Not bad for a Thursday night dinner 2

BBQ Baby Back Ribs:

Fresh rack from Oliver's Market

Barbecuing baby back ribs is just about the best thing in the world.  I have been trying to perfect my dry rub.  Currently it consists of the following:

Brown Sugar
Garlic Powder
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Chili Powder
Smoked Paprika
Allspice
Cayenne Pepper
Cumin
and this time I added some Chipotle

I’d love to hear from any of you on what you use.

So pat these bad boys dry, then load up the rub.  I have it in a shaker and use it generously.  I let them sit with the rub on it for about an hour.  So open up the ribs, pat them dry with some paper towels and load’em up with rib rub.  Massage the rub into the meat (like you love your ribs, oh yeah baby!).  Wrap them back up and put them back in the fridge for about an hour.

I’m sure BBQ purists will have a different opinion on what the best method for queing these is, but I’ve had great success with my Weber grill.  I usually use Kingsford charcoal, but occasionally I’ll splurge for the good stuff.  Real charcoal, not the briquettes, but the burnt mesquite wood.  Whatever you’re comfortable with that you can reasonably control temperature with.  Even using a propane/gas grill is cool, whatever gets you out and grilling!

So about 15 minutes before you’re ready to start cooking fire up your coals in a starter and when they’re glowing and have a layer of white ash on them dump them out so they are piled up on one side so you can do some indirect cooking.

Grilling Babybacks
Ribs on the side

Put the grate back on the grill and let it get nice and hot.  Place your rack (heh, I said rack) directly over the coals bone-side down.  Let them sear for about 3-5 minutes, flip them over to the meat side and do the same.  Be careful because the fat will start dripping and you don’t really want to burn them with the flare-ups.  Once they’re nice and seared (cool looking grill lines) move them to the other side of the grill away from the coals.  Close down the bottom and top vents just a bit to lower the airflow, this will cool the grill down a bit, put the cover on and check them every 10 minutes or so.

Here’s a great option for you.  If you have some smoking chips you can add them at this point.  You can buy bags of hickory or mesquite at any good grocery store, most big box home improvement stores, or a barbecue store.  If you’re really lucky, fresh apple wood, pear, peach, cherry wood is an awesome choice for smoking.  But, I’m not usually that lucky, so I use the chips.  Soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes prior to use.  Anyhow, grab a handful and put them on the hot coals, this will get some good smoke going and really kick your ribs up a notch.

Smoking is optional, you can still kick out some killer baby-backs without it.  So, back to cooking.  Ideally you should cook your ribs over indirect heat for at least an hour and a half, two hours if you can manage to keep the heat on the grill low.

Sweet!

About 15 minutes before you’re ready to pull them off the grill is when you should add the barbecue sauce.  I have been using Sweet Baby Ray’s,  I prefer the spicy kind, but the rest of the fam isn’t super keen on the spice, so I’m usually stuck using the regular (not that there’s anything wrong with it).  Slather it on nice and thick then put the lid back on your grill.  The sauce should start to caramelize a bit and you should have  a sweet yummy layer of smoking hot BBQ sauce.

For dinner Thursday I also picked up some sweet corn on the cob.  I paired the barbeque with 2006 Fetzer Coro Mendocino.  Which is a nice big red blend based on Zinfandel, the perfect match to some sweet, spicy, and sticky ribs.

Not Bad for a Thursday Night Dinner, 2nd edition.
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DinVenture1: It’s what’s for Dinner

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Major Wine Pairing FAIL:

So I did exactly what I set out to do.  I wanted Chicken Piccatta and that’s what I made.  The Piccatta was legit, the wine choice of Riesling to go with it was not.

Saturday afternoon (after laboring over some Organizational Behavior case study) I ventured out into sunny downtown Santa Rosa for a pint (or two) with my buddy at one of the favorite haunts, Third St. Aleworks.  I enjoyed a nice margherita pizza and some IPA.

Afterward, I headed back to the neighborhood and stopped by the newish little wine shop in downtown Cotati (http://www.cotaticorner.com/worth stopping by).  I popped in and chatted with the saleslady who was “filling in” for the owner, we discussed my thoughts on dinner and Riesling and she said she was more of a Chardonay girl.  Undeterred, I made my selection:

An aside here:  Riesling is an under represented varietal in the store, their focus is definitely on the Reds.

I found a nice 2007 Esterlina Cole Ranch Reisling, and since the register wasn’t working right I got it for a steal at $14.50  (price tag said $17 and saw it at Oliver’s for $20).  Happy with the purchase I was off to Oliver’s for groceries.

I picked up some fresh Rocky’s Roasters boneless/skinless, fresh broccoli, eggs, basil, cappellini and a bottle of Sauv Blanc (we’ll talk more about that in a minute).

Prepping for Dinner:

Ready to get cookin!

Ingredients:

All purpose flour
Butter
Olive Oil (the extra virgin good stuff!)
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
3 Lemons halved and squeezed (about 1/3 – 1/2 cup depending on your preference)
some lemon zest (easier to zest before you squeeze BTW)
Capers 1/3 cup rinsed and drained
Dry White Wine 1/3 cup
Chicken Stock 1/2 cup

1.  using a meat tenderizer/hammer pound the breasts flat to about 1/4″ thickness.  I put the chicken on a good cutting board, cover with saran wrap and beat the hell out of them.

2. in a large skillet 12″ melt 2 tblspn of butter with 3 tblspn of olive oil over high/medium-high heat until it starts sizzling.

3. in 2 9×9 pans or whatever works for you, beat 2 eggs in on, fill the other with flour and add salt and pepper (you can salt/pepper however you want, but this worked pretty well for me).  Dip chicken breast in egg then dredge in flour mixture, place into hot skillet.

4. Brown chicken on both sides (should cook about 4-5 min on both sides), meanwhile fire up the oven to about 250 to keep chicky hot while you’re doing the sauce.

Grilled Chicken Ready to become piccatta

5. After chicken is done cooking (fully cooked) put on a plate and put in over to keep hot.  Pour lemon juice, wine, chicken stock, 2 more tblspn butter, 2 more tblspn olive oil, and capers stir and scrape up brown bits for more flavor reduce a bit.

6. After sauce starts thickening add chicken back to pan and simmer for another 5-10 min.

7.  Pasta:  I used cappellini which was pretty good, but you can use any I’m sure.  Get this ready (maybe this should be step 4 or something, I ain’t no Chef)

8. Veg:  I had broccoli, but thought about green beans (they didn’t look good at the store so I skipped em)  Asparagus might be yummy with this too.

9.  Okay, dinner should all be pretty much ready at this point.  Put chix on the plate, some pasta and veg next to it.  Pour remaining sauce over pasta and chicken.

Dinner:

Chicken Piccatta con Cappellini e Broccoli

Now, on with the mangia.  The chicken was awesome, perfect lemon flavor, not too overpowering,  just right.  First sip of the Riesling…

D’OH! I don’t know what I was thinking.  I totally blew it.  The Riesling chasing the lemon from the piccatta came across insanely sweet.  I should have known better.  Fortunately, I picked up a great Sauvignon Blanc, Honig Napa Valley.  I used this for cooking (some might think that’s a waste, but why not cook with good wine?).  Anyhow, this paired very well.  The light and crisp grassy notes blended superbly with the lemon and capers.  Fwew!

Anyhow, all-in-all another yummy dinner at the Wing house.

Mangia!

I want some chicken picatta.  So, I’m off to some markets today to go get what I need.  I’ll be updating this post with pictures (maybe some video too).  Tweet me some suggestions for wine, I’m thinking Reisling

Sunday January 10th Dinner….

Pulled pork, Mac, and mustard greens, with Coro Mendocino.

Okay, tell me what you think…
Pork Roast, 1 1/2 lbs, boil in 4 qt of water with one whole onion sliced, 4 cloves of garlic, smashed/sliced.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 2hrs.
Mac-and-cheese.   Kraft mac, make like recipe says, place in 9×9 pyrex, shred 5 oz each cheddar and jack, stir,  cover and refrigerate,  this will get baked later.

After 2hrs simmering, remove pork from stock pot, shred with fork.

Bake mac-n-cheese for 20 min at 350, when finish sprinkle chopped green onions on top.
Chop up bunch of Mustard greens, removing thick stalks, about 1/2 inch slices.  In large sautee pan use 1/2 cup of pork stock and onions to blanch greens until wilted but still green.  Remove from stock and place in serving dish. Serve pork with bbq sauce, and wholegrain or stoneground mustard to accommodate all tastes.  I’ll be having mine with Sweet baby ray’s spicy BBQ sauce!  Pair din-din with good beer (Eel river IPA perhaps?) or a Big Zinfandel, or maybe a Pinot Noir or Petite Syrah. yeah, Sunday dinner is good!