Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer Garden Goodies I

Summertime...late July, when the garden starts producing lots of yummy things to eat.   Here's a couple recipes for you.  One is an Oriental Sesame Green Bean recipe that I came up with, the other is a Cucumber salad that my mom always made, and my favorite way to have it is over mashed red new potatoes.  Mmmm!

Cucumber Salad

3-4 medium cukes, peeled and sliced
3-4 green onions chopped or 1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
Head of Dill (optional)
Sour Cream

Put the cukes and onions in a bowl.  Add vinegar just to cover, then add about 1/4 as much again in water.  Add a tablespoon of Salt.   Let sit for at LEAST an hour...two is better.

Drain cukes and onions.  In bowl, mix cukes, onions, chopped head of dill, a large dollup of sour cream and about half that in mayo.  Stir, adjust salt and pepper to taste, let sit at least a half hour before serving.  Serve as a side with summer meals like burgers, BLT's, or my favorite way, over mashed new potatoes.

Oriental Green Bean Salad

1 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed.
Oriental sesame oil
Soy sauce
Olive oil
Sesame seeds

Steam the green beans in the microwave for about 5 minutes.   In the meantime, heat up a tablespoon of olive oil, and a tablespoon of sesame oil in a wok or fry pan.  When beans are done steaming, add a tablespoon of soy sauce to the wok and toss in the green beans.  Add sesame seeds to your liking.  Stir frequently on medium high until beans are 'done', seeds are toasted and the liquid is almost gone.  Sprinkle in about a teaspoon of sugar and salt to taste, stir constantly til beans just start to brown.   Serve.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Maple Smoked Country Style Ribs

We have a cabin up in Price County that sits in a forest which is about 3/4 made up of Sugar Maples.   Naturally, in the Spring, we make maple syrup.  It's a great activity during a time of year when one really needs to get the hell out of the house and *do something*, even if mostly what's involved is standing around, drinking beer, talking smart and stoking the fire.

What with all that standing around and fire-stoking, it's also a perfect time to fire up the smoker.  Might as well tend two fires as one, eh?   We have one of those Brinkmann smokers with the offset firebox and they work really well, especially with a few modifications (Search YouTube for the mods if you have one).  Any kind of smoker will work.   And, if you time it out right, your maple boil will be done about the same time your meal will...the smoking process takes about 6 hours + a good 1/2 hr to get the fire going.


3-4 lbs Country Style Ribs
1 cup REAL maple syrup
2 T smoked paprika
2 T chili powder
2 T cumin
2 T garlic powder
2 T onion powder
2 T black pepper
2 T salt
Fresh maple sap
Small chunks of maple wood, split into kindling size, about a half of a pail full.

I usually buy a bulk package of Country Style Ribs...they can be bone-in or boneless.  Take them the night before and put them in a very large mixing bowl.  Add to this the maple syrup and all the spices and mix thoroughly with your hands til each piece is well coated with seasoning/syrup.  Refrigerate overnight.

First thing in the morning, about 2 hours before you light the fire, put about 2/3 of the maple kindling into a pail and fill with fresh maple sap. (You can use water...but if you have sap, use it!)  Save 1/3 of the kindling out for dry use (it's easier to regulate your fire temperature with a mix of dry and wet, adjusting as necessary).  

Light your fire with some of the dry wood and added maple twigs, etc. til you get a good hot fire going, then add some of the wet maple and adjust so that the heat in the smoker gets to about 180-220.   Keep the temp at that range throughout the process.

Once you have your smoker up to temp, put all the meat in your smoker.   It helps to also put a pie tin of beer in somewhere below the meat, to keep it moist.  Seal up your smoker and keep the fire going.  Don't peek!

After 3 hours, open the smoker up and flip and re-arrange all of the pieces...ones closer to the fire should be flipped and moved furthest away, etc. to make sure all the pieces get about the same exposure.   Close it back up, keep the fire going within the specified temp range, and take the meat off after 6 hours.    Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce.

I like to serve with cole slaw, beans and french fries, and I also like to make my own barbecue sauce, but I never really make it the same way twice so it would be hard to post a recipe for it.    It usually involves ketchup, beer, maple syrup, finely diced onion, garlic and god knows what else, and then slowly simmering til I like the thickness.