Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Abominable Food

Just when you thought you'd heard the last of me, I'm back!  You're so glad.  I can feel it.  I got swallowed by a work-dragon, but it mercifully spit me back out.  After a few showers I'm nearly as good as new!

Some foods should never be combined.  Some foods should be considered criminal when paired together.  However, believe it - some foods that sounds absolutely disgusting end up being totally amazing when they get together.  Case in point - the waffle recipe I'm about to share.

Who doesn't love waffles?  Don't tell me, because I just don't know if I could look you in the eye next time.  I for one LOVE waffles.  Real waffles - not eggo waffles.  I love getting out my shiny waffle oven and mixing up a batter that's going to be crispy and airy and light and delicious.  I love the versatility and appeal of a perfectly made waffle.  Then I love messing it up by adding savory ingredients. 

Probably many of you love savory waffles and I'm just the last person on the caboose.  It wouldn't surprise me.  Such things have been known to happen before.

I got my most recent issue of Bon Appetit.  I ripped off the threatning FINAL NOTICE envelope I've been getting since last April and trashed it.  Get a grip, BA.  I'm not renewing.  Blame Rapoport!  It's turned into GQBA.  Bring back Fairchild! *Nerd moment*

Anyway, before I got off track, I was going to say that I saw a recipe that made my heart stop for a moment.  Not just because of the ingredient list (although that made it stop a second time - note to self, get a checkup) but because it sounded so amazing I knew I would have to make it ASAP.

Bacon-Swiss Waffles (adapted from BA - they called for ham and cheddar and I had neither)

Warning: this recipe contains both bacon and copious amounts of butter.
Warning: I am a terrible photographer.
Look!  Salad!

1 package bacon
1 3/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, separated (they'll be reunited later.  It's a beautiful ending, and not in the least bit disingenuous.)
1 cup of butter, melted.  That's two sticks.  I know.  YIKES!
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup soda water - actually, I used an old almost flat bottle of Pellegrino. 
1-2 small, thin slices of swiss cheese

Turn your broiler on high.  Turn on your vent fan while you're at it.  Maybe open a window.  See where I'm going with this?  Put your bacon on a grill pan and broil it for approximately 13-15 minutes until crispy.  I'm one of those people who likes very crispy bacon, and not soft-ish bacon.  I like it to be almost burned.  This method turned it nice and crispy and not one bit burned though.  My husband was relieved.

Once your bacon is finished (you might need to do it in two batches) then take it out.  Keep it in reserve until needed.  Don't let your 4 year old eat it all.  That would be just wrong!  Plus you need some for the recipe.

Get out your waffle iron.  Dust it off, if need be.  Plug it in.

Sift all of the dry ingredients.  Put the egg whites in your mixer and whip them into shape, shape meaning that they're foamy and white and not too stiff.  Whisk together the wet ingredients.  Guess what?  When you add cold pellegrino to melted butter, it gets kind of clumpy.  It's ok.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and whisk in the wet ingredients except for the egg whites.  Once your dry and wet ingredients are whisked, fold in the egg white.  By "fold" I mean dump in the whipped egg whites, then gently mix together the egg whites and the batter.  It's hard to explain.  Foodies, feel free to rip me a new one in the comments.

Once your batter is ready, open up your waffle iron.  If you don't have a non-stick one, then spray it with cooking spray.  Pour in about 1/4-1/2 cups batter.  If you're like me, you forget that the batter travels and you overdo it, and it will ooze out over the sides.  Don't you be like me!  I just said that in a Jack Nicholson voice.

Before you put the lid on, here is where you add your ingredients.  For my son, I add in some chocolate chips.  For me, I sprinkled bacon pieces and little chopped up pieces of swiss cheese.  For my daughter and husband, I added nothing.  They're waffle purists.

The beauty of your waffle iron is that a little light will blink on when they are finished, between 5 and 10 minutes later.  Awesome!  This recipe made waffles that were very crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside.  I think that's what happens when you whip the whites separately and then gently fold them in.  Oh, and possibly the scads of butter added. 

I went that one step further and added homemade apricot-raspberry jam to my waffle. Because when you're in for a million calories, what's a few hundred more?  My homemade jam sometimes has almost whole apricot halves in it.  They're the treasure in the jar. 

I also had salad.  Hopefully the salad is fighting off the butter right now.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Simple Parent Math

I do most of the purchasing of clothing for kids and no matter how many times I've done it, I keep making the simple mistake of purchasing plain white shirts.  Ostensibly I buy them to wear under spaghetti strap shirts or for a crisp look to go with some funky shorts. However, they're typically unwearable after the first couple of times.  Here's why:

Typical kid-day:
1.5 hours of meals (hands wiped on shirt despite readiness of pristine napkin)
2 hours of making mud soup in the backyard
1 hour of bubbles
1 hour of playing tennibaskebasevolly in the backyard (gotta slide to make that last shot)
15 minutes of runny nose after being hit in face by ball (nose wiped on shirt despite readiness of tissues)
1 hour of helping make cookies in the kitchen (hands wiped on. . . you get the drift)
1 hour of coloring/painting

All that equals 100% guarantee I will forget about this and buy a new white shirt in a few months.

Wisk THIS, baby!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Going, Going, Gone!

The other night, about 90 minutes before I had to go to work, I decided it was time I brought volunteers a treat.  It was just enough time for me to whip up this delicious coffee cake.  We had our meeting and at the end of it, I said, "Oh, and I brought cake, coffee, tea and cider for a little treat." 

"Yay, cake!"  many said, and went and got slices.  Halfway through their refreshments, they suddenly got wide-eyed.  It grew a little quiet.  Someone said, "Uh oh.  What's the bad news?" 

Really!!  I mean, they must know me so well.  They know I will always try to lure them to the dark side with treats.  Actually, I had no ulterior motive that day - just gratitude to them for the work they do with youth.  What would we do without volunteers?

Epicurious is my favorite recipe site.  A couple of tips - when you go there, anything more than 3 1/2 forks and from Bon Appetit magazine is usually golden.  My favorite though is to read reviews.  Someone will say, "I know that this called for 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 cup apples, 1 cup raisins, but I added bananas, cocoa powder, omitted the sugar, added agave nectar, threw in some nutmeg and baked it for 30 minutes less than it called for.  And it was terrible!"  Those reviews always crack me up.

Only crumbs are left. A pan like this means you have succeeded.

Blueberry Coffee Cake - from

1/3 cup flour
1/2 stick butter (forgive yourself now for the butter) room temperature
1 cup coconut
1/2 brown sugar (oh yeah - and forgiveness for the sugar too)
1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups flour
1 stick butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries or one package of frozen and unthawed blueberries

For the topping, combine all the ingredients required and mix until crumbly.  Hang on to that topping for later.  Just hang out, topping.  Chill.  You're up soon.

Preheat your oven to 360.  So, the recipe called to preheat the oven to 357 degrees.  I'm assuming it's a typo, because really?  I don't have that kind of oven.  When replacing our dinosaur oven, which for the last 2 years we owned it, I had to consistently pull out the burner and put it back in DURING cooking something whenever it suddenly lost heat, we went for the lower-mid-level option.  Which means it looks pretty fancy but is still pretty basic.  I don't have an oven that allows you to get to degrees between increments of 5.  I'm obsessing about this typo.  I do stuff like that.

Anyway, put those obsessions to the side.  Butter and flour a 9x13 pan.  Combine the dry ingredients (except for the sugar) and put off to the side.  You're already turned off, I can tell.  Don't worry!  So you have two extra bowls to clean.  It's worth it, I swear!

Cream the butter and the sugar together until fluffy.  Why do they call it that?  It just seems inadequate.  Beat them together until adequate in your mixer.  That means the butter is light in color and the mixture is thick and not grainy.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  I usually scrape the pan with a spatuler (my favorite way to pronounce "spatula") between each egg addition so that we can incoroporate all of the stuff sticking to the bottom of the bowl.  That stuff has to join in.  It has to cooperate.  This cake is a joint effort.  There is no "i" in cake. 

Stop digressing and add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, which you remembered to combine with the vanilla.  Do it in three additions each.  The mix in the blueberries.  Gently!  Don't squish them.  You might do the mixing with a spatula.  Treat them tenderly.  Blueberries are delicate.

Pour that luscious batter into the baking pan.  Sprinkle the crumb mixture overtop of the batter and bake it all together for about 40 minutes unless your oven stinks like mine does (I baked mine for 55 minutes).  How do you know it is done?  Poke a toothpick into the middle.  Not a used one.  A fresh one.  Don't take the one Grandpa is chewing on, not even if it's the last toothpick in the house.  When you pull it out, moist crumbs should cling sweetly to the wooden pick.  You should not have slimy cake goo on the pick.  The description of testing this cake is going into a dark alley that I really don't want to explore, metaphor wise.  Lets leave it for now.

The topping should also be golden at this point. 

If you're like me, you throw on your oven mitts and whisk it into your car, resisting the urge to pick at it all the way there.  Once you get a slice, it will still be warm.  You could get people to agree to all kinds of things with a cake like this.

Not that I would dare try.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Toe-body Knows The Trouble I've Seen

The things that my son gets into and says slay me on almost a daily basis.  Yesterday evening, while playing an innocent game of "lets throw stuff over the fence into the pool," my son decided to pick up the heavy play slide and . . . who knows.  Not even he knows.  Sometimes things just exist to be picked up.

This picture has no bearing on the story.  It's just so I can show how cute he is.  It's also a bit dated.

Of course, it is a heavy slide.  So it slipped from his fingers and landed on his foot.  A couple of hops around the house and I thought all was well.  I went to work, we ate cake.  More about that later.

I came home at 10 PM and he was holding on to his shin for dear life, weeping.  "Get to bed!" my husband proclaimed.  "Mommy, it hurts so bad!"  my son argued back.  So I took a look - hmmm, not really swollen but kind of firm to the touch.  So I cuddled him until he fell asleep (don't tell his friends.  Nor his enemies).

He woke up several times in the night because of the pain, and when he woke in the morning crying about it, I said, "No problem, you can stay home today."  "Yahoo!" he cried, leaping out of bed.  Then he stopped and said, "Oh yeah.  Ow!"

I was sure I was snowed.  I made an appointment with the doctor and was relieved to find out - no!  I was not snowed!  He had an infected toe.  What a relief.

Isn't that dumb to feel relieved that there really is a (semi)serious medical issue going on?  I hate going to the doctor and seeing her give me The Look.  "He's fine," she'll say.  The subtext I always hear is, "Really?  Calm down, Hoverlady!"  But not today!  Today I got my money's worth.  "Keep his activity level low," she advised. 

After running out of the building, skipping up the stairs, racing to the car and talking about the bike riding he was planning for later, all punctured by thoughtful "Um, oh yeah.  Ow!  It still hurts," I thought about asking next time for suggestions about keeping a 6 year old's activity level low.

On our way home, I had him call my husband to give him a guilt trip.  "Daddy, you were WRONG!" he crowed into the phone. "I DO have an owie on my toe!" 

We all felt better after that.

Chicken Pancakes

Did that title make you want to throw up?  It certainly doesn't sound very appetizing, which is why I'm renaming it "chicken patties."  Yes.  Boring.  Safe.  Palatable.  When I think chicken pancakes, I just squirm a little.  I picture chicken and maple syrup which seems a culinary atrocity.

Now chicken and waffles?  Totally fine.  Don't ask me why, I don't make the rules!

I adapted this recipe from one I found online, mostly because I didn't have any chinese 5-spice powder.  I have about 473829 other spices in my spice cabinet but not that one.  So, I decided to take a different flavor profile with mine.  Did you like that term?  Makes me sound like a professional.  Either a professional or a totally pretentious git.  The other recipe also sounds delicious though and I encourage you to check it out here:

This is a really healthy recipe.  Very little oil is used and no bread crumbs!  I served these with a baked sweet potato and some steamed zucchini.  I like my baked sweet potatoes with a teaspoon or so of grated parmesan cheese melted on top.  Don't knock it; it works.

Chicken Patties

1 package ground chicken (or turkey if you're feeling wild)
1 tbsp thyme (not ground; although if you go down that alley, reduce it to about 1 1/2 tsp)
2 tsp dried basil
1 egg
5-6 green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter or olive oil for pan

Preheat your oven to 350.  Spray a baking tray.  Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix together.  You should always be careful not to overmix; it makes your patties tough.  And nobody likes tough patties.  Doesn't that sound like some kind of nasty innuendo?  Maybe these should be Innuendo Patties.

Once your ingredients are mixed, get out your griddle pan, or if you don't have one of those; just a pan.  It's that simple.  Brush the bottom of the pan with olive oil and heat on high until a drop of water dances across the surface of your hot pan like a fouette-obsessed ballerina.  I used to be able to do fouettes.  But not without coming pretty close to kicking something.

Once the pan is hot, form the patties (I tried the wet-hands rumor and it is true!).  Don't make them too thick or they won't cook all the way through.  Put them on the hot griddle and let them cook for about 5 minutes on each side.  Once both sides are cooked and golden, remove them to the oven to finish off. This method avoids you cutting into each one obsessively to make sure it is no longer pink inside.  Usually you can tell if there is still some pinkness if there is a pink line around the circumference of the patty; however, sometimes you just can't be sure.  Putting them in the oven for 5-7 finishes them off without making them too dry.

Serve them with something healthy, for the love of all that is holy!  They would be great with some tzatziki sauce on the side, or in a pita with some salad and feta thrown in for good measure.  My husband had these the next day on toast with cheese and tomato and I proclaimed them acceptable for human consumption.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Attack Of The Growth Spurt

My four year old is ravenous lately.  Here's what she ate today:
  • 2 waffles with syrup
  • 1/3rd of a pack of sliced turkey
  • 3 popsicles
  • Goldfish (the crackers, not the pet. Come on!)
  • A little bit of beef with barley soup
  • Half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • 4 strawberries
  • Some salt and vinegar pringles
All this before 2 PM.

Yikes!  She's also been sleeping through the night in her own bed for the past 3 days.  This is a record.  Usually she comes into our bed and creates the horizontal part of the letter "H." 

The other issue is that after just fitting into size 4t pants, after 2 months of wearing that size they have now become obsolete.  I had to buy 3 new pairs of pants on Friday so that she doesn't walk around in fear that someone will run up to her saying, "ma'am, ma'am, where's the flood?"  She also woke up one morning unable to put on any shoes that didn't pinch her toes.

Please, universe!  Let her grow a little slower!

Way Back Then:

Adorable, yet cheeky 1 year old.  Apple to her mom's eye.  Brother may have different outlook.  She used to let me do her hair however I wanted. 

Now (well, a couple of months ago):

All-grown-up four year old.  Now with opinions on her hair and clothing.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Soup For My Soul

Well. . . tortilla soup, to be exact!  My soul likes it spicy.  Unlike some tortilla soups out there that are brothy, this is thick, tomatoey and stewy.  This soup could be made vegetarian or vegan.  Such things have happened before.  I have mad respect for vegetarians and suchlike. 

Once when I was 16 I went to a concert (I believe it was Q-Fest, for all those who lived here in the 90s and remember KUKQ) and stopped by the PETA booth.  When I left 5 minutes later, I left a committed vegetarian.  I came home and told my mother that I would no longer be eating meat.  "No problem," she said.

For the next week, my mom pulled out the stops and made every single meat dish I loved.  She claims to have no memory so I believe it could have been a subconscious decision.  I caved after 7 days.  That guacamole chicken has never tasted so delicious (recipe to come).

Anyhow, this recipe is one easily adapted if you spurn animal cruelty of all forms.  Good job!  May ants never invade your bedroom because I would expect you'd have some difficult decisions to make.

4 tbsp vegetable oil
6 corn tortillas
1 onion, diced
3 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced
A large (32 oz can) crushed or diced tomatoes, or two regular sized ones
1 regular sized can tomato sauce
4 cans chicken broth
2 raw chicken breasts
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chile powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves

Shredded cheddar cheese
Crispy tortilla strips
Sour Cream
Chopped avocado

So did you also visit a PETA booth at an impressionable age?  Just leave out the chicken, and substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth.  Maybe you could add chunks of tofu.  I like to pretend tofu doesn't exist.  It creeps me out.  Everyone has their little phobias.  That one is mine.

Cut the tortillas up into squares.  Not little ones.  Regular sized ones.  Postage stamp sized.  Don't worry about doing it beautifully because they are going to disintegrate somewhat and thicken your soup.  Put the oil into a big soup pot.  This is a good time to turn on the stove.  I better not forget to mention that.

Put the corn tortilla squares, onion and garlic into the oil and cook it a bit until the onion is translucent.  The tortillas are not going to be crispy.  They're going to be soft.  Once that magical point of no return has been reached, then add your tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken broth.  Rinse out your cans and put them in your recycling bin.  I will be checking.

Add the raw chicken breasts.  If you want, you can dice them up first and then add the chunks.  I don't do this at this point but I will share my secret technique later.  Add all of the spices.  Let the soup come to a boil, then turn it to medium to medium low and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is entirely cooked through.  Stir it occasionally so that ingredients in the soup don't become codependent and stick to the bottom of the pot.  Everyone gets burned that way.

Feeling lazy?  Want to make this soup but you don't have the specific spices?  You could add between 1 and 3 tablespoons of taco seasoning.  I'm a tortilla soup snob and I firmly believe that there is a subtle difference between the spices and the taco seasoning but I wouldn't turn my nose up at the taco seasoning version.  Both are delish.

Usually, if I have added whole chicken breasts to the soup instead of the chunks, I take it out once it is mostly cooked through.  It can still be pinkish in the middle because it will cook some more.  I chop the chicken somewhat finely and then put it back in the pot.  I like small chunks in the soup - almost like shreds.  You might like big chunks.  Lets all get along.

Now that your soup is cooked, time for some fun garnish!

Ladle your soup in a bowl.  Top with garnishes of your choice.  You could also do some chopped green onion.  I personally think that fresh cilantro tastes a little like your mouth does after you've been to the dentist, but sometimes it works for me.  In some dishes it is essential.  If you don't like it, leave it off.  Think of this as "personal responsibility" soup. 

This is a picture of temptation:

That's a tortilla strip with big grains of sea salt on them.  I can't resist them when they're like this.  Sometimes I burn them.  Those are easier to resist.

Make them like this:
Slice about 12 corn tortillas into thin strips.  Put about an inch of vegetable oil in a fry pan and fry these till golden.  They are meant to be a garnish so it's ok to partake a little.

When you take a bite, it's going to tomatoey, spicy, crunchy and soupy all at the same time.  Added effects for added garnishes.  Heaven.

Once at an old job, I had some leftover soup I'd just made perfectly ready for lunch at my desk.  A colleague I kinda disliked began an important conversation with me and could not be dissuaded from discussing that topic right at that minute.  When I was able to get back to my soup about 30 minutes later, the tortilla strips were soggy. 

I still carry the grudge.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Once. . . Twice . . .

Fee times a mayyyyydayy!  This may make no sense to you.  Lots of what I say and/or do makes no sense and I've come to accept that over the years.

Let me tell you what DOES make sense though - twice baking your potatoes!  Twice baked potatoes are hot, creamy, perfectly seasoned and they have the added bonus of looking like a lot of work.  So when you bring them out for your family, or for your dinner guests, and they say, "Wow, that must have been so much work," you should say, "Yes.  Yes it was.  And I'm not entirely sure you DESERVE it!"  Then shoot them resentful looks while you devour one if it's true, or laugh jocularly if it's not true and hope they know you're kidding.  In either scenario, it will place those you serve these to in your debt forever.

Twice Baked Potatoes

4 potatoes
4 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup cheddar cheese

Twice-baked potatoes have a formula to them; it's approximately 1 tablespoon butter and a scant 1/4 cup of cheddar per potato.  Less cheese and butter if you want.  The twice-baked potatoes police will not send a team into your kitchen and throw you to the floor if you deviate from the formula.  They're busy with other things.

The recipe I originally read when I learned how to make twice-baked potatoes said to rub the potatoes all over with a tablespoon of butter and then put ANOTHER tablespoon of butter in them.  Doing this gives the potato skin a nice crispy outside; it also means you've just eaten two tablespoons of butter with your potato.  I say, decide where your priorities are.

So anyway, preheat your oven to 450.  That's right!  I said 450, what of it??  If you really blast the potatoes, it crisps them up a bit on the outside; then you're going to lower the heat and cook them longer.  Decide what kind of aggression you want to release and either stab them with a fork or cut an "x" in them with a knife.  I like cutting a nice, neat "x" in mine.  Failing to do so may result in exploding potatoes in your oven. 

Put them in the 450 oven for around 20-25 minutes.  Then lower the heat to 375 and let them cook for another 15 minutes until they yield when you squeeze them (preferably while holding a potholder or wearing an oven mitt).  What does yield mean?  So when you squeeze them, it shouldn't feel like you're squeezing a rock wrapped in cotton balls.  It should feel as though if you released your mighty power, it would squish into nothingness in your hands.  Mwahahhaha! 

Gently and tenderly slice the tops off of the potatoes.  Scoop out the insides with a spoon and put in a bowl.  The first time you make these, you may tear the skins a little.  That's ok.  Forgive yourself.  That happens to everyone.  Put the butter in the bowl with the potato and mash the potatoes and butter together until they're creamy and blended.  Add cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.  This is the time when you get to make them the way YOU like them.  Power to the people! 

Just as gently, put spoonsful of potato mixture (spoonsful or spoonfuls?  probably spoonfuls. I'll never live that one down.) back into the hollowed out skins.  You're going to have more filling than skin, so you can sort of mound it as though it is bursting with buttery, cheesy goodness right out of the potato.  Put them back in the oven to get browned.  I typically turn off my oven, and broil them on high for about 5 minutes until the edges are brown and there are delicious looking brown spots dotting the top. 

It doesn't sound delicious, but trust me on that one.

Then serve them with almost anything!  The only thing I could possibly think of that wouldn't go with these?  Tacos.  There.  Done. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lazy Food

So the Superbowl is coming up and I am really looking forward to it.  No, no, not for the football.  I'm not the sportiest person on the planet.  I've got some inner-ear dysfunction that makes me clumsier than your average human.  My clumsiness is almost of epic proportions.  Able to sense your most breakable possessions and destroy them in a single moment.  Spilling things on herself and others almost without even trying, it's. . . Maladroitica! 

No, what I'm really looking forward to is the commercials and the food!  I love commercials that make an effort, are funny or weird.  Superbowl?  Perfect time to watch a couple, in between pages of my book.  You know, when the men in armor and tights try to bludgeon each other.  And lets be honest - I'm always looking forward to food.

Here's what I might be convinced to make, had I not made them last weekend - ribs! Actually, I'm pretty sure of what I'm planning to make and they don't include these.  But maybe you want to!

See how the board is all messy and saucy?  That's the measure of a good rib in my opinion.  These are back ribs, not short ribs or country ribs which I would cook in a completely different way.  They spend a lot of time just sitting on their butts in the oven.  Lazies!  You spend a nominal amount of time slathering sauce on them.  You live to serve.

These are also so supremely easy to make, it is ridiculous.  Let your oven have the glory.  Even my fickle oven can handle these.  The key is having some really good barbecue sauce.  I like Bone-Suckin Sauce and chipotle sauce, but any thick, bottled sauce will do. 

A big slab of ribs
Barbecue Sauce
Aluminium Foil

Preheat your oven to 375.  Ooh!  My favorite oven temperature!

Aluminium foil is your friend.  You are going to bake these for a long time and the last thing you want is carbonized sauce forever welded to your nice baking pan.  Or your patchy, old, bumpy baking pan that has seen better days but has job security because you prefer shoes to boring stuff like replacing baking pans.

So wrap your baking pan in foil.  I use a cookie sheet; a rimmed one.  Your ribs will exude some juices and much better that they don't drip onto the floor of the oven.  Salt and pepper the ribs all over and put the meaty side facing up.  Hold your horses on the barbecue sauce right now.

Bake the ribs in the oven for 20-30 minutes.  How long exactly?  Kinda doesn't matter.  This is just to sear the meat a bit and keep it juicy.  Take the ribs out, flip them over and slather barbecue sauce on the side facing up.  The bony side.  I wish I had a bony side. Brush it all over so you have a good glaze of sauce.  Put them back in the oven for 20ish minutes.  Not less than 20 but if it stays in a bit longer, no biggie.   Take them back out, flip them over, and pour more sauce on the side facing up, the meaty side.  I have two of those depending on your perspective.  Brush it all around and put it back in for ANOTHER 20 minutes.  Take it back out after 20 minutes. Don't flip them, but pour one final lashing of sauce over the ribs, spoon it all over, and bake 20 more minutes.  Take them out, turn off the oven.  Good job, oven.  That was like an oven 5k.  Thanksgiving?  Oven marathon.

Now this is where you need to be very careful because you've got molten hot barbecue sauce on those ribs.  The ribs should also be insanely tender, so if you just cavalierly pick up the ribs with some tongs, half of them might just break off and fall, and you've just put more than an hour into baking these puppies, which means that you'll reach out your hand and grab them, thereby fusing sauce onto your finger and giving you a huge blister.  You might say a couple of choice words, but I guarantee you they wouldn't be your mother's choice.  Have you ever noticed that swearing makes you feel better?  I have.

Anyway, carefully move them to a cutting board and cut the ribs individually.  I served mine with gratin potatoes and steamed broccoli. The gratin potatoes were even kind of healthy!  Well, healthier than most.  You'd think after all that time in the oven, the ribs would be dry, right?  Well, they're pretty juicy and delicious.  I know.  It boggles the mind.

Bone appetit!  Ha ha.  Oh, I kill me.  Tip your server, I'll be here all week!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Yesterday I reached a secret personal goal.  I often have secret goals.  They're really essential when you are planning world-domination.  Now that I'm getting older though, I have to realize - I'd be happy enough with household domination.  It is exhausting to crush uprisings of laundry, dust bunnies and dirty dishes.  One day, I will control the tri-room area.

But I digress.  One of the goals, which I referred to the other day, is to get healthier.  Lets put it into black and white; I want to sveltify myself.  Ok!  Ok!  I want to lose some pounds.  I started pretty intensely in mid-September and as of yesteray, I'd reached 20 pounds lost! 

Pictured above: black and white brownies.  Something I'm eating a lot less of.
I was pretty confounded because last week was the week from hell.  I didn't exercise at all.  I ate cheesecake.  I quit the gym (which incidentally I hadn't set foot in since September).  I curled up in a fetal position a couple of times.  And I lost a couple of pounds.  What?  Easiest diet plan ever!  I'm going to call it the No-Gym Fetal Cheesecake Diet (TM).

I've got some ways more to go, but for now, I feel like celebrating.  But instead of eating 20 brownies, I purchased a few songs off iTunes to mix it up when I take my daily mile(s).