Cooking

Sarah & Shane (Try to) Smoke Some Ribs

Disclaimer: This is not a recipe, this is a story about our weekend shenanigans. Just want to put that out there.

This past weekend, Shane and I decided that the St. Louis pork ribs in the freezer should no longer be in the freezer, and should be eaten instead. We recently bought a grill/smoker combo, so we figured we’d try out the smoker function for the first time. There was a trip to the grocery store (masked and with liberal use of hand sanitizer, of course) for a couple extra racks of ribs and wood chips.

Then the business began – we opened and rinsed the ribs, dried them off, then added the rub. While all this is going on, Shane set up the fire in the smoker. It was almost ready when the rain began. We sat on the back porch for a few minutes waiting for what we assumed was a summer shower but then it just got worse. So much worse. It became a rain going sideways, full-on creek in the backyard, impossible to see through storm. There was much steam off the smoker, and much grumbling from Shane.

So, change of plans. The ribs got wrapped up in what still seems like an excessive amount of aluminum foil and put into the oven on low heat. When I say that the house smelled delicious a couple hours in, I mean it. It was mouthwatering. They hung out in there for about 4 hours.

By the time we were ready to pull the ribs out of the oven, the weather had cleared up enough to fire up the smoker again and finish them in there. We had 4 racks of ribs and had one with just apple cider vinegar and the rub, one with a mustard based sauce, one with Stubbs Sweet Heat (I’m a sucker for anything Sweet Heat), and then one with my favorite bbq sauce – Sweet Baby Ray’s. We usually make our own barbecue sauces (well, Shane does. I don’t.), but there is no shame in the store bought stuff.

After we smoked them for a bit and basted a couple times it was on. Shane said he was “truly impressed with the amount of ribs [I] ate.”, so you know it was a success. It was a bummer that we weren’t able to spend a summer afternoon just hanging out drinking hard lemonade and White Claws, but the ribs were worth it in the end. Also, it was almost 100F outside, so I guess it wasn’t too much of a loss.

I put the pictures up above – they were truly delicious.

Cooking

25 Recipes I Really Want to Make

There are a ton of recipes I want to make, but I have a “One Day” section of a Pinterest board that has 25 recipes that I really want to make. Well, not really those specific recipes but they represent the food I want to make. Now, some of these recipes are difficult, but a lot are just recipes I can’t easily find the ingredients for, keep saying I want to make but don’t, or just haven’t found the right opportunity to make. The below list is in no particular order.

The Recipes:

  1. Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits
    • Who doesn’t want to make these? They’re delicious.
  2. Gyro
    • I love gyros, and I already make a mean tzatziki sauce, so the next step is obviously making the actual meat. And the flat bread to go along with it.
  3. Mushroom Brie Fondue
    • I love fondue, and I think this specific type of fondue sounds amazing.
  4. Tortillas
    • We would save so much money if we made our own tortillas. We go through at least 20 a week.
  5. Russian Dressing
    • This type of dressing is weirdly hard to find, but I love it, so I want to have a backup plan.
  6. Peach Jalapeno Jam
    • I’ve never made jam before and would like to.
  7. Gochujang
  8. Kimchi
    • This and gochujang are really for Shane. He loves kimchi, and we get it homemade from a local Asian grocery store, but it’d be nice to make it ourselves sometimes. I’m just interested in fermenting the gochujang.
  9. Pretzels
    • The soft kind, that you can rip up and dip in cheddar beer sauce.
  10. Lobster Roll
    • Please take me back to Maine.
  11. Gravlax
    • This is something my parents used to make, and while I love gravlax themselves. there’s definitely a nostalgia factor in play.
  12. Jaegerschnitzel
    • This just looks tasty and I’m into it.
  13. Summer Rolls
    • I don’t like egg rolls, spring rolls are okay, but summer rolls are my jimmy-jam. They’re so refreshing.
  14. Fried Green Tomatoes
    • These are so delicious, so if I can find green tomatoes, I definitely want to try my hand at it.
  15. Vietnamese Noodle Salad
    • When we go get Vietnamese, Shane gets pho and I get a cold noodle salad. They’re so good, I’d like to have one in my rotation.
  16. Ravioli
  17. Gnocchi
    • Ravioli & gnocchi are 2 pastas we’ve never made and take the skill up a notch from what we normally make.
  18. Khachapuri
    • I didn’t even know this existed until early this year, but it’s my favorite food to get at a little place we like to go. I’d like to make it once, and then let them make it for me the rest of the time. It’s called “Georgian Cheese Bread” in case you’re wondering what it is.
  19. Beignets
    • Another one based solely on how tasty it is.
  20. Beef Wellington
    • This just seems like a good challenge. I don’t think I’ve ever actually had it.
  21. Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich
    • We didn’t get to try this when we were in Nashville last year, and I’d like to see if we can recreate them here. Though I guess we won’t know how they compare. Oh well.
  22. Hush Puppies
    • I didn’t know I loved these until last summer, and these are definitely another “want to learn how to make just so I can have them whenever I want them”.
  23. Crab Rangoon
    • My #1 comfort food definitely needs to be on rotation.
  24. Naan
    • I’m beginning to realize that most of this list isn’t about techniques, it’s about things I enjoy stuffing into my face.
  25. Seafood Chowder
    • I seriously miss Maine.

And that’s the (current) list, it’ll definitely be updated continually. One of the reasons we bought the house we did was the amazing kitchen and I’ve been really enjoying it. I can’t wait to explore some of these recipes.

Cooking · Life & Family

Remembering My Mom Through Food

I think about my mom a lot, sometimes I imagine the conversations we would have about whatever’s going on in my life. I’m lucky in that while memories hurt, I enjoy thinking about her. I still like to poke fun at her, to be honest.

A lot of memories associated with my mom center on food. Dinners growing up, holidays, special occasions – and the random gourmet level recipes she made with my brother. But even more than that there are specific dishes that are tied so tightly to her in my memory that even considering making them makes me feel closer to her.

She made a specific potato salad – one with Russian dressing – that wasn’t in the recipe box I got after her death. I found a close-enough version online and while it needs some tweaks, it immediately made me fall into a well of (happy) memories. “Brown Rice” aka stick of butter rice that would be fought over by everyone. It was the best side to another Mom memory – soy sauce marinaded flank steak with horseradish.

I’m realizing that the rest of these are pretty standard family holiday foods – mashed potatoes with “too much” garlic, green bean casserole, crescent rolls from a can, specific types of cookies, fudge, etc. The sight of a little dish with tiny gherkins and both green and black olives. There have to be both types of olives, it’s the law. Even the process of canning or making fresh pasta makes me think of my mom. I want to learn to can things because my mom did and I want to share that with her.

She also passed down an interest in grocery stores in other places. I think it comes from growing up/living in a small town – we had to drive 2 hours away to get a lot of the ingredients my mom and brother needed. Standing in a fancy grocery store buying things that my childhood home’s stores would have never carried is imprinted in my mind. And getting the mini coffee at Fresh Market feeling very grown up.

We went to New Orleans once, just the two of us, and we hit up the grocery stores as soon as we could. Regional differences in food and the way grocery store are made are a real thing. Shane has indulged my need to check out grocery stores in the cities we visit for years now.

There were so many long, loud dinners and those memories really carry me through some of my worst times.

Sorry if this is rambling and doesn’t make much sense. I just wanted to get this “down on paper”.

Sarah

Monthly Recaps

February in Review

What I Read

I’m also ‘reading’ 5 other books, but I’ve been reading one of them (Terminal World) since about October. I lost one of them under the bed (An Impartial Witness), and just found it. One I accidentally found out the twist (Castaway House) so I’m waiting until I forget the twist to finish it. The other two I’m actually in the middle of reading – Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag & a alien invasion audiobook called Fear the Sky. I’m still at least 2 books behind my Goodreads challenge, but I’m normally 4-5 behind so I’m not too bothered.

What I Watched

Highlights:

  • Umbrella Academy
    • I’m watching this with Shane and I love it! It’s so weird that it’s right on the border of what I would normally like, but the characters are so lovable I’m into it. One of my favorite things is Shane’s pure and uncomplicated love of Ellen Page, which immediately transferred to Vanya, her character.
  • King of the Hill
    • FINALLY FINISHED.

Shows:

  • Most Haunted {me as a paranormal investigator, even if I’m a skeptic}
  • Haunted {supposedly non-fiction, but I feel like it’s fiction}
  • Hellier {a really weird paranormal hunter documentary}
  • Shut Eye
  • The usual background watching:
    • Unsolved Mysteries
    • Forensic Files
    • Bob’s Burgers
    • American Dad

Movies:

  • Polar {Super strange, but also good}
  • Unbreakable {Still haven’t seen Split or Glass, but I’m working on it}
  • Universal Soldier {I had never seen this classic Van Damme flick which was apparently a travesty to Shane}

What I Cooked/Ate

  • Broth fondue with thin cut steak, etc.
  • A great spaghetti meat sauce from a jar + canned tomatoes + a little of this + a little of that.
  • Finally went to a pancake house – apparently Myrtle Beach is famous for pancake houses. I got chocolate chip pancakes with fresh whipped cream and it was amazing.
  • A box of cereal, dry, by the fistful.
  • So many chicken wings.
  • Diner!
  • Steak N Shake – obvs.

What I Did

  • About a year ago I randomly met a girl on reddit & we’ve been email buds since then. Anyway, she came down to MB for a conference and we finally got to meet! We hung out at the restaurant in her hotel and had a great time. We were wearing the exact same shoes – gray keds in the same style.
  • Built a little stand for my laptop. I still need to put on another coat of paint but so close to being finished!
  • That’s it – it was a pretty chill month even with the shenanigans going on in the background. I didn’t post in February, after the first few days, and I enjoyed the time off!
Blogmas · Monthly Recaps

November in Review

What I Read

How did I not read more? I feel like I read tons, but I guess not.

What I Watched

  • Preacher
    • So dark and so good! I love Cassidy and would probably watch a show completely around him. Since I want to name a daughter Cassidy I keep telling Shane that when she’s 13 I’m going to watch Preacher with her and tell her that she’s named after him. Note: season 1 is better than season 2.
  • King of the Hill
    • I watched this show as a kid and I’m really enjoying re-watching it on Hulu. 
  • Bob’s Burgers
    • I love this show. It’s so so good.

What I Cooked/Ate

  • Shepherd’s Pie for Shane’s birthday. We found ground lamb at Lowe’s Foods and it turned out incredibly delicious. I ate it for 5 meals in a row, which never happens. 
  • Thanksgiving dinner! Shane and I cooked Cornish Game Hens, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, red wine & mushroom gravy, & crescent rolls. We forgot vegetables, though. I wanted sauteed green beans, but I forgot to remind him to cook them. 
  • Actual lunch food at our diner. The waitress is starting to recognize us, I think. I had a Bacon Cheddar BBQ burger that was super tasty.
  • More grocery store sushi.
  • Another monthly trip to Steak and Shake. Probably the last one, since I’m going to try to eat healthier.

What I Did

  • Cooked Thanksgiving dinner with Shane.
  • Took a 4 hour nap (in 2 phases) and then slept a full night, which is unheard of. I rarely take naps even though I love them deeply.
  • Spent 3 days and 2 nights in the Upstate. Changed to a different hotel and I really liked it. Though my first room had a busted fridge and I had to change rooms since I needed the fridge. 
  • Did a ton of Christmas shopping.
  • Opened so many packages!
  • Worked really hard at cleaning and organizing the apartment. I want to have a “fresh start” with 2019 so I’m working on getting things organized.