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Friday, June 26, 2009

Sharing Recipes from our Grocery Free Challenge

I promised that I would share some recipes as we continue on our Grocery Free Challenge (14 days and counting with no grocery shopping!).

This week, there were two dishes, in particular, that we couldn’t stop talking about – our grilled Father’s Day ribs and the scalloped cauliflower I made on Monday.

The rib recipe, Lacquered Baby Back Ribs, came from A New Way To Cook
by Sally Schneider and the cauliflower recipe is from Joy of Cooking, my go-to-guide when I have an ingredient that I’m not sure what to do with.

As always, I tweaked each recipe a bit to make use of what I had in my stockpile. My substitutions are noted in parenthesis.

Lacquered Baby Back Ribs

3 TBS dark brown sugar
1 TBS curry powder
1 tsp whole cloves
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground allspice (nutmeg)
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
¼ cup plus 2 TBS reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 TBS fresh lime juice (lemon juice)
2 TBS dark rum (bourbon)
1 TBS minced fresh ginger (skipped it; didn’t have any fresh ginger)
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 racks baby back pork ribs, trimmed of excess fat


In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the ribs, mixing well. Add the ribs and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for 2 ½ hours at room temperature. Or refrigerate for up to 12 hours; let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Remove the ribs from the marinade and brush off any cloves or pieces of ginger or garlic; reserve the marinade . Wrap each rack tightly in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast the ribs for 1 ½ hours.

Meanwhile, if you wish to grill the ribs, light a charcoal or wood fire and allow it to burn down to the white-hot coals. (I used a gas grill and lit it 15 minutes before the end of the roasting time.)

In a small saucepan, bring the marinade to a boil over moderate heat; boil for 30 seconds.

Remove the ribs from the foil, being careful of the escaping steam, and place on a rock on a baking sheet or on the grill rack. Roast or grill, brushing the ribs with marinade every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes. Turn the ribs over and cook, basting every 10 minutes, until the ribs are brown and glazed, about 30 minutes longer. Cut the ribs apart through the joints and serve.


Scalloped Cauliflower


2 lbs. cauliflower, cut into small florets
2/3 cup grated cheese
1 ½ cup Bechamel sauce, mixed with ½ tsp grated or ground nutmeg or 1 TBS Dijon mustard
½ cup plain or buttered fresh breadcrumbs (French’s dried onions)

To make the Bechamel sauce: Combine 1 ¼ cup milk, ¼ onion, 1 bay leaf and 2 whole cloves and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered, to infuse flavor into the milk. Discard the onion, bay leaf and cloves. (I chopped the onion and strained it out for the next step. Then I added the reserved onion in the casserole.)

Meanwhile, melt 2 TBS unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir in 2 TBS all-purpose flour. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally with a spoon or spatula, over medium-low heat until the roux is just fragrant but not darkened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Slowly whisk in the warm milk and return the saucepan to the heat. Bring the sauce slowly to a simmer, whisking to prevent lumps, and cook, stirring often and skimming any skin that forms on the surface, over low heat without boiling, until it reaches the consistency of thick cream soup, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and ground white pepper to taste.

To make the casserole: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart gratin dish.

Boil or steam the cauliflower. Drain well and spread in the gratin dish. Sprinkle with half of the grated cheese (I used a mix of swiss, cheddar and asiago).

Spoon over with 1 ½ cup Bechamel sauce, mixed with ½ tsp grated or ground nutmeg or 1 TBS Dijon mustard. Top with bread crumbs or dried onions. Bake until browned and bubbly on top, about 25 minutes.

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