Recipes (and photos) redux

November 29, 2010

If any of you followed my week of foodblogging over on the eGullet site, you will have seen all these pics, but I figured I’d at least repost a few of the week’s photos here, and add some recipes of some of the better dishes. Besides, it’s a cheap post for tonight, as I didn’t cook (still noshing on leftovers, and I had an evening meeting, to boot).

Paying homage to my German heritage, plus I was jonesing for some red cabbage.

Here we have Sunday night’s dinner — country style ribs braised in apple juice with cranberries and caraway; German potato salad; red cabbage.

I love this kind of food when it gets cold. I don’t see how the Germans can eat it when it’s hot, but maybe it doesn’t get as hot there as it does here. In any event, this is some seriously good cold-weather food, and I’m rather proud that the recipe for the pork just kind of evolved in my tiny little brain and was just damn fine.

To wit:

  • However many country style ribs you want to cook (this would also work with a pork shoulder roast, if you were so inclined. I had 10 pieces (a family pack), so the proportions are sized accordingly.
  • 1 1/2 decent sized onions (I had yellow, so that’s what I used)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Seasoned salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seed
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 3 tbsp white cooking sherry
  • 1 bag cranberries
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Rinse and pick over the cranberries. Salt and pepper the ribs, and sear them off in a good hot skillet, working in batches if you need to to give them plenty of room to brown without crowding. Remove to a plate. While they’re browning, peel the onion(s) and cut in half from top to bottom; turn on the cut side and slice as thinly as you can. Once the pork’s browned, throw the onions in the same pan and cook until they soften and start to brown a bit. Add the cooking sherry and scrape up all the yummy browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the caraway seed and stir. Put the pork back in and pour the apple juice over — it should come about 3/4 of the way up the side of the ribs.  (If I were cooking a shoulder roast/butt, I’d go about halfway up the side; you want the meat to braise, not boil.) Add the cranberries, scattered about, and sprinkle the brown sugar over them. Cover and bring to a boil, then move the pan to the oven, which you have already pre-heated to 300. Go away and ignore it for, oh, maybe three hours. Wouldn’t hurt if you wanted to cook it longer; I’d be wary about cooking it less. It’s ready when you stab a rib with a fork, twist, and it easily comes apart.

The finished dish has only a faint sweetness to it; the brown sugar just offsets the tartness of the cranberries. The caraway is not overpowering, but it’s there. The apple juice is unidentifiable as apple juice.  And the meat? Well, we’re talking Sweet Baby Jesus territory.

I think for the leftovers, the pork is going to get shredded up and stirred back into the sauce, and served over egg noodles. Because that just sounds good. Ya think?

Elsewhere: I made a new dessert for Thanksgiving, a cranberry and molasses steamed pudding, mostly because (a) I’d never made a steamed pudding; (b) it sounded good; and (c) it just sounded like a really traditional, old-timey kind of Thanksgiving dessert.  The recipe is here: http://www.food52.com/recipes/7558_cranberrymolasses_pudding_with_vanilla_hard_sauce, and here’s what it looks like when you steam it done in a Bundt pan and put that lovely, luscious sauce over it:

Does that not look like something you want to just dive into?

I really, really liked this. The pudding is barely sweet. The cranberries are tart, and they pop in your mouth and then the tartness plays off the smooth, silky richness of the sauce, and, well, it’s just really, really freakin’ good. Make it.

Ohhhh, and then there was this:

The culinary equivalent of crack cocaine, right here.

If you do not make another single thing I ever write about, get off your ass and go in your kitchen and make these things Right Now, because they are SO worth it.

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits and Bacon Jam. Need I say more? Fluffy, light biscuits. (OK, mine didn’t rise worth a damn; they still kicked Red Lobster’s ass.) Rich, intense, Gawdamighty that’s GOOD, slightly sweet, jam with chock full of chewy, smoky bacon bits. I submitted it to the Food 52 contest for “Best Open House Dish,” so rather than retype the recipe, I’ll just link to it: http://www.food52.com/recipes/7986_cheddar_cheese_biscuits_with_bacon_jam. Be assured if it makes the finals, I WILL be soliciting your votes.

Meanwhile, make it. It’s a marvelous weekend breakfast or brunch treat, and would not go amiss at any holiday party. Not that you will want to take it to a holiday party, because once you sample one, you’ll be keeping them all for yourself. I’m serious. They’re That Good. I’m thinking I’m going to make half-pint jars of bacon jam for my holiday gifts to bunches of folks.

Now, are you and y’mama ‘n ’em on my holiday gift list?

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One Response to “Recipes (and photos) redux”

  1. Kath the Cook Says:

    Holiday gift lists… you raise an interesting point. I ship to a number of friends and family. Just thinking about expanding – from one of your loyal readers.

    What if we trade holiday specialties? I do orange cake (I’m from FL), cocoons (pecan heavy shortbread-like cookies) and bark (chocolate/cracker alchemy). Give it some thought, let me know – best, kath

    I do fudge, spiced pecans and (toasted) chickpeas, pralines, and this year I’m thinking the jars of bacon jam, except they need to be refrigerated most of the time so shipping would not, I don’t think, be an option. I’ve also done sweet potato bread and cinnamon rolls.

    So, are we gonna trade recipes, or the honest-to-God thing? (Actually, I’m pretty intrigued by the orange cake thing….)


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