Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memphis Style Ribs With Mashed Potato Salad.... Memorial Day Celebration!

It's always such a relief when warm weather finally arrives and this year it's more of a relief than ever. Memorial Day weekend is the beginning of warm weather, which also signals the onset of cooking on the grill, which is just about my favorite way to cook most things edible. So, it only stands to reason that one of my first grilled meals of the summer season includes spare ribs. We love them in this house. And frankly, you just can't have ribs without having the traditional potato salad or coleslaw, right?

There must be at least a bazillion different ways to cook ribs (and I love them all) but today my ribs are done in the Memphis style.  

There are also just as many recipes for potato salad, but this is my favorite. I know I must be weird but I just don't like potato salad with the big ole chunks of hard potatoes. It probably has something to do with all the tooth and gum trouble I've had lately. However, I've always preferred my own potato salad to anyone else's.

Memphis Style Barbecued Ribs:


3 lbs. of pork spare ribs

For Rub:
4 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of cayenne

For Sauce:
2 cups ketchup
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup red wine vinegar
4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons of Louisiana hot sauce


1. Prepare ribs by removing the membrane on the underside and any loose meat or fat. 

2. Prepare smoker or grill. You will want to hold a temperature of around 225 degrees F for 4 to 6 hours.

3. Season ribs with Memphis rub and place on grill or smoker.

4. While ribs are cooking, make barbecue sauce. Blend together everything with the ketchup.

5. Place in a medium saucepan and cook over a medium-low heat for approximately 30 minutes.

6. Remove from heat and set aside. 

6. Cook ribs until they have an internal temperature of about 145 degrees F.

7. Cook the ribs about 30 minutes longer, basting with the sauce every ten minutes, when you turn the ribs.

Mashed Potato Salad:


5 red potatoes
6 Yukon gold potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper, to taste
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup prepared mustard
1/2 cup sour cream
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon dill relish (or diced dill pickles)
1/2 bunch of green onions, finely sliced/chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped


1. Cube potatoes and place in medium size saucepan, covered with water.

2. Cook over medium heat until done.

3. Drain and place potatoes in a large bowl.

4. Mash potatoes with the butter, salt, and pepper.

5. Once mashed, stir in the remaining ingredients until well blended.

6. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Tip: You can also use leftover mashed potatoes if that's all you have. And, you can change up the ingredients any way you like.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spicy Italian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce Over Spaghetti

It's hard to believe I made it through 57 years of my life before finally attempting to make my own meatballs for spaghetti. Once I tried them, I was amazed at how simple they are to make. Furthermore, I found that I can make enough to put an equal amount on the table and in the freezer, for a future time when I don't really feel like cooking a huge meal. I was also surprised at how much more delicious they were than any meatballs I'd ever had, even at the best Italian restaurants. So, don't be afraid to try them yourself.

Mr. Snooty practically swooned over these meatballs, so I feel like my mission was fully accomplished. I think they would also be divine served as an appetizer in a bit of mushroom sauce. So, let's get to it.

Spicy Meatballs In Marinara Sauce Over Spaghetti Pasta:

Meatball Ingredients:

1 lb. ground sirloin

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 cup Italian breadcrumbs

1/2 cup onion, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped

1 teaspoon oregano

3-4 cloves garlic, smashed & finely minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Ingredients For Sauce:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, smashed & minced

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cans (26 to 38 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 small can of tomato paste

1 cup red wine

1 cup beef broth (or more if needed)

Additional items:

16 ounces of spaghetti, cooked according to directions

shaved fresh Parmesan cheese, to taste

Directions For Meatballs:

1. In a large mixing bowl, lightly scramble the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients for meatballs and mix. I find the best way to do this is to mix it with your hands, but I do wear gloves.

2. Begin forming beef mixture into round balls. We like our small, but make them whatever size you like.

3. Brown the meatballs in a skillet with a little olive oil and beef broth, just enough to keep them moist.

4. When they are lightly browned, remove and set aside.

Directions For Sauce:

1. Saute the onion in the olive oil until almost transparent. Add garlic and cook a moment or two longer.

2. Pour the can of tomatoes into the pan, as well as all of the other ingredients. 

3. Cook over medium high heat until it begins to bubble, turning it down to a low simmer. 

4. Add the meatballs, cover the pan and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

5. Serve over cooked spaghetti pasta, topped with shaved Parmesan cheese, with garlic toast and a tossed salad.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fresh Tomato, Herb, Garlic And Mozzarella Foccacia... The Easy Way

I fell in love with Foccacia many years ago and continue to carry the torch. There are so many ways you can prepare it, making it different every time you have it. The easiest of all ways is to use pre-made refrigerated pizza dough, spreading it out on a prepared cookie sheet.

Here it is:

Tomato, Herb, Garlic And Mozzarella Foccacia:


1 Pillsbury Pizza Dough, divided into two parts

1 fresh tomato, thinly sliced

4 cloves of garlic, pressed

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

salt and pepper, to taste


1. Spread prepared pizza dough out on cookie sheet to desired thickness (we like ours thin).

2. Cook garlic and herbs in olive oil for approximately one minute and remove from heat.

3. Using a pastry/basting brush, brush the garlic, herb, olive oil mixture over the pizza dough.

4. Top with thinly sliced tomatoes, then with grated mozzarella cheese.

5. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes or until done.

6. When pulled out of the oven, sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top and serve.

This is a great side for soup and a variety of other entrees. 

Bon Appetit!