Monday, May 22, 2017

Crunchy Coleslaw

The satisfying character of crunchy coleslaw comes from dicing the pieces2 as opposed to grading or merely slicing. You may also make this using some red cabbage to add color and improved nutrition. Red tastes the same but has increased antioxidants, potassium, Vitamin A and more Vitamin C.

1 Large head cabbage finely diced
1/3 Cup diced carrot or more
2 Tablespoons onion powder1
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1/3 Cup granulated sugar or less
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon each of white and black pepper
1/2 Cup whole milk
1/2 Cup Best food mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Teaspoon tarragon


Peel the carrots. Cabbage and carrots must be finely diced. I do this by hand on a large cutting board but remove the cabbage’s stalk portion by cutting it out.

Pour cabbage and carrot mixture into large stainless steel bowl and stir in other ingredients thoroughly. Correct the seasonings. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Note:

  1. Onion powder is made from oven dried yellow (Spanish) onions. See Ardeshir's-persian dried yellow onions 
  2. Diced style coleslaw is considered "southern style".

Ardeshir’s Persian Dried Yellow Onions

Ardeshir was the master librarian for Valid Logic in 1986. He was deeply interested in food especially his own Persian food. He taught me to appreciate the regional foods and how to shop for Persian ingredients. These Persian onions are great as a condiment for cooking such as rice, vegetable dishes, stuffing’s, dressings, sauces, soups and onion dip. The onions sweeten like raisins in the sun by this slow drying process.  It is best to do a whole lot of onions at a time as the oven is on for a long time and the volumetric yield is low. Onions reduce in volume 30:1 or more. Six whole chopped onions make a cup and a half of dry product.

Chop uniformly 6-10 large yellow onions. Set your oven on its lowest temperature. (170o F) Prop the oven door slightly open with wooden spoon. Dry onions on Teflon sheet pans on multiple racks. Turn onions over several times to expose wet onion with a spatula. Onions are done when all are a deep camel brown. They will begin to turn pink before this stage. (Five to six hours.) Store up to a year in an air tight jar.


These onions may be ground, once dried, into onion powder. Use the onion powder to make onion pastry dough or simply as a condiment. I use an old coffee mill for grinding.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Calçots (Spring Onions) in Tarragon Romesco Sauce

Romesco is red pepper pesto sauce that originated from Tarragona, Catalonia, in Northeastern Spain. The fishermen in this area made this sauce to eat with fish.  It is typically made from any mixture of roasted or raw almonds, pine nuts, and roasted garlic, olive and bitxo peppers (similar to New Mexico chiles) and/or nyora peppers (a sun dried, small, round variety of red bell pepper).


1 Slice  stale soudough bread
½ Cup toasted almonds
1 Fire roasted red bell pepper
1 Ripe tomato seeded and chopped
1 Head of roasted garlic, squeezed out
1 Tablespoon raspberry balsamic vinegar
¼ Teaspoon pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
Olive oil
White pepper
Sea salt to taste


In the spring, romesco is served with fire roasted calçots, a spring onion (Scallion) typical to Catalonia. Calçot barbecues called "calçotades", calçots are roasted over an open fire until their outer layer is charred (pictured below). The charred layer is then removed and the tender part of the onion is dipped in the romesco.

Notes
1. Calçots substitute large green onion

Thursday, May 4, 2017

St Louis Style Ribs BBQ



Baby bak ribs tend to dry out quickly are leaner, while St Louis are larger, meaty and full flavored. These are the ones you want for the fall-off-the-bone tender ribs. St Louis style ribs are spare ribs trimmed of the sternum and flap ends, leaving just the most desirable parts. In preparation, these have their membrane removed, dry-rubbed with your favorite rub, and set aside overnight to marinate. I include a smoke component in the rub but little sugar as the sugar has a tendency to burn. The key to fall off the bone tender is not to dry out the meat in the grilling phase and to allow a low slow fisnish foil-wrapped in a low oven.
St Louis Style Spare Ribs

Removing the Membrane
Each slab has a meat side and a bone side. The bone side has a membrane called the pleura covering it. It can be leathery when cooked, and, ideally, it is removed and discarded. Many butchers remove the skin or may be asked to do this. If the membrane has not been removed, you should remove it yourself. In the middle of a rack, on the bone side, insert a fork tine between the membrane and the meat. Work a finger in to help separate the membrane. Use a paper towel for a better grip; gently begin peeling it off, trying not to rip it. If patient, you should be able to pull it all off in one long strip.         

Ribs will be cooked on the upper rack of your grill not sitting over the direct heat. The grill will be lid down to keep a steady heat. Start out with just one center burner on medium high to see where the temperature will stabilize then adjust up of down as required for a correct temperature. Preheat the grill to low 220-270F. Grill ribs grill-cover down  for a total of two hours on low tuning once after first hour. After 30 minutes in the second hour of cooking, mop top of ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce. Cook 15 minutes, turn over ribs, mop this side of ribs, the finish grilling grill lid down for 15 minutes. Now that the ribs have some char and color, wrap in a double wrap of heavy-duty tinfoil. It is important to seal these so the moisture stays in while oven baking.

Pre-heat oven to 275 F.

Bake at 275 F for two hours. (You can cook longer if starting a a lower heat.) Let rest wrapped for 20 minutes, serve with one or more sauces on the side.

Mesquite and Chilies Rub

A good rub is a combination of fresh spices, seasonings and herbs. Let rest overnight, if possible, or several hours, the prep time is the same, but the depth of flavor is deeper if overnight.

Sea Salt
Mesquite Smoke Flavoring
Sweet paprika powder
Merken1 Mapuche Chile powder
Ground Pasilla Chile powder
Chile chipotle powder
Garlic powder
Black and white pepper
Onion powder
Sage
Thyme
Ground Makrut2 lime powder
Optional ground Cascabel Chile
Optional ground aji amarillo
Optional ground ancho chile

St Louis Style Ribs BBQ
















Notes:
  1. Merken is a traditional Chilean seasoning created by the indigenous Mapuche people. The local version is made from Goat’s Horn chile (aji cacho de cabra), which is mildly spicy and smoky, but not nearly as strong as chipotle.
  2. Makrut lime leaves are indigenous to Southeast Asia. Many of the trees now thrive in Hawaii. They have a citrus-like, floral aroma and impart a unique flavor. 
  3. Serve  with garlic bread and Vicky's Potato Salad