Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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Sweet And Smokey Ribs With Caramelized Onions

2014-10-13 15.56.27

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, 1 (3-quart) saucepot

Ingredients:
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

Ingredients For Dry Rub:
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 freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika

Ingredients For Barbecue Sauce:
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

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

Take your fingers at one corner of the backside and start to separate it from the ribs, kind of like you’re starting a piece of tape on a new role you want to get started. Once you grab ahold 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 backside, 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.

Preheat oven to 275-degrees F.

To make my oven into a makeshift smoker. Add 3 cups of applewood chips to a large bowl. Add enough water to cover the wood chips and let soak for a minimum of 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.

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. Low and slow.

Adjust oven temperature to 230-degrees F.

Next, uncover the ribs, place the wood chips in an oven-safe vessel, and place the wood chips on the lowest rack in the oven and ribs set on the center rack. Continue to smoke the ribs for an additional 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.

Using an instant-read thermometer check the ribs for an internal temperature of 180-degrees F. With the point of a paring knife stick it between the bones, if the knife comes out easily they’re done.

There’re 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 my favorite bottled sauce.

In a large mixing 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 over low heat, simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes. This allows the flavors to marry.

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-licking’ good!

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Chicken Sausage, Black Bean, And Cilantro Lime Rice Burritos

2014-10-03 18.21.47

These Chicken Sausage, Black Bean, And Cilantro Lime Rice Burritos are delicious and so easy to make. Today I’m using Italian chicken sausage. It’s much leaner and adds a really nice flavor.

Pan searing the outside of the whole-grain tortillas gives these burritos great texture.

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Sweet Italian Sausage (2)

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Stuffing (2)

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Olive Oil

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Cilantro

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Red Onion

Diced Red Onion (2)

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Non-stick Cooking Spray

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Cast Iron Grill Press

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, 1 (12-inch) cast-iron skillet, 1 (cast-iron) grill-press, non-stick cooking spray, chef’s knife, 1 (3-quart) saucepot, 2 large serving bowls, Microplane

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound of Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of Fajita seasoning
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
1 lime, juiced
1 (15-ounce) can of black beans, low sodium, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped

8 large whole-grain flour tortillas (substitute flour tortillas)
1 package (8 ounces) of shredded Colby jack cheese
Cilantro Lime Rice
Pico de Gallo

Ingredients For Cilantro Lime Rice:
1 bag of Success (boil-in-a-bag) Basmati white rice (substitute brown rice)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of lime zest (2 to 3 limes)
1 lime, juiced

Ingredients For Pico de Gallo:
1-pint of red grape tomatoes halved
1-pint of yellow grape tomatoes halved
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced (substitute jalapeno)
1 lime, juiced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients For Fajita Seasoning:
8 teaspoons of chili powder
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
4 teaspoons of Kosher salt
4 teaspoons of smoked paprika
4 teaspoons of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of onion powder
4 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of ground cumin

Note: Recipe yields approx. 2 1/2 cups of Fajita seasoning.

Directions For Seasoning:
In a medium-size mixing bowl add all the ingredients from the above list, mix to combine. Tip: Store in an air-tight container, in a cool dry place.

Directions For Cilantro Lime Rice:
In a 3-quart saucepot, over medium-high heat add 1 quart of water. Submerge 1 unopened bag of rice. Bring to a boil add Kosher salt. Boil uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes.  Using a pair of tongs to remove the bag from the saucepan. Drain any excess water. Carefully cut open the bag with scissors before transferring the rice to a large mixing bowl. Add lime zest, lime juice, chopped cilantro, and fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine. Set aside.

Directions For Pico de Gallo:
In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients from the list above for the Pico de Gallo. Toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, transfer to the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill before serving.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat add olive oil and the diced onions, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

Stirring frequently, cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until onions become soft and translucent. Add red pepper flakes, minced garlic, cook for 1 minute more. Next, add the chicken sausage. Using the back of a wooden spoon start breaking the sausage up. Add 2 tablespoons of the Fajita seasoning. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 5 to 7 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.

Add chicken stock and fresh lime juice, reduce the heat to medium-low, simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After the sausage has been simmering for 25 minutes add the black beans, mix to combine. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes allowing the beans to heat through. With the heat off, add the chopped cilantro.  

Start by warming up 8 whole-grain flour tortillas. Place a tortilla on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on the number of tortillas. This process makes them pliable.

Layout the tortilla on a flat surface. Place 2 tablespoons of the chicken sausage on the bottom third of the tortilla, add small amounts of Colby jack cheese, cilantro lime rice and finally, the Pico de gallo. Once you have all the fillings in place, pull the bottom half of the burrito over the meet the top half. Then, pull the tortillas back. This will form the filling into a roll. Next, fold one side in. Then the other side. With both ends folded, tightly roll your tortilla.

Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Lightly spray non-stick cooking spray on each side of the burrito. Set the burrito into the hot skillet placing the grill press on top. Every 30 seconds, check the burrito. You’re looking for a golden brown color. This process happens quickly. Flip the burrito and repeat on the other side.

To serve, slice the Chicken Sausage, Black Bean, And Cilantro Lime Rice Burritos on the bias and served with a side of my Pico de Gallo. You can see the layers of deliciousness inside. I felt really good about this dish. Using leaner meat, and a whole grain tortilla, this meal was totally guilt-free and super satisfying.

Pico de Gallo

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Fried Green Tomatoes

2014-07-15 15.43.59

Home alone, with the whole day to myself. I went to the Farmers’ market and picked up a couple of handfuls of green tomatoes, and knew the mission at hand was to make my Fried Green Tomatoes. 

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes (approx. time)
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 2 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, 3 medium-size bowls

Ingredients:
4 cups (1 quart) of vegetable oil
2 large green tomatoes, ( 6 slices) sliced 1/2-inch thick ends discarded
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
3 cups of yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, plain
2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
2 tablespoons of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Mixed greens for garnish

Directions:
Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch thick slices. Sprinkle, both sides, using 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to a large plate and allow the tomatoes to stand for 15 minutes. Pat both sides of the tomatoes dry with paper towels.

Set up three bowls for the breading staging area. In the first bowl add the all-purpose flour. The second bowl, add the buttermilk and cayenne pepper, whisk to combine. The third and final bowl, add the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, smoked paprika, and freshly chopped Italian parsley, whisk to combine.

Start by dredging the tomatoes in the flour then into the buttermilk mixture, and finally into the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a large platter. Repeat this process until all the tomatoes are breaded.

In a large sauté pan, pour the vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch in the pan) and heat over medium heat. Place the tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of three ( 2 batches), depending on the size of your pan. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. Fry for about 3 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown. Gently turn the slices and fry the other side until browned. Transfer them to a large plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Immediately sprinkle with Kosher salt.

To serve, arrange mixed greens on two serving plates. Place 3 Fried Green Tomatoes on each plate.

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