27 February 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Ewwy Cashewy Chocolate Bark

Ewwy, cashewy, bacon bark

Secret Recipe Club is back, baby!

Don't worry, I'm not posting late for Secret Recipe Club, I just switch groups from B to D. Group B posted the same week as Daring Cooks and I found myself unable to complete both. When the opportunity presented itself, I opted to leave group B and try out D. And I'm very pleased with that decision. Want to join in the Secret Recipe Club fun where we cook, bake, blog and share? Head on over to the Secret Recipe Club!

18 February 2012


Special Cooking Challenge for my Thirtieth Year!

I've had a post brewing in the back of my mind for over six months now, but I haven't actually sat down to write it. And it should have gone up January 27th. Oops. I stumbled across a fun idea on some other blogs (and it's been long enough that I have no idea which blogs). A challenge if you will. Pick 30 items to make during your 30th year. Not just any old recipe, but things that I've never made before because they've always slightly intimidated me. I'm now three weeks into my thirtieth year and it's time to make my intentions public if I have any hopes of completing the challenge. Incidentally, I picked a item off my list that meshed with my ingredient of the month for February. Below is my tentative list. It is definitely subject to change :) Six months ago, this list was at around 33, but I've made several of them items on the list since then. 

Thirty Intimidating Recipes in my Thirtieth Year
  1. French Onion Soup 
  2. Jam 
  3. Sticky Toffee Pudding 
  4. Barbecue Pulled Pork (including the Barbecue Sauce) 
  5. Pretzels 
  6. Crackers 
  7. Gelato 
  8. Challah 
  9. Savory Souffle 
  10. Layered Cake 
  11. Pita Bread 
  12. Salsa 
  13. Poblano Rellenos 
  14. Ricotta 
  15. Authentic Enchiladas (with flour tortillas) 
  16. Creamy Salad Dressing 
  17. Fried Okra 
  18. Mole 
  19. Mayonnaise or Aioli 
  20. Vanilla Extract 
  21. Pickles (Cucumber and Okra) 
  22. Kimchi 
  23. Rhubarb 
  24. Fudge 
  25. Pork Fried Rice 
  26. Pots de Creme 
  27. Pho 
  28. Beer Tasting Dinner 
  29. Cheese 
  30. Brisket 

Is there a item you think I'm missing? What's on your bucket list to make?  

I'll be creating a special page on the blog to link to my 30 in 30 recipes so you can see them all in one place throughout the year! 

17 February 2012

Double Take: Meyer Lemon Aioli

Pan con Aioli/ Brot mit Aioli/ Bread with Aioli

When Tabitha suggested Meyer lemons as the Ingredient of the Month for February, I was excited. I've never worked with Meyer Lemons before and was thrilled to get the excuse. I had no idea what I wanted to do with them, so I set about looking up recipes. I looked and looked and even found a great article in the LA Times with 100 different Meyer Lemon recipes. I took note of several completely ignored my list. Today was the day to post our blogs. I'd acquired the Meyer lemons two weeks ago from Trader Joe's (I haven't seen them at Publix), so they were on hand. I just needed to find a quick recipe. And when I was shopping for beverages today at Publix I got a brilliant idea. Pizza dough was BOGO, and I went from there.

10 February 2012

Double Take: Crispy, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crispy, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies served on a cake plate
Welcome to week two of the month: Featured Blogger week! For today's post, Tabitha and I not only picked a blogger, but a theme: COOKIES. (Make sure you read that word with a Cookie Monster accent) I adore cookies, but I tend to stick pretty faithfully to two recipes.
  1. Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. Reese's Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies
They are both good cookies, though as we learned earlier, they don't always translate well with non-American ingredients. I have definitely become a fan of chilling my cookie dough and did so for this recipe as well.

05 February 2012

Double Take: Black Bread

Black Bread

Welcome to the first week of the month! From here on out (at least for the foreseeable future) it will be known as Bread and Cheese Week for our Double Takes! For our first installment of Bread and Cheese Week, we are bringing you Black Bread! Aka Pumpernickel! Wow. That's a lot of exclamation points. Please forgive my excitement.

02 February 2012

Double Take: Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

Barbecue Ribs, Golden Macaroni and Cheese, and Broccoli

There is something ridiculously satisfying about ribs. And I love to cook them. In Winston-Salem, I learned to grill ribs. In Germany, I learned to oven cook ribs. In Nashville, I've learned my favorite way to make ribs: a slow cooker/broiler combo.

I had issues with flare-ups on the grill, leading to the ribs cooking unevenly. When you cook them in the oven, the temperature is controlled, there are no flare-ups, but you also lack the crispy crunch on the outside of the ribs. Who doesn't like a little char?

You don't really need a cleaver to cut these, but it's fun anyway!
By combining the slow cooker method with a trip under the broiler, these ribs turn out perfect every time! And as long as you like your barbecue sauce, you are good to go! I'm working on finding the right barbecue sauce for our tastes. For this experiment, I used Jack Daniels Original barbecue sauce. Do you have a favorite?

These ribs are delicious served up with Golden Macaroni and Cheese and a green vegetable of choice. I recommend fried okra or green beans. Or collard greens. Or all of the above. Mhmm, green vegetables.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs
adapted from Mmm is for Mommy and America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution
serves 2

Vegetable oil spray 
1½ Tbsp sweet paprika (Hungarian)
1 tbsp light brown sugar, lightly packed 
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp pepper
2 lbs pork (baby) back ribs - leave the membrane on the ribs to help hold them together
1 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite)


  1. Spray the inside of the crock pot with the vegetable oil spray. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix together paprika, brown sugar, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Rub this mixture all over both sides of your ribs well. Arrange ribs in the slow cooker by standing them up against the wall of the stoneware pot, thicker side down and meaty side against the pot. 
  3. Pour barbecue sauce over the ribs, cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low (I did 6 hours and they were perfect).
Six to Eight Hours Later:
  1. Very carefully (as they are incredibly tender) remove the ribs to a baking pan which you have lined with foil and put a rack on, bone side up. Set to the side. 
  2. Skim any fat that has risen to the top and strain all of the remaining juices from the slow cooker through a mesh strainer into a small saucepan. Bring to boil and allow to simmer and reduce by about a third, approximately 15 minutes. 
  3. Put your oven's broiler on to heat up and make sure that there is an oven rack about 10 inches below the broiler element. When the broiler is preheated, brush the ribs with sauce and broil for 3 minutes. Take them out and very carefully flip them over, brush with sauce and broil again, meat side up, for approximately 6 minutes, taking them out every two minutes to baste with more sauce. Serve any remaining sauce on the side with the ribs. 
Yep, that's all the liquid you need.
I had to change up the times a bit because my broiler was extra hot. If your ribs are not getting super charred in two minutes, feel free to up the time to three minutes between batches of sauce. The broiling step really does elevate the ribs. I tried them before broiling so I could let you know if all the extra work is worth it. It is. Indeed, it is. The caramelization of the sauce just gives it that extra umph. They were boring without it. 

These-are-really-good: 1 vote!
I-like-the-method-but-I'll-keep-looking-for-the-perfect-BBQ-sauce: 1 vote! 

Just a gentle nudge is all it took to pull out the bone. 
To see Tabitha's take on Slow Cooker Ribs, head on over to Double the Garlic
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