Spicy-Sweet Honey Chipotle Pork Spareribs

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You’ll need a lot of paper towels with these ribs, but they’re worth it!

If you’re like me and have never tried ribs before, and, also like me, perhaps a bit intimidated by the vague feeling that you have to smoke them for hours and they still might come out tough, this is the recipe for you!

I rolled up my sleeves one rainy Saturday afternoon and pulled together this ribs recipe when the Grill-Meister was out playing dominos with his friends. Then I surprised him with them when he got home.  Score!

Succulent and fall-off-the-bone-tender with just the right balance of spicy-sweet and piquant, these ribs take their ‘cue (pun intended!) from the spicy rub they get before baking and a last-minute swab of homemade sauce before a quick char on the grill.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

Rub

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This is the brand of ancho chile I use
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cup coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp cup ancho or chipotle chilé powder (use paprika if you don’t like it spicy)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Ribs

2 racks St. Louis style pork spareribs, 2 1/2 – 3 lbs each

Honey-Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

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    Chipotle is really important in this sauce

    1/2 cup olive oil

  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped chipotle peppers and sauce
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • 2 tbsp of the spice rub

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 300. In a small mixing bowl, combine the spice rub ingredients. Set aside 2 tbsp of the spice rub to use in the sauce, and then rub the ribs generously with the mixture.

Wrap each rack of ribs in heavy duty foil, sealing completely.  Place seam side up on a pan or cookie sheet with a decent-sized lip.  Bake for 2 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the barbecue sauce by putting all ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan,  heating to a boil and then reducing to a simmer.  Cook at a simmer until reduced and thickened.

When the ribs have 20 minutes left to bake, preheat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat.  When 2 1/2 hours have elapsed, remove the ribs from the oven and carefully undo the foil around the ribs, being cautious about steam and very hot pan juice.  Place the ribs on a different cookie sheet or platter and reserve the pan juice for another use (I like to use it to make stock with the rib bones).

Take the ribs outside to your barbecue, slather the sauce on one side and place on the grill, sauce side down.  You may have to be very gentle with the ribs, because they will be very tender and may want to fall apart.  Slather the sauce again on the top side just after you place the ribs on the grill.  Sear on each side for 4-5 minutes until there’s a nice char, then remove them.  Place on a cutting board and cut between the bones.  Serve with extra sauce on the side.

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The finished product is great with a cool, crisp, chipotle-fennel slaw
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Ingredients for the spice rub
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I made a double batch; the spice rub is good on other meats and fish
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Generously rub each rack with the spice mix
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Seal tightly and place in a pan with a lip
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Make the sauce while the ribs are baking
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After baking, before the grill
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After the final quick char
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Super-tender, super-good!
Honey-Chipotle Ribs with Chipotle-Fennel Slaw
The finished product

These ribs are so good with just a quick slaw. I created a complementary Chipotle-Fennel Slaw when I made the ribs a couple of weeks ago and will publish that recipe soon. And until then, here’s a Pepper Jelly Slaw.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Tiny Dinner Party with International Guests

Diversity Hands - the World I Want to Live InThe Grill-Meister and I are both blessed to work in international environments, which fosters great relationships with colleagues from all over the world.  Sometimes we are able to lure them to Glover Gardens, such as tonight, when we are having a tiny dinner party with a couple from far across the globe.  It is so rewarding to learn about different cultures as we share our own.  One of our two guests tonight has never been to Texas, so we’re having a very traditional steak dinner.  The menu:

It is mid-morning right now and the table is set, so I’m about to get to work on the dessert.  I’m breaking Ina Garten’s (the Barefoot Contessa) rule of never making anything for the first time for a dinner party, but it is early enough in the day that I can do something different if I make a mess of it.

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The table is set – now we just need food, wine, music, flowers and our guests

We’re really looking forward to it!  And for a look at an entirely different type of international party here at Glover Gardens and a couple of cool wintertime recipes, check out Pot Luck Perfect: In-the-Moment Lentil Soup.  We had a houseful of colleagues this time last year and a rollicking good time when everyone brought a dish or drink to share.

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My European colleagues in the outdoor kitchen at Glover Gardens; they whipped up a marvelous vegetarian lentil soup

I’ll share the results of tonight’s meal, and wish you all a happy Saturday evening.

UPDATE:   the tiny dinner party was super-successful, and the dessert was rockin’!  Read about it here.  And I made a new friend!  Read the haiku about that here.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Found Recipe: Churrasco’s Chimichurri

I love to create in my kitchen on weekends, take a bunch of photos, and then recreate the yumminess in posts here in the Glover Gardens Cookbook blog.  Alas, there are no kitchen creations to post this weekend, as I have an early morning flight for a business trip tomorrow and am busy preparing and packing.  I do have a recipe to share, though:  Churrasco’s chimichurri sauce.  Have you had chimichurri before?  It is sooooo good – a foodie-worthy sauce that is very simple to make.  Churrasco’s is a Houston-based South American restaurant chain, and they deliver the real South American goods.  “Churrasco” means beef, or more generally, grilled meats, in both Spanish and Portugese.

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Photo from Food and Wine

That green sauce on the steak is chimichurri sauce, and it is wonderful.  Fresh, green and garlicky in its olive oil base, it brings a brightness to the steak.  I can’t get enough chimichurri, and it is good on so many other things!  Scrambled eggs, fajita tacos, grilled chicken, as a dip…the possibilities are endless.  In addition to topping steak with it, Churrasco’s serves chimichurri with dried plantain chips as an appetizer.

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Whenever I go to Churrasco’s, I bring home plantains and chimichurri sauce, to continue the South American party at home.

There are lots of chimichurri recipes out there, but I am loyal to this one from Churrasco’s, published in Food and Wine magazine.  Simple and delicious, it has only four ingredients and can be made in less than five minutes.  Although the recipe calls for curly parsley, flat-leaf parsley is also excellent, and you can substitute cilantro for a different south-of-the-border flavor.

Ingredients

2 bunches curly parsley, thick stems discarded
1/3 cup garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Refrigerate, but allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Here’s a link to the recipe in Food and Wine, which also has instructions for the steak.  Another of my finds at Churrasco’s was the Pisco Sour.

Grilled Tuna Burgers for Two

images-25We’re empty-nesters here at Glover Gardens now that the last millennial has gone off to college, so I’m trying to pare down the amounts when I cook.  It’s easier with some recipes than others.  These delicious tuna burgers are simple to make for two, or four, or more.  Just increase the recipe.

The tuna burgers benefit from what we call “Salad on a Sandwich”.  It’s a quick toss of baby spinach or other greens, red onion and tomato with a tiny bit of olive oil and a healthy splash of balsamic vinegar.  Salad on a Sandwich brightens up a variety of sandwiches and makes the everyday sandwich feel like a gourmet treat.  And it looks really beautiful.

Ingredients

  • Two 6+ ounce tuna steaks, about an inch thick
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or ground ancho or chipotle chiles
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large bell pepper or several small sweet peppers, sliced into 1-inch wide strips, seeds, ribs and stems discarded
  • Olive oil
  • Grill spray
  • Two buns (we like onion rolls)
  • Purchased or prepared remoulade (click here for a killer and super-easy recipe)
  • Salad on a Sandwich
    • 2 cups baby spinach or your other favorite greens
    • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 very ripe medium tomato, thinly sliced, or 6-8 grape tomatoes, halved longways
    • 1 tsp olive oil or a few sprays from an olive oil mister
    • 2 tsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cooking Instructions

Sprinkle tuna all over with salt, pepper and cayenne or ground chile. Toss peppers with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Assemble Salad on a Sandwich by combining and tossing all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  Prepare remoulade, if making your own.

Preheat gas or charcoal grill for cooking over high heat.

Wrap buns in foil.  Grill tuna and peppers on lightly oiled grill rack, turning over once, until tuna is pink only in center and peppers are just tender, 4 to 6 minutes total (peppers may take longer than tuna). In the last few minutes of cooking, put the buns in foil on the grill to heat them up.  Transfer tuna and peppers once they are cooked to a serving plate.

To serve, spread remoulade on buns (top and bottom), put a layer of grilled peppers on the bottom of each bun, and then top with a tuna steak.  Add a generous helping of Salad on a Sandwich, then cap the tuna burger with the top bun.  Enjoy!

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The Salad on a Sandwich and remoulade are ready, and the tuna has been seasoned in readiness for grilling.  Yum!
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Grill the peppers at the same time as the tuna; the buns can be warmed on the top shelf.
Grilled Tuna and Peppers
The tuna and peppers have been grilled and are ready for the sandwich.
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The remoulade and Salad on a Sandwich combine with the tuna and peppers to make a great burger with a variety of tastes, colors and textures.

This recipe works really well without the bun, too.  Just flip it – position the tuna steak atop the Salad (Not) on a Sandwich, then arrange the grilled peppers on the tuna and dress with the remoulade or serve it on the side.  It’s beautiful, healthy and low-cal.

Our other favorite seafood in a burger is salmon – click here for the recipe.

 

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Easiest Salmon Burgers Ever

Ever since I got out of the hospital and put that horrible food behind me (click here to read about it), I’ve been craving all of the healthiest foods in my comfort food category.  The Grill-Meister has been a great partner in this Healthy Comfort Food Quest.  He made his oh-so-wonderful Tom’s Smoked Salmon for me on Monday, the Labor Day holiday, and bought extra salmon for us to have salmon burgers.  Yum.

These salmon burgers are so easy they should be on the table at least once a month.  And they’re good, really good.

Made with fresh salmon, they’re so good that you might be able to convince an innocent child that they’re actually chicken burgers…that little white lie is between you and your conscience.  But hey – how is it different than Santa Claus?

Ingredients (Makes 6 Burgers)

  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 oz.) fresh (never frozen) salmon filets, skin removed
  • 1/8 cup minced red onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup capers, drained
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Six buns
  • Red onions slices
  • Sliced very ripe tomatoes
  • Baby spinach or arugula
  • Condiments:  mayonnaise, fancy mustards, or (my favorite) remoulade (click here)

Cooking Instructions

Cut the salmon in big chunks and add to the food processor.  Pulse until it is ground, but still a little chunky.  Transfer to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.

Mix first with a spoon, and then with your hands.  Divide the salmon mixture into six parts and form burgers with your hands, first by making a ball, then by pressing it flat onto a plate or cookie sheet.  Be careful not to overwork the patty, which will make it tough.  Put a dimple in the middle of each patty with your thumb, which will help it keep its shape.  Add another quick grinding of fresh pepper and salt.

Spray the gas or charcoal grill with grill spray, and heat it to high.  Grill the salmon for about 5 minutes on each side, or to your desired degree of doneness.  While the salmon is cooking, place the buns on a less hot part of the grill in foil to heat them up.

Serve the patties with the buns, tomato, onion, baby spinach or arugula and your desired condiments.

Variations

You can serve these patties without buns atop the greens with the fresh veggies and condiments.

If you’d like to sauté rather than grill them, measure one more cup of Panko after making the patties, add a 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper to the Panko and mix well, then dredge each patty in the Panko mixture.  Add a small amount of olive oil to a skillet and sauté the patties over med-high heat, a few minutes per side, until they are done.

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Pulse the salmon in the food processor until it is ground but still a little chunky – this amount of salmon is for a half recipe, since we are empty-nesters here at Glover Gardens
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The ingredients for a half recipe (3 patties)
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Put all ingredients in the bowl, then mix with a spoon, and finally, your hands
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The patties (half recipe) ready to grill
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We also had our grilled asparagus that night; click here for the recipe
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The salmon burgers are lovely as an outside meal in late summer / early fall

Copyright Glover Gardens Cookbook, 2016.

Labor Day Barbecue Look-Back

I’m not able to post a new recipe over this Labor Day long weekend, so I thought I’d share links to a few of my favorites from the grill that seem oh-so-appropos for the holiday.  Click the titles below for the recipes.

Best Smoked Brisket for a Long Weekend

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Let the cooked brisket set so the juices can settle

Summer Pork Tenderloin

Summer Pork Tenderloin
Garnish with Pico de Gallo and a little Sriracha for more of a kick

Fiesta Grilled Shrimp Dip

Fiesta Grilled Shrimp Dip
This creamy, spicy shrimp dip is perfect on a hot summer afternoon

 

Found Recipe: (Marvelous) Planked Salmon with (Marvelous) Spice Rub

Salmon in the Grill
I add a few sliced red onions and poblano peppers if there is room left on the cedar plank.

 

Tom’s Smoked Salmon

Tom's Smoked Salmon
This salmon makes a welcome appearance for parties and holiday meals at Glover Gardens.

The Swedish (Almost) Vegetarian Barbecue

I have been very fortunate to work at international companies, and to meet warm, welcoming, wonderful and interesting people from all over the globe.  They have expanded my understanding of the world and generously shared their cultures and food, sometimes in person, and sometimes digitally.

One of my connections on Facebook is a Swedish engineer who’s been a long-standing client of my previous company, a leader in high-tech process optimization software for the energy industry.  Ben is a great guy and has sent me a Christmas card every year since the first year we met, even after I left the company.  We worked together primarily via our user group meetings – Ben was on the customer steering committee and I was the Marcom person leading the organization of the annual meeting for a few years.  Ben is also a proponent of knowledge management (my primary area of expertise) and we’ve had some great talks about it.

Love Those Food Pictures on Facebook!

Now that we no longer have work ties, our interactions are pretty much about food and family, always via Facebook.  Ben posted this picture last weekend, and of course I asked if I could share it here.  Doesn’t it just look marvelous?  And looking at that photo, don’t you think Ben could be in Southern California or right here in Southeast Texas instead of his native Gothenburg, Sweden?  That’s a Texas-worthy barbecue, for sure.  That grill is chock-full of goodness.  Although it turns out that only one of the items on the grill is actually a meat product.

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“Something for everybody” was Ben’s caption for his post in Facebook

Explaining what’s in the picture, Ben said:

“Apart from the sausage-like kebabs with ground beef and carrots, it is all vegetarian (hanging offence in Texas, I know). Sweet potato, onion, bell peppar, zucccini, cabbage and mushroom protein beef.”

Mushroom protein beef????  What in the heck is that, Ben?  Educate me, if you will.

Educate me, he did.  Ben sent me a note today:

“Here are some pictures of last weekend’s (almost) vegetarian barbecue. Lina, Oscar’s girlfriend, introduced Quorn, a fungus-based protein product.  Tastes, actually, like chicken.  It’s really good with a marinade with soy sauce and chili.”

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“We always have a lot of vegetables.  Here you cn make out sweet potato, fennel, squash and tomato.”

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I want to go to Sweden and have barbecue at Ben’s house!  Thank you, Ben, for sending these wonderful photos and letting me share them in my blog.  And thanks to the photographer, too, whose plate is empty, at least until she finishes with the photos.

Quorn is…What, Exactly?

But what’s this about “Quorn”?  I cook quite a bit, read my food magazines and watch the TV Food Network, but I’ve never heard of this meat substitute.  It sounds kind of like tofu, but apparently it is a different thing altogether.  I learned from the official Quorn web site that it is high in fiber, low in fat, and is primarily Mycoprotein, which is made through through a fermentation process applied to fusarium venenatum (in the fungi family, like truffles and morels and mushrooms).  Whew, that’s complicated!  But I’ll take Ben’s word for it and give it a try.  Something that is really appealing about it (in addition to the low-fat / high-fiber thing) is that it is much more sustainable than animal farming.

Look for some Quorn recipes soon!  I promise to be honest and let you know if I just can’t make it work.

More of My Culinary Connections

And if you’re interested in reading about a few other interesting international people I met through work and who shared their food culture and stories with me, click the posts below: