Saturday, June 8, 2013

LetsLunch: Too Hot to Cook (Let's Make a Cheese Plate)

Once again, I'm a bit late on my LetsLunch offering. This month, hosted by Grace of Hapa Mama, we all contributed dishes for when the summer heat is really cranking and it's too hot to cook. 

I cheated a little and popped my bread slices in the toaster oven, but other than that this simple, delicious cheese plate is a breeze to throw together. 

From top right corner moving clockwise: peppercorn white cheddar, strawberries, brie, raspberry habanero preserves, green grapes, honey goat gouda, salad and crostini. 

The black peppercorn cheddar and strawberries are lovely together, and the preserves turned out to be a nice complement to both the brie and the goat gouda. A little prosciutto or nice salumi wouldn't be out of place here either, but I didn't happen to have any on hand. 

Be sure to check out the other fabulous hot weather recipes put together by our LetsLunch crew.

Cheryl's Mango Key-Lime Pie on A Tiger in the Kitchen

Anne Marie‘s Lettuce Sandwich at Sandwich Surprise

Grace‘s Mung Bean Shaved Ice at HapaMama
Linda‘s Coconut Creamsicle Sodas at Free Range Cookies
Linda‘s Escape From San Francisco Picnic at Spicebox Travels
Lisa‘s Campari Granita at Monday Morning Cooking Club
Lucy‘s “The Girl in a Hat Goes on a Picnic” at A Cook and Her Books
Monica‘s Peanut Salad at A Life of Spice
Pat‘s Harvest Red Rice Salad at The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Feels like summer, tastes like summer: easy oven ribs and homemade hushpuppies

Here we go, trying to get back to blogging recipes on a more regular basis.

After getting back from a week away in Denver and Colorado Springs, my fridge was completely empty. We picked up a few essentials from the Safeway and I was delighted to find first: that baby back ribs are on sale for a few weeks and second: that sweet corn season has officially started.

I had to dig around in the bins for a bit to find these good ears, but they were miraculously ripe and delicious.

After a week of dry heat in Colorado, the humidity of DC was a bit of a rude welcome home gift. This entire dinner was so satisfying and simple to make.

RECIPE: Easy Oven Ribs

2 lbs baby back ribs
3 TBS rib rub (or make your own: garlic, brown sugar, paprika, kosher salt, etc)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)

* Preheat oven to 350 F
* Pat both sides of the ribs liberally with the rib rub and wrap loosely in foil.
* Place on a sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes.
* After 45 minutes, open the foil pack and brush both sides of the ribs with sauce. Wrap the foil back around the ribs and bake another 45 minutes.
* After 90 minutes total baking time, unwrap the foil and baste the ribs with sauce a second time. Leave the foil pack open and return the ribs to the oven, increasing heat to 450 F. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes.
* Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

RECIPE: Homemade Hush Puppies

1 1/4 cup each white and yellow cornmeal (or 2 1/2 cups of which ever you happen to have on hand)
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 TBS salt
1 heaping tsp cayenne powder
1/2 cup finely minced onion
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1-2 quarts vegetable or canola oil for frying

* In a small saucepan, heat one quart of oil slowly over medium heat.
* While the oil is heating up, whisk the dry ingredients together.
* In a separate bowl whisk together milk and eggs. Add to dry ingredients, allow to rest 5-10 mins.
* Test heat of oil with a drop of batter - it should begin sizzling and frying immediately.
* Use a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop to drop balls of batter into the oil, fry 6-8 minutes until golden brown.
* Cool on a paper towel, serve with honey butter.