Posts Tagged ‘meat’

Thursday Night Smackdown: Grilling

Labor Day this year was absolutely gorgeous, sunny and warm, and we just took it easy. We had played poker with Danny and Sally, Paul and Terry, and Steve and Katie on Sunday evening, which was a lot of fun, and then Monday we just … basked in the sun and pulled a few weeds from the veggie garden. Then I remembered to take the ribs out, put a rub on them, and stash them back in the fridge for a few hours.

Then we put them on the grill, and about an hour and a half later, this is what we found:

Grilled spare ribs

Mmm, mmm, good 🙂 Some time back, I made a batch of Neelys’ Dry Rub (from Food Network’s “Down Home with the Neelys,” which I don’t actually watch, but I figure they know their BBQ) for some baby back ribs; I’m pretty sure I made a third of the recipe, since there’s only the two of us. We still had some in the cupboard, so at about noon, I put a nice, thick layer on the spare ribs and put them back in the fridge to get spicy. Then Dan started grilling around 5:30 and dinner was ready by shortly after 7. These were so good, we will have to do them again … and again … He says they were made with luuuuuv, which is why they were so delicious. I’ll take his word for it.

Grilled Spare Ribs
Neelys’ Dry Rub:
1 1/2 cups paprika
3/4 cup sugar
3 3/4 tablespoons onion powder

4 lbs. pork spare ribs
1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, plus more for serving (because I like a *lot* of sauce)

Put the rub ingredients in a container with a lid and shake to combine. Sprinkle a good coating on the ribs, put in a gallon-size plastic zip-top bag, and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Grill for about 90 minutes. Brush with sauce for the last 10-15 minutes of grilling. Serve with extra sauce, if you’re a sauce fiend like me 🙂

This is my contribution to the Thursday Night Smackdown, Grilling Edition, hosted by Michelle. And the round-up of all the recipes is here. Looks like I owe Michelle some ribs, since I apparently missed the entire point of Thursday Night Smackdown, which is to cook something from a COOKBOOK. Like I don’t have enough of those in the kitchen that I read like novels, but don’t cook from enough. I’ll do better, I promise 🙂

Grow Your Own: Herb-Crusted Pork Roast

Grow Your Own 2008When we first bought our house, the wife of one of Dan’s co-workers gave me part of her rosemary shrub. I had several herbs that I had been growing in window boxes attached to the fire escape outside our apartment in Norfolk’s Ghent neighborhood, and all of these were planted for the time being in a half-whiskey barrel.

This is our rosemary shrub a week or so ago – it’s blooming 🙂 One day last week, I was cutting back the thyme, which is under part of the rosemary, and kept brushing against it, setting off waves of rosemary and thyme fragrance. Mmmm.


Our first exchange student, Olaf, from Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany, helped us dig out our first herb garden, and it’s grown from there. I love cooking with fresh herbs, as well as fresh veggies. Can’t wait till the veggies are grown enough to pick.

Anyway, this is about the perennial herbs that are available now. We had a dinner party last weekend, and I made the Herb-Crusted Pork Roast from the January 2007 issue of Cooks Illustrated. It was delicious 🙂

Herb-Crusted Pork Roast

I used rosemary and thyme from my garden and basil from the store. One friend brought the penne with four herbs and cheese, and another brought the homemade applesauce with rosemary. It was quite the herby dinner 😉

Herb-Crusted Pork Roast

2 1/2–3 pound boneless center-cut pork loin roast
Table salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 large slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus an additional 2 teaspoons
Ground black pepper
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley or basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)

Cut pocket in side of roast. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground (you should have 1 cup crumbs). Transfer crumbs to medium bowl (do not wash food processor workbowl) and add 2 tablespoons Parmesan, shallot, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Using fork, toss mixture until crumbs are evenly coated with oil.

Add parsley or basil, thyme, rosemary, garlic, remaining 6 tablespoons Parmesan, 3 tablespoons oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to now-empty food processor workbowl and process until smooth, about twelve 1-second pulses. Spread 1/4 cup herb paste inside roast and tie. Season roast with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add roast, fat side down, and brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes, lowering heat if fat begins to smoke. Transfer roast to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Spread remaining herb paste over roast and top with bread crumb mixture. Transfer baking sheet with roast to oven and cook until thickest part of roast registers 145 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 50 to 75 minutes. Remove roast from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Internal temperature should rise to 150 degrees. Using spatula and meat fork, transfer roast to carving board, taking care not to squeeze juices out of pocket in roast. Cut roast into 1/2-inch slices and serve immediately.

This is my entry this month in the food blogging event Grow Your Own, hosted by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes. The round-up of all the recipes is here.

Monthly Mingle: One-Dish Dinner

I’m trying harder to be on time for these food blogging events. Too often, I make the foods and take pictures, but I can’t seem to get the blogging part done in time. I made this one, though 😉

Monthly Mingle-March 2008 When it’s chilly and windy like it’s been lately, I love a nice, old-fashioned New England Pot Roast. The flavorful beef, the well-cooked potatoes and carrots, the caramelized onions, the savory brown gravy over everything … it’s major comfort food for me. So that’s what I made for the Monthly Mingle One-Dish Dinner for this month, hosted by Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey? The round-up of all the recipes is here.

I use Betty Crocker’s recipe, the same one my mother used when I was growing up. I’m not really a fan of horseradish, so I used to leave it out, but it didn’t taste right. I’ve since learned that the strong flavor of horseradish is tamed considerably by the long cooking. Good stuff. And the recipe makes so much, we can eat the leftovers for days 🙂

New England Pot Roast

2 tbsp. canola oil
4-lb. chuck roast
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 5-oz. jar prepared horseradish
1 cup water
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
24 baby carrots
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and brown roast well on all sides; reduce heat. Spread horseradish over both sides of beef. Add water and heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer on stove or place in 325*F oven for 2.5 hours. Add vegetables. Cover and cook until tender, about 1 hour longer. Remove to a warm platter. Prepare gravy and serve with beef.


Skim excess fat from broth. Add enough water to broth to measure 2 cups. Shake 1/2 cup cold water with 1/4 cup flour in tightly covered container; stir gradually into broth. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute.

New England Pot Roast

National Meatloaf Appreciation Day

I celebrated the first really cool day of fall with one of our favorite cold-weather meals: meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy. I was also inspired by the food blogging event “National Meatloaf Appreciation Day.”

My meatloaf is a pretty traditional one – it’s from the Betty Crocker cookbook I was given by my mom when I got my first apartment in college. The only change I made is that I use 1 lb. of ground beef and 1/2 lb. of ground pork instead of 1-1/2 lbs. of ground beef.

This time, I put chili sauce on top instead of catsup. I still put catsup on my meatloaf after it’s sliced; Dan likes his with the gravy. We love it as is and since there are only two of us, we usually get to enjoy it for several days 🙂

I was sure I had all the ingredients I needed, but sure enough, one was missing – bread crumbs. Yeah, I could make my own, but it has to bake for an hour and a half already, so Dan went to the little store up the street. We almost ended up with Italian-flavored bread crumbs – would have been an interesting twist, I guess – but then he found the plain ones (shopping by cell phone, don’tcha know), so we used those. (When I want Italian-flavored bread crumbs, I want to season them myself with my own herbs from the garden.)

Anyway, it came out just a fabulous as we remembered – moist but firm and just delicious. I also made mashed potatoes and green beans with diced tomatoes and garlic – a real stick-to-your-ribs dinner.


Betty Crocker Meatloaf

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 cup milk
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
3 slices bread, torn into small pieces
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup catsup, chili sauce or barbecue sauce

Heat oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients except ketchup. Spread mixture in ungreased loaf pan, 8 1/2×4 1/2×2 1/2 or 9x5x3 inches, or shape into 9×5-inch loaf in ungreased rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches. Spread catsup over top. Bake uncovered 1 1/2 hours.

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