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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dr Pepper marinade ribs?

I made baby back ribs the other day, with Dr Pepper marinade.

It literally was a bottled marinade I bought from the store, called Dr Pepper marinade.

It sure looked like barbecue sauce to me, so I imagine you can probably make your own, from Dr Pepper and barbecue sauce.

I took a slab of baby back ribs, and cut it in half so it would fit in my Lodge 7 quart dutch oven.

I put it in the pot, and poured the whole bottle of marinade over the ribs.

I covered the pot and put it in the oven at 300 degrees.

Roasted until done.

It was delicious.  

I'm sure it would have been just as delicious if you used canned Dr Pepper and BBQ sauce.

My first s'mores

This was my first time making s'mores, and actually my first time eating s'mores.

They're supposed to be done over an open fire, but I used my propane grill, and a pie iron.

You could also do this in a pie iron over your stove.

The recipe is very simple:  Graham crackers, marshmallows and hershey chocolate bar.

Break the graham cracker in half.  Put a piece of hershey chocolate on one half.

Then add a large marshmallow and then the other half of the graham cracker to make a sandwich.

Put it in the pie iron and toast.

You definitely want a serving spatula to remove the s'mores from the very hot pie iron.

S'mores are very messy.

You could also make them in the oven on a cast iron wonder skillet.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Found a recipe for bacon gravy, suggested alternative

Today I found a recipe for "bacon gravy" which I would like to share.

The drawback, while I'm sure it's very tasty, is that it's made with bacon fat.  

And I can't eat bacon fat.  It makes me sick.  

When I use bacon, I take the fat off, or I use Hormel real bacon bits.

So first I'll tell you the recipe, then I'll suggest an alternative way to make bacon gravy.

Cut up some pieces of bacon.  Fry in a cast iron skillet until crisp.

Remove the bacon pieces.  Add some chopped onions to the bacon grease, and cook until browned.  Remove.

Take 1 tbsp of the bacon fat and put in another cast iron skillet.  Add 1 tbsp of flour.

The ratio is 1 tbsp of fat to 1 tbsp of flour, so if you want more, use equal portions of fat and flour.

For every tbsp of fat/flour, add 1 cup of milk.  Whisk into gravy.

Add the bacon pieces and chopped onions.  Bacon gravy!

Now, for people like me who can't eat bacon fat:

What I would do is make a basic gravy with 1 tbsp butter to 1 tbsp flour to 1 cup milk.

Or, 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup stock.

Add bouillon or beef base if you want to.

Add Hormel bacon bits and chopped cooked onions.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

ground chuck for spaghetti sauce

For the past several years, I've always made my spaghetti sauce with 93% lean ground beef.

I use 93% lean, because I don't like greasy ground beef, at all!  

Which is why I never order a "ground beef" based dish at a mexican restaurant.

But today I decided to try ground chuck, because it was a lot cheaper.

I had to drain the beef after cooking; With 93% lean, you don't have to drain.

I noticed, though, that the ground chuck made the spaghetti sauce more flavorful.

A butcher once told me that ground chuck is best for spaghetti sauce-- and now I know he was right.

Ground chuck isn't as lean, but it's not very greasy either.

My recipe for spaghetti sauce is:

Brown ground chuck, chopped onions, minced garlic, and fresh mushrooms (or sliced zucchini) all together in a cast iron skillet.  Add italian seasonings, onion powder, garlic powder.

Drain.  Return to the skillet.

Add canned diced tomatoes, and your sauce of choice  (whether it's a jar, or homemade sauce).

Add italian seasonings (or oregano and basil), garlic powder, onion powder.

Simmer the sauce until it's ready.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

tenth recipe created by me: bacon bratwurst

Actually, this recipe was going to be called "beef bacon bratwurst", since I used beef bacon to make it.

Did you know there was such a thing as beef bacon?  I did not, until I saw it in the grocery store, in the same section as the regular bacon.

Evidently, it's an alternative bacon for people who do not eat pork, for cultural or religious reasons.

This was my first time trying beef bacon.  

Frankly, I did not like the beef bacon, and it's more expensive than regular bacon.

So I'm going to call this recipe "bacon bratwurst", since I think regular bacon would be better.

It's very simple.  Grill some bratwurst.  Fry some bacon in a pan.

Serve the bacon on the bratwurst.

Alternatively, you can wrap the bacon around the bratwurst before you grill.

Finish in the oven at 250, to make sure it's cooked all the way through, without charring the outside.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

bacon blueberry muffins?

Yes, my recent experience with bacon brownies inspired me to try bacon blueberry muffins.

It wasn't hard:  A box of Jiffy blueberry muffin mix and some bacon bits.

Most unusual, but good.

I will say that I liked the "bacon brownies" better than the bacon blueberry muffins. 

Must be something about chocolate and pork blending well together. 

They were still good, though.

Apparently there are also bacon chocolate chip cookies.  Which I do intend to try at some point.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cast iron skillets in the shape of your state

Pictured above is a cast iron griddle in the shape of Louisiana.

Yes, apparently, you can buy cast iron griddles in the shape of your state.

But before you get too happy too soon... They cost between 500 and 2500 dollars.

They are crafted by hand in the USA.

I don't have one of course, and no plans to get one.

I mean, I love cast iron and all, but... 

Anyway, if you're interested in looking at them, you can browse this website.

Looking at the diameter of most of them, depending on the state, you can't cook much on them.  Maybe an egg or a pancake.

The Texas skillet, of course, has more cooking room.

They are mostly a novelty item, for decoration.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

An unusual way to reheat your pizza

This photo was not taken by me, although it sure does look like my kitchen!

This was posted to the Lodge facebook page by Daniel E. Johnson, who has a most unusual way to reheat his leftover pizza.

He doesn't use the microwave; he doesn't even HAVE a microwave.  (And frankly, I rarely use mine, except for popcorn and hot water).

What he does, is invert the lid of his Lodge cast iron pot, on his gas stove burner.  (You couldn't do this on an electric stove).

Be sure it's a lid that has the "basting spikes" to allow for air circulation, so it doesn't scorch.

He uses a VERY LOW flame.  I would personally recommend a diffuser, which is a small metal plate you put on gas stove burners for simmering purposes*.

*You know, I take that back.  A diffuser is usually flat, and the lid has a handle.  That won't work.  Sorry.

He then covers it with a glass lid so he can watch it, and it takes about 15 minutes.

Sometimes he sprays a little water around the edges as it's cooking, which causes a "steam" effect, and believe it or not helps the crust crisp up.

That was a bit of a surprise to me-- I wouldn't assume that moisture would help for a crisp crust, but I guess I'll have to try it to find out!

I'd like to try this, since I do have a Lodge lid with basting spikes-- but, I'm not sure I have a glass lid!

I'll have to go looking through my cabinets, or perhaps use my crock pot lid, if it will fit.

It's a neat idea that I'd try at least once.  

Alternatively, you can just do what I've usually done for the past 3 years, and reheat your pizza on your trusty Lodge griddle, in the oven at 250.  

Yes, it takes longer than a microwave, but very worth it.  I always reheat leftovers in the oven now.

He went on to say that last night, he tried drizzling a small amount of olive oil on the crust, about 5 minutes before it was done, and it added some flavor.

He wants to try it with a little garlic butter next time.