Thanks to Megan at Megan’s Cookin’ for today’s pick – and Happy Memorial Day to all. I love caramelized onions and I also love dip. A match made in heaven for sure. This dip from June Living was not hard to make. You dice and then cook 3 lbs of onions. It takes about half an hour to 45 min to cook. until caramelized. When they’re done, add 3 tbsp water and scrape up the brown bits. Cool it then add to 1 1/2 cups Greek plain yogurt (I cheated and used regular nonfat plain yogurt), 1/2 cup sour cream, and 2 tbsp lemon juice. A breeze. This was really, really good. You’re supposed to serve it with cut up veggies and it is yummy that way, but this would also be good with some pita triangles, crackers, or whatever you like to pair with your dip. You could even slice some potatoes and bake them until crispy and use those. Thumbs up on this one Martha!
I haven’t been posting much this week. Thing have just been completely crazy here with doctor appointments, other appointments, and kids’ events and activities. There has been almost no time to cook. Last night I threw together a macaroni, tuna, and veggie salad for us to shovel in before we ran from the house. Teen Martha was playing a flute solo at her band concert, which was held at Kleinhan’s Music Hall, a gorgeous facility in downtown Buffalo. If you’re interested, here’s the link to the song. We were so impressed by her beautiful music, and so touched that her band director complimented her on stage at the end (you have to wait for the guest conductor to leave and her band director to come out to speak if you’re interested). It was a lovely evening and we were so proud of her. She is a senior, so this was her last high school Kleinhan’s concert (the school rents it out once a year). I admit I got a little teary. We don’t know yet if she will continue playing flute in college, but it’s something I will miss if she doesn’t!
I’ve been dying for ribs lately. In recent years I’ve hit upon what I consider to be the perfect rib recipe, which I’ve adapted from Trisha Yearwood’s first cookbook. I don’t actually have her cookbook – I saw her on The View and then borrowed it from the library. I liked the basic concept and tweaked it to suit my taste. The secret to these ribs is marinating them overnight, then cooking them in the oven covered with foil, then finally cooking then uncovered with BBQ sauce. I like my ribs to have some crunch but then to have tender meat inside, but none of that gross gloppy fat on it. This recipe achieves that perfect combination.
1 cup tamari or soy sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp salt
2 racks of baby back ribs
Mix first 4 ingredients together in a large glass measuring cup or glass bowl and microwave until sugar dissolves (1-2 minutes). Cut the racks of ribs in half (or quarters) so that they will fit in a ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over them and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 375. Place the ribs in a roasting pan and cover with foil. Bake for 2 hours.
Remove ribs. Combine 1 1/2 cups ketchup (I use only organic, which has a wonderful flavor), 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce, 1 tbsp yellow mustard. Brush on ribs and reserve what is left. Reduce heat in oven to 350 and bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, until the ribs are a dark color. Serve with leftover sauce. You could also put these ribs on the grill for the last half hour if you prefer.
My family is big on Greek food. We always joke that Mr. MarthaAndMe must be Greek (his ancestry is a little cloudy – lots of Eastern European with little details). So of course I had to make the Lamb and Cucumber Kebabs with Feta Sauce from June Living (p.184).
I make something like this pretty often and I usually buy lamb tenderloin. This time I couldn’t find that at the store, so I ended up with boneless leg (which was what the recipe called for anyhow). I cut it into chunks and marinated it in the mix of oil, garlic, oregano and lemon juice. I mixed up the sauce – yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and feta with a little oil. I added salt and pepper to that.
You grill the lamb on kebabs with cucumber. I would never have grilled the cucumber – seemed weird, but it was actually pretty good. The lamb, on the other hand, was tough and chewy – since I am used to tenderloins, the leg was tough by comparison.
I served this with some whole wheat tortillas and lettuce and we wrapped it up. It was quite good over all.
Slab pie? That sounded so weird to me when I ran across this recipe in June Everyday Food. Dude Martha saw me looking at it and wanted it, so I bought the ingredients and got to work. The crust is to be made in the food processer. Oh, snap, mine’s broken and I haven’t ordered the part yet. No problem, I thought, I’ll just use my pastry cutter. Well, it had vanished. I already had all the ingredients in a bowl, so I went in with my hands! It actually worked pretty well (5 c flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp sugar, 4 sticks butter 1 to 1 1/2 c water)
This pie is made in a jellyroll pan, hence the concept of it being a slab. The filling is basic – blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, zest, and cornstarch. Now, I approached this with a skeptical eye. I sometimes find Martha’s fruit desserts too tart. There is a history in our family of too tart desserts. My mother does not have a sweet tooth and likes her pies on the sour side. We call them pucker pies. I like mine sweet, sweet, sweet. So I DOUBLED the amount of sugar, thinking that ought to do it. I also added a tsp of cinnamon since I think it enhances the flavor (the recipe says: 8 c blueberries, 3 tbsp cornstarch, 1/2 c sugar, 1 tbsp zest, 3 tbsp lemon juice).
I pressed the bottom crust into the pan without rolling (I am such a rebel), smeared the filling and then rolled out the top crust. Into the oven it went – and promptly leaked all over the bottom of my oven (I should have put a tray under it).
It came out looking really gorgeous. It sliced nicely. I liked how it was a short pie. In my opinion, you don’t always need gobs of filling – sometimes a lot of crust can be a good thing. As for taste? It was still a little tart for me. Everyone did like it (including the famous Dude Martha who is watching me type this) and happily gobbled it. The crust texture was pretty fantastic, probably because I used my hands.
So I have to say the concept of a slab pie is getting high marks from me, although next time, I would use more sugar!
I’d never had ramps, but I’d certainly heard of them. When I ran across them in the grocery store, I grabbed some. I love green onions (scallions) so I was excited to try this relative that is only available in the spring.
I had a nice bunch, so I made two different dinners with them. For the first, I started with tortillas, to which I added feta cheese (I wanted to use goat cheese but had none), shrimp, the sliced ramps, mushrooms, some leftover broccoli, and a little cheddar cheese. I cooked them at 400 until the shrimp were cooked through. When I took them out, I added some sliced avocado and squeezed lemon over them. This was very good, but would have been better with goat cheese. I did not taste the ramps very much – all the tastes blended together.
For dinner #2 I decided I wanted to really be able to taste the ramps. I took a pork tenderloin, cut it into 2 inch wide pieces and marinated them in olive oil, thyme, Worchestershire, salt, pepper and some pineapple mango juice. Then I sent Mr. MarthaAndMe out to the grill with instructions to grill the meat and to also grill the ramps (which had been rubbed with olive oil). The photo at the right is the one I took when dinner was brought in – before I realized the ramps were not cooked at all. He put them on the top rack right at the end and they got warm, but didn’t cook. Back out to the grill he went and cooked them some more on the lower shelf and this time they cooked. I really liked them. The flavor is more refined than that of green onions. I wouldn’t say it is more delicate, because it does have a little kick, but it just different. I really enjoyed them.