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Posts Tagged ‘comfort food’

Even thought it’s currently coming down in buckets outside it’s still summer and that means it’s officially grill season. The smell of barbeque seems to be drifting from every corner so we joined the masses and fired up our grill for some tasty treats. I adore outdoor cooking and keep my grill handy all year round for a quick fix. I was hankering for some old fashion comfort food so decided on BBQ ribs with homemade BBQ sauce, sweet potato fries sprinkled with basil salt served with garlic lemon mayo (I could eat these all by themselves for a meal!), and grilled corn on the cob. A quite simple yet satisfying meal.

If you don’t have a BBQ (that’s a tragedy that you must remedy immediately) I’ve included instructions for oven grilling the ribs.

I promised the lovely Diana I would post these recipes…So cheers to you missy! Enjoy.

No, not cheese silly....Fresh grated horseradish.

No, not cheese silly....Fresh grated horseradish.

Crab-Boiled Country Style Pork Ribs

Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

You’ll need:

  • 6 pounds country style pork ribs
  • 1/2 cup liquid crab boil
  • 1 head garlic, cut in 2 pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, washed, ends trimmed, and quartered
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed and toasted cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated horseradish
  • 1 cup malt or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Preparation for ribs:

In a large pot, combine all the rib ingredients and enough water to cover by 1-inch (about 12 cups) and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a slow boil, cover the pot, and cook for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until ribs are very tender when pierced with a fork.

While the ribs are cooking, prepare the BBQ sauce. In a medium, non-reactive saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the ketchup, horseradish, cider vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and stir to mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened and the flavors have married, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

GRILL: Preheat grill to around 400. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the ribs to one of the prepared pans. Blot any excess liquid with paper towels, and discard the vegetables and cooking liquid. Generously coat the ribs with the BBQ sauce. Grill the ribs turning and brushing with the sauce until cooked through and marked nicely.

OVEN ONLY: Preheat the oven to broil. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the ribs to one of the prepared pans. Blot any excess liquid with paper towels, and discard the vegetables and cooking liquid. Spread half of the BBQ sauce over the 2nd lined pan. Lay the ribs flat over the sauce, and spoon the remaining sauce over the ribs to coat generously. Broil until the sauce is caramelized, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Salt and Garlic Mayonnaise

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

You’ll need:

  • 5 sweet potatoes, cut into about 1 by 5-inch “fries”
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the sweet potato “fries” on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the basil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. In another small bowl combine the mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice, and stir to combine.

When the sweet potato fries come out of the oven, sprinkle with the basil salt. Serve with the garlic mayonnaise alongside for dipping.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

You’ll need:

  • 4 ears of fresh corn, in their husks

Prepare your grill, gas or charcoal, with direct, high heat, about 550°F.

Remove the visible silks from the tips of the corn and any long pieces inside. DO NOT remove the husks!

Submerge the corn in their husks in cold water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes prior to cooking.

Place the corn in their husks on the hot grill. Cover. Turn the corn occasionally, until the husks are charred on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove corn from grill. Let sit for 5 minutes. Use a hand towel to protect your hands while removing the silks and charred husks from the corn.

Serve hot, with butter and salt. Or better yet, herb butter. YUM.

What are your favorite flavors of summer? Got any great BBQ recipes or secret tips? Please share!

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If you like bread pudding, you will LOVE this recipe. It’s absolutely devoured every time I make it. The sauce is amazing….This is the ultimate comfort food.

Steve’s Killer Bread Pudding courtesy of the Foodnetwork

breadpudding

You’ll need:

1 cup raisins
1/4 cup dark rum (recommended: Myers’s)
1 1/2 loaves stale French or Italian bread, torn into pieces
3 cups milk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream or 1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt

Rum Sauce:
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 ounces evaporated milk
4 tablespoons margarine
1 egg, beaten
2 egg yolks, beaten
3 tablespoons dark rum (recommended: Myers’s)

Preparation:

Place raisins in a small bowl with rum and soak for a couple of hours. Drain raisins and reserve soaking liquid.

Place bread pieces in a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Add raisins to dish. In a large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, heavy cream, sugar, brown sugar, molasses, lemon zest, and salt, and mix well to ensure the sugar has been dissolved.

Add the reserved raisin soaking liquid to the milk mixture and pour over bread. Let sit until bread has soaked up all of the milk mixture for at least 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place baking dish in another large pan and add water about halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for 1 hour or until bread pudding has set. Remove bread pudding from oven and let cool to just warm.

While bread pudding is cooling, make Rum Sauce:

Combine sugar, evaporated milk, margarine, egg and yolks in the top of a double boiler and cook, stirring well, until thick. Do not let sauce boil. Keep warm until serving time. Whisk in rum just before serving.

Serve bread pudding drizzled with sauce.

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But I’m telling you – it sure is super yummy!

2 weeks ago I was browsing through some cookbooks attempting to find a decent recipe that would take advantage of the ham hock that was hanging out in my fridge and nothing really seemed to hit a cord with me. So I combined a few of the best ideas from the recipes I came across.

I’m not kidding you, this has to be the most delicious ham and lentil soup ever. Fattie is begging me to make it again and even put it on the rotation once a month. I’m going to surprise him and have it cooking when he comes home tonight….It’s simple ingredients that work well together; perfect on a cold winter day like today. True comfort food.

Please try this recipe. It’s so worth it!

Ham & Lentil Soup

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small onions, diced – about 2 cups
  • 2-3 medium carrots, pealed & diced -about 1 cup
  • 2-3 celery stalks, diced – about 1 cup
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped – roughly 2 tablespoons
  • handful of fresh thyme leaves
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup apple cider (or white wine)
  • orange lentils – about 1 pound
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 generous quarts of homemade chicken stock (I really believe in homemade stock – if you can muster up the energy to make your own it makes a huge difference!)
  • 1-2 large or 3-4 small ham hocks with bones at room temperature – about 2 pounds total

Heat half of the olive oil in a large pan or dutch oven type pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sear the meat quickly on all sides. Remove the ham from pot and reserve. Turn the heat down to medium. If needed, add the remaining oil allowing the oil to heat up first and add the diced onions, carrots, and celery (this combination is also known as “mirepoix”). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes to sweat the vegetables, just until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add in the garlic, bay leaves and fresh thyme and saute for roughly another 1-2 minutes until you can smell the garlic give off it’s flavor. Deglaze the pan with the apple cider making sure to scraps all the brown bits (fond) off the bottom of the pan. Allow to heat through for 1-2 minutes. Add the ham hocks back into pot and pour in the chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the hocks are tender. Add the lentils and continue cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Scoop out the ham hocks and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the bones shredding into 2 inch pieces; add the shredded ham back into the soup. Taste the soup and season with salt & pepper as needed. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the parsley and remove the bay leaf. Serve the soup with grilled garlic french bread.

Although it looks somewhat involved, the prep and active cooking time should only take 20 minutes and then you can walk away for about 2 hours while this baby simmers and fills your kitchen with an amazing aroma. The measurements are a rough guide and don’t have to be exactly perfect; use your best judgement. Also, if the soup appears too thick add a bit more stock.

 

This hearty soup is superb the day after and can be saved for several days in the fridge. Add just a bit of stock or water to thin out the soup when re-heating.

Yum, yumo!

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