Smoked Mustard Crusted Spare Ribs

We’re in the dead of summer and with July 4th right around the corner, barbecue should be on many a mind. Countless different images might come to mind when you hear “barbecue”–burgers, wings, pulled pork, etc–but if you had to pick any single one dish to represent this delicious style of cooking, what would it be? For me, it would have to be a smoked rack of ribs.

I used to be of the saucy ribs camp, but given everything I’ve heard about dry rubbed ribs, I thought it was time to give this a fair shot. I could never fathom it before–I mean after all, its just meat! Wouldn’t it be dry (“dry rub”–sounds dry!)? Wouldn’t it be bland? And so on. Ribs simply needed sauce.

Well now that I’ve finally tried dry rub, this is definitely the way to go. I love a good sauce, but keep it off of my ribs! You start with a light… click to read more…

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Smoked Chicken Thighs with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce

While I’ve professed the wonders of brining turkey to ensure a moist bird, I’d never brined chicken before. However, after seeing what Jeff did with some chicken thighs, it seemed like it was time to give this a try. So I brined, smoked, and glazed some chicken thighs with a tangy pineapple barbecue sauce.

This was absolutely delicious and very well suited to July 4th weekend (or any summer weekend) kind of grilling/barbecuing occasion. The effort is pretty minimal and the results are very flavorful. If you were to taste the sauce alone without the chicken, it will taste a little unbalanced as far as a barbecue sauce goes (in my opinion–it leans most heavily towards sweet and spicy), but when combined with the chicken as a glaze after being flavored with… click to read more…

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Moroccan Beef Stew

After the last Moroccan dish I made, I simply had to have more. The approach to cooking the food is simple, the spices strong and seductive, and the end result is uniquely complex and delicious. Really, my first experience woke me up to a whole new genre of food that I had to explore. Today: a Moroccan Beef Stew.

Moroccan Beef Stew

Combining my new regional food interest with my newfound obsession with braising, this stew just made a lot of sense. Plus, this was an exciting opportunity for me to crack open the jar of preserved lemons that I had started so long ago–finally, after all of the suspense, I could discover what all the fuss was about. And you know what? They really are unlike anything else. Clearly lemons in appearance and flavor,… click to read more…

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Preserved Lemons

I was in the mood for something Moroccan (can you guess what kind of recipes will be posted in the coming days? Oh the suspense!), and if there is any recurring ingredients in Moroccan recipes, it is preserved lemons.

Jar of preserved lemons

I’ve never had preserved lemons before and it seems two methods are popular: one is just lemons and salt and the other is generally the same but with various savory spices added into the mix. Being both a fan of lemons and as decisive as ever, I decided to make two jars: one spiced and one “plain.” Now that I’d finally made that tough call, I got all ready only to find that I only had one clean jar handy (doh!).

The basic idea is that you take some lemons (tis the season for Meyer… click to read more…

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Italian-flavored bread crumbs

I love Italian food and I’m well aware that having “Italian breadcrumbs” is about as authentic and authoritative sounding as calling General Tso’s chicken “Chinese food.” So given that disclaimer, I figured I could get away with calling it “Italian-flavored.” Well I guess I could get away with “Italian-American,” as if I really know. No pretensions here. Just humor me.

Italian-flavored bread crumbs

I like to have this handy for dishes which typically call for dredging something in egg and flour prior to frying. For dishes like chicken parmesan, the breading can really contribute a lot more to the flavor of the dish than plain old flour, and you’d be very surprised how much more dressed up a simple dish can become by paying a little extra attention to the smaller stuff that we usually just ignore.

So without further ado, gather the following:

  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs (you could just as easily substitute plain bread crumbs and/or flour and

click to read more…

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Creole Seasoning

I’ve always been a big fan of Creole flavors–they’re spicy and complicated. However, if you’ve ever bought a pre-made bottle of something that purports being Creole seasoning from the grocery store (save your money and don’t!), you’ve probably been turned off to it (maybe it’s just me). More often than not, the store-bought stuff amounts to nothing more complex than very bland, very salty red stuff–blech.

This is a very simple seasoning to prepare and is something I always have handy in large amounts. Its good for rubbing into meats and also a great way to give some punch to any breading/bread crumbs when you fry foods. I tend to rub it into steaks, drum sticks, chicken breast, and use it in many of my breadings.

Creole seasoning

The paprika gives a great color, the sugar gives a little carmelization, the various peppers provide varying levels of heat and flavor, and the rest just gives those earthy spices that make this… click to read more…

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