on low for 15 - 20 minutes. OPTIONAL: Remove from heat and add the honey.



6. After the ribs have roasted for 1 1/2 hours flip them over and continue to roast for another 30 minutes.




7. After the ribs have roasted for a total of 2 hours flip them again to the meaty side down position and slather on up to half of the barbecue sauce. Roast for 15 minutes.




8. After 15 minutes flip again meaty side up and slather with more barbecue sauce. Roast for a final 15 minutes.  Remove the ribs from the oven to a cutting board. Yes, this means these ribs roast for 3 hours total.



9. Slice the ribs into individual pieces.





10. Serve for dinner.



11. Or, serve as appetizers.





Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Homemade Barbecue Sauce (Kinda-Sorta Like Open Pit Original)

What is the deal with not being able to get Open Pit west of the Mississippi? I'm not sure where the real shipping line stops, but I'm not the only one lamenting this foodie issue. For the last 7 years I've lived west of the Mississippi and it is very inconvenient that I can't just run to the store and get a bottle. I want to officially thank my Mom for periodically sending me care packages over the last 7 years that included Open Pit. My family is die-hard Open Pit barbecue-sauce fans, so they don't even think twice about mailing this to me. Unless you are from Michigan or the mid-west you might not even be aware of this tasty barbecue sauce.  After a little internet research, albeit brief, I still can't tell if Open Pit would be considered "mostly" a North Carolina, Kansas City, or Memphis barbecue sauce. Perhaps it's a bit of a combination of all of them.  If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you probably realize that I want to eat real, homemade, scratch food as much as possible; it's a major part of my foodie journey. So, in addition to the difficulty of finding this sauce, I don't like the fact that it contains high fructose corn syrup, and it's colored with yellow 6, red 40, and blue 1.  I've been tinkering over the years. I'm ready to reveal some results. Honestly, I think I still have significant work to do, but I'm ready to reveal my work-in-progress that's kinda-sorta like Open Pit's original sauce first introduced to Detroit in 1953. At the very least, it is a good whole-food substitute in a pinch.



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Homemade Barbecue Sauce (Kinda-Sorta Like Open Pit Original)
8 oz of rice vinegar (I use Marukan organic rice vinegar)
4 oz of apple cider vinegar (I use Spectrum organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar)
1/2 cup of tomato paste (I use Bionaturea organic tomato paste)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of mustard (I use Annie's organic yellow mustard)
1 teaspoon of chili powder (I use The Spice Hunter salt free chili powder)
2 teaspoons of onion powder
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of salt (I use Real Salt)
2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie's organic Worcestershire sauce)
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
1/3 teaspoon of white pepper
2 tablespoons of honey (optional)

1. Gather and measure out all the ingredients for the sauce. (As I begun my tinkering I noted the main ingredients of Open Pit were a sweetener, vinegar and tomato puree. Also, it doesn't contain a fake smoke flavor).



2. Heat vinegar, tomato paste, and brown sugar in a pot until the sugar is melted.



3. In a ramekin mix all the rest of the ingredients, except the honey, into a smooth paste and add to the tomato sauce in the pot.



4. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to simmer on low for 15 - 20 minutes. The longer you simmer the sauce the more the vinegar will mellow - so be careful if you want to attempt that true Open Pit flavor. If you want to use the sauce right away, add the honey for a little extra sweet. If you want to simmer your sauce longer you might want to add more vinegar in the beginning. The key to finding the Open Pit flavor is the balance between the sweet and the vinegar.



5. Remove from heat and add the honey (optional).


Link Party Links: Easy Life Meal an Party Planning, Sunny Simple Life


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Grated Zucchini Pancakes - 3 Ways

Have you noticed that Spring zucchini has been on sale lately? I'm eager to experiment with this vegetable over the coming months. Currently one of my favorite recipes using zucchini is my "Zucchini Frittata" recipe.  As much as I love that recipe, I would like more "go-to" zucchini recipes. After a week of zucchini pancakes for breakfast everyday and twice with dinner, my husband is happy that I'm done tweaking my new recipe for "Grated Zucchini Pancakes."  The best part? If you use the appropriate ingredients this recipe qualifies as a Phase 2 South Beach recipe. I love "Potato Pancakes" and this makes a great "lower" carb substitution.  You can make a personal pancake in an 8-inch frying pan (my favorite and what is pictured below), a giant pancake that you can cut in pizza-like slices, and small cakes like small pancakes. What's your favorite?



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Grated Zucchini Pancake - Individual 8-inch
1 large zucchini (mine weighed 11 1/4 oz)
6 scallions
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons of flour (I've been using gluten free)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons of unsalted butter (use substitute for South Beach)
3 tablespoons (or so) of microplaned parmesan cheese
sour cream, yogurt, creme fraiche - optional (use low fat or fat free for South Beach - I use regular)
fresh herbs like basil, parsley, chives, mint, oregano (optional)

1. Grate zucchini with a large box grater or similar device into a large mixing bowl.



2. Finely slice white and green parts of scallions and add to the zucchini. (Optional - reserve some green ends for garnish).



3. Mix the zucchini and the onions together by hand.



4. Using paper towels squeeze dry the zucchini mixture.



5. Mix pepper and flour into the zucchini mixture.




6. Lightly beat 1 egg in a small bowl.



7. Add the lightly beaten egg to the zucchini mixture and stir with a fork.



8. Heat butter in an 8-inch oven-safe non-stick frying pan over medium heat. I love ScanPans for this type of cooking. Also, pre-heat the oven on the low-broil setting.



9. Spoon the zucchini mixture into the pan and press flat. Press around the entire edge to form an even pancake and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the bottom is golden brown.



10. As the pancake is cooking in the pan (in step 9) salt generously and grate parmesan cheese evenly over the top of the pancake using a microplane.



11. When the bottom is golden move the oven-safe frying pan to the second-to-the-top shelf under the broiler. Broil 8 to 12 minutes or longer depending on how golden brown you want the top.



12. Serve immediately with sour cream, yogurt, or creme fraiche. You can also add fresh herbs.



Family Style - Variation 2
Double the basic recipe listed above for a 10-inch oven-safe non-stick frying pan or triple the recipe for a 12-inch oven-safe non-stick frying pan. This version needs to broil on low (second to the top rack) for a little longer than the 8-inch pancake. Serve in wedges. Note: these go great with "Greek Smyrna Meatballs" from Whipped the Blog.



Small Individual Pancakes - Variation 3
The recipe for the 8-inch pancake listed above will make 8 small pancakes.  Depending on how many you want you may want to double the recipe. After the bottom is golden brown you could just flip these over and cook the same way on the other side. However, I decided to keep the same basic method. I placed the pancakes on a parchment lined cookie sheet, grated the cheese over the tops and placed under the broiler.







Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Baked Eggs (Individual Servings)

You know how when you are shopping for a new or used car, and you've got it narrowed down to a couple of makes and models, and then you start seeing those cars on the road everywhere? Have you ever had that experience with recipes? I don't know where in the world I've been that I haven't tried baked eggs until now.  I'm sure I've perused many baked egg recipes before I took notice of them. Now I'm seeing baked egg recipes everywhere. I've discovered many of my favorite magazines and food blogs have recipes for baked eggs. Bottom line, as my husband and I periodically revisit "Phase 1" of  "The South Beach Diet" baked eggs make a great addition to our repitoire. Using some greens, a couple of eggs, some leftover bacon, sausage, beef, or pork, and some cheese makes a great combination.



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Baked Eggs (for each individual serving)
1 teaspoon of butter (pure South Beach would call for fake butter but I use real)
1 tablespoon of milk or half and half (pure South Beach would call for low fat but I use whole)
1/2 cup of raw greens, roughly chopped or torn (I've used spinach and baby kale)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
1 - 2 tablespoons of crumbled bacon or sausage (pure South Beach would call for turkey but I use pork)
salt and pepper


1. Butter a small two-cup capacity oven-safe casserole dish.



2. Add 1 tablespoon of milk.



3. Roughly chop greens and arrange them in the casserole dish.




4. Crack 2 eggs over the greens being careful not to break the yolks.



5. Sprinkle with grated cheese, salt and pepper.



6. Add any leftover meat you have preferably bacon, sausage, or ham. I would have used more bacon but we usually don't have a lot of leftover bacon in the house.



7. Bake at 350 for 15 to 18 minutes depending on how you want the yolk.  I like a 17 minute egg which gives me solid white with a semi-solid yolk.


From other websites:
"Herbed-Baked Eggs" by Food Network's Ina Garten
"Baked Eggs with Bacon and Spinach" by Epicurious
"Baked Eggs" by Use Real Butter (I think I was mostly inspired by this post)
"Soft and Pretty - Eggs en Cocette" by the Kitchen
"Recipe for Baked Eggs with Mushrooms and Parmesan" by Kalyn's Kitchen (Plus, Kalyn has loads of South Beach Phase 1 recipe egg dishes on her site. I highly recommend checking those out)

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