Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dear Kathleen.

Been thawing out a chunk of pork and will make some Cuban sandwiches for dinner tonight. Expect a new panini post asap! Thanks for the nice email.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Had some old friends from high school over for drinks and dinner tonight. I'd noticed a trend on some blogs lately discussing mussels and I wanted to give it a shot. Basically for the bread and broth, but also to give the whole mussels thing a try. Luckily I had some willing participants in my experiment.
I was a little leery when the guy behind the counter at Whole Foods told me to be sure and report back if they didn't open and reminded me that they were alive. Apparently this was their first shipment, so they didn't know how they'd handle it. Spoke to Dave last night, and since he is responsible for introducing me to this culinary delight, I took his direction on how to prepare them.

Here goes:

Broth #1
Cut up and cook some bacon. Set aside.
Saute some leeks and fennel in left over bacon grease and olive oil.
Add 1/2 bottle of white wine and some water (1 cup) to the pot.
Add chopped parsley.
Steam mussels, add bacon back to pot.

Broth #2
Olive oil with about 6 cloves diced garlic.
Add two dried red chilis and 2 bay leaves.
Add the rest of the white wine and some water.
Steam mussels until they pop open.

I got 8 large green mussels (3/4 pound). These, as the guy suggested, did not open. Only one did actually. I also got about a pound of blues. This amount was the fish guy's recommendation. I think a good rule of thumb moving forward is to do about 1# per person of the little blue ones. Thankfully not everyone was that into the actual mussels so we didn't run out or anything. I just think more would be better.

Dave also suggested making a butter blend for the bread dipping and sopping up. So I mixed a clove of chopped fresh garlic and a bunch of fresh parsley in with the butter. Wow was that good. I mean, the bread coated in the butter and drenched in the broths. Yum. We sided it with acorn squash (butter, brown sugar, salt), a mandarin orange and toasted almond green salad, and some brown rice for Tony. Kinda random but I think everyone had a pretty good time. It's funny how getting together with old friends you see maybe once a year can be so fluid. Gab, gab, gab.

And I was able to "fix" myself of the mussel craving I had all week. I love cooking and entertaining. It's a great way to get the house cleaned as well!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hillary's Crossfit.

I had been thinking for some time that I wanted to log all my workouts at Atlas Crossfit, but this definitely didn't seem like the place for it. So this weekend I started a new blog to coincide with my debut into the Level One workouts. If you have any interest whatsoever, and I realize you probably don't, you can read more about my Crossfit experience at Hillary's Crossfit.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2009 Cookbooks: Done. Phew.

Now I remember why I didn't do these for several years. Holy a lot of work. Thank god I took the week of Christmas off so I could spend two days of my 'vacation' back at the office. What a dope. Anyway, here's a couple shots of how they (all 16 of them!) turned out.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Can't stop thinking about: Ribs.

Kept up the NYE tradition this year and made some ribs. I was obviously too busy drinking champagne and making the rest of the dinner to take any photos! Whoops. But thankfully this ONE (pre-baking step) was on the camera New Years Day.


Baked Brie with Pears and Cinnamon on French Bread (thanks Eliz!)
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Mandarin Orange and Toasted Almond Green Salad
Brussel Sprouts with Bacon Bits
Roasted Potatoes with Thyme and Garlic (I used little Golden's)
Creme Brule (thanks Jamie!)

I basically made up the recipe for the ribs, with help on the sauce from Brad.


Take a slab and wash it off. Cut that thin membrane off the back of them. (Gross process, slice it and then just try and pull it off – I think this really helps). Then cut it into 4/5-rib pieces (I got 4). Salt and pepper and spice them up. I coated them liberally with Pike's Peak Butcher's Rub by Savory. Then I stood them up length-wise in the slow-cooker with a thin layer of butter coating the sides of the pot, on High. I added about an inch of apple juice at the bottom. Cook them for about 4 hours, switching to low at some point – when it seems like it's bubbling a lot I guess.


The whole time the ribs were cooking, so was the sauce in a small pan on the stove, stirring occasionally.

1 cup cider vinegar, 1 cup ketchup, 1 cup apple juice, some sugar (I used brown), some Worcestershire sauce, salt, dry mustard, Cayenne pepper, (I also added some red pepper flakes), (I added garlic powder) and pepper. Cook this all together for a while. (I boiled it up, then low simmered). The longer you cook it, the thicker it gets. I don't really measure spices, so occasionally I tasted it and added what I thought was missing.

Ok, so then I lined a baking sheet with tin foil, put the ribs on round side up, and covered them with the sauce. I baked them at about 450ยบ with the potatoes for about 30 minutes.

Falling off the bone, no really "questionable" or fatty (it was all in the bottom of the cooker) bites. Not to brag but, these tasted amazing. I'm going to try and hold off but I kinda want to make them again this weekend.

*Great for pulled pork sandwiches too!