Tuesday, April 19, 2011


For all of you whol live in regions with four seasons now it is Spring time and that means get your grill out and start barbecuing 

Here is my recipe for killer baby back ribs.  It looks like alot but it is actually very simple, there are different steps, that's all.

Serves 4

Baby back pork ribs, membrane removed 5.5 lbs

Rib rub (recipe follows) To coat ribs

Cider marinade To cover ribs

BBQ sauce (recipe follows) To coat ribs

BBQ mop (recipe follows) To coat ribs

Watered down Dijon or whole grain mustard To brush on ribs

Rib rub

Salt ¾ cup

Ground black pepper ¾ cup

Paprika, sweet ¾ cup

Garlic powder 1/8 cup

Cayenne pepper 3 T

Chili powder Pinch

Mix all ingredients together and set aside until ready for use.

Cider marinade

Apple cider vinegar 1.5 Cups

Olive oil 1.9 Cups

Fresh thyme, picked 2 sprigs

Garlic, chopped fine 5 cloves

Rosemary, chopped 1 sprig, large

Salt to taste

Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, set aside. Keep this marinade only as long as you would keep raw pork.

BBQ sauce

Ketchup 1 bottle

Smoked Tabasco (regular Tabasco is fine) dash

Worcestershire dash

White vinegar 4 T

Red vinegar 4 T

Dijon mustard 1 T

Brown sugar 3 T

Tomato juice ¼ C

Cayenne pepper dash

Honey- use a heated metal spoon 1 tsp

Garlic powder dash

Salt to taste

Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Basic Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in a S/S pot and bring to a boil.

Simmer for @ 1hr. Taste.

NOTE: While some of the ingredients may be in small quantity please remember that adjusting the quantities even slightly will change the flavor considerably.


2 parts BBQ sauce

1 part water, beer or other liquid

To complete:

-If smoking the ribs: Smoke the ribs at about 275F for two-two and a half hours

-Marinate the smoked or non-smoked ribs in the cider vinegar marinade for 90 minutes (this step can be omitted if desired)

-Remove the ribs from the marinade, brush with the mustard just to barely coat the outside of the ribs

-Sprinkle the ribs completely with spice rub

-Place the ribs on a grill with high heat, constantly basting with the mop and cook until the ribs have a nice grilled color and heated thoroughly

-If the ribs are not smoked than you will need to cook them longer to make sure they are done

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Here is one of my favorite Italian things to eat: gnocchi.

For those of you who don't know, gnocchi are basically little potato dumplings.  They are incredibly easy to make and work with a number of different sauces and garnishes. 

Please note that while the recipe looks long, I always write recipes in bullet point form and I also like to write things out as simply as possible so it is easier for those who are not culinarily inclined.

Happy cooking


Serves 4

Ingredients                                  Amount

Idaho potato                               1 ea

Whole egg                                  1 ea

Flour                                          @ ¾ cup....enought to make a dough not sticky

Salt and pepper                          to taste


-Preheat oven to 350F

-Wrap the potato in foil and bake for an hour or until tender

-Make sure you have a clean and dry counter with @ 3 feet of space to work on. A wooden counter is ideal but not a requirement

-While the potato is baking, put approximately 1 gallon of water on high heat to boil

-Place a food mill in a mixing bowl large enough to hold the food mill

-Once the potato is cooked, remove the foil, place a folded towel in your hand and peel the potato using a small knife and your thumb. If you are careful you will not burn your thumb.

-Slice the potato up and place in the food mill

NOTE: This must be made right after the potato comes out of the oven, don't let the potato cool

-Pass the potato through the food mill and mix in the egg and seasoning

-Place some flour on your work surface and add the potato-egg mixture, more flour and seasoning.

-Mix everything together as if you were kneading bread until all ingredients are incorporated.

-Add more flour if necessary. You want the dough to be moist but not sticky

-Tear off a piece of the dough and cook it in boiling water until it floats and taste it. Adjust seasoning as necessary

-Take some of the dough and roll out the dough back and forth with the palm of your hands until it is the thickness of a thick cigar. Don't press down, let the motion of your hands form it

-Get a bowl of ice water ready that is large enough to accomodate a strainer or colander

-Cut the dough into pieces about and inch or two wide using a dry knife or dough cutter

-Put the dough pieces in the boiling water and cook until they are floating

-Remove them with a strainer and place in the ice water, repeat the process with remaining dough

-Remove the gnocchi from the ice water once cooled, drain and toss with a little olive oil so they don't stick. Keep in the refrigerator until ready for use.

To serve:

Either drop the gnocchi in boiling water or saute in a non-stick pan, finishing in the oven until hot and serve with your choice of sauce:

Here are some suggestions of what to serve with gnocchi

-Tomato sauce topped with ricotta and parmesan

-Parmesan cream sauce

-Cream sauce with gorgonzola

-Sauteed mushrooms, roasted garlic, smoked bacon and demi glace

-Use as a garnish to top beef, lamb or chicken stew

-Toss with any type of pesto

-Spicy tomato sauce with roasted peppers, caramelized onions and herbs

-Mushroom cream sauce with herbs

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Killer Thai soup broth

Here is a recipe I learned from one of my former Thai chefs.  This makes one of the best broths I have ever tasted. 

Thai soup stock

Ingredients                                                     Amount

Chicken bones                                              2 lbs

Cold water                                                   To cover chicken

Chinese five spice                                       1 Tablespoon

Leeks, washed and sliced                            ½ leek

Onions, peeled and sliced                            ½ small onion

Coriander seeds                                           pinch

Fresh garlic cloves                                       4 ea

Black peppercorns                                       8 cloves

Salt to                                                          taste

Palm sugar (honey subsitute)                         2 T

Powdered cinnamon                                     pinch

Whole star anise                                           4 ea

Oyster sauce                                                ¼ cup

Soy sauce                                                    ¼ cup


-Place all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, and simmer for one hour.

-Strain through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth


-Poach chicken breasts in the stock and slice and serve in the soup

-Add cooked vegetables, lime, basil, bean sprouts and hot sauce for an Asian style soup

-Replace chicken with vegetables, beef, fish, shrimp, or other poultry

Saturday, April 2, 2011

When to spend and when not to spend


Many times I see or hear of people spending money on top quality products but using them when the difference in the money spent will not be noticeable.

Depending on what you are doing with your products, you don't need to use the most expensive ingredients.  Spend your money wisely. It is true you can't make great food with inferior products but that doesn't mean you need to use a $35 bottle of olive oil when sauteeing beef for your stew.

I follow this general rule: I spend the money and use the best products when I am not cooking those products. Heating or cooking food products alters the flavor. Think sushi. If you want to make a tuna salad sandwich you don't need to spend the money to buy an expensive, sushi-grade tuna because you will be cooking the tuna completely. If you are making sushi, naturally the tuna will be raw so you want the buy the best quality tuna you can find because you will be able to taste it.

Here are some examples. If you are going to dress a salad, then use the best olive oil, vinegar and salt you can find because you are pouring those products right out of the bottle or container and consuming them.
Anytime you are making a liquid based dish such as a soup, sauce, stew or seasoning water for cooking food, then don't use the best, most expensive seasonings because you won't be able to taste the difference in those contexts anyway. 

Top quality food products like sea salt, oils, vinegars and mustards, just to name a few, can be expensive but remember a little goes a long way and they are not products you would most likely be using everday so keep them and use them when it counts.