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Cooking with Beer: Berry Weiss Rib Marinade

June 18, 2015 Entrees, Menu No Comments

When purchasing a mixed case of beer, chances are that you will end up with a few bottles of a particular style that you may not find to be on your ‘favorites’ list. While giving away these unwanted bottles is always an easy option, I prefer to put them to a good alternative use…cooking with them! Heavier dark beers, such as porters, stouts and brown ales are good for winter time stews, soups and chili. Since we are currently in the summer season, which is highlighted by light beers and shandies, a good way to put these unfavorable bottles to use is by using them in a marinade.

Such was the case for me this past weekend, when I had a few extra bottles of a berry-flavored weissbier (a German-style white beer, also known as a wheat beer) on hand. I’m not a huge fan of fruity beers to begin with, and while I didn’t find this beer to be a total disappointment, it was still a bit too sweet and fruity for my preference. I did enjoy it a bit more with a meal than on its own, which made me think that it would be a good beer to use as a marinade. I immediately thought of using the marinade with ribs. I’ve used apple cider vinegar and cherry juice for other rib marinades, so I know that this would be a good use for the beer.

I found a basic beer marinade recipe and made a few adjustments to help better season the berry taste (adding some molasses for a slight sweetness and to add some body to the marinade, and some thyme, which is my favorite herb to use on ribs). I decided to use boneless country spare ribs for this recipe. I like the meatiness of country spare ribs and just find it easier to serve. My youngest daughter Ava also likes this style of pork ribs, so I knew that she would enjoy the dish as well. No worries, the alcohol does cook off when grilling! Any particular style of ribs would work well with this marinade.

After letting the ribs sit in the marinade fora good 6 hours, they were plenty tenderized and absorbed a good amount of the marinade flavoring. I cooked them on low-indirect heat for a good 45 minutes, brushing them with some reserved marinade. When fully cooked, the ribs had a beautiful, slightly sweet glaze on them. Just enough to give the perfect flavor without being too thick and saucy.

If you’re not a fan of ribs, you can also use this marinade on chicken. Just brush it on as you would with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Berry Weiss Rib Marinade

1 12-oz bottle Leinenkugel Berry Weiss Beer*
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3⁄4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tbspn dried thyme

1-2 lb boneless country spare ribs (5-10 pieces). You can use your favorite rack of ribs as well.**

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside a little less than 1/4 of the mixture for basting. Pierce rib meat with a fork to allow marinade to penetrate and tenderize the meat. Place remaining marinade in a plastic baggie with the ribs. Make sure that all of the meat is evenly covered. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to 12 hours, flipping the bag occasionally.

Remove ribs from bag, discard used marinade. If you are using boneless country spare ribs, they may separate at this time, which again will make for easier cooking.

Pre-heat your grill on it’s highest setting. Once the grill is hot, set up an area where you can cook the ribs indirectly, meaning that they will not be sitting directly over heat. My grill is a three burner, so I turn my middle burner to the lowest setting and keep the two side burners at medium. I sit the meat over the middle burner, and try to keep the temperature at no higher than 350˚. Turn the ribs occasionally to allow even heating, brushing with the reserved marinade every time you turn them. Be sure to keep the lid closed otherwise. Cook until the meat reaches an internal temperature of at least 145˚. Remove from heat, let sit for about 3-5 minutes before serving. Crack open one of your favorite beers and enjoy!

*Although it was my choice, you do not have to use berry weiss beer for this marinade. Any medium-bodied beer will work well. A light beer may not give much flavor, and a heavy-bodied beer may taste too smokey.

** This marinade would also work well with chicken!

 

The ribs are placed in the middle of the grill over extremely low heat. The burner on both sides of the ribs are turned up to medium, to allow indirect heating.

The ribs are placed in the middle of the grill over extremely low heat. The burner on both sides of the ribs are turned up to medium, to allow indirect heating.

 

Be sure to brush the ribs with reserved marinade when turning the ribs, to allow for a nice and even coating.

Be sure to brush the ribs often with reserved marinade, to allow for a nice and even coating.

 

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Let cool for a few minutes after removing from the grill. Enjoy!

 

 

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Crab Gravy Pizza

May 29, 2015 Entrees, Menu No Comments

Summer is finally knocking on our door…which means it’s time for me to fire up the barbecue grill, dust off the yard games and stock up on some tasty summer brews. One of my all-time favorite summer meals that I enjoy making for our family is crabs and macaroni (you can find my recipe for crab gravy by clicking here). Last year, as we were sitting around the table, sipping the last of our beer and staring at the pile of empty crab shells, my brother-in-law Shane suggested one of the most brilliant, yet simple dinner ideas. “Why don’t you make a crab gravy pizza?” Genius at it’s best! One of the glories of this fabulous dinner is dunking bread into the gravy, so spreading the gravy onto a pizza shell would make total sense. Since crab gravy is a bit of a seasonal treat, and because we had our meal late in the season last year, we both agreed to keep that idea on the back-burner until this coming summer. It was a long wait, and we discussed the idea many a times…but the time has finally come to put this brilliant recipe to the test.

Instead of making a big pot of slow-simmering crab gravy, I decided to put together a quicker, simple version of the sauce, using a 1 lb can of pure claw crab meat (the claw meat is cheaper than the lump, and works perfectly with this recipe). My goal was to make the gravy thick and meaty, so that you would get a generous taste of the crab meat with every bite. I also decided to use pre-made traditional style pizza shells (not the thin crust), so that they can hold the gravy without breaking apart. For the cheese topping, I decided to go with fresh shaved parmesan cheese. We top our pasta with parmesan cheese, so this was the obvious choice. To avoid having the cheese melt into the gravy, I added it to the pie towards the end of baking, layering it loosely.

While I don’t normally brag about the dishes that I share with you, I do have to say that this pizza was A-MAZING! The rich taste of the gravy combined with the fresh shaved cheese on top of the toasted crust worked exactly how I wanted it to. It was well worth the wait to put it together. And I have to give Shane full props for the inspiration on this one.

If you are a fan of crab gravy and if you like messing around with new pizza ideas….give this one a try. It’s the perfect summer party food!

Crab Gravy Pizza

1 lb can pure claw crab meat
1 small can (12-14 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 small can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 tspn Italian seasoning
1/4 tspn Old Bay seasoning
1/4-1/2 tspn sugar (your preference to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 pre-made pizza shells (not thin crust)
1 small block parmesan cheese (shaved down using a vegetable peeler, to about 25-30 slices)

Pour crushed tomatoes, sauce and crab meat into a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add seasonings and sugar, stir well. Add salt and pepper, stir well. Cover with lid to simmer, stirring occasionally and adjusting seasoning to taste. Remove from heat after about 35-40 minutes, when gravy is flavored to your liking. Set aside to cool – you don’t want to add hot sauce directly to the pizza shells. You can prepare the sauce and refrigerate up to 1 day ahead of time.

Preheat oven to 425˚. Spread a generous and even amount of sauce onto each shell. Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove pizzas from oven and top with fresh shaved parmesan cheese. You can layer it loosely or lattice-style. Place back into the oven, bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from oven. Slice, serve and enjoy!

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Ricotta and Rice with Ham and Asparagus

April 15, 2015 Entrees, Menu 1 Comment

As I was enjoying my last few bites of the Easter ham and rice pies last week, I came to the sad yet expected realization that it will be another year before I get to savor the seasonal treats. And as usual, I always say to myself that it’s a shame that we can’t celebrate and enjoy these dishes more than once a year. Of course if we did, they wouldn’t quite taste so special. But this did get me thinking on how I could spin a variation of these annual treats into a new dish that could be enjoyed all year round. But how exactly would I do this? Thanks to celebrity chef Nadia G of Bitchin’ Kitchen, I found my answer.

In a recent episode of her eclectic cooking show, Nadia G put together a dish that she called Riso con la Ricotta, which was a decadent combination of white rice, ricotta cheese, pancetta, Vidalia onion, sweet peas and pecorino cheese. Everything abut the dish screamed ‘hearty’ and ‘stick to your ribs’. I gave the recipe a try, and it was everything that I imagined it to be. It was good. REALLY good! It also included two of the key ingredients in my Easter rice pie…ricotta and, of course, white rice.

I decided to use Nadia G’s recipe as a starting point, and build up the key ingredients to make a dish that was similar to the Easter pies. I substituted the pancetta with cubed ham (which is of course the star ingredient in the ham pie), replaced the peas with asparagus (the peas would have worked well, but asparagus is always on our family’s table for Easter dinner), added some lemon juice and zest (which give the citrus flavor to the rice pie) and a bit of fresh parsley. After seasoning the dish with a little salt and pepper to taste, the mission was complete. I had created a hearty and filling dish that had the taste and character of the traditional Easter pies, but could be enjoyed pretty much any time of the year!

You can find Nadia G’s version by clicking here. I suggest that you try both versions. Again, her’s was outstanding. But for a lighter, more spring-like taste, I’m sure you’ll enjoy my modified version. And if Nadia G happens to come across this post…reach out me at info@domskitchen.com. I’d love to spend a day comparing notes in the Bitchin’ Kitchen!!!

Ricotta and Rice with Ham and Asparagus
Inspired by Nadia G’s Riso con la Ricotta

1 cup (1-inch) sliced asparagus (about 1/2 pound)
1 cup white rice
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 8-oz boneless cooked ham steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup pecorino cheese, finely grated
2 tbspn fresh chopped parsley
zest plus juice of 1 lemon

Cook the asparagus in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.

Put the rice in a pot with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and cook until done, 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer the rice to a large mixing bowl and stir in the asparagus and ham. Stir in the ricotta cheese and pecorino cheese, then add the lemon juice and zest, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and enjoy!

ricotta rice

 

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Crab and Corn Chowder Pot Pie

March 26, 2015 Entrees, Menu, Soup No Comments

The idea for this recipe has been simmering on my “to cook” list for a while now. I finally had the opportunity to put this dish together recently, and I’m very happy to say that it was everything that I was hoping for. Crab and corn are a classic combination to begin with, so I knew that adding crab meat to a creamy corn chowder would work well. Because cornbread is often served up with corn chowder, I decided to use cornmeal when making the dough for the pot pie, so that the grainy and sweet cornbread flavor would be incorporated in every flaky bite of the pot pie crust. The addition of the cornmeal to the dough worked as well as the crab meat did in the chowder. When all of the ingredients were finally combined, the end result was incredibly tasty and very enjoyable. Normally, I would save a creamy chowder or a pot pie dish for the cold winter season. This dish however is a bit lighter and sweeter than a traditional winter chowder, so it can be enjoyed just about any time of the year. And if you’re not in the mood for a hearty pot pie, you can serve up the easy to make chowder on its own!

 

 

Crab and Corn Chowder Pot Pie

Step 1: The Chowder
1 shallot, finely chopped
6 cups frozen corn, divided (sweet or white corn)
3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth, divided
1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tspn dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz can crab meat

Lightly coat a large sauce pan with cooking spray. Add shallot; cook and stir over medium heat for 4 minutes or until tender. Add 4 cups corn; cook and stir until corn is softened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until corn is tender. Cool slightly.

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Carefully process soup in batches in a blender, until smooth; return mixture to the pan. Add the red pepper, Old Bay seasoning, thyme, salt and pepper, crab meat and remaining corn and broth; cook and stir for 10 minutes or until the corn is tender. Set aside.

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Step 2: The Pie Crust
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour, plus more for shaping
1 tspn salt
2 tbspn shortening
1 egg
1/4 cup water

Combine cornmeal, flour and 1 tsp salt in a bowl. Cut in shortening. In a separate bowl, beat together egg and 1/4 cup water. Add to cornmeal mixture.

Shape the dough into a ball, using extra flour to prevent sticking. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Step 3: The Pot Pie
Preheat oven to 375˚. When ready to assemble the pot pies, remove dough from fridge and roll it out on a floured surface. You’ll want to cut the dough into circles large enough to slightly overlap your serving bowl, so the thinner you roll the dough the more dough you will have to use.

Divide the chowder equally among 6 oven-proof individual serving bowls or ramekin dishes.

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Brush the outside edges of each bowl with an egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make a criss-cross slit in the center of the dough. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

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