Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just a Note About The BBQ Throw Down Sides

Along with the BBQ ribs that I prepared for the Throw Down, my friends and I enjoyed some tasty sides that are traditional favorites with ribs. (See yesterday's post!)

Now I started cooking when I was 9 and pretty much learned the method of a little of this, a dab of that and a handful of this over here. I prepared the sides that went with the ribs pretty much the same way and you can too.

Get your base item and figure out how much you want. For example, if it is potato salad, first figure out how many potatoes you would want per person. If it is coleslaw, cut up enough cabbage for each serving you are planning. Then put in the other ingredients to personal taste. Take a little sample of the dish as you go along being careful not to double dip. No one likes a double dipper.
Here are the ingredients and seasonings for the sides:

Potato Salad: Boiled red new potatoes. Boil with the jackets on, chill and cut up. Then add: mayonnaise, hard boiled eggs, celery, sweet relish, dijon mustard, celery seed, salt and pepper.

Coleslaw: Shred some green cabbage. Then add: chopped napa cabbage, chopped dill pickles, chopped pickled pepper slices , honey, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.
Ranch-style Black Beans: I used canned black beans. Then add: brown sugar, chopped onions, bacon slices, powdered mustard, ketchup and pepper sauce.

We also enjoyed fresh baked gluten-free Buttermilk Biscuits. Since these had not been tried out on my non-gluten-free friends, I was curious to see what they thought. The guests were packing up extra biscuits to take home, I am guessing they turned out just fine. The recipe I used for the biscuits can be found in the Culinary Institute of America's gluten-free cookbook.

To top off the menu were my attempt at gluten-free Fried Apple Pies. They worked and didn't taste all that bad, but they just are not there yet. When I get them a little closer to the real thing, I will be sure to let everyone know. That is one thing I have yet to find in the world of gluten-free...fried pies.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Throwing Down Some BBQ Ribs

In wanting to be upfront and honest about this, I have a confession to make. I grilled the ribs on a gas grill. I know there are some purists out there that are gasping at such a sacrilege. And if I had a smoker, I would have used it. And, yes, you will note that I had some flare ups that caused some charring, but all in all they came out pretty tasty if I do say so. I thought about digging a pit in the backyard like my grandfather used to talk about, but not sure the landlord would have been real happy about that and so thought better of that idea.

The original intention was to barbecue beef ribs. That was the idea anyway until I got to the store. And, again, you are so right! I should have gone to a real live, honest-to-goodness, breathing butcher. But instead I went to the closest grocery store. If you notice that I live in NW Arkansas, you can pretty well guess what store that was and you would be correct. In comparing the beef ribs to the pork ribs, the pork won out. What follows is my recipe for BBQ spare ribs. It is a lot of my Texas background with a few quirky twists and kicks here and there.


You want to make the mop at least the day before so it can sit overnight. Below is my family recipe cut in half with my changes. Seems like it still made enough mop for the entire summer.

Heat up 4 cups of water just till it starts to simmer. Steep 6 tea bags in the water. I used an Earl Grey black tea.

To the tea add the following:
1 qt. beef stock
1 tbsp salt
1-1/2 tbsp dry mustard
1 tbsp powdered garlic
1/2 tbsp ground bay leaf
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp pepper sauce
1 pint Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp steak sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup oil


This sauce is not for cooking the meat in. It is for slathering all over the meat at the table if so desired.

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
3 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup strong coffee
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup pomegranate/blueberry bottled juice
3/4 cup water
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 chopped onion
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp paprika
dash black pepper

This will make about 2-1/2 cups of sauce. Mix all the ingredients together and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and strain.

Keep it in the fridge, but when you serve it, heat it a bit as it works best warm.

This is basically the family recipe minus the MSG. I really, really hate MSG.

There is one other change though. The original recipe calls for dry lemon powder. You can use a powdered lemon drink mix for this. Use the kind you have to add sugar to (not the pre-sweetened or the artificial sweetener mixes). My problem was that the store near me is in the middle of a remodel. They had associates everywhere helping you find what you were looking for, but they did not have any lemon drink mix on the shelf (you know, the kind with the happy pitcher on the package.) They did have some lemon/lime mix. This looked close enough to me. So I got the lemon/lime and used it. When it is dry, it looks just fine. What I hadn't considered was that when it mixes with liquid it turns green. Not a very appetizing sight plastered all over the ribs at all. In fact, if you need to create some spoiled looking meat for a Halloween gag, this will do the trick for you!

For the rub, mix the following together:
6 tbsp salt
6 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dry lemon powder, which is about three envelopes of drink can use the lemon/lime as it tastes great...just don't let your guests see the meat before it is cooked
2-1/2 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp paprika

Rub the spice mixture liberally all over the ribs making sure you get it into every nook, cranny and meat flap. Cook the meat for about 1-1/2 hours to 1-3/4 hours at 350 degrees until fully cooked. Make sure to mop the meat every so often as it cooks to keep the meat moist. Serve with the sauce and your favorite sides.
Rules for Virtual Throw Down:
Bloggers in Virtual Throw Down:
-Luna Cafe
SMS Bradley, Pacific Northwest
Twitter ID: @LunaCafe
-Life By Chocolate
Mark LaPolla, New York
Twitter ID: @LifeByChocolate
-Cre8tive Kitchen
Brenda Campbell, Washington
Twitter ID: @cre8tivekitchen
-Gluten Free Sanctuary
Leslie McLinden, Arkansas
Twitter ID: lesliemac59
-Fresh Eyes
Jan Richards, Washington
Twitter ID: Mrs. Roadshow
Twitter ID: @LicoriceShrine
-Grandma's Gluten-Free Baking N Cooking
Joyce Paige, Kansas
Twitter ID: @SilknPearls, @GFGrandmaBNC
- The Sensitive Pantry
Nancy Kohler, New Jersey
Twitter ID: SensitivePantry

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Virtual Throw Down Is A Brewin'

So here I am, a 50 year old woman on Twitter (okay, that is NOT me in the pic.) I was told it was one of the places I needed to be since I was laid off from my job. I have found it is like being sucked slowly down by quicksand. Everytime I move there is something else grabbing me.

Then came the announcement from one of my fellow tweets, @LifeByChocolate, that he and some of his tweets were going to have the very first annual Virtual Throw Down (minus Mr. Flay...sorry Bobby.) I tried to resist, but there was something said about barbecue ribs. So I moved and twitched in my chair. And I got sucked right down a little more into the land of Twitterers.

Barbecue, you see, has been in my life since I can remember. My grandfather, Walter Jetton, or Grandy as I called him, was well known in Texas for some pretty good ribs. He cooked for the likes of Lyndon B. Johnson, Eisenhower, Jim Nabors (aka Gomer Pyle) and Steve Allen. He had an old chuck wagon that he carted around and set up to make it look like he was using it to cook from.

What I remember though is the rib he would stick in my mouth as a kid when I walked into his office at Jetton's Cafeteria in Fort Worth, TX. He would be trying a new recipe and knew that I, at the ripe old age of 5, would tell him the truth without even understanding the possibility of hurting his feelings. He also kept silver dollars in his desk and he would slip me one as my treat. If only Mom hadn't put those in the bank....
I was 8 when Grandy passed so I don't have years of memories, but what I do have are many, many memories of his love of people and of food. He served on the city council, gave to local charities and was an active church member. I don't think he ever met a person that he didn't like.
So here I go, venturing into territory that he never imagined but one, I am sure, he would have whole heartedly approved. I will take his recipes and add some modern twists of my own creation. And, of course, they will be gluten free. The biggest challenge will be coming up with a fried apple pie that is gf and that he would approve of.

If you want to join in with your own rib fixn' or fried chicken, you can find the rules here:

Guess I better get to workin' on it. Happy eating, ya'll!

Grandy - I hope to do you proud! :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Beginning of Gluten Free Southern Cookin'

My youngest son eats gf and lives in NYC. He emailed me the other day telling me that I should open a gluten free southern cooking restaurant in the heart of Manhattan. He pointed out that there are not any southern restaurants in Manhattan, just Harlem, and absolutely not any southern eateries that are gluten free. Just think, I could corner two markets at once! Part of me thinks he is just homesick for some of mama's cooking, but part of me thinks that would be a great idea ya'll!

For kicks, I decided to begin honing some recipes. I have been working with recipes from the Culinary Institute's Gluten Free Cookbook and found one there for Buttermilk Biscuits. These came out so sweet and light. They were golden on top and you would never know that they were gluten free. I found for an extra special treat I would warm with a little (more) butter and dark chocolate chocolate chips on top. You can then swish the chocolate and butter once melted across the top and it becomes a little cake! Just never mind the calories!

But they are sweet and even though they do not have yeast in them, they come out tasting like the sweet yeast rolls that I used to bake as a kid. It kind of reminded me of a Kolache dough. Ah, Kolaches! How I miss Kolaches!

Surely I could turn these delectable things into a gf form of a Kolache! First, the filling. I decided to go with fruit. Some of the most popular fillings are apricot, prune, apple, or cream cheese. In Texas, you can get Jalepeno Kolaches or Sausage Kolaches. Just don't order those from anyone in Nebraska or you will get an earful from a Czech descendent who will loudly explain to you that a true Kolache does not have meat or jalepenos in them. Nor should they ever!
I didn't have any fresh fruit on hand, so I looked in the freezer. There I have several bags of frozen cranberries and a bag of frozen mangoes. Not sure mangoes would work, but might play with that another time. With the frozen cranberriesI had frozen cranberries I made a basic cranberry sauce but added some vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg to the simmering fruit. After I got the dough formed in the pan, I made indentions and spooned in the cooled sauce.

This comes super close to stopping that craving for Kolaches. Okay, so it isn't what you would usually think of as Southern Cooking. But, it brought me a little closer to my home state of Texas where you can get some of the best Kolaches in the U.S.