Rack O’ Ribs

Now, I know that sometimes (okay, maybe all of the time) I may come off as some sort of health nut. Hey, what can I say, I like my veggies. However, there are those times when I say “Screw it, I’m a southern gal and I like southern things.” I’m not talking about sexy bull-riding “John Wayne” type cowboys here people…that story is definitely for another time. 
Today, it’s all about something that is near and dear to my little, big Texas heart…ribs. 
It’s all about the pork ribs here people!
Beef ribs, take a hike!

Rub that pork down with a good chipotle brown sugar spice rub…be generous!

What peaches?

Let me introduce you to my peach cider barbecue sauce…now, it’s not traditional Texan, but it works!
Oh, you don’t have a grill or grilling skills, or maybe it’s raining cats and dogs outside.? No problemo!
 It’s all about the low and slow method here people.

Then we baste

and baste

and chow down!

This pork ribs are super tender, juicy, a little sweet, a little spicy, and stick to your ribs (pun intended)!
 This is definitely man food so 
someone hand me a beer!
Things just got crazy!
Chipotle-Brown Sugar Pork Ribs with Peach Cider Barbecue Sauce (GF):
For the ribs:
2 T. light brown sugar
2 T. ground chipotle powder
1 T. ground cumin
1/2 t. salt
1 T. ground  black pepper
1 slab of pork tenderloin ribs
For the barbecue sauce:
1 drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
1 small sweet, yellow onion, chopped
2 large, ripe peaches, chopped
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. agave nectar (or honey)
2 t. Dijon mustard
1 T. light brown sugar
1/2 t. ground black pepper
For the ribs:
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet and set aside.
2. To make the spice rub, combine the brown sugar, chipotle powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper together in a small bowl. 
3. Line the cooling rack with a large piece of foil. Place the ribs on top of the foil and sprinkle the spice rub on both sides of the pork ribs, rubbing thoroughly on all sides.
4. Place the ribs meat-side down and fold the foil to form a seal packet.
5. Bake the ribs for 2 hours.

For the barbecue sauce:
1. In the meantime, to make the barbecue sauce, heat the evoo in a large sauce pan over medium heat. 
2. Add the onion and cook until tender, stirring often, about 4 minutes.
3. Stir in the peaches, apple cider vinegar, agave, Dijon, brown sugar, and black pepper. 
4. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is thick, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
5. Take the ribs out of the oven and baste (I used a pastry brush for this) the ribs with the barbecue sauce. 
6. Place the ribs back into the oven for 20 minutes, basting twice more during the baking process.
7. Let the ribs sit for about 5 minutes after baking, slice, and serve.
Serve with all the fixins’ (i.e. baked beans, Texas toast, coleslaw, and potato salad).
Makes 1 slab of pork ribs.

Spot for Taste.

Happy Wednesday all!
So, not to brag or anything but, last night I received an email from Tastespotting and wouldn’t you know? They finally accepted one of my food photos! Finally! I have submitted my photos numerous times and was beginning to think it was never going to happen! Thank you Tastespotting…looks like I will have my own spot to share tasty things with an even large audience! Check my submission out here. To say I was thrilled is an understatement. I think there were some “Oh mah gawd’s”, ending with me jumping up and down and running outside to tell my family the news. Anyway, enough about me, on to the food! Yesterday I cooked a feast for my parents for dinner. I can’t eat “fatty foods” because of my acid reflux…thanks for being so vague Mr. Doctor! However, that did not stop me from making sure my food was delicious. Let’s start with pesto.
I am definitely a pesto kind of gal. I mean, I’m pretty sure I was born with pesto in my mouth. Okay, you get it. Anyway, I just love the simplicity of creating different kinds of pesto.
Like this one here…Rosemary-Spinach Pesto
I mean, just check out that green color. Wouldn’t you know? My fave color is green.
Besides eating this good stuff off a spoon, spreading it on toasted bread, crackers, and dipping with my veggies, I decided to get freaking elegant.
 Pan-Seared Pork is elegance.
 freaking yum!
The pork is seared to perfection, juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and oh, that pesto…scented with rosemary, with a nutty texture from the walnuts. Plus, the pesto has Parmesan in it, and we all know how I feel about that!
Do this for dinner tonight. With a glass of wine.
Oh, and tomorrow I will tell you what I made to go with it. It will blow your mind.

Pan-Seared Pork with Rosemary-Spinach Pesto:
For the pesto:
1 bunch of  fresh rosemary
1 bunch of fresh spinach leaves
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 c. walnuts, unsalted
1/4 c. to 1/2 c. walnut oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly grated black pepper and salt, to taste
For the pork:
2 pieces of boneless pork chops/steaks (about .5 lbs. each)
salt and pepper, for seasoning
extra-virgin olive oil, for searing
1. To make the pesto, place the rosemary, spinach, garlic, and walnuts into a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
2. With the processor running, slowly stream in the walnut oil until smooth.
3. Fold in the Parmesan cheese, taste, and season as needed with salt and pepper.
4. To make the pork, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Season both sides of each pork steak with salt and pepper. Coat the pan with evoo.
5. Add the pork to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes on both sides.
6. Let rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing.
7. Spoon the pesto on top!
Serves 2. Makes about 1/2 c. of pesto.


Happy Tuesday all!

Guess what? I start my new job tomorrow! Yay! I’m pretty darn excited if you can’t tell. I don’t really want to state out loud where I am working because I know that I have celebrity status around these here parts and don’t need the paparazzi knocking down my door. I saw one in the bushes at Whole Foods the other day and in my best fashion, lugging two huge recyclable shopping bags full of groceries, I somehow managed to casually slip my wide-rimmed Michael Kors shades over my eyes, a la Kim Kardashian. Of course, I was abruptly awoken back to reality as I heard a car horn blaring…it came from one of those “over-eager, I can’t find a spot in the Whole Foods parking lot and I’m on my lunch break, so I guess I will just have to fit my 4×4 Diesel Chevy into the parking spot reserved strictly for small, electric cars.” A girl can dream, can’t she? 

Anyway, we all know that I am no celebrity, because if I was one, I would have sent my assistant to pick up my groceries for me. That’s a total lie. I really enjoy grocery shopping. It’s therapeutic. Speaking of therapeutic, cooking is totally my #1 therapy. No doubt. I cooked practically all day yesterday, Michael Buble’ playing in the background, before I knew it…12 o’clock had turned into 5 o’clock. Let me show you how I do therapy. 

Exhibit A: Pork Chop
Raw meat…lovely.

Make it sexy. Pan sear it.

Ready for the close-up.

Make a sweet, yummy glaze and a side of roasted fruit to go with it.

Pour that glaze on top of the pork, top with the fruit or eat on the side…
I spoil my parents.

Gasp! Call your therapist and tell him you are canceling all of your future sessions.
Pork…it’s the new therapy. You can thank me later! 

Pan Seared Pork Chops with Maple Apple Butter Glaze and Roasted Cinnamon Apples:

Pan Seared Pork Chops:

1 butterflied pork chop (mine was a little over a pound), trimmed of excess fat.
1/4 c. oil (I used olive oil)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat a large saute pan or non-stick skillet with 1/4 c. oil over medium heat.
2. Season both sides of the pork chop with salt and pepper.
3. Add the pork chop to the pan, sear on both sides, about 5-6 minutes.
4. Transfer the pork chop to a plate and let it rest for a few minutes.
5. Serve drizzled with glaze and topped with cinnamon apples.

Maple Apple Butter Glaze:

1/4 c. pure maple syrup
1/4 c. apple butter 
juice of 1 tangerine
1 T. Dijon mustard
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a medium sauce pan, combine all glaze ingredients and gently heat until medium warm. Remove from heat and set aside until serving.

Roasted Cinnamon Apples:

2 apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped into square pieces
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. brown sugar
juice of 1 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Toss everything together in a small mixing bowl.
3. Place the apple mixture in a baking dish, cover, and bake for 45 minutes, turning the apples with a spatula every 15 minutes.
4. Serve alongside pork.


This little piggy.

Yes. This little piggy definitely went to the market. To buy a pork loin, that is. Yes people, it all went down this past week. There is pork on the blog! What the what? This is so out of character for me? Let me just say this. Best. Decision. Ever. I have discovered that I actually love me some pig. This pork-ster in particular was for my parents. So, I bought the leanest pork loin I could find, slathered it in my own herb-Dijon marinade, and o my word! 

If it wasn’t the tastiest thing ever! 

There is something about sliced pork that is just so…regal.

I could have eaten the marinade by itself. 

In fact, I just may use it on all my meat recipes from now on. Watch out world!
Herb-Dijon Roasted Pork Tenderloin:  

1 whole pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 c. fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 T. honey
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Season the pork tenderloin liberally with salt and pepper.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the rosemary, thyme, honey, Dijon, and evoo. 
4. Place the pork tenderloin in a large plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the pork, making sure to completely cover the pork in the marinade.
5. Place the bag in the refrigerator and allow the pork to marinate for 1 hour or more.
6. Take the pork out of the bag, pour any marinade remaining in the bag over the pork. 
7. Place the pork on the prepared baking sheet and bake at 425 F for 12-15 minutes (or until no longer pink).
8. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.
9. Slice pork into thick slices. Serve.