Alton’s Baby Back Ribs

I was idling around the grocery store, trying to come up with meals to make for the week but my mind kept coming up blank. Usually, meals are planned the day before I hit the grocery store and rotated bi-weekly. This week I didn’t even had the time to write my shopping list and went shopping blind.

Thankfully, I grocery shop on sat wee mornings when majority of people are still snoring which gave me time to twirl around the aisle aimlessly while trying to put together what I would need.

I was pacing the meat section and realised that I have not made ribs in ages. I only made this once and used BBQ sauce to coat the ribs not knowing what a big mistake I made. This recipe cooks in a braising liquid mix which is boiled down to a sauce to coat the ribs.

As Alton mention in his cookbook, this isn’t BBQ ribs cause smoke is not used. So keep that bottle of BBQ in your fridge and don’t even think of using it to dip the ribs in. Also, the low heat and long cook time is essential to the ‘meat falling of the bone’ so ensure you don’t rush the cook time.

This is worth every meat sweat it came along with and I was still sucking on the bones by the end. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Alton Brown’s Baby Back Ribs

Prep Time: 5 mins

Inactive: 1 hr min

Cook Time: 2.5 – 3 hr

Yield: 2 full slab of finger licking good ribs

Ingredients 

Rub

  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chill powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon jalapeño shake (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon canola oil

Braising Liquid

  • 1 cup of white wine ( find the cheapest one)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (any kind :red wine, white wine, white; so long its vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey ( = 3 squirts)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Meat

  • 2  full slabs of baby back/back ribs (approx. 2 pound each)

Steps

  1. Make the rub
    1.  Combine all rub ingredients into a GLASS jar and shake it up. (Glass so it prevent the sides from being stained)
  2. Rubbing the rib
    1. Tear 2 pieces of heavy duty aluminium foil which length should be longer than the ribs so it’s easy to wrap around.
    2. Lay each slab out, bone side up (concave) on the foil and carefully peel off the membrane.
    3. Sprinkle each side liberally with the rub and wrap as shown in the picture. Place pouches on a trap and refrigerate a min of 1 hr to overnight. 
  3. Cooking the rib
    1. Heat oven to 250F, nothing higher
    2. Combine braising liquid into a microwavable bowl and nuke for 1 min on high. Ensure honey is dissolved and mixed well.
    3. Transfer the liquid to a mixing cup with a sprout for easy pouring.
    4. Place the 2 pouches on a sheet pan,seam up, on a baking tray. Unroll one end and pour in the braising liquid in half for in each pouch.
    5. Re-roll the end of foil and tilt the pouch slowly so the liquid is evenly distributed. If your pouch is good, there should be little leakage.
    6. Place the tray centre rack of oven and bake for 2.5 hours
    7. Remove from oven and carefully move pouch over a deep skillet. ( it should overhang and the centre dipping in towards the pan).
    8. Snip a couple holes into the pouch and let the liquid drain into the pan.
    9. Repeat with the other pouch.
  4. Making the sauce
    1. Place pan over high heat and lay it boil. Meanwhile, check your ribs. Carefully open the pouch and twist one rib. It should let go of the meat with a bit of struggle. If you feel it doesn’t look done, re-wrap the pouch and pop it back in the oven while you finish the sauce.
    2. Once the liquid comes to a boil, decrease the heat to medium and cook it until it has reduced to half it’s original volume and thicken to a loose syrup consistency.
  5. Charring the ribs
    1. Heat the broiler and move the oven rack to its second highest position from the top.
    2. Unwrap the racks and turn them meat side up, leaving them in the foil. Cut into 2 rib pieces for easier eating.
    3. Using a brush, paint on a liberal coating of the sauce and broil for a couple of mins so the sauce caramelize. The remaining sauce can be served with the rib.
    4. Carefully remove the ribs from the oven and serve with a bib.

Recipe from Alton Brown’s Good Eats Book.

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Crispy Shrimp Sandy with Avocado and Bacon

 

As mention in my post about sandwich bread, Pat is a mega bread fan which means more often than not that I make sandwiches for breakfast lunch and dinner… no, I’m kidding. 🙂 but really, I make quite a loads of sandwiches because of him. I like this one because it’s fast to make and who doesn’t love crispy shrimp which is so full of flavour!

Besides that, this is really filling so you only need one medium size sandy (like subway 6″ or smaller) and pair it with some fruits on the side, the meal is complete.

I’ve made this a gazllion times but always never thought to take a picture and a buddy of mine asked for the recipe. So, here you go Ryan.

Crispy Shrimp Sandy with Avocado and Bacon

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 10 mins

Yield: 2 sanwiches

Ingredients

  • Slightly more than ¼ pound shrimp, peeled
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked parprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • ½ avocado, sliced thinly
  • 2 handfuls of spinach, divided
  • 2 sandwich roll, toasted
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, for sprinkling

Steps

  1. Arrange bacon on a aluminum foil lined baking sheet and pop it in the oven( don’t on it yet). Set the oven to 420F
  2. Let the bacon bake for 8 mins or so. Check back every so often to a crispy you like.
  3. When done, transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
  4. Combine flour, paprika, garlic and chili powder in a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
  5. Add oil to a pan over medium high heat.
  6. Place shrimp in a colander and add the flour mixture over. Toss to coat shrimp evenly. (I do this in my sink and spray down the flour later with water and this works quicker than dredging it)
  7. Add shrimp to skillet and cook till shrimp curls and is golden brown. You will want every shrimp to be flat to the pan so the sides all cook evenly and crispy.
  8. Remove shrimp to a paper towel lined plate.
  9. Build your sandy anyway you prefer, for me from the bottom: Spinach, bacon,avocado,shrimp and sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from Homesweeteats

One Bowl Pumpkin Bread

THIS. THIS.IS.SO.BLOODY.GOOD. and you know what is even better? All of it can be mixed in ONE BOWL = less wash up and your house will smell warm and fuzzy.

I had the recipe printed and stuck on my fridge for over a year without attempting it and I am smacking myself in the head why didn’t I try it earlier. Pumpkin is something I have been hesitant with cause I didn’t grew up eating it so I am not sure about the flavour. I guess it isn’t so bad but maybe not too adventurous to cook pumpkin something for dinner.

I made this before cooking dinner yesterday and popped the loaf out of the pan onto a rack to cool. I had my back towards it and Pat came into the kitchen to get water. All of the sudden Pat said that the pumpkin bread is so good and my eyes widen. I walked over to look inspect the bread and true enough, there was a corner of the load picked at. On top of it, the loaf was rotated strategically so the picked corner can’t bee seen at first glance. Don’t need to mention the obvious who’s the mouse in the house. JUST LOOK AT THAT “MOUSE’ BITE. ARGH!

Pat knows not to pick anything I make unless I tell him so because it annoys me especially for loaves and cakes. If you’re gonna try it, cut a slice or thinner slice. Don’t pick a corner or slice it the wrong way. Anyway, he could tell I was quite mad so he tried to earn brownie points to no avail. Should have smack him with my wooden spoon like he’s my son.

One Bowl Pumpkin Bread

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 65 mins

Yield: 1 amazing loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and lightly flour a 9×5″ loaf pan, set aside.
  2. Whisk together sugars, flour, spices, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Ensure you break up the clumps of brown sugar.
  3. Make a well in the center of the bowl. Add pumpkin, eggs, oil, water and vanilla. Whisk, starting with the wet ingredients and working your way to the outside of the bowl, mixing until batter is smooth and clump-free. (Don’t over-mix)
  4. Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then cool on a rack until ready to serve.

Recipe from TheBakerChick

Tandoori Chicken with Basmati Rice Pilaf

Coming from Singapore, I grew up having access to a great variety of cuisine to spoil you. You had Chinese today? oh look, there’s Malay, Indian, Western, Vietnamese, Thai for tomorrow… But since moving to Calgary, my choices are quiet limited if you’re not eating out everyday. It can be expensive to eat out often and with the current economy, it is just wiser to cook at home – I get 3 portions out of every meal I cook. Bloody fantastic way of saving some coins to travel, if you’re asking me. Also, since I took the role of head chef in the house, I made it very clear to Pat that every week requires at least 1 Asian meal – simply because I need my rice, period. Hey, I am Chinese after all.

Indian Cuisine relies heavily on the spices. If you get cheap spices, the resultant flavor can be very off-putting. Alton has always said to NEVER buy spices from the grocery store but I was thinking who has the time to scout a spice store and seriously, everyone buys spices at the store so what’s the big deal? One day I was out of Oregano and had to make Pat run to the (very hippy) general store round the block. He came back with a small jar of organic oregano which cost 5 bucks. Something I would never pay. Oh boy, I could taste the oregano in my pasta sauce despite not adding much. Since then, I told myself that I would phase out ALL the grocery store generic brand spices.

My decision to try Indian cooking came after I stumbled  Silk Road Spice Merchant’s store after a breakfast out with Pat. I went crazy in there but that’s another blog post. Anyway, this rice pilaf is to die for.  Pair it with tandoori chicken or any yogurt marinated meat and you’re set! I tried to make Bhindi Masala cause I had some okra in the fridge but that didn’t turn out so well so if anyone has a good recipe, PLEASE SHARE.

My tandoori chicken is without any colouring hence the absent of the signature redness and can involve quite a few steps. If you’re feeling lazy, try this Chicken Kebab instead.

Tandoori Chicken with Basmati Rice Pilaf

Prep time :

Tandoori : 20 mins + 18.5hr stand alone time

Rice : 10 mins

Cook Time:

Chicken: 45 mins

Rice: 18 mins + 10 mins stand alone time

Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 1.5 kg of chicken ( I used boneless and skinless thighs)
  • 2 tablespoon of butter
  • Chat Masala for sprinkling.
  • First Marination:
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder ( Indian chili powder – NOT the kind use to make bean chili’s)
    • 2-3 tablespoon of lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Second Marination
    • 1 cup of Greek/plain yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 2 tablespoon coriander powder
    • 2 teaspoon cumin powder
    • 1 tablespoon Chat Masala
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 tablespoon of grated garlic
    • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
    • 1 tablespoon Kasuri Methi Leaves ( Fenugreek)

Rice:

  • 1-1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onions, from one small onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Slightly under 2-1/4 cups water
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit, such as currants, raisins or finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted until golden

Steps

Chicken:

  1. If you’re using various pieces of chicken, make deep slits.
  2. In a zip lock bag, combine chili powder, lemon juice, salt and chicken.
  3. Seal bag and expel excess air. massage bag so chicken is coated.
  4. let it sit for 30 mins. Meanwhile gather the second marination ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  5. all second marination to the bag and massage bag. let it marinate for 6 hours- overnight.
  6. Remove bag and let it come to room temperature ( you can prep the rice stuff and preheat oven during this time)
  7. Preheat oven to 480F.
  8. Line a sheet pan with foil and lay the chicken. Use half of the left over marinate and brush over chicken.
  9. Pop in oven for 5 mins.
  10. Remove from oven, flip the chicken over and brush with remaining marinate.
  11. bake for 5 mins.
  12. Remove chicken and reduce oven temperature to 320F and brush chicken with butter
  13. Bake for 10 mins. Flip chicken and brush with butter
  14. Repeat for 3 cycles. the chicken will produce water initially but will dry out after.
  15. Remove tray from oven and switch oven to high broil. Set the oven rack to 6 inches under the broiler.
  16. Broil chicken for 5 mins on each side until some char marks can be seen.
  17. Sprinkle chat masala over and serve.

Rice:

  1. Place rice in medium bowl and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Using your hands, gently swish grains to release any excess starch. Carefully pour off water, leaving rice in bowl. Repeat four to five times, until water runs almost clear. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain water from rice. Place strainer over bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring regularly, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and garlic to sautéed onions and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Add rice to pot, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Add water, salt and pepper to rice and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 15-18 minutes. Off heat, remove lid, and sprinkle dried fruit over rice (do not mix in). Place lid loosely over pot and let stand 10 minutes. Toss in toasted almonds, fluff rice with a fork, then serve.

I cooked the rice while the chicken is baking in the oven and they both should be done at the same time.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Basmati Rice Pilaf Recipe