Friday’s Flavors: Corned Pork Ribs

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

Recently, Natalia over at Traveling Hummingbirds wrote a post about a plate of delicious ribs she had while in Amsterdam. Being from the south, and married to a rib connoisseur, AND having mastered the art of making fall off the bone, fork tender, melt in your mouth ribs myself (I shared the recipe here way back in 2013), I had to know more, and she told me they were corned and smoked. Corned? Ribs?

I’d heard of corned beef, but this was new, and when I tried to find a recipe online, there was very little info about it. Naturally, I was intrigued. And I couldn’t help but feel challenged. So, even though I was positive I was going to ruin a perfectly good rack of ribs winging a corned rib recipe, I gave it a try anyways – and was delighted to discover I was wrong!

I’m not going to lie – there were MANY moments during this process that I thought we’d be ordering takeout at the eleventh hour. I didn’t even take pictures to document the preparation. The ribs weren’t very pretty. And unlike when I usually cook ribs, the smell didn’t make my mouth water. But the meat was succulent and delicious, which is all that matters!

Because most of the information I could find about brining to make corned meat was for briskets, and ribs are much thinner, I only brined the ribs for 48 hours.

Ingredients:

1 rack of pork ribs

salt for brining (I used Morton’s coarse grain salt)

plastic Ziploc bags

water

Preparation:

Cut the slab of ribs into 2-4 pieces (I made 3). Place each piece in a separate plastic bag. (Tip: Flip the ends of the bag over to the outside to prevent spreading raw meat germs.)

Mix your brining solution. I used about 1/8 cup salt for every 2 cups of water.

Place enough brining solution in each bag to submerge the meat and seal tightly.

Put your Ziploc bags inside another plastic bag (like a grocery bag) to guard against disaster and refrigerate.

Allow the meat to soak for 48 hours.

Rinse ribs under cold water, then place in a large pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours.

And that’s it! We ate the entire rack that night, which we’ve never done before! If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Check back next week for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Individual Beef Wellington With Blue Cheese

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I’ve always wanted to try Beef Wellington. Fillet wrapped in pastry? Yes, please! So when a package of puff pastry caught my eye right around my birthday, I thought, why not? And when I was researching the process, cooking times, etc., and I came across a recipe that added gorgonzola into the mix, I remembered the blue cheese crumbles I had in the fridge, and again thought, why not? So I did.

I must say that since I wasn’t willing to let this meal be an all day thing, I skimped on a couple of steps. After you pan sear the steaks, most recipes suggest refrigerating them for an hour – I only did this for 40 minutes. Also, after you wrap everything in the puff pastry, it’s suggested that you put the wellington in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another hour. I found an explanation that this is done to help the puff pastry keep its shape during cooking – I didn’t care if it was pretty, just tasty, so I skipped this step entirely and put them right in the oven. To my surprise, it held its shape perfectly, and the taste? Well, I’ll definitely be making this again!

Ingredients:

2 fillet mignon steaks, 1″ thick, brought to room temperature

1 package of puff pastry

mushrooms (I used 4 good sized baby portabellos)

1 large shallot

garlic, 2-3 cloves

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg

1 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. high smoking point oil

parchment paper

Preparation:

Salt and pepper the meat. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet on high. Sear both sides and all ends of the steak, then turn the heat down to medium, removing the pan from the heat while it cools if the outside starts to crisp. Depending on the size of the steak, cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. When steaks are done, refrigerate for 40-60 minutes.

While the meat is cooling, finely chop mushrooms and shallots. You could also use a food processor if desired. Melt 1 tbsp. of butter in a pan and sauté mushrooms and onions until the shallots become translucent and the moisture is cooked out of the mushrooms. (Tip: dry clean your mushrooms so you don’t add extra liquid to them.) Add crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Stir until garlic is fragrant, then remove from heat and allow to cool.

If you don’t plan to refrigerate the assembled steaks for an hour, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Beat 1 egg to use as an egg wash.

Lay out your puff pastry dough. I rolled the dough I was working with a little thinner because it looked rather thick. Spoon blue cheese crumbles onto the dough in roughly the size and shape of your steaks. Add the cooled mushroom mixture over the blue cheese. Top with a steak. Fold opposite ends of the pastry over, sealing with a sparing amount of egg wash if it won’t stick on it’s own. Fold the other two ends, making sure all seams are well and tightly sealed. Remove any excess dough.

At this point, you can put the pastry wrapped steaks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour, or you can go ahead with the cooking process. When you’re ready to cook them, place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and brush with the egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

And that’s it! It was a touch more labor intensive than the average meal preparation, mainly because of the refrigerating time, but it was soooo worth it. The flavors melded together into savory steak perfection, and the puff pastry took it to a whole new level of delectableness!

If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Air Fryer Potato Wedges

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

Two words. Potato Wedges. For some reason they remind me of childhood. Chasing lightening bugs, sticky popsicle dripping down my chin, running through the sprinkler . . . or maybe that’s summer. But aren’t childhood and summertime kind of the same thing? Do summers ever last as long or mean as much as when we’re children . . . I digress. My point is, I’m no longer young enough to eat fried food and no longer adventurous enough to eat anything from a good ole southern gas station display case. So when I get a (in keeping with the southern theme) hankering for some potato wedges, I’ve got to make them myself. Thankfully, with the help of my trusty air fryer, I can easily make the crispy outside, tender inside yummy goodness that I crave!

Ingredients:

2 thin baking potatoes

olive oil

paprika

garlic powder

garlic salt

ice water

Preparation:

Wash and slice your potatoes. I choose thin potatoes and cut each one into 8 wedges by slicing the potato in half, and each half into quarters.

Place the potato wedges in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes (removing the starch helps the wedges from becoming crumbly and helps the outside crisp).

Remove from ice water, set on paper towel, dry well. Allow to sit 5 minutes.

Rinse and dry bowl.

Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees. Preheating keeps your wedges from sticking. If your fryer doesn’t have a preheat setting, simply run it empty at 400 degrees for 2-3 minutes.

Return dried wedges to the bowl and, using the least amount of oil possible, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Add spice, toss to coat, and repeat.

Place wedges in the air fryer, and cook at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Flip, sprinkle with more seasoning if desired, then cook for an additional 8 minutes. That’s it! Flavorful, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and you can take a bite without the remainder crumbling into little potato bombs that burn your chin – these are the things dreams are made of (maybe not yours, but mine!).

If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Air Fryer Lamb Chops

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

When most people think of air fryers, they think they’re frying the food they put in them. But if you look at the broad range of food you can cook – even bake – in them, you’ll see that they can also be used as a substitute oven. Not a huge deal considering that most people use them in their homes, but in Florida, where the heat an oven puts out can make the indoor temperature quite unpleasant, or even in an RV or travel trailer when camping, using your air fryer as an oven can be a great option.

When we have lamb chops, we often grill them, but when it’s pouring down rain, an air fryer comes in a close second. This recipe is quick and easy – who can argue with that?!?!

Ingredients:

lamb chops, 1″ thick

olive oil

garlic, crushed

salt

pepper

Preparation:

Make a paste by mixing olive oil, freshly crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Placing your lamb chops on a piece of wax paper, coat both sides thoroughly with your mixture and allow to rest while you bring them to room temperature, about an hour.

Spray the inside of your air fryer with oil. Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees for a few minutes. Place lamb chops inside the air fryer bed, spacing so they don’t overlap. Cook for 3 minutes. Flip. Cook for another 3 minutes. Let sit in air fryer for 5 minutes, then serve. This recipe will cook your lamb chops to the medium side of medium rare. For an overcrowded basket, thicker or thinner chops, or to cook to a different temperature, adjust time accordingly.

And that’s it! If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Baked Tomato And Eggplant Caprese

Hi, Foodies! Happy Friday!

Sometimes, inspiration just strikes like a bolt of lightening. Other times, it happens because you have food on hand that you don’t want to waste. This recipe was born from one of those times.

I brought home a beautiful graffiti eggplant because, even though I already had a vegetable I was supposed to cook with dinner, I’m weak when it comes to pretty veggies! I also had a tomato threatening to die in the vegetable drawer and a lovely block of smoked mozzarella that came with a cheese basket we were gifted for Christmas. Put them all together and a new favorite recipe is born!

Great as an appetizer, vegetable, or salad course!

Ingredients:

1 eggplant

1 tomato

mozzarella chesse

about 1/2 cup olive oil

3 cloves crushed garlic

fresh basil

seasoning

optional: balsamic drizzle

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and slice eggplant and tomato.

Mix crushed garlic with about a half cup of olive oil (you can always add more) and seasoning. I used Nature’s Seasoning because it’s a flavorful combination and saves time, but the staples are salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Dip eggplant and tomato slices into olive oil mixture coating well (use that garlic!), and place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove baking sheet and place a thin slice of mozzarella on eggplant slices. Put tomato slices on top of cheese and eggplant, then top with another thin slice of cheese.

Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with fresh basil. Serve.

It’s great as it is, but drizzling a little balsamic glaze takes this recipe to an entirely new level!

If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Mediterranean Style Baked Feta Pasta

Hi, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I recently read a blurb about a recipe that was trending on TikTok, and while I’m not on that platform, the idea of the recipe – baked feta pasta – sounded so good I decided to give it a try. I’m not sure what the original recipe entails, but I bought myself a block of feta and set to work. It was so easy and turned out so delicious that I had to share!

The flavors melded so well that I could easily see turning this into a cheese spread and eating it on a cracker!

The only thing I’d do differently is that instead of a long pasta, I’d use a pasta with a shape, like shells, bowtie or ziti to catch even more cheesy goodness.

Ingredients:

1 block of feta cheese

1 tomato (sundried would work, too)

1 shallot

3 cloves of garlic sliced thin

halved Kalamata olives

capers

pine nuts

seasoning

olive oil

sherry or cooking wine

pasta of choice

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish. Place your block of feta in the center.

Add chopped or sundried tomato, shallots, garlic, olives, capers and pine nuts to the dish, surrounding the cheese.

Drizzle with olive oil. Add a splash of sherry or cooking wine. Sprinkle with seasoning. I used coarse sea salt mixed with herbs de provence and some fresh pepper.

Bake 30-40 minutes until cheese is soft.

Toss with your pasta.

That’s it! Big flavor with little effort! If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Have you jumped on the baked feta craze? How’d you prepare yours?

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Greek Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I love Greek food! The spices, the garlic, the flavors . . . there’s nothing I don’t like about it! And since the Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest, there’s no guilt about it – just pleasure!

This recipe is super easy and big on flavor! I simply marinate the chicken overnight, and in return I’m rewarded with the most tender, tasty kabobs a girl could want!

Score major flavor points by serving this with large quantities of garlic sauce! For that, I don’t have my own recipe, I use the one found here.

Ingredients:

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 red onion

1/4 lemon juice (1 large lemon)

2 tbsp. olive oil

8 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. clove

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. garlic salt

Preparation:

Cut chicken into 1-2″ cubes. Mix all ingredients together. Add chicken, coating well, and place in refrigerator overnight. A large, gallon sized plastic bag works great.

The next day, remove from the refrigerator and place on skewers alternating with pieces of red onion. (I skewer them over the sink to help contain the mess!)

Grill until cooked thoroughly. That’s it!

I eat mine with copious amounts of garlic sauce because Garlic sauce is one of my favorite things, but these kabobs pack plenty of their own flavor. Goes great with zucchini sautéed with similar spices and couscous.

If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Check back next week for another Friday Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Indian Style Spinach Curry

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I’m always looking for ways to add healthy ingredients and delicious flavors into my diet, and I love trying new things! I also love Indian food, but I’m a spice wimp, so I often have to make it myself.

This curry spinach recipe is super healthy and is made with ingredients that pack a nutritional punch, from the fresh ginger to the cilantro to everything in between.

To make it VEGAN, simply replace the butter with more olive oil and substitute vegetable broth in lieu of the bone broth.

Tip 1: You don’t have to use fresh grated turmeric, it doesn’t add to the flavor, but it has some awesome health benefits. If you do use it, though, wear gloves to keep your hands from being stained, and don’t let it touch any surface you don’t want turned yellow!

Tip 2: When peeling roots such as ginger or turmeric, you can use the back of a spoon – no knife or peeler needed – the outside will easily flake off like a husk or tree bark.

Tip 3: SPICE: The amount of garam marsala you use will determine how spicy this dish is. I use 1 tsp, which creates a dish as spicy as I can handle, but again, when it comes to spicy, I’m a wimp!

Tip 4: This recipe works best with tomato paste, but if you don’t want to open a can just for this, tomato/spaghetti/marinara sauce can work in a pinch, just adjust the amount of broth you use based on the consistency of your tomato product so the dish doesn’t become runny.

Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients:

8+ ounces spinach

1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 cup bone broth OR vegetable broth for vegetarian and vegan (See Tip 3 above)

4 cloves garlic

2 tbsp tomato paste or sauce (See Tip 4 above)

1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (See Tip 2 above)

2 tsp fresh grated turmeric (optional) (See Tip 1 & 2 above)

1 tbsp butter (replace with equal amount olive oil for vegan)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp yellow curry

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

garam marsala: to taste (See Tip 3 above)

Preparation:

Melt 1 tbsp butter with 2 tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add onions and cook until almost translucent. Add crushed garlic, mix until fragrant, then add fresh ginger and turmeric. Mix well.

*REMEMBER If you choose to use fresh turmeric, wear gloves to avoid staining your hands and don’t let it touch other stainable surfaces!

Turn heat down to medium. Add tomato paste or sauce. Add spices and bone broth, mixing well.

Add cilantro and spinach, stirring and mixing well until spinach is cooked.

And that’s it! If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Fried Green Tomatoes

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday!

I’m not going to lie. The first time I tried making Fried Green Tomatoes years ago was because I love the movie (even more than the book, which is rare for me!).

But the reason I’ve kept making them is because I like the flavor. And while there are MANY different ways to make these, some more labor intensive than others, this recipe cuts down on the work without cutting down on the flavor!

Ingredients:

2-3 green tomatoes

2 cups bread crumbs

1.5 cups flour

2 eggs

salt

garlic powder

old bay

garlic salt

pepper

oil for frying (I use peanut)

Preparation:

Wash and slice tomatoes. Salt both sides and allow to sit for at least ten minutes.

While tomatoes are resting, lay out your flour and breadcrumbs. (For yeast free breadcrumbs, add a couple Pillsbury Crescent Rolls or Biscuits to a food processor. I’ve used rice ‘bread’ crumbs before, and they don’t have the best flavor.) Season both flour and breadcrumbs with the old bay, garlic powder, garlic salt, and pepper. In a small bowl, beat your eggs.

Heat your oil over medium high heat.

You’ll find your tomatoes are now sitting in a puddle of liquid. Wipe both sides of your tomatoes, removing the salt. Dredge in the flour, then the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs. I do them all at once and set them on a piece of wax paper, but you can dredge, dip and dredge as you go if you want.

Add your tomatoes to the oil, working in batches. You may have to turn the oil down in temperature as you go.

Remove from oil using a metal spatula or spoon and allow to dry on a paper towel lined plate. And that’s it!

For dipping sauces, I like ranch dressing mixed with chili powder or tzatziki. They taste best freshly fried, and while still tasty, will be a bit soggy the next day.

If you try it, please let me know if you like it!

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

Friday’s Flavors: Best Ever Sugar Cookies With Butter Frosting

Hey, Foodies! Happy Friday, and for those of you who celebrate, Merry Christmas!

I don’t think it’s a secret that I do a lot of cooking. But I used to do a lot of baking, too. I always had fresh chocolate chip cookies on hand, and never hesitated to whip up a batch of brownies, cupcakes, or a delectable cake whenever the whim arose.

Why the change? Well, you can’t eat like a kid forever. But more than that (because I’d probably still try), I stopped being able to handle sugar well. And when something feels bad, it makes sense to stop doing it, right?

But, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I know I can no longer handle more than two bites of rich chocolate cake. More than a handful of M&Ms. More than just a dab of maple syrup on my waffles or pancakes. But I can still handle the absolute best cookie recipe I’ve ever met, in moderation of course. And the frosting? Enough can’t be said about it! Odes and sonnets, love poems of every kind have been written about this Butter Frosting! (I know – I’ve written them!)

I’m not exaggerating when I say that these are best described as addictive! Back when I was a choco-holic, I’d make an exception for these!

Growing up, my family would make these every Christmas, but they’re not just for the holidays! While I have Halloween and Easter themed cookie cutters, I also have many types of animal, sea creature, flower shapes and more!

I’m not going to lie – these take a lot of work. But they are SO worth the effort, every. Single. Time. What’s more? They get better with age!

Ingredients:

CHRISTMAS COOKIES

2 ½ cups flour                                                 1 ½ cups sugar

1 tsp. baking powder                                    2 eggs, well beaten

½ tsp. salt                                                        3 tsp. vanilla

1 cup shortening

Preparation:

Sift flour, measure; add baking powder and salt. Sift again. (Don’t try to short cut this step. I know it’s a pain, but sift the flour before you measure, then sift again!)

Cream shortening, add sugar gradually, beating until light. Add well beaten eggs one at a time and blend thoroughly. Add vanilla. (It’s very important that you add the eggs one at a time, blending well between them. I don’t know why but the cookies don’t come out the same if you add them both at once.)

Combine dry ingredients with the creamed mixture, mix thoroughly and chill for at least an hour.

PREHEAT oven to 400.

Roll as thin as possible on a lightly floured board and cut with cookie cutter. (Tip: I keep a small bowl of flour handy so I don’t contaminate the bag. Also, keep your rolling pin well floured.)

BAKE 6-10 minutes.

Allow to cool for a minute or two before carefully transferring to a cooling rack.

Ingredients:

BUTTER FROSTING

½ cup butter, set out to room temperature

1 lb. (3 ½ cups) Confectioner’s sugar

Pinch of salt

4 – 5 tbsp. liquid (hot water or milk)

1 tbsp. vanilla

food coloring

sprinkles and decorations as desired

Preparation:

Cream room temperature butter; add sugar gradually, stirring until well blended. (Eventually it’s going to look like straight sugar, just a little lumpier.)

Add salt. Stir in liquid a little at a time, adding just enough to give a good spreading consistency. Beat until fluffy; add vanilla or other flavoring.

Makes enough frosting for tops and sides of 2 9” layers, 3 8” layers, 2 dozen cup cakes, and the entirety of the above cookie recipe.

I put these in tins and give them to friends and family!

I cover a table with wax paper to make for easy cleanup. Portion frosting into containers (coffee cups work great) and mix desired colors using food coloring. Apply with dull butter knifes or utensil of choice. Add sprinkles, nonpareils, and whatever other decorations you want! Allow to dry thoroughly before storing.

I didn’t get too fancy decorating this year, but they still tasted fantastic!

If you try it, let me know how you like it! (And don’t say I didn’t warn you about your new addiction!)

Check back next Friday for another Foodie Flavor!

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