Pie Crust Cookie Search

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Corncob Smoked Ribs

Late Tuesday night I returned from a visit to Betsy's family. We ate these barbecued baby back ribs while at her house and the recipe is destined to be a family favorite! This recipe turns a kettle grill into a smoker and the result is as close as I can get to really good ribs here in New Mexico. Some of you may know that I left a beloved rib place behind when I moved West and I've been underwhelmed by the rib offerings in my new state. I cooked these for Betsy, Michael, Leon and the one grandson who would try them. We all agree that we won't miss DixieBones BBQ quite as much now that we can cook these at home.

These are called corncob smoked ribs because corncobs provide most of the smoke. I found the recipe in Cook's Country Magazine where I learned that in South Dakota they have fewer trees to use for smoking so they use what they have. I save corncobs in the freezer since sometimes I want to have ribs when I can't find a fresh ear of corn. Just thaw them on the counter or the microwave.


Corncob Smoked Ribs

Source: Cook's Country Magazine 
Yield: 2 racks of ribs

The magazine has this to say about smoking with corncobs: "Corncobs may seem like an odd choice for smoking meat, but they impart a sweet, subtle smokiness that more assertive hardwood can’t offer. Cornmeal gives these ribs an initial blast of smoky flavor, while the fresh cobs offer long-lasting smoke and a nutty aroma."

I don't think these would work on a gas grill since I don't think you can produce as much smoke. 


1 c ketchup 
1/4 c water 
1 T pepper 
1 T onion powder 
1 T Worcestershire sauce 
1 T light corn syrup 
1 T granulated garlic 
2 teas celery seeds 
1/2 teas liquid smoke (favorite brand is Wright's since it doesn't have as many additives)


5 T (1/4 c plus 1T) packed light brown sugar 
1 teas salt 
1/2 teas pepper 
2 racks (2 1/2- to 3-pounds each) pork baby back ribs, trimmed and membrane removed 
1 cup cornmeal
6 corncobs, kernels removed and reserved for another use

Whisk all the ingredients for the sauce together in a bowl and set aside.

Combine sugar, salt, and pepper in bowl. Pat ribs dry with paper towels and rub with sugar mixture; set aside. Using large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap cornmeal in foil packet and cut several vent holes in top.  

Open bottom vents of charcoal grill halfway. Place 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan on 1 side of grill and fill pan with 2 quarts water. Arrange 3 quarts unlit charcoal briquettes on opposite side of grill. Place cobs on top of unlit briquettes. Light large chimney starter filled halfway with charcoal briquettes (3 quarts). When top coals are covered with ash, pour over cobs and unlit coals. Place cornmeal packet on coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot and cornmeal is smoking, about 5 minutes.

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place ribs, meat side up, on cool part of grill opposite coals. Cover, positioning lid vent over ribs, and cook until ribs are deep red and tender, 3½ to 4 hours, rotating ribs and switching positions every hour. (Do not flip ribs.) During last 30 minutes of cooking, baste ribs every 10 minutes, rotating and switching ribs each time. Transfer ribs to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Cut ribs in between bones and serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Notes from Colette:

I have used corncobs from which we've eaten the corn. I figure they are going to be burned up anyway so I don't usually buy corn just for this recipe.

I found that I don't really love this sauce for passing at the table. During the long time that it sits, the granules of the garlic and onion powders swell and the sauce gets less "saucelike". There is nothing wrong with the sauce flavor but the texture bothers me. If you find this to be the case for you, make another variety of barbecue sauce, for example:  Basic Barbecue Sauce or Smooth and Smokey Barbecue Sauce for passing at the table.


Basic Barbecue Sauce


Basic Barbecue Sauce


Source:  Cook's Country Magazine
Yield: 3 cups 

1/4 c vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped very fine or grated (a food processor will make quick work of this job)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teas chili powder
1/8-1/4 teas cayenne pepper
2 c ketchup
1/2 c plus 2 T molasses
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c Worcesterchire sauce
1/4 c Dijon mustard
2 teas relatively mild hot sauce (unless all diners can handle lots of heat)

Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, and cayenne and cook 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to about 3 cups. It may take 30 minutes or more. The sauce may be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to a month.

Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa

I have recently fallen in love with mangos. A good mango, with smooth texture and just the right amount of sweet, is a little piece of heaven! The salsa below makes quite a bit, perfect for enjoying the next day for lunch with chips or nachos.


Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa

Source: The America's Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook
Serves 4

2 mangos, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 small red onion, chopped fine
1/2 c minced fresh cilantro
2 T lime juice
salt and pepper
2 teas vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs ground pork (or other pork, sliced)
2 teas minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
2 oz (1/2 c) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Combine mangos, half of onion, 1/4 c cilantro, 1 T lime juice, 1/4 teas salt, and 1/4 teas pepper in bowl.

Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add ground pork, chipotle, and remaining onion and cook, breaking up pork with wooden spoon, until pork is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in Monterey Jack, remaining 1/4 c cilantro, and remaining 1 T lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, stack tortillas on plate, cover, and microwave until warm and soft, about 2 minutes. Serve pork taco filling with warm tortillas and mango salsa.

Note from Betsy: I use just 1 teas chipotle, as it can be quite hot. This recipe would work with leftover cooked pork, too, instead of ground. It's quite flexible. I served it recently with avocado slices and the Monterey Jack cheese on the side.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Smashed Potatoes

I love the combination of cream cheese and chives in these potatoes. And there's something satisfying about the variety of textures, not fully mashed potatoes mixed with buttery softness. You will note that I have labeled this as a non-vegetable side; technically potatoes are vegetables but in meals I view them as starches.

I topped this batch with scallions, instead of chives.


Smashed Potatoes

Source: Cook's Illustrated
Serves 4-6

2 lbs red potatoes about 2 inches in diameter (if bigger, increase cooking time by about 10 minutes)
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
4 T unsalted butter, melted and warm
1/2 c cream cheese (4 oz), softened
3 T chopped fresh chives or chopped scallions, optional

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with 1 inch cold water; add 1 teas salt and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until paring knife can be inserted into potatoes with no resistance, 35 to 45 minutes. Reserve 1/2 c cooking water, then drain potatoes. Return potatoes to pot, discard bay, and allow potatoes to stand in pot, uncovered, until surfaces are dry, about 5 minutes.

While potatoes dry, whisk melted butter and softened cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth and fully incorporated. Add 1/4 c of reserved cooking water, 1/2 teas pepper, chives, and 1/2 teas salt. Using rubber spatula or back of wooden spoon, smash potatoes just enough to break skins. Fold in butter/cream cheese mixture until most of the liquid has been absorbed and chunks of potatoes remain. Add more cooking water 1 T at a time as needed, until potatoes are slightly looser than desired, as they will thicken slightly as they sit. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper; serve immediately.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Beets with Lemon and Almonds

This is a recent discovery; several variations came out in Cook's Illustrated a couple of months ago. And they are yummy. Using beets in a variety of colors will make the final dish rather beautiful.


Beets with Lemon and Almonds

Source: Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds beets, trimmed and halved horizontally
1 1/4 c water
salt and pepper
3 T light brown sugar, packed
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 teas grated lemon zest
1/2 c whole almonds, toasted and chopped
2 T chopped fresh mint
1 teas chopped fresh thyme 

Place beets, cut side down, in a single layer in an 11-inch saute pan or dutch oven. Add water and 1/4 teas salt; bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce to low; cover and simmer until beets are tender, 45-50 minutes.

Transfer beets to a cutting board. Increase the heat to medium-high and reduce cooking liquid, stirring occasionally, until pan is almost dry. Add vinegar and sugar; return to a boil and cook stirring constantly with heat resistant spatula until almost dry, 5-6 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar; return to a boil; and cook, stirring constantly with spatula until it leaves a wide trail when dragged through the glaze, 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

When beets are cool enough to handle, rub off skins with paper towel or dish towel and cut into 1/2 inch wedges. Add beets, shallot, lemon zest, 1/2 teas salt and 1/4 teas pepper to glaze and toss to coat. Transfer beets to serving dish and sprinkle with herbs and almonds and serve.

Orzo Salad

I'm a little embarrassed to post this recipe because it comes from Food Network celebrity chef Giada de Laurentis. I watch only Alton Brown if I watch Food Network so I'm not sure how I came upon this recipe. October about 10 years ago I got the flu before flu shots were available. I was so sick I couldn't even read. I remember that I watched Food Network since television offers little else of interest. Maybe that is when I was introduced to this recipe. Even though I shudder at the thoughts of celebrity chef recipes in general, I have found this salad to be a favorite whenever I serve it.

As you can see, the pasta is NOT orzo, but farfalline, the smallest pasta I had on hand when I made this, proof that substitutions can be made successfully. I advise going with a small pasta, however.

Orzo Salad

Adapted from a recipe by Giada de Laurentis
Serves 5-6

4 c chicken broth
1 1/2 c orzo (rice shaped pasta)
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 c red and yellow teardrop tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 c finely chopped red onion
1/2 c chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 c chopped fresh mint leaves
About 2/3 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Stir together the orzo and the broth in a saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the to a boil over medium-high heat. Leaving lid slightly open, simmer until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently. Drain the orzo. Transfer the orzo to a large bowl and stir until the orzo cools slightly. Allow to cool completely.

Toss the orzo with the beans, tomatoes, onion, basil, mint, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/4 c red wine vinegar
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 teas honey
1 teas salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.


I find that small yellow pear tomatoes are uniformly lacking in flavor. If you can find a yellow cherry or grape tomato it will taste better. The salad can be made, however, with any smaller tomato, or even chopped tomatoes.

If you think you'll have leftovers, separate what you'll be serving out and add tomatoes only to that portion. In my experience tomatoes get soggy after sitting in the fridge.

The vinaigrette makes a great dressing for any salad, so save the left overs.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Oven Pancake

This oven pancake recipe is in the same vein as Tom's Dutch Baby and others for German pancakes. However, this is the one I grew up on. I associate it with security and happy times. The lemon juice topping is fairly unique--I love it, but my little boys don't. I think they'd do better with syrup or something unabashedly sweet.

My mom reports that she found this recipe in a Better Home and Gardens Cooking for Two cookbook, one of her first two cookbooks in her married life. As we grew, she expanded the recipe to a 9x13 pan, and that's the version I've listed. 

The pancake puffs as it bakes.


Oven Pancake

Combine the following and mix well:

6 eggs
1 c flour
1/2 teas salt
1 c milk
2 T melted butter

Bake in an oiled 9x13 pan at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until browned and puffy. Remove from oven and quickly sprinkle with 1/4 c sugar and 1/4 c sliced almonds. Combine 4 T melted butter with 1/4 c fresh lemon juice and drizzle over the top. Serve immediately.

With the lemon juice topping.

Lemon Basil Chicken

Now that I have fresh basil again...

...I can make lemon basil chicken. A family favorite when I was a teenager, this dish hasn't lost its appeal. My mom can't remember the exact source: probably a newspaper clipping. And this is fast, as long as you think ahead a bit to marinate for at least one hour. 


Lemon Basil Chicken

Marinate 4 chicken breast halves for at least 1 hour in the following:

1/8 c olive oil
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
2 T white wine vinegar
1/2 T minced garlic
1 T chopped basil (although I never this anymore, I just chop a bunch)
1/2 teas salt
1/4 teas pepper

Grill or saute.

Arroz con Tomate (Spanish Rice)

This comes from one of my mom's first two cookbooks when she was married. 


Arroz con Tomate (Spanish Rice)

1/2 c chopped green bell pepper
1/4 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teas dried basil, crushed
1/2 teas dried rosemary, crushed
2 T olive oil
1 c long grain rice
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
1 teas salt
1 teas pepper
1 1/2 c water

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet, and cook green pepper, onion, garlic, basil, and rosemary in hot oil until vegetables are tender. Stir in rice, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and water. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes until rice is done.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June 9 Bouquet--First Harvest of Garlic

Can you believe how pink this is?

Bread Salad with Cherries, Arugula, and Goat Cheese

This is one of those recipes that must be served only in its season and since the cherry season is so short, I relish the salad all the more. There is something about knowing I won't be able to eat it again until next summer that makes it taste even better. If you aren't a die-hard fan of arugula, supplement it with some lettuce, although the contrast of the sweet and bitter is remarkable.


Bread Salad with Cherries, Arugula, and Goat Cheese

Adapted from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
serves 4 as a side or 2 as a light meal

The amounts of the ingredients are flexible. 

6 ounces rustic bread, preferably day-old
Olive oil
1/2 pound cherries, halved and pitted
1/8 teas pressed or crushed garlic
Balsamic vinegar
Fresh goat cheese
Black pepper

Remove the crusts from the bread and tear the bread into bite-size pieces. You should have about 4 cups. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and toss. Toast the bread either in the oven at 400F for 8-10 minutes or in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Chop about 1/3 of the cherries and smash them a bit with a fork and set aside.

When the bread is toasted turn it into a large bowl and while hot add the garlic and toss well. Allow it to cool a few minutes then add the cherries, the chopped and the halved. Toss. Add 2 teas balsamic vinegar and toss again. Add 1 T olive oil and toss once more. Taste and add more vinegar or oil if needed and add salt and pepper to taste. Add about 2 handfuls of arugula and toss one last time. Place salad on plates and top generously with crumbed goat cheese.

Note from Colette:

You can prepare the toast a few hours ahead up to the point of adding the garlic. Add the vinegar and oil and cherries just before serving.

Fast Curried Turkey with Rice

I discovered this recipe in the newspaper sometime late in my family cooking years. I believe it was in The Washington Post, although it doesn't turn up when I search their recipe archive. I suppose it doesn't matter. More importantly, it became one of our staples during those years of hurried meal prep. It uses an Indian spice mix but I bet the recipe isn't in any way authentic. Nonetheless, it is tasty and everyone in the family enthusiastically ate it.


Fast Curried Turkey with Rice

2 T butter
2 teas garam masala (Indian spice mix found in some grocery stores or Indian or Middle Eastern markets)
2 c diced onion
1 pound turkey breast tenderloins, diced 1/2-1 inch (you can substitute chicken breast)
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 c golden raisins
1 1/2 c basmati rice
3 c chicken broth (I use a mix of 1 can broth plus water to equal 3 c)
1 c frozen peas

Melt butter, heat garam masala for 1-2 minutes. Add onion and saute until soft and golden. Add turkey, apple, and raisins. Cook for 5 minutes. Add rice and stir. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer about 20 minutes until moisture is absorbed. Add peas, stir and take to table. Peas will be heated by the time you serve.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Almost No-Knead Bread

Or beer bread, as we often refer to it. It's a crusty, chewy bread that I thought was only available from bakeries. See the wikipedia entry for a brief history of no-knead bread. The Cook's Illustrated version adds vinegar and beer, which provides a lovely yeasty taste. (CI says that a mild non-alcoholic lager works, too.) I use an enameled cast iron Dutch oven and an All-Clad Dutch oven for baking--something similar is necessary for the bread's texture and crust. I can't bear to make only one loaf. It's gone too fast otherwise! 


Almost No-Knead Bread

Source: Cook's Illustrated

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus additional for dusting work surface
1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces), at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager (3 ounces)
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.

Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, ½-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Once oven has reached 425 degrees, bake bread for 30 minutes.

Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Strawberry Shortcakes

My mother always made strawberry shortcake with Hot Milk Cake and served it at my wedding reception. I have a sentimental attachment to that strawberry dessert. I believe it was Tom who told me about this recipe some years ago and I've found I prefer it. Many of us Americans have become accustomed to sponge cakes for our strawberry shortcake but I believe this biscuit style has been around longer. It may not be a quick and easy dessert, at least compared to a sponge cake picked up in the grocery store, but it is relatively quick as home baked desserts go. One of the reasons I like this better is that it is less sweet. Another reason is the contrast in texture provided by the crisp top of the shortcake. It really is pretty wonderful.


Strawberry Shortcakes

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated Magazine
serves 6-8

For the strawberry sauce:

3 pints total fresh strawberries, hulled:  with a potato masher or fork crush 1 pint and quarter the remaining 2 pints 
6 T granulated sugar

For the shortcakes:

2 cups flour, plus more for work surface and biscuit cutter
1/2 teas table salt
1 T baking powder
3 T granulated sugar
2 T granulated sugar for sprinkling
1 stick unsalted butter (8 T), frozen
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c half-and-half
1 egg white, lightly beaten

For the whipped cream (use the real stuff, so much better):

1 c heavy cream, chilled
1 T granulated sugar
1 teas vanilla extract

Mix crushed and quartered berries with sugar in medium bowl; set aside while preparing biscuits (or up to 2 hours).
 Place your oven rack to lower middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and 3 T sugar in medium bowl. Using large holes of box grater, grate butter into dry ingredients. Toss butter with flour to coat. Use pastry cutter to finish cutting butter into flour. Or quickly rub butter into dry ingredients with fingertips until most of butter pieces are size of split peas.

Mix beaten egg with half-and-half; pour into flour mixture. Toss with fork until large clumps form. Turn mixture onto floured work surface and lightly knead until it comes together.

Pat dough into 9- by 6-inch rectangle, 3/4 inch thick. Flour 2 3/4-inch biscuit cutter; cut 6 dough rounds. Place 1 inch apart on small baking sheet; brush dough tops with egg white and sprinkle with remaining sugar. (The dough can be covered and refrigerated up to 2 hours before baking.) Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Place baking sheet on wire rack; cool cakes until warm, about 10 minutes. Or you can eat them several hours later.

Chill nonreactive, deep, 1- to 1 1/2-quart bowl and beaters for a handheld mixer in freezer for at least 20 minutes. Add cream, sugar, and vanilla to chilled bowl; beat on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave a trail, about 30 seconds more. Increase speed to high; continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly doubled in volume, about 20 seconds for soft peaks or about 30 seconds for stiff peaks. If necessary, finish beating by hand to adjust consistency. (CI states that cream can be transferred to fine sieve or strainer set over measuring cup and refrigerated up to 8 hours. However, I've never tried this.)

Split each cake crosswise. Spoon a portion of berries and then a dollop of whipped cream over each cake bottom. Cap with shortcake top; serve immediately.

Note from Colette:

If you can't use 8 shortcakes, they freeze well in an airtight container. I recommend storing in the freezer even for a day or so. The sugar will melt and you'll lose the crisp top if you leave on the counter.  Prepare fewer strawberries and less cream if you are serving fewer shortcakes. I rarely measure either berries or cream these days and just use what I come up with. This recipe works well with many fruits, although I have another for a peach shortcake with ginger which I'll publish in time for peach season.

Tom's Dutch Baby

This is a doubled recipe. The single recipe is thinner and has more ridges and valleys as it bakes.

Tom's Dutch Baby

Preheat oven and cast iron skillet to 450F.

Whisk together:

3 eggs
2/3 c milk
Pinch salt
1 t vanilla (or any other flavored liquor or extract)

Whisk in 2/3 C flour.

Add 1/2 stick butter to hot skillet to melt.

Then you dump it in the skillet and cook for 15 minutes until puffy and browned on top.

Top with cajeta, fruit, nuts, etc. and serve.

Note from Colette:

I think the best size skillet for this is a 10 inch. If you want to double this, use a 12 to 14 inch skillet.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Aunt Marnae's Chicken Salad

This recipe comes from my Aunt Marnae, my dad's sister. Every spring as the weather warms up I start craving this salad. The kids enjoy the DIY aspect of the meal. And I always enjoy the leftover dressing on other salads for another week or so after I make it.


Aunt Marnae's Chicken Salad

For the chicken, grill or saute approximately 1/2 chicken breast per person. If sauteing, consider cooking with minced garlic and ginger. Cut into bite sized pieces.

For the dressing, mix together until smooth:

1 1/2 T white wine vinegar
2 T pineapple juice
1 T lemon juice
1 1/4 teas soy sauce
1 T brown sugar
1/2 T curry powder
1/3 teas onion powder
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c mayonnaise

For the salad, pass the following for layered individual salads:

Celery, chopped
Cilantro, chopped
Snow peas
Water chestnuts
Sliced almonds
Chow mein noodles
Golden raisins
Cucumbers, chopped