Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Meatballs and Gravy

I’m not going to pretend that I am Italian, because of every nationality that is mixed through my veins – Italian is about the single one that I am not. However, I love Italian food & tend to make some pretty great meals when I cook Italian food. This is something I am confident I can make well…enter meatballs and gravy. Now, since I am not Italian by birth (only by choice) I would not have known that the sauce is actually called gravy, when you put it on meatballs, but I did read about it. Also, I found everything I need to make this wonderful recipe at Harter House and Harter House World Flavors.

Meatballs and Gravy
Ingredients:
For Meatballs:
1.5 lb of mild Italian sausage
1.5 lb lean ground beef
2 eggs
2 tsp Dried Italian Seasoning
3/4 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (reduced fat)
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
pinch brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper

For “Gravy”
2 large cans Cento crushed tomatoes
2 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 small yellow or white onion
olive oil
1/2 diced roasted Italian red pepper
fresh basil – minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
pinch sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
couple dashes hot sauce
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp of lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Open a bottle of your favorite wine and consume while cooking.

3. Combine all ingredients for the meatballs into a bowl. Once all the ingredients are blended together, you are going to form your balls. These are meant to be bigger than the kind you find in your spaghetti – since they are the main course. So you want them to fill up a good handful (why is this starting to sound dirty)…



Once you have all your meatballs formed, line them up on a cookie tray. Its really important not to crowd the tray so the meat cooks evenly. Once you have this step completed, put your meatballs in the oven – reduce the heat to 375 and cook for exactly 45 minutes. Reducing the heat allows for the outside to form a slight crunch, while the inside cooks perfectly.


4. Now we start on the sauce! Slice the onions & chop garlic & add to saucepan over medium heat with about 2 swirls of olive oil in the pan.
Once the onions have cooked and are translucent, add in the remaining ingredients for the sauce, starting with the crushed tomatos. After you have all the ingredients added & well incorporated, turn the heat to low & cover. The flavors will all blend together on a low simmer while the meatballs finish cooking.

5. When the meatballs are done you are going to take each one and add to your sauce, excuse me, gravy…. and roll around to make sure they are completely covered. Optional step is to place a slice of mozerella on each meatball (after its been rolled in the gravy) and cover again for just a minute to melt the cheese.

6. For the salad, I cheated and bought a bag of Ultimate Caesar Salad mix, but I am not kidding when I say, it was the BEST bag of salad I have ever bought. BECAUSE it has the shaved parmesean cheese, the creamy dressing & this little spice mix to sprinkle on top that I had never seen before….
(PS, I always cut out the lettuce "ribs")






I topped my meatballs with some grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.


Springfield Nature Center Experience

Today's blog is not about food, but rather healthy living.
I truly believe, as part of our healthy living, we should spend time in nature every single day.

The Springfield Nature Center is close to my home and just down the road from Harter House on Republic Road.  So visit the Nature Center, then come visit me at Harter House!  



After the rains of this past week, I knew I wanted to walk at the Nature Center.  I love when the creeks are up and the streams are flowing.

It is still cloudy today and perfectly cool while walking.  We saw 11 dear today scattered out along the trails.







The Nature Center features eighty acres of forests, fields and creeks, along with frontage on Lake Springfield, and nearly three miles of trails,
as short as a fifth of a mile, and as long as two miles.

Experience the wildlife, including deer, foxes, mink, muskrat, raccoons, squirrels, birds, turtles, turkeys, frogs, bugs and just about everything else that lives in the Ozarks





 






Follow the boardwalk over the marshy shallows of the lake.
This is the Boardwalk

See a map of the all the trails here
Springfield Nature Center Trail Map.


This area is on the long trail, on the back side of the bluff.

Can you hear the sounds of waterfalls as they flow downstream?  It's absolutely lovely!



 I love watching the little kids on the trail.
                                      They love seeing the wildlife so up close and personal.
                                              Their pure joy and enthusiasm is contagious.


It's nice to walk with someone.
Today, bring a friend!
~Shelly 


Learn More Here
Springfield Conservation Nature Center

4601 S. Nature Center Way
Springfield, MO 65804-4920

Phone: (417) 888-4237
Fax: (417) 888-4241     





Monday, April 16, 2018

What's the Difference Between Baby Back Ribs and Spareribs?



  
Pork ribs are always a treat, whether cooked indoors or outdoors, but what kinds of ribs should you buy? Let's take a look at the two most commonly sold types of ribs: baby back ribs and St. Louis-style spareribs.
Baby back ribs
(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

Baby Back Ribs

Other names: pork loin back ribs, back ribs, or loin ribs
Back ribs are cut from where the rib meets the spine after the loin is removed. The upper ribs are called baby back ribs, but not because they come from a baby pig! They're only called baby because they are shorter in relation to the bigger spareribs.
(Image credit: Christine Gallary)
Each baby back rib rack averages 10 to 13 curved ribs that are 3 to 6 inches long and weigh about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, which feeds about 2 people.
Baby back ribs are very tender and lean but are in higher demand than St. Louis-style spareribs, so they have a higher price tag.
St. Louis-Style Spareribs
(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

St. Louis-Style Spareribs

Other names: breastbone-off pork spareribs
Spareribs are the meaty ribs cut from the belly of the animal after the belly is removed. They are usually trimmed down into the popular St. Louis-style spareribs by cutting away the hard breastbone and chewy cartilage, so the slab is more rectangular in shape.
(Image credit: Christine Gallary)
St. Louis-style spareribs are flatter than baby back ribs, which makes them easier to brown. There is a lot of bone but also a higher amount of fat, making them very flavorful if cooked properly. Each slab usually weighs 2 1/2 pounds or more and feeds about three to four people, although the meatier, the better. St. Louis-style spareribs are cheaper than baby backs ribs.

Cooking Pork Ribs

Both baby back ribs and St. Louis-style spareribs require low, slow cooking time to become nice and tender. They are great for smoking, braising, grilling, or can be cooked in the oven. The ribs also take well to spice rubs and sauces.
Underside of the ribs
(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

Can You Substitute One Type of Rib for the Other?

Baby back ribs can be substituted for St. Louis-style spareribs, but since they are smaller, you will need about 1 1/2 times the amount of baby backs as St. Louis-style ribs.
The larger size of the St. Louis-style ribs means that they take longer to cook, so note that baby back ribs take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cook at 300°F, but St. Louis ribs will take 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

How To Cook Ribs in the Oven

 www.thekitchn.com
Serves 6 to 8


What You Need

Ingredients

4 to 5 pounds pork spareribs or baby back ribs
1/4 cup

Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons

liquid smoke (optional)
1 cup spice rub, like this one
1 cup barbecue sauce, store-bought or homemade
Equipment
Baking sheet
Aluminum foil
Wire cooling rack
Pastry brush
Knife

 Instructions

Prepare the baking sheet: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a cooling rack on top. Lay the ribs on top of the rack in a single layer. This arrangement allows for heat circulation on all sides of the ribs.

Season the ribs: Mix the mustard and the liquid smoke, if using, and brush the ribs on both sides. Sprinkle the ribs with the dry rub and pat gently to make sure the rub adheres to the rib meat. Note: This step can be done the day ahead for a deeper flavor. Wrap the seasoned ribs in plastic wrap and refrigerate.


Broil the ribs: Heat the broiler and place an oven rack a few inches below the heating element. Make sure the meaty side of the ribs is facing up. Broil the ribs for about 5 minutes, until the sugar in the dry rub is bubbling and the ribs are evenly browned.

Bake the ribs: Set the oven to 300°F. Move the ribs to an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours for spare ribs or 1 1/2 to 2 hours for baby back ribs. Halfway through cooking, cover the ribs with aluminum foil to protect them from drying out.

Brush with barbecue sauce: About 30 minutes before the end of cooking, brush the ribs with barbecue sauce, re-cover with foil, and finish cooking.


Rest the ribs and serve: The ribs are done when a knife slides easily into the thickest part of the rib meat. Let them rest, covered, for about 10 minutes, and then cut between the bones to separate the individual ribs. Serve immediately with extra barbecue sauce for dipping.    







Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Slow Roasted Bone In Boston Butt





Make this Boston Butt recipe when you have the time to slow roast it in the oven. The lemon and herbs flavor the meat while the low temperature makes for a succulent and tender pork dish.

How to Make It

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350°. Rub 1 lemon half on all sides of pork roast, squeezing juice from lemon. Stir together oregano, salt, and pepper; rub on roast.

Step 2
Place roast on a lightly greased rack in a roasting pan. Separate garlic cloves (do not peel), and place around roast. Drizzle olive oil over roast and garlic cloves.

Step 3
Squeeze juice from remaining 1 1/2 lemons into a bowl. Stir together juice and chicken broth; pour into roasting pan.

Step 4
Bake at 350° for 3 hours to 3 1/2 hours or until fork tender. Shred pork into large pieces using two forks, if desired. Garnish, if desired.

Monday, April 9, 2018

St. Louis Style Pork Steaks

         

Having been partially raised in St. Louis, Missouri I grew up on pork steaks. St. Louis pork steaks are "steaks" that are cut from a pork butt. One recipe calls for the meat to be seared over a hot charcoal fire and then braised in a mixture of beer and barbecue sauce. How can you possibly go wrong with that?

St. Louis Pork Steaks (via patiodaddiobbq.com)

















These are really simple, but the results are spectacular. I use a basic salt and pepper seasoning with a little garlic. I'd urge those of you that are barbecue masters to resist the urge to over-complicate things by adding a bunch of extra ingredients.



Start with steaks from Harter House.

Ingredients
4 large Pork steaks
3 Tbs Kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbs Black pepper, ground fresh
2 tsp Granulated garlic (not "powdered")
16 oz Beer (I used Bud Light)
18 oz Your favorite barbecue sauce (I used KC Masterpiece)

Note: You’ll also need two 9×13 disposable aluminum roaster pans.

Method
Combine the salt, pepper and garlic in a small bowl and mix well.
Season both sides of each steak liberally with the seasoning, then place them in zip-top bags and refrigerate at least three hours, or overnight.

St. Louis Pork Steaks (via patiodaddiobbq.com)


Start your grill and prepare for direct cooking over high heat (450-500º). Sear the steaks on each side.

St. Louis Pork Steaks (via patiodaddiobbq.com)



St. Louis Pork Steaks (via patiodaddiobbq.com)



While the steaks are searing, combine the beer and barbecue sauce in a large bowl and whisk to combine.


 Put the steaks in a single layer into the disposable aluminum pans and cover them with the beer mixture, putting half of the beer and barbecue sauce mixture into each pan.

St. Louis Pork Steaks (via patiodaddiobbq.com)



St. Louis Pork Steaks (via patiodaddiobbq.com)



Cover the pans tightly with foil.

Move your coals to one side of the grill for indirect cooking. Put the pans on the side of the grill opposite the coals and cook, indirect, for 90 minutes.

Note: Add charcoal as needed to keep the temperature at about 350º throughout the rest of the cooking time.

Remove the steaks from the pans and quickly sear them over direct heat (about 2 minutes per side). Remove to a platter and let rest for about five minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

St. Louis Pork Steaks (via patiodaddiobbq.com)



Makes about 6 servings
YUM

Monday, April 2, 2018

How to Smoke a Brisket

Along with ribs and pork shoulder, brisket is one of the Big Three of classic BBQ meats. “Low and slow” is the golden rule here — a low cooking temperature and a slow cooking speed. But have no fear: The art of smoking a brisket is as easy as painting by the numbers if you follow our simple steps using Kingsford® Charcoal.

rubbed brisket


Prepping the brisket


Start with a brisket in the 10- to 12-pound range, which is just the right size to fit on the grill. Trim off the excess top fat or “fat cap,” but leave a ¼"-thick layer of fat to keep the meat moist during the long cooking process. Sprinkle on a few tablespoons of rub, spreading it evenly on both sides of the brisket. Cook immediately if you’d like, or let it sit for several hours in the refrigerator to allow the rub to penetrate the meat.
  1. Prepping your cooker for smoking
  2. Be sure to use a drip pan with water directly underneath the meat to stabilize the temperature. For backyard smokers, set it up for a long smoke.  Soak a few handfuls of Kingsford Wood Chips (hickory or mesquite) or large wood chunks for about 30 minutes in warm water before placing atop the coals.

beef-brisket.gif


Smoking the brisket


Place the brisket fat side up on the top rack, cover with the lid and bring the temperature up to 225°F, using the vents to regulate the temperature.   Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, so if your grill doesn’t have a temperature gauge, purchase a digital BBQ thermometer.

fire control with added briquets


Low and slow


Check the temperature of the grill every hour, staying as close to 225°F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid unless you need to add more charcoal or soaked wood chips to maintain temperature and smoke.

When the brisket’s internal temperature reaches about 150°F, the brisket’s surface evaporation causes the meat’s internal temperature to plateau. Pitmasters call this “the stall.” Don’t panic. Either wait out the stall, or wrap the brisket tightly in two sheets of heavy aluminum foil with 1/2 a cup of apple juice added (aka The Texas Crutch) and bring the grill temperature back up to 225°F.

finished brisket with smoke ring


Test for doneness.


The ideal temperature of a properly smoked brisket is 195°F, but keep in mind that the internal temp of the brisket can increase by 10 degrees even after it’s been removed from the grill. The last thing you want is to overcook your brisket, which results in dry, chewy meat. Another way of testing brisket for doneness is the “feel” method: Stick a small fork in the brisket, and if it twists easily in the meat, it’s done.

This info is provided by Kingsford charcoal.
Read more at https://www.kingsford.com/how-to/smoking/

 


Chipotle-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Black Bean Salsa

The benefits of pork tenderloin go on and on: It's low in fat and calories, easy to prepare, quick to cook, affordable, and absorbs seasoning and other flavors easily.

























Here, pork tenderloin is marinated in a Southwestern chipotle blend, seared in a grill pan, and served with a fiber-rich bean and tomato salsa.

Ingredients

• 1 can(s) chipotle chile, in adobo sauce, (for pork)
• 3 clove(s) garlic
• 1/2 cup(s) coarsely chopped white onion, (for pork)
• 2 tablespoon(s) fresh lime juice, (for pork)
• 1 teaspoon(s) sherry vinegar
• 1 teaspoon(s) dried Mexican oregano OR Italian Seasoning
• 1 pound(s) pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
• 1 can(s) (19 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 cup(s) grape tomatoes, quartered
• 1/4 cup(s) finely chopped white onion, (for salsa)
• 1/4 cup(s) finely chopped fresh cilantro
• 3 tablespoon(s) fresh lime juice, (for salsa)
• 2 teaspoon(s) minced canned chipotle chile, in adobo sauce, (for salsa)
• 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
________________________________________

Directions
1. Make the pork marinade: Process chile, garlic, onion, lime juice, vinegar, and oregano in a blender until smooth. Rub marinade all over the pork. Transfer pork to a dish, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Grill pork until seared on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pan to the oven; cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 145 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes. Let pork stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

3. Meanwhile, Make the Salsa: Stir together the black beans, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, chile, and cumin in a small bowl. Serve with the pork. Pork tenderloin is one of the leanest cuts of meat.

You will find everything you need at Harter House and Harter House World Flavors.