Friday, January 6, 2012

Brag about them and they shall come...

Exciting news as reported by Steve Barnes ... Penzey's is coming to town!  Granted, I do love ordering from them online because I almost always get an extra little treat in the package, but there's nothing like killing an hour wandering around a Penzey's brick and mortar store.

It's like my Christmas wish came true!  Now only if Jeni's would open a store here...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Super simple appetizer

In addition to the ribs, I brought a simple smoked salmon crudite to out New Year's festivities.  I love these because they are so easy, yet pretty enough to look fancy.

This time I made my own french bread toast. And by made my own I mean I bought french bread, hit it with olive oil, and toasted it.  You can use any sort of toast or cracker though.  My only warning is to not prepare them too far in advance because the bread/cracker can get soggy.

It's really this simple ... mix cream cheese with a healthy dose of chopped dill - enough to really impart flavor and color.  Spread the mixture on the toast, stick some smoked salmon on top, and done.  I like to arrange the salmon in a way that allows for an extra dill garnish, making them look just a tad more polished.

Easy and yummy!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ribs with Orange-Chile glaze

I actually had a stroke of inspiration the other day.  I was headed to my friends' place for low key drinks and appetizers on New Year's Eve.  These guys appreciate food and can cook, so I wanted to bring my A game.  While at the Asian Supermarket, I spied some ribs and the creative juices started floating.

I decided I wanted to make an orange-chile sauce for the ribs.  Full disclosure, I was only half paying attention and thought I was grabbing country-style ribs when really I just got the less meaty normal kind.  I'm looking forward to trying this with a meatier cut.

I browned the ribs off quickly, took them out of the pot and sauteed some onions and a package of roasted chilies from my freezer.  Then, I laid the ribs on top of the onions and peppers, added a touch of fresh-squeezed orange juice and let them cook very slowly for a few hours.

When it was time to crisp them up, I made a glaze by reducing orange juice, cayenne, honey, brown sugar and some of the juice that that had run off from the cooking ribs.  Careful with this step as the sugar can burn if you're not watching it.  When the liquid was reduced (and was super spicy from the concentrated pepper!) I drizzled it over the ribs (which I'd moved to a foil lined baking dish) and tossed them under the broiler.  Again, careful of burning sugar - I watched them very closely.

The sweet and spice worked nicely together.  I felt that I'd really achieved a coup when my friend said "I don't even like ribs and I ate three!".  It could have been the whiskey and prosecco talking, but I think we all enjoyed them.  The glaze was fairly easy to make and I would certainly try it again for different cuts of meat.