Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sweet Baby Rays Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs - Recipe

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs
Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

You have a slow cooker and use it to make all sorts of things like savory chicken, pot roast and stews. But did you know you can also prepare juicy, tender, fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs with it?

This recipe takes just minutes to prepare as the slow cooker does the rest of the work for you.

The ingredients are fairly simple, with a dry rub prepared for the ribs which are then cooked with a mixture of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce and Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout.

The combination of the liquid smoke and the smoked paprika give these ribs a smokey flavor without the need for a grill or smoker!

Slow Cooker Baby Bak Ribs Recipe
Slow Cooker Baby Bak Ribs Recipe

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs Ingredients:

  • 2 racks of baby back ribs
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 3/4 cup stout beer (Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout)
  • 1 (18 ounce) bottle of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce

Sweet Baby Rays Slow Cooker Ribs

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs with Rosemary & Garlic Smashed Potatoes and Baked Mac & Cheese
Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs with Rosemary & Garlic Smashed Potatoes and Baked Mac & Cheese

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs Recipe:

  1. In a small bowl, make the dry rub by combining the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion power, black pepper and salt

  2. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs

  3. Apply the dry rub evenly to both sides of the ribs. Save about 1 tsp. of the dry rub for later.

  4. Cut the (2) racks in half to create 4 even sized smaller racks

  5. Pour the beer into the slow cooker

  6. Add the liquid smoke

  7. Insert the 4 rib rack halves upright in the slow cooker if unit is 3.5 litters; insert the ribs flat for a larger liter unit

  8. Add the onions and garlic on top of the ribs

  9. Add the Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce atop the ribs

  10. Cover the slow cooker

  11. Cook on low for 8 hours (4 hours on high for less tender ribs)

  12. Optional: If cooking for 8 hours in a 3.5 liter slow cooker, flip the upright ribs over so that the uncovered sides are on the bottom to cook for the remaining 4 hours

  13. Optional: 15 minutes before serving, remove 1/2 cup of the cooked juice and place in a bowl to cool. The addition of the pork fat will make the sauce more thinner, so letting it cool and congeal for 15 minutes will allow the sauce the thicken for use.
  14. Before serving, sprinkle a pinch or so of the remaining dry rub atop the ribs

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Happening in Santiago, Chile - Review

Bife de Ancho con hueso from Happening in Santiago, Chile

When looking to experience one of the better steakhouses in Santiago, Chile, one should consider a trip to Happening. The two-floor restaurant has a strong reputation for serving some of the best steaks in the city while providing a generally good ambiance.

I've visited Happening a few times over the years, first back in 2012 and a few times over the past 8 months. The food has remained consistent over time with some small variations to the menu. I have noticed that the capacity tends to be filled half of what it was in 2012, when the restaurant was  packed on a Friday or Saturday evening. There isn't as much a need for a weekend reservation these days. But this does not take away from the quality of the food.

When you enter Happening and sit down at your table, the wait staff is always prepared with the food and wine menus in hand. Upon sitting, they immediately make a recommendation for a starter, and propose an Argentinian grilled chorizo. It's refreshing to see the staff up-selling with an offer that is so fitting for an Argentinian restaurant. It was also refreshing that the wine list is available on their website, which is fairly uncommon.

The staff is equally as helpful when it comes to the wine selections. I ordered a bottle of a specific Malbec. The waiter returned and apologized that they did not have the bottle I ordered, but instead brought another bottle. Instead of using it as an opportunity to up-sell to a more expensive bottle, the waiter instead brought a less priced bottle because it was closer in taste to the specific bottle I had ordered.

As for the food itself, you can't go wrong with their beef offerings.

On my last visit, I ordered the bife de ancho con hueso, or a tomahawk steak (pictured above) along with creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. The quality of the beef was superb and it was an enjoyable meal.

Ojo de bife de Angus pampeano, reducción de vino tinto, con cake de aligot y escabeche de hongos from Happening in Santiago, Chile

During a previous visit, I've tried some of the house specialties such as the Ojo de bife de Angus pampeano, in a red wine reduction, with aligot cakes and mushrooms. When I'm at a steakhouse, especially an Argentinian restaurant, I tend to order a standard grilled beef meal. But I made the exception at Happening and it did not disappoint. The wine reduction and mushrooms paired perfectly with the ojo de bife and the cheesy aligot (potato and cheese mixture) cakes.

If you're one a steakhouse tour of Santiago, Chile, stop by Happening and give it a shot as it will not likely disappoint.

Ojo de bife from Happening in Santiago, Chile

Happening Restaurant Review Grades:

Atmosphere: B

Menu: B

Food: B+

Wine List: A

Happening in Santiago, Chile - Menu:

menu from Happening in Santiago, Chile

menu from Happening in Santiago, Chile

menu from Happening in Santiago, Chile

menu from Happening in Santiago, Chile

Happening in Santiago, Chile - Wine List:

menu from Happening in Santiago, Chile

menu from Happening in Santiago, Chile

menu from Happening in Santiago, Chile

menu from Happening in Santiago, Chile

Friday, September 6, 2019

Guinness Stew from Flannery’s Beer House in Santiago, Chile

via Instagram

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Bacon Jam Recipe

On a recent trip to Iowa, I found myself falling head over heels for this tasty bacon concoction. It's really quite simple: it's bacon, onions, sugar and maple syrup cooked down into a tasty jam. 

Whether you're using in as a topping for cheese and crackers or as a way to add some extra flavor to mac' and cheese or a burger, bacon jam is something every bacon fan needs to try. 
It's so easy to make, there's no reason why you can't cook bacon jam today. Below is a proven recipe that will knock your socks off!

Bacon Jam Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. bacon (finely cut into 1/4 inch squares)
  • 8 shallots (minced or pureed for a creamier texture)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup sweet white wine
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Bacon Jam Cooking Directions:

  1. Cut the bacon into small pieces, into approximately 1/4 inch squares. Cook on medium heat in a saucepan until fully cooked. Remove the cooked bacon and set aside, while keeping the remaining bacon grease in the saucepan.

  2. This recipe will use pureed shallots in a food processor versus minced. The shallot puree provides a creamier texture to the jam as the base, so that the only remaining solid ingredients in the completed bacon jam is the bacon itself, along with the finely minced garlic.

    In the saucepan with the remaining bacon grease, cook the shallot puree, constantly stirring for 15-20 minutes until fully cooked. If you are using minced shallots, then cook until caramelized.

  3. Add in the garlic about 5 minutes before the shallots are complete cook at the medium heat

  4. Mix in the cooked bacon, brown sugar, white wine (I use a sweet Late Harvest Chilean white wine), chili powder, liquid smoke and maple syrup.

  5. Bring the heat to low and cook until the bacon jam has thickened and the liquid has been reduced. Cooking time will be approximately 5-10 minutes depending on what texture you are looking for.

  6. Let cool for jarring or use it warm as the perfect topping for mac' and cheese, burgers, bagels or crackers.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

La Cabrera in Santiago, Chile - Review

For nearly two years from 2010 through 2011, I lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Every weekend, I'd stroll down the street in my neighborhood and take in the lovely smells of grilled steaks from all the parrillas in my neighborhood such as Miranada and La Dorita.

But one of my favorite weekend activities was to walk from my apartment in Palermo Hollywood over to Palermo Soho and have dinner at La Cabrera. While extremely popular with tourists, it was still considered one of the best parrillas in the city. Without a reservation, the wait time could be hours...but it was always worth the visit. The food was consistently perfect and the atmosphere ideal. This was the perfect example of an Argentinian steakhouse.

When I learned that they were launching a location in my new home of Santiago, Chile, I was excited. While Chile has a number of wonderful steakhouses in Santiago like Carnal, Ox, and Happening, the idea of an authentic Argentinian parrilla experience outside of the country was exciting. 

Ojo de Bife Wagyu from La Cabrera in Santiago, Chile

Upon visiting the Chile version of this gem, one quickly learns that it’s a very different experience.

The first offering from the wait staff as you sit at your table is a Pisco Sour. This is normal at a Chilean restaurant, but certainly not expected for one seeking a more Argentinian experience.

As La Cabrera is at heart an Argentinian restaurant, they have one of the most extensive wine varieties of Argentinian Malbecs in Santiago. So it's easy to see past the drink offering.

My general experience with La Cabrera in Chile had been favorable. In previous visits I had the bife de chorizo, my favorite cut at the Argentina restaurant location. 

Bife de Chorizo from La Cabrera in Santiago, Chile

I recently decided to try something different and ordered the bife de ojo wagyu, the best cut they offer. It comes with the usual sample size tasting of different salads, vegetables and starches from the photos below. But I also ordered creamed spinach and potatoes au gratin. 

When the meal arrived, it looked great. But it tasted as if they had marinated this premium cut in a salt mixture for months. It was inedible. I had to send it back. The manager came out and asked what was wrong. I explained the problem. His response was to ask me what type of cut I “usually” order. He asked “bife de lomo" (which is a filet migon)? I responded with “ojo de bife”...the same cut, which I often get at places like Ox and Happening in Santiago. 

They offered another cut and to fix the problem, which was reassuring.

The problem was cultural.

Chileans generally like an abundance of salt. They have it on every table. But some who enjoy good food and a better culinary experience might not always prefer over-salted food.

To maintain some optimism for La Cabrera, I revisited the next evening as I was in the mood for a milanesa napolitana. It's a beef cutlet that is traditionally about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick in Argentina and covered in melted cheese, ham and tomatoes. It was always one of my favorites in Buenos Aires, and I've had back luck with them in Chile. The norm in Santiago is for the beef itself to be less than a centimeter thick, so all the flavor is just oiled breading.

La Cabera did not disappoint as it was one of the finest milanesas I've tasted. With a side dish of french fired potato halves with caramelized onions, and the usual accoutrement of sample sides, it was an excellent meal.

Milanesa de Ternera Napolitana from La Cabrera in Santiago, Chile
breaded beef cutlet with ham, mozzarella and tomatoes 

Overall, I'm happy with the restaurant. I just had to come to terms with the reality that instead of a 100% Argentinian experience, this menu is going to be altered to better fit the local palate. 

The menu at La Cabrera is not set to replicate the original Argentinian locale. It’s made for Chileans. They offer no less than 5 French fry options for side dishes including papas fritas al a pobre (french fries with a fried egg...a traditional Chilean dish) but they don't offer pure de papas, an Argentinian parilla staple. 

In the perfect world, La Cabrera would be able to simply replicate the once in a lifetime experience in Argentina.  Instead they realized that in trying to expand to Chile, they had to make a few changes. It's understandable.

If you live in Santiago, a visit to La Cabrera is well worth trying. 

Atmosphere: A+
Menu: B-
Food: B+
Wine List: A+

La Cabrera Side Dishes:

Accoutrements from La Cabrera in Santiago, Chile:
quinoa, fried mushrooms, Russian salad, green salad, lentil hummus, pumpkin flan

Espinacas as la Crema from La Cabrera in Santiago, Chile
Papas Fritas con Cebolla Confitadas from La Cabrera in Santiago, Chile

Papas Gratinadas from La Cabrera in Santiago, Chile

Entradas from La Cabrera in Santiago, Chile:
roasted garlic and puree de papas, basil mashed potatoes, corn puré, rice

La Cabrera Chile Menu:
Menu from La Cabrera in Santiago, Chile

Menu from La Cabrera in Santiago, Chile

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Home Cooking: Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce

Monday, August 12, 2019

Home Cooking: Meatball Parmigiana Sandwiches

via Instagram

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Pernil Dorado with Spatzle and Red Cabbage

Friday, August 9, 2019

Bife de Chorizo from Don Carlos in Santiago, Chile

via Instagram

Venison Sausage from Don Carlos in Santiago, Chile

via Instagram

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Seared scallops with Lobster Risotto at Beacon Room in Orleans, MA

via Instagram

Clam Chowder with Spicy Crisps at Beacon Room in Cape Cod, MA

via Instagram

Roasted Duck with Champagne and Mango sauce from Beacon Room in Cape Cod, MA

via Instagram

Zucchini Blossoms with Ricotta and Honeycomb at Beacon Room in Cape Cod, MA

via Instagram

Spicy Calamari at Beacon Room in Cape Cod, MA

via Instagram

Baked Codfish from Cshore in Wellfleet, MA with Lobster, Crab Meat, and Cracker Crumb Stuffing with Spinach and Swiss Cheese

via Instagram

Lobster and Corn Bisque from Cshore in Wellfleet, MA

via Instagram

Corn and Cheese Hush Puppies with Maple Butter from Cshore in Wellfleet, MA

via Instagram

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Lobster Bisque from Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar in Eastham, MA

Over the years, my favorite Lobster Bisque has come from Enterprise Seafood in Santa Monica, CA. As it came with a butter puff pastry on top. But the version from Arnold’s is by far the best I’ve ever had. It has huge pieces of lobster inside and that makes the difference.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Sautéed Lobster from Mahoney’s Atlantic Bar and Grill in Orleans, MA

via Instagram

Seared Ahi from Mahoney’s Atlantic Bar and Grill in Orleans, MA

via Instagram

Risotto cake from Mahoney’s Atlantic Bar and Grill in Orleans, MA

via Instagram

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