Friday, January 17, 2014

Grilled Lamb Chops

It isn't often that I get a four day reprieve from the daily grind at work, so I took full advantage of the day and took care of some small punch list items that have been looming.  I also took some time to work on ideas for my first book.  At this point it could go in any direction, be really good, or really, really bad... Only time will tell... Either way it is a nice break from the daily reality of work.

So tonight I decided I would do something a little different that I have never tried before, and grill lamb chops for dinner.  I picked up a rack of lamb and cut it down into individual chops.  I covered them in a light coating of oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and let them set at room temperature until the sides were almost done.  

For side dishes I boiled some new potatoes and corn on the cob in separate pots of water until they were both done.  I smashed the potatoes with a fork mixing in salt, pepper, and butter until I achieved the consistency I wanted.  

I preheated the grill on high and seared the lamb chops for 2 minutes on each side, and then reduced the heat to medium and closed the lid for 5 minutes.  Since the chops are only about 3/4 inches thick you do not want to overdo them.  I pulled them from the grill, covered them in foil and let it set for 5 minutes before I plated them.

Anytime I try something new I wear Mandy out asking if it is good, did she like it, is there something I could have done better??  Usually I can tell by what is left on the plate as to what was good, and what sucked.  Tonight her remarks were apparent in her cleared plate.  Stripped bones, an empty cob, and no potatoes left on the plate was a pretty good indicator that the dish was awesome.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Spicy Pepperoni Pizza

Everyone knows that Mondays are the worst day of the week, but dinner doesn't have to be the same.  I had some leftover dough from the Fig and Prosciutto pizza on Saturday so I decided to use up some of the items in the meat and cheese drawer tonight.

Mandy and I have a Mexican pizza recipe that is amazing, but I did not have
all of the ingredients for that so I decided to go with a scaled back version that had pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives combined with cheddar, mozzarella, and Velveeta cheese.  For a sauce I used regular tomato sauce mixed with El Pato hot sauce.

I chopped up all of the toppings while the oven was heating up and let the dough come to room temperature before I tried to start stretching it in the pan.  I spread the dough out in my cast iron pan and stuck it in a 475 degree oven for 10 minutes to precook the dough. After 10 minutes I started layering the toppings with the sauce as a base and finishing with the mozzarella on top.

I put it back in the oven for another 14 minutes to finish cooking the dough and to allow the toppings to meld together.  This is one amazing pizza and as good as it was tonight, I can't wait for leftover lunchtime tomorrow.

Now while pretty much any beer is pizza worthy, Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, goes exceptionally well with this uber meat and cheese concoction.  

Now as I attempted to write my entry for the night I found myself fighting off a mighty lion. Unfortunately for me I lost....

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Smoked Pork Ribs

It has been a few weeks since I fired up the smoker for an afternoon of smoking, so I figured it was time to kick it back into gear and smoke some meat! I didn't have time to spend a full day tending the beast so I decided to do some pork ribs.

 I picked up two St. Louis style racks of pork ribs but I wanted to do something different than my normal rub, so I did one in my regular mix of brown sugar, paprika, and garlic powder.  For the other rack I used a combination of cayenne pepper, garlic, and paprika to give it a spicy flavor.

I fired up the smoker at noon and let the temperature come up to 225 before I closed the dampers and loaded it up with the ribs.  I am a firm believer in the set it and forget it policy when it comes to smoking meat.  The less you screw with it, the better it turns out in the end.  So once an hour I checked the temperature on the smoker and after 3 hours I wrapped them in foil, and put them back on for another 2 hours.


For me, I generally don't follow the 3/2/1 method for ribs (3 hours smoke, 2 hours wrapped, 1 hour back on the heat) cause they tend to get over cooked.  As long as the temp stays around 225 to 250 I find 5 hours on the smoker is more than sufficient.

When the ribs were done I put a light coating of barbecue sauce on the ribs and cut them up for dinner.  These were amazing and paired with a Sierra Nevada IPA, this was well worth the wait, and a triumphant return to the smoker after a few weeks off.