Archive

cooking

P1060200

December is here, and colder weather calls for rib-sticking, hearty meals. Kenji’s take on traditional cassoulet recipe is fantastic for a comforting, warm meal in cold weather. Read through his recipe – it’s really phenomenal writing and made me want to try this, despite not being much of a bean eater in my normal meals.  And now I have  a reason to add beans to my repertoire. It’s a really versatile recipe, too, so you could go traditional, or you could just go with what you have.
P1060198

The real revelation here is adding gelatin to boxed/canned broth or stock. It really beefs up the flavor and helps combine the liquid and beans into a creamy, rich dish. I should strive for homemade stock, but I go through more broth than chicken carcasses to make enough stock/broth, and it’s just never really worked out for this household like that. Ah well. One day. Either way, homemade stock or no, you’ll have delicious beany goodness after several hours.
P1060204

Great Northern beans, some mild italian sausage, chicken thighs, and lamb shoulder (there’s lamb nubbins in there, too) were a nice combo. The sausage was… eh, a little out of place, but it’s what was in the fridge, so it’s what went in the cassoulet. I tried this again with just lamb and chicken, and the flavor was a little lacking, so some sort of sausage or third meat is a good idea.
P1060206

As is, this makes a TON of food if you’re a 2-person household like mine. So be good at eating leftovers, or freezing. This was so good I happily ate it all week for lunch and a few dinners. Me. The lady who hates leftovers. Loved this and looked forward to it so much. It was that good.

P1060220

Deanna Fox is an amazing woman – she recently whipped up brunch for a few folks when Innae was in town.  LOOK AT THE TABLE! It is so beautiful!
P1060213

When I walked in to her beautiful farm kitchen, I peeped her hash-making skills.
P1060214

Squee – table of deliciousness! I seriously love the foliage.
P1060216

A stack of fluffy cheddar dill biscuits.
P1060222

Citrus salad. Oh, the effort that goes in to delicately peeling these.
P1060227

Apple Cider Doughnut Bread Pudding, which in my circle of friends, seems to be pretty popular this year. Fall 2014’s new it-dessert?
P1060217

Soon it was time for us all to sit around and chat, chat, chat while we ate, ate, ate. When I was a kid I remember HATING how long the adults would take just sitting around the dinner table TALKING about stuff that wasn’t Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sesame Street, or Disney movies. But now I get it – there’s SO much to talk about it. So much to catch up on, and just plain giggling and joking to have because we don’t see each other all that often.
P1060230

I’ll take one of everything, please! Just the night before I’d made a maple ice cream with burnt caramel swirl that went really well with the apple cider doughnut pudding. And a lovely gram masala muffin, too!
P1060235

And since we were just coming off of the final Tournament of Pizza , and Innae was a previous pizza judge, Deanna made breakfast pizza with puff pastry! Food friends, and tons of French press coffee. Love it!

P1050740   P1050737 P1050739

Smoked pork butt rubbed with my BBQ Rub Recipe. Smoked low and slow for a few hours over applewood chips. Not gonna lie – the bark on this roast was awesome. I had to stop myself from eating the entire cap of fat off of the top. So good.

2T Cumin
4T Paprika
4T Kosher Salt
1T Korean Chili Flakes
1T Onion Powder
1T Garlic Powder
6T Sugar
A few shakes cayenne flakes
~1t nutmeg

I’m seriously loving this rub on pork lately.

P1040801

I found some corned beef on super-clearance at Hannaford. Hmm, it’s not corned beef season, but it is grill season, which means pastrami/smoked corned beef was on my menu.

I smoked it for a few hours on a grill with apple wood scraps from when the tree was trimmed earlier this year.
P1040838

Let it cool & chill overnight, then started slicing. The eating happened quickly. “Mmm, this is good. Wait. Must get picture.”
P1040837

Albany John made up a sliced meat platter.
P1040835

Pastrami!

P1040771

Ah, the joys of the swine. I picked up a ~10lb package of “Kurobuta” pork baby back ribs for $3.65/lb. What a steal. And while there is a high amount of bone in baby back ribs, 10 lbs of baby back ribs is a lot. 10 lbs is a great amount for a party.
P1040774

Once the package thawed out, I separated the ribs into two containers to season and marinate.

 

 

P1040775

Guess what’s really easy to make? Galbi marinade. You can use bosc pear if you can’t find Asian pears. Super yummy, and not as dark as the store-bought kind.
P1040776

Half of the ribs got slathered in galbi (which wound up being very mildly flavored, but did a great job for tenderizing).
P1040778

The other half got rubbed with rib-a-licious spices. You know – some sugar, some paprika, some chili powders, some salt, some black pepper, some mustard… a little of this, a little of that. And generously packed on each rib section.
P1040779

Then they sit (covered) in the fridge overnight. The fridge will smell amazing.
P1040792

Then it’s time for grilling! A rib rack is really awesome and fairly necessary for a grill when making baby back ribs. They’re so thin and small that you don’t really want them to lay flat on the grill. And a rib rack saves space, you can cram more ribs on the grill to cook at the same time.
P1040793

All lined up.

P1040794

I used the “cowboy” style charcoal, and let the ribs sit for about 60-90 minutes, covered.

P1040806

Hello, darlings! The meat retracts while cooking, the rib bones pop out a bit, and a nice lacquer forms on the outside of each rib.
P1040808

Done.
P1040804

Now I’m just hoping Albany John and I finish our never-ending living room renovation project so we can have a big housewarming party and serve up some of these ribs.

P1040902 P1040899 P1040903

 

What’s not to love about duck? So much skin, so much fat. Husbear carved up a duck I picked up at Ga Ga Lok/Jia Jia Liu/Asian Supermarket on Central Ave. It was mostly fat, but now my duck fat stores are back up. And the duck rinds were delicious. They last in the fridge for a few days if you can’t manage to eat all of a duck’s skin in one sitting.

P1040753

Adventure in Food had a rockin’ special in April for a full Australian grassfed ribeye roast for $5.99/lb. Yes. So yes. We grilled it up for Albany John’s birthday in May. It was an awesome and affordable way to go all out for any occasion.
P1040726

Here’s what the full roast looked like unfrozen and out of the vac bag. Yep, that’s one whole ribeye roast alright. This was a hefty guy, something close to 15 lbs, if I recall.

P1040727

Underside. I wanted to try dry aging this in our fridge. Salted the outside liberally, and tucked it in the fridge as pictured on cooling racks, turning every few days.
P1040737

Mr. Beefers after a few days in the fridge shortly before go-time. It took up about half of a row in my fridge, and after a few days I started talking to it and calling it Mr. Beefers. “Good morning, Mr. Beefers,” and “My, you’re looking well today, Mr. Beefers!”

At this point I wasn’t sure how well the experiment would turn out. Would Mr. Beefers acquire an off flavor from the fridge? Would it make any difference?

P1040741

A few hours over indirect heat on the grill (and covered on occasion). I didn’t carve anything off before slapping it on the grill. Once it hit rare, it came off the grill. And as you can see from the first image, I didn’t screw it up and cook it well done!
P1040749

And then we play the waiting game.
P1040751

It was an intensely beefy flavor, to be sure, although I’m not sure how much was from the dry aging or the grilling. However, I did slice off two large hunks so Mr. Beefers would fit on the grill, so I’ll give you a heads up if I notice something spiritual going on when it’s not kissed with smoky goodness. Overall, it was an awesome way to feed a crowd of 15+ people (with leftovers for seemingly EVER) for under $100. Definitely check out Adventure in Food’s specials page for deals like this when they come up.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,793 other followers