No Grill, No Problem!

One thing I miss living in a high rise is that we’re not allowed to have grills on our balconies.  Now, I can’t say I blame them, there are a bunch of idiots that live in my building and even though the walls are concrete, I don’t want to take any chances of a fire, the Fire Department is here enough (for reasons I’m still trying to figure out).  So over the last few years I’ve come to experiment with my oven broiler, which chars up meat pretty good to give it the “grill flavor”, ribs work the best and come out perfect you don’t even need a grill (but if you have one, use it, don’t go half way when you can make awesome ribs even more awesome).

This recipe is from my mom, she makes the best ribs north of the Mason-Dixon line, and my dad grilled them to perfection.  They’re so good I had my parents make them for my pre-rehearsal wedding dinner (the dinner the night before the rehearsal for all the out of town guest who came in early).   Let’s just say it was a great success!

Here’s the recipe for those who want to enjoy bbq ribs, if you have a grill just skip the oven part and go straight to the grill.

Momma Welch’s Perfect BBQ Ribs (this recipe is for two, but just add more slabs of ribs for more people)

Ingredients

1 rack of baby back or pork ribs

1 bottle of BBQ Sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays, but use your favorite)

Directions

Cut rack of ribs in half.  Place ribs in a large pot filled with water to just over the meat.  Partially cover the pot and heat over medium high heat for about an hour.  Drain water and add enough sauce to coat ribs in the pot.  You can put the meat in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.  When you’re ready to cook the ribs, pre heat oven to 350 and place ribs on a lined cookie sheet, baste with more sauce.   Cook for 15 mins basting with sauce every 5 mins.  Turn over and repeat the basting process so the ribs get all sticky with bbq goodness.  Turn on the broiler and place the oven rack 6 inches from the broiler, cook for 5 mins on each side, checking often so the sauce doesn’t burn, you want it to caramelize not catch fire.  Once you’ve reached the desired caramelization stage, you’re ready to eat!  Enjoy and make sure you have lots of napkins.

RibsOvenRibsDinner

Verdict: I think I posted this recipe before, but as Eric said tonight, “I think you’ve mastered the rib” .  We had one rack and only ate half of it, it was huge.  I also made corn on the cob and cole slaw (ok, so I went to KFC to get the slaw, they do make the best).  Pretty darn good for not having a grill if I may say so.

I thought it would be nice to make brownies today for dessert.  Since we were having a not so healthy meal, I thought I would experiment with making “healthy brownies”.  Let’s just say I’m not going to post the recipe until I’ve mastered it, it needs some work, but I’m pretty sure I’m almost there.  As of the brownies, I’m going to eat them, they’re not inedible  I’m just going to slap some cool whip on them and they’re good to go.

Hope you all had a nice long weekend.  It’s Memorial Day, I’m very thankful for all the men and women who have served and who are currently serving our country.

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Lord Wellington

I feel like its been forever since I’ve posted a recipe.   Between traveling and being sick, our dinners have not been very exciting.  This week I decided to come up with a fun menu of new recipes to try from cookbooks that have made their way to the bottom shelf. Unfortunately, I was a little too ambitious in this as I forgot that I was traveling Tuesday and Wednesday, but since it’s a three day weekend I’m sure we’ll make it through the menu just fine.

Monday’s dinner was a blast from the past but kicked up a few notches.  Every Christmas my mom makes beef tenderloin, some years she makes it Wellington style, others just straight up, both are very delicious.  It’s been a few years since I’ve had beef Wellington, it’s probably not the healthiest, but it sure is the tastiest.  Come on, it’s beef wrapped in puff pastry, how can you go wrong with that?!   You can only imagine my delight when I came across the recipe for Mini Beef Wellingtons in Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen: Cookin’ for Trouble cookbook (as I’ve mentioned before, she’s awesome, the book is awesome, go buy it).

Mini Beef Wellington (Suzette Ballew-Nadia G’s Bitchin Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1 garlic head (I sautéed 6 cloves in a few tablespoons of olive oil for until lightly browned and soft-a time saver for sure, plus you get garlic oil out of it-win win)

2 tsp. olive oil

4 6-oz filet mignon (I used two)

salt and pepper

2 Tbsp + 1 tsp of unsalted butter

2 cups thinly sliced shitake mushroom caps

1 cup + 1 Tbsp Brandy (I substituted beef broth, it worked fine)

3/4 tsp brown sugar

2 cups heavy cream (I used light cream)

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp. water

flour, for dusting surface

1 lb. puff pastry thawed (I used one sheet, I love me some puff pastry)

8 slices of pancetta (I actually used diced pancetta and added it when I added the mushrooms)

1/4 cup Gorgonzola Cheese, diced (I used about 2 Tbsp. of crumbled)

Directions:

Roasted Garlic

Preheat oven to $00.  Cut 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic, exposing the cloves.  Center the garlic on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil and seal it.  Bake for 30 mins.  Cool, then squeeze out the roasted cloves, set aside.

Filets

Season each filet with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 Tbsp. of butter and 1 tsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Sear meat for 3 mins on each side.  Remove from pan and chill for 20 mins in the fridge.

Mushroom Sauce

Add 1 Tbsp. of butter to the large pan (the same one you seared the meat in).  Saute the mushrooms (if you want to add the pancetta, do it now)over medium high heat for 3 mins. stirring frequently until browned.  Remove mushrooms and a set aside.  Add 1 cup of Brandy (or beef broth) to deglaze the pan.  Add the roasted garlic and stir.  Reduce the brandy by half, about 2-3 mins.  Add another Tbsp. of butter and whisk in the brown butter.  Once sugar is dissolved, whisk in cream and add the mushrooms.  Reduce to medium and simmer for 7 mins or until sauce is thickened.  Remove sauce from heat, season with salt and pepper and whisk in 1 Tbsp. of brandy (if you’re using it).  Strain the mushrooms from the sauce and transfer the sauce to a small sauce pan.  Return the mushrooms to the large pan and saute until caramelized, about 3 mins.  Set them aside.

Assembly

In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolk and water.  Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into 14 x 14 inches.  Cut 4 7×7 squares (if you have 4 filets of course). In the center of each square place 2 slices of pancetta, one-fourth of mushrooms, 1 Tbsp. of gorgonzola, and a filet. Brush the boarders of each pastry square with egg wash and fold it up like a package.  Once sealed turn them over seal side down and place on baking sheet.  Score each and brush with egg wash.  Bake for about 20 mins.  Let them rest for 5 mins.  Drizzle with sauce and Enjoy.

Filets

 

Verdict:  This was a pretty time-consuming meal, so I’d suggest making it on the weekend or for a special occasion.  Eric doesn’t like mushrooms so he basically picked those out and ate the rest.  I adore mushrooms so I was happy and even put extra in mine.  The little Wellingtons were very delicious, though I don’t think I’d make this again. well not this recipe, maybe I’d try a more simple Wellington recipe.

I’m pretty sure my stomach doesn’t realize that summer is right around the corner, I guess my brain doesn’t either since all we’ve eating is delicious, not so waist line friendly meals, but hey, it’s all been tasty.  Now that the veggies are looking awesome in the store I’m going to try to make more healthy dinners.  This being Memorial Weekend, I’m sure it will be difficult as I only want to eat burgers and hot dogs…chicken burgers are healthy, right?

Wish me luck!