Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Sweet And Smokey Ribs With Caramelized Onions

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It was touch and go for a while there, but, I was finally able to retrieve my last set of pictures for this recipe. It’s funny, you get so used to your computer, like a comfortable shoe. This one has been with me a long time so I have to make this post the last one that I will ever type on”old Betsy” before I put her to pasture.

Anyway enough will all that let me tell you about my Sweet And Smokey Ribs With Caramelized Onions #sweetandsmokeyribs.

First, I’m going to show you how to turn your oven into a make-shift smoker.

Second, you need to know, that when you buy ribs, there is some preparation that you need to do before you can begin to spice up your ribs.

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Applewood Chips

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours to overnight
Cook Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 40 minutes
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, foil, 2 large mixing bowls, 3-quart saucepot

2 racks of St, Louis Ribs, each rack 1 1/2 to 2-pounds
2 large sweet onions, thick slices
1 bag of Applewood chips, 3 cups for this recipe
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground Chipotle powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoon ground mustard
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons Ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1 28-ounce bottle of barbecue sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s
2 to 3 dashes of liquid smoke
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup apricot jam

First, turn the rack over and on the underside remove the silver skin. You need to remove this because it will help you spices penetrate through the meat, and this piece of silver skin is not appetizing at all.

Take your fingers at one corner of the back side and start to separate it from the ribs, kind of like your starting a piece of tape on a new role you want to get started. Once you grab a hold of it, it should peel right off for you, as you can see in the picture above.

Next, trim off a couple of the end rib pieces. This rectangle style that St. Louis ribs are known to have will ensure for even cooking. Now, if you like those end pieces, you can, by all means, leave them on. It’s also a good idea to trim off some of that extra meat that’s on the back side, as seen in the above picture. I like the ribs to be neatly trimmed of any excess fat as possible. The picture on the left side showing the rack of ribs (without the spice rub) is an example of how I like my ribs to look.

To make my oven into a makeshift smoker. Add 3 cups of apple wood chips to a large bowl. Add enough water to cover the wood chips and let sit for at least 1 hour.

While that’s happening you want to get the spice rub ready for the dry rub. In a bowl, add garlic powder, ground Chipotle powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, onion powder, ground mustard, Kosher salt. cayenne pepper, Ancho chili powder, dried oregano (optional), dark brown sugar, sweet paprika, and fresh ground black pepper.

I know that’s a lot of spices but remember it’s for 2 racks of ribs. Whisk all the spices together then rub them all over both sides of the ribs. Place the ribs on the pans and refrigerate for 2 hours, overnight is even better.

Note: All of this can be done in advance if you know you going to be making this recipe.

On each of the baking sheets lay another piece of foil twice the length of the baking sheet. Spread out 1 of the sliced onions on each of the pans. The onions will act as a bed to set the ribs on so the heat can transfer easily around them.

In the pictures following, you can see to fold the extra foil over the ribs and fold up all the sides around the rack to trap in the heat. This will allow the ribs to steam for 1 1/2 hours at 275-degrees F. Low and slow.

Next, uncover the ribs, place the wood chips in an oven safe vessel, and place the wood chips below the oven rack holding the ribs. Turn the temperature down to 230-degrees F. and let them smoke for another 3 hours.

I like my ribs to be tender but not to the point where they will fall apart when you cut them. This means they are overcooked. If after the 2 1/2 hours you see the ends of the rib bones are exposed on one end, they are done. If not, continue smoking. Watch for the internal temperature to reach 180-degrees. Take a knife sticking the point of the knife between the bones and if the knife comes out really easily they’re done. There are just so many variables when cooking ribs, it just takes some practice. Getting to know your oven is important. The goal is to get the internal temperature of the meat to 180-185 degrees because the barbecue sauce stage is next.

You can see in this picture above shows the rib bones are exposed, and the ribs are still intact. Remove the foil pouches. Transfer the cooked onions to the bottom of the sheet pan and again place the ribs on top.

I’m not making barbecue sauce from scratch but I am adding a few ingredients to the bottled sauce I’ll be using.

In a large bowl, add a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce. To the sauce, add real maple syrup, liquid smoke for some smokey flavor, and apricot jam. In a saucepot on low heat, simmer the sauce, occasionally stirring, to allow the flavors to combine, around 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the ribs from the oven. Brush this delicious sauce all over the ribs on both sides. Remove the wood chips, they’ve done their job. Set the oven on broil and put both racks back in but I leave the oven door cracked. The reason for this is so that the sugar in the sauce will burn really quickly so it’s important to keep an eye on them, it doesn’t take long maybe 10 minutes. Take the ribs out of the oven because they’re ready.

These Sweet And Smokey Ribs With Caramelized Onions are ready. Serve with some of that awesome barbecue sauce in case you want some extra to dip your ribs in. Talk about finger-lickin’ good!

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Slow Cooker, Citrus Spiced Chicken And Mushroom Stew

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After coming back from the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, and visiting with Pam Smith of Spice Blends, I knew I needed to implement her wonderful spice blends into my dishes. I thought what better way then with this awesome French style stew of chicken and mushrooms. Usually I do this dish in a dutch oven, but I thought with my new 7 quart slow cooker, I thought I would test out this dish by using it. Now to be honest if it didn’t work I wouldn’t be posting this recipe, but it turns out that it came out beautifully. Really the only major prep to this dish is just the browning of the chicken. I would suggest that having the chicken cut, refrigerated, covered in plastic wrap. The flour can be seasoned the day before if you know this is something your going to make this dish. As far as the veggies go I would say that with the exception of the 4 potatoes that your going to cut in half, all the other veggies can be done ahead, placed into a plastic bag, and kept in the frig. The mushrooms need only to be wiped off with a damp paper towel to get any grit off of them and that can be done ahead as well.

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Here what I’ve done is to take 4 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts and cut them in half. I wanted to make the pieces easier to eat, being that they were going into a #stew. As you see in my top left picture, now the large breast, have become 8 manageable pieces. Next I have 3 pints of Cremini mushrooms. 2 large onions, diced into large chucks,3 ribs of celery cut into 3 inch pieces, 6 whole cloves of peeled garlic, and finally 4 small to medium size Yukon gold potatoes cut in half. If they are large then cut into quarters. You just want to make sure they are relatively the same size. This is what I have here in the picture on the top right.

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Now that all the prep work is done, next, the chicken. It’s time to get some nice color first on the outside before putting it into the slow cooker. , I have my trusty cast iron skillet getting hot on med heat, with enough canola oil to just cover the bottom of the skillet. When the oil starts to shimmer its ready. You want to pat all the chicken dry with paper towel first. This will ensure the oi won’t splatter and of course to get a nice brown crunchy texture on the outside of the chicken.I take a pinch of Pam’s Citrus spice blend and place some under the skin of each piece. then I do a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and pepper on the top of each piece as well. Let me tell you about the seasoned flour that i used I put 3 cups of all purpose flour into a bowl with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. To that I added 3 tablespoons of Pam Smith’s Citrus Spice blend. Pam”s secret ingredients in this recipe gives the chicken a kiss of that citrus flavor that we all love with chicken, as well as some added color to the skin. I then sear the outside of the chicken, skin side down first, in batches of 3 so as not to overcrowd the pan. When the chicken releases itself easily then you know it’s time to flip the chicken and do the other side. You want to see a nice golden color on the outside, the chicken will finish cooking in the slow cooker. As the pieces are finishing up browning, I set them on a baking sheet until all the chicken pieces are done.

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Now for the slow cooker. First put all of the potatoes, onion, celery, and garlic into the pot. I then sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper over the veggies. Next pour in 1/2 a cup of wine and 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth. Next place all the chicken pieces on top, but make sure they are nestled in there really well. You want to set the temperature on high if cooking for 4 hours and low for 8 hours. Keep in mind that all the vegetables are going to release water as they cook, and this will cause the liquid to rise slowly as everything progresses. So I cooked this version of high for 4 hours because I just happen to be home and I needed to watch the progression of the dish so I could post everything correctly.

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3 1/2 hours in I pulled the chicken out that was on top so I could now add the mushrooms in with 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, because, you know how mushrooms love thyme. If I would have added them at the beginning, they would have probably cooked down to nothing and, I wanted them to keep their integrity and shape. So now if you left this to cook on low after being gone all day, you would just pull the chicken out after 7-1 /2 -8 hours hours and do the same thing. Steve likes a slightly thicker gravy so what I did was to ladle out about a cup of the cooking liquid and whisked in 1 heaping tablespoon of flour.

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After this was whisked together really well I poured this right back into the pot. Gave everything a big stir, then I added all the chicken pieces right back in, Place the lid back on to cook for the last 1/2 hour. The heat from the hot liquid and the chicken on the top will cook the mushrooms in no time at all and they will have a nice color on them as well. Oh, I made some cheddar biscuits for dipping too, but that’s a story for another time.

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Don’t these look awesome! Ok, so now I just ladle some of the stew into a large bowl, making sure I get a little of everything. There it is, #takingitslow Citrus Chicken And Mushroom Stew.

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Meyer Lemon Pound Cake Sandwiches Filled With Lemon Ricotta Cream

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I wanted to put the first very first harvest of my Meyer lemons to good use. My Meyer Lemon Pound Cake Sandwiches Filled With Lemon Ricotta Cream are just the ticket. I started with my favorite pound cake box mix then, of course, added a few delicious flavorings to make this pound cake extra special.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 to 60 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Yields: 5 sandwiches ( 10 1-inch slices)
Equipment: 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, 2 large mixings bowls, hand-held electric mixer, rubber spatula, Microplane

1 16-ounce box of Betty Crocker Pound Cake Mix
2/3 cup of water
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 15-ounce container plus 1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baker’s cream cheese emulsion (cream cheese extract) optional
3 Meyer lemons, zested
2 Meyer lemons, juiced
1/2 pound of powdered sugar

Start by preheating the oven to 325-degrees F.

Follow by greasing a loaf pan with softened butter and lightly flour the bottom and sides of the pan.

In a large mixing bowl beat together the water, butter, eggs, ricotta cheese, pure vanilla extract, cream cheese emulsion (optional), the zest of 2 Meyer lemons, and the juice of 1 lemon.

Using the hand-held mixer, on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl frequently, beat until combined. Slowly add the cake mix to the wet ingredients. On medium speed, beat for another 2 minutes scraping down the bowl occasionally. The batter will be thick.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester (toothpick) inserted in the center comes out clean. After the 50-minute baking time, watch the cake carefully, check every 5 minutes for when a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool the pound cake for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a cooling rack for 1 hour.

Directions For The Lemon Ricotta Cream:
In a large mixing bowl add 15 ounces of ricotta cheese, of powdered sugar, stir to combine. Next, add the zest of another Meyer lemon and 1 tablespoon of the juice to the bowl, stir to combine. Slice the cooled pound cake into 1-inch slices. Refrigerate until ready to use. Spread 2 heaping tablespoons of the cream filling onto one slice of the pound cake then place another slice on top.

There you have it, my Meyer Lemon Pound Cake Sandwiches Filled With Lemon Ricotta Cream.



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