Sunday, February 27, 2011

Best Baked BBQ Ribs

This is a very simple way to prepare fall off the bone baby back ribs. These delicious ribs are prepared almost "hands-off".  They are just as good - if not better - than any ribs I've bought out.

Prep Time:  about 30 minutes
Total Time:  about 7 hours
Servings:  6 to 9  


3 racks of pork "baby back" ribs - about 2 pounds each

Dry Rub:

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
1/8 cup brown sugar - dried
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

BBQ Sauce:

5 parts "K.C. Masterpiece" BBQ sauce, 1 part Honey


  • Remove ribs from packaging, clean and pat dry.  Be sure that the membrane on the inner (stomach) side is removed and that all excess fat has been trimmed.
  • Mix all dry rub ingredients together.  Leftover rub can be stored in a moisture proof container for future use.
  • Sprinkle ribs about an hour before cooking with the rub and allow meat to come to room temperature.  Do not over season.  The spices should become a nice red liquid coating after sitting.

A good overall dusting of the spices is all that you need.

  • Wrap the ribs in foil and cook at 200 degrees for 6 hours.  After the first 4 hours, remove the aluminum foil and cook uncovered for the last 2 hours.  

  • Remove the ribs from the oven and turn up the heat to Broil.  
  • Generously sauce all sides of the ribs.
  • Place sauced ribs back in the oven, meat side down. 
  • When sauce begins to bubble, flip the ribs and broil just until sauce bubbles again.  
  • Remove from oven and serve.

Recipe Links:

Here is the original post for the Best Ribs In The Universe.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Influence #2 - Online Cooking School

I am guessing that I am like all Food Bloggers in that any conversation with me will find its way to food and cooking eventually.  It really doesn't matter what subject the initial conversation started on; if I'm at work or at play; even the time of the day...

I think I have always been intrigued with food and cooking.  It has only been in the last couple of years, however, that I have really taken a serious Interest in it.  As you can probably tell from the postings on this blog, I am for sure an amateur/novice cook who has a lot of fun in the kitchen.

I think what triggered it all was the Internet and my discovery of the "Video Recipe".  One day, after years of so and so results with written recipes, I stumbled across a video post for Stuffed and Rolled Pork Tenderloin.  Watching that video recipe transformed my whole understanding of cooking, and perhaps also transformed my life.  

For someone like me, who has never taken a culinary class, video recipes are "Gold".  They are my Number One Influence.  

My Number Two Influence is no doubt an online cooking school called Rouxbe.  This program has also had a transformative effect on my life and my cooking.  Like Video Recipes, these "Video Classes" have helped me to become a better and more confident cook.

I like the program so much, that I have become a Rouxbe Cooking School affiliate partner.  This allows me full access to the school and the videos and also allows me to share with you a full access, no-videos barred pass to their site.  All you have to do is go click over to the Rouxbe Online Cooking School from this Blog and redeem the 14-day Gift Membership.

Here are a few sample videos to give you an idea of what the program offers:
Recipe Links:

Here is a video I looked at today called the Basics of Plating.  I will never look at or prepare a Plate of food the same ever again!

Here is a link to Chef John's Video Recipe Blog Foodwishes.  The Original and the Best!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cupid's Cupcakes

 Red Velvet Cake and Ice Cream pair up for a "Match made on Heaven"

I stole the idea for these delicious cupcakes from a Patriotic themed "Ice Cream Cupcake" published by Taste of Home last summer.  The original recipe featured a red, white, and blue theme for the 4th of July.  

Cupid inspired me to tweak that original recipe in celebration of Valentine's Day with a red, pink, and white theme.  These hand held deserts are a great way to enjoy your Cake...and your Ice Cream too!

Prep Time:  about an hour (includes baking)
Total Time:  about three hours (includes initial freezing and decorating)
Servings:  36


1 package (18-1/4 ounces) red velvet cake mix
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
red food coloring
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 cups marshmallow creme
pink colored sugar and Valentine's themed sprinkles


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Prepare cake mix batter according to the package directions for cupcakes.
After some trial and error, one tablespoon of batter per cup was just right.
  • Fill paper-lined muffin cups about a quarter full.  Once baked, the cups should be 1/2 full. 
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire racks to cool completely.

  • Add a couple of drops of food coloring to the softened ice cream and mix until a consistent pink color is achieved.
  • Working quickly, spread ice cream over cupcakes.  Freeze for at least 1 hour.

  • In a large bowl, combine cream and marshmallow creme; beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Pipe over cupcakes; decorate with sprinkles and colored sugar.  
  • Freeze for 4 hours or until firm.

Recipe Links:

Here is a link to the original Patriotic Cupcakes recipe.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Salmon Nicoise

Last week, I learned of an incredible online cooking resource called Rouxbe. Rouxbe is the online cooking school that teaches people of all levels, via thousands of hi-definition videos, to become better and more confident cooks.  

This dish is a combination of an original Rouxbe video recipe and a searing technique stolen from Chef John.  Whereas the majority of the dish is prepared stovetop and cooled, the fish and potatoes are finished outside in a cast iron pan and served warm.

Prep Time:  45 Minutes
Cook Time:  1 Hour
Servings:  4

Primary Salad Ingredients:

8 small Yukon gold potatoes
8 oz fresh green beans 
4 oz hearty salad greens
4 eggs
2 large tomatoes
32 small nicoise olives
6 tablespoons olive oil
(4) 5 oz salmon filets
salt and freshly cracked pepper

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp freshly cracked pepper


Prepare most of the salad ahead of time before finishing the fish and the potatoes on the grill.  This "preparing in place" is also referred to as "Mise en Place":

  • Prepare the potatoes by boiling in salted water for 20 to 30 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean without lifting the potato. Drain and set aside.
  • Bring a second pot of salted water to a boil, add the beans, and cook for 5-7 minutes.  Cool beans in an ice bath and set aside.
  • Bring a third pot of salted water to a boil, add the eggs, turn down the heat and let simmer for 8 minutes.  Place eggs in an ice bath to cool.
  • Cut or tear the larger pieces of lettuce, then refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Place the Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a jar.  Shake well and set aside.
  • Once cooled, cut each of the potatoes in half and set aside.

Prepare the Plates:

  • Core the tomatoes and slice into wedges.  Fan the tomatoes onto the side of each plate.
  • Place one fourth of the lettuce onto the center of each plate.
  • Divide the beans and place on the other side of the lettuce.
  • Cut each of the eggs into 4 wedges and fan along the bottom of each plate.
  • Drizzle the tomatoes, lettuce, and beans with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and place the prepared plates into the refrigerator.

Cooking the Salmon:

  • Heat a cast iron pan over high heat on the grill.  Season the top of the salmon with salt and pepper.  Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil then the salmon, presentation side down.
  • Season the other side and let it cook for about 3 minutes, without touching.  Once it has a nice golden crust, flip it over and continue to cook for another 2 minutes or so.
  • Test the salmon for doneness and remove from the pan and set aside.

Finishing the Potatoes:

  • Remove any remaining morsels of fish and add the potatoes, cut side down into the pan.
  • Cook until the potatoes are lightly golden.
  • Place one piece of salmon and three to four pieces of potatoes onto each of the prepared salad plates.
  • Divide the Nicoise olives and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette between the plates and serve.

Recipe Links:

Here is a link to Chef John's Cast Iron Pan Searing technique.
Here is the very detailed video-recipe from Rouxbe:

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