Crispy Pork Riblets Made from Cows

Do you guys remember in my last cooking entry where I mentioned that maybe my genius is I’m so manipulative that I manipulate myself? My genius sub-conscious has struck again!

Or maybe I’m just bad at taking notes/paying attention to detail.

It’s probably the latter, but you know what? Reality sucks. It blows. I kind of just want to be a delusional girl living in a material world. That’s what everyone else does and they seem happy.

Alas, I cannot delude myself for too long. I start out delusional about things and then my matrix plug gets taken out. I start out all happy and delusional, but then Morpheus comes along and is all like, “Hey Rachel, would you like to take this red pill?”

“Yeah! Hit me with some truth Morphman!”

“Are you sure? You could stay in this world where you think you made a recipe correctly or that the good you see in people actually does exist?”

Morpheus can’t even complete this warning to me, because as he’s talking I up and snatch that red pill like Violet does to Willy Wonka.

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I don’t blow up or turn violet, but soon after I’m already wishing I stayed in the Matrix and continued to delude myself with fake steak like this guy.

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It wouldn’t have taken me that long even

As you may have guessed from the title, I accidentally made beef riblets instead of pork riblets. This is because when I was writing my ingredients list I just wrote, spare ribs, about 3 pounds. I mean cows are the only animals we eat with ribs to spare right?

I don’t actually believe that. I’m not that ignorant.

Despite this, the recipe still turned out well, but I’m sure it’s even better with pork. Being that this is a recipe from the Portlandia cookbook, though, it’s nice to have something comedic to say. I guess. I don’t know. Can I go back to the matrix now?

Here’s what you need

  • 2 medium racks (about 3 pounds) of PORK spareribs, cut lengthwise in half
  • 6 smashed large garlic cloves
  • 1 quartered onion
  • 1 halved serrano or jalapeno chili
  • 4 lightly smashed lemongrass stalks
  • 8 1/4 inch slices of fresh, peeled ginger
  • 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup of orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Korean chili flakes or Aleppo
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt

The first step is to make the ribs by preheating the oven to 350. You then place your ribs in a large dutch oven with garlic, onion, chili, lemongrass, ginger, broth, soy sauce, and 4 cups of water. If you don’t have a dutch oven by the way, you can use a large pot, as long as it’s oven safe that is. Whatever cooking tool you use, you’re going to bring the contents in it to a boil.

Once it’s at a boil, cover the pot and place it in the oven for 2 hours. Every once in a while check up on the ribs by turning them over too.

Now here’s where the directions in the cookbook confused me, because after the two hours are up it says to place the riblets aside on a platter and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. That seems straightforward enough but I was a bit confused as to whether I was supposed to drain the liquid or not. It states to drain the liquid after noting the fridge part, but it confused me as to why I would need to transfer the meat if that step was listed later. So I ended up keeping everything together and letting my meat set for four hours. It didn’t seem to ruin anything, so I think I made the right choice.

Unfortunately, when I did strain the liquid after refrigerating, I also threw out the drain. Don’t do this because you’ll need it later for the glaze.

Anyway, after removing the meat from the liquid you’re going to prepare the meat for a little shake and bake. The cookbook says to place the  meat in a large paper bag. I did not have a large paper bag, so I used the less fun method of mixing it in a bowl. If you’re not fun or cool like me you can do that as well. If you use the paper bag method, you will need to get a bowl and mix the cornstarch and flour together and then pour the mix into the bag for shaking. Otherwise just add the meat to the bowl. It does the same thing, it’s just not as fun.

The next step is to prepare your spareribs for frying. To do so, heat about 2 inches of oil in a pan for a degree of 375. Once you’ve reach that level of intensity, you will fry the meat until they are brown and crispy. This should take about 6 minutes.

Once fried, remove the meat from the oil and drain the excess oil off with paper towels.

While this is happening, you can make your glaze by combining the marmalade, the leftover cooking broth, ketchup, mustard, sesame oil, and fish sauce in a food processor. If you accidentally threw the cooking broth down the drain, you can do what I did and add 1/4 of a cup of water. It won’t add as much to the flavor, but it helps with the mixing.

When everything is properly mixed, you add the mix to a saucepan to simmer for about 5 minutes. You want it to simmer under medium heat and it should look glossy when it’s ready.

Once it’s ready, you then take 2/3 of the sauce and mix it with the ribs by tossing in a large bowl. Once that’s complete, arrange your meat on a platter of your choice and sprinkle it with the chili flakes and salt.

The remaining sauce can be used for extra dipping or you can just ignore that like I did and glaze the crap out of it because you know you’re going to pour the extra on there anyway so why not do it sooner rather than later.

My final result, despite it being beef instead of pork was scrumptious. In the Portlandia cookbook this is supposed to consumed as an appetizer, but I made some rice and ate it as an entree. It ended up being a nice, full-filling meal and I do recommend trying it out!

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The Hamilton Beach Blender of Vile that is my Life

When I started this blog, I told myself I’d shy away from personal posts as much as possible. Well, I’m not going to be shy today, because sometimes people need to be called out when they are full of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m full of it myself sometimes. I get all depressed about my life even though I have a roof over my head, my parents are supportive of my artistic endeavors, and I’m a spoiled white girl, so if worse came to worse, I could always move back to Indiana, buy a house with my spoiled Roth IRA money, seduce some poor sap, and swing by on his hard earned money and my eventual inheritance.

I want more out of life though. I want to be an artist and I want love. I want to love a guy who loves me back. Those are the things I want most in life.

I want other things too, but those top my list. I suppose I’m an artist, but I’m a starving artist who doesn’t know how to find a job where I can still pursue acting and make enough money to live in Los Angeles without the aid of rich white parents.

Mom if you read this, I’m not trying to embarrass you. It’s half truth and half my attempts to be funny.

I try to not think about those things. I try to remind myself how lucky I am, but it doesn’t set well with me. I’m entitled just enough to keep doing it, but I don’t feel good about it. I’m in a constant state of guilt because I don’t want to live in squalor but I also don’t want to give up acting.

So that’s my giant pile of steaming dung.

One thing I got going for me is that I try very hard to be honorable and treat people with respect. My patience in that area is wearing very thin though. Particularly with men.

Another issue of mine that I need to get over has to do with men. When it comes to men, I’m similar to those pathetic old ladies who spend all their hours flinging tokens into slot machines that only give them cherries once in awhile.

I keep thinking eventually I’m going to get some hearts, not even diamonds, just hearts. That’s all I can handle at this point, but dishing out some hearts seems to be too scary for the men I’m attracted to.

I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with me. I always find the emotionally unavailable men. Always. In my defense it’s not like they’re advertising it. Their packaging doesn’t say, “Hey I’m emotionally unavailable, you should date me!”

I suppose I should feel somewhat proud that I seem to last longer than other girls these men date. My most recent emotionally disabled man and I lasted 6 months. My guy before that was a year. With both guys, they hadn’t had a real relationship in a very long time. The most recent one’s longest relationship that I heard about lasted only four months.

I’m not even sure if my most recent guy and I are broken up or if we can even call it a break-up since we weren’t ever an official thing. He didn’t ghost me, we just had a fight via text and now he needs space.

It’s been a week now and I’m disappointed, a little bit depressed, and annoyed.

I know I’m not perfect and I don’t think anyone is, but I feel like I’m a good catch. When I first met this recent guy, he was shocked that it had been so long since I dated someone. I remember him looking at me and saying, “I don’t get it. You’re smart, you’re attractive, you’ve got a nice body. I mean you’re unemployed, but I think you can work around that.”

I was unemployed when we first met and admittedly I liked that he teased me about it. I liked it when he teased me in general. He made me laugh and that’s what made me want to go out with him.

The thing was and I told him at the time. It wasn’t that men weren’t interested, I just wasn’t interested back. I was also still deeply hurt and harboring feelings for my previous relationship. I still had some lingering feelings when I first met my recent possibly ex guy.

On my first date with the recent guy, he told me I had beautiful eyes and I had a sort of PTS flashback of my previous boyfriend when he said it. I  could feel myself retreating into my wall as soon as it came out of his mouth, because I started thinking about my previous relationship and how he was always complimenting my eyes. We were so gross about it too. We had a long distance relationship, which meant we skyped once a week. When we first started dating, we’d be talking and the all of the sudden just stop and stare at each other. When we would see each other in person this would happen too. It was really gross to others, but for me it was like being a teenager in love. The first innocent love.

Then a year goes by and I’m told that “I can’t love you, I can’t love anyone. I’m just incapable of it.”

This recent guy gave me a similar excuse. He doesn’t have the ‘will’. He’s not just referring to love. He doesn’t have the will to make an effort to date me even.

I put up with it because I liked him and I didn’t like anyone else. I also saw potential. There were times where I felt he liked me a lot and then he’d pull away. So I kept putting more tokens in, foolishly hoping he’d notice how valuable I was.

It’s partly my fault, because I allowed it to happen. I tried to stick up for what I wanted at times. I wasn’t a complete doormat. I should have told him that I wanted a boyfriend, but I didn’t want to scare him. Instead I told him, I didn’t want to be used and I didn’t want to be someone’s special sleeping buddy.

He would say he didn’t want those things either, but then he didn’t put much effort into treating me like something more. It was hard for me to walk away from that, because I knew he wasn’t involved with anyone else and I took him for his word when he said he didn’t want me to feel used. So, how am I not supposed to have hope things will change eventually?

As much as I’m mad at myself, I’m also mad at him for keeping it going. There was a brief time where we decided to just be friends and next thing I know we are back to where we started. Those actions are what make me feel used and lead on. I tried to tell him that, but I don’t think he truly understood and I do believe he thought he was being honest and clear.

I don’t know if he’ll read this. I might be making a big mistake bearing my soul like this. I’m tired of caring. I’m tired of wondering why I’m not being valued when I should be.

If he does read this, you still have a chance, but you’ve got to make some effort. If you do, you’ll gain an attractive, wonderful, loving, loyal girl who will do all kinds of sweet things for you.

Right now, though, she’s angry with you and thinks you’re an idiot for pushing her away.

*The title of my post comes from a conversation I eavesdropped between two men with heavy New York accents. That was the best line of their conversation.

 

 

 

 

Dodie’s Bean Soup with Preserved Lemons

My next recipe comes from The Scent of Orange Blossoms. I acquired this cookbook from a college class about women from the Middle East and it’s  specifically about Jewish-Moroccans cooking. It is also has sprinkles of history written in-between the recipes which is why my professor added it to her curriculum.

For this particular recipe, the author included a letter from a mother to her two daughters about how life has changed in the city of Fez. She tells them about how when she was young all the generations of the family lived together and worked as a community.

It was not uncommon for multiple generations to live together for many cultures in the past. I know that in my own family history, I had relatives that lived and worked on family farms.

I find pleasure in discovering similarities between vastly different cultures.

Another similarity between my culture and Jewish-Moroccan culture is family comfort food. Dodie’s Bean Soup with Preserved Lemons is such a meal, according to Dodie that is and I’m not gonna dispute her on it.

Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cups of dried baby lima beans
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cups of chicken stock
  • 12 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 lamb or chicken sausages (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 of preserved lemon rind
  • 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of salt

Before we begin, this recipe requires some early preparation. Most notably, the preserved lemons. I haven’t been in the mood to ever go and try to buy preserved lemons, mostly because I’ve never seen it off hand and it’s easy to do on your own. I’m sure you can buy it somewhere though. Despite it being easy to do, it is kind of pain and it makes making this recipe hard to do if you just want to make it on the fly one night.

If you are okay with waiting in anticipation to make this soup and want to preserve your own lemons give yourself three weeks. As I said, it’s not hard, but it takes time. What you do is cut a cross into the nub of a lemon and then slice half way down. Pull the lemon apart a bit and then sprinkle as much salt as possible inside. Place the lemon in a mason jar and repeat the process until you have compressed as many lemons as the jar will hold. Leave that jar on the counter overnight and add another lemon. Continue to do this for a few days and be sure to flip the jar each time to evenly disperse the salt. Eventually the rind will soften and that’s when it’s ready to be consumed and preserved even longer by refrigeration.

Again, this process takes about three weeks.

The other preparation for this soup involves the beans and tomatoes. The tomatoes are real easy. You do the cross stitch cut and boil method for that. You only have to boil them for 30 seconds. If you wait until they are completely cool, the skin will just slide off.

The beans are a pain but also easy to do. Ideally you’ll want to soak those puppies in cold water overnight. You should then be able to rub off the skin easily. The quick method is to boil them with salt for three minutes and then let it soak in the salt water for an hour. Both methods work and the skin will come off easily, but it’s difficult keeping track of what is skin and what is bean. It’s kind of tedious and I do recommend asking for help.

Now that I’ve got those disclaimers out of the way, let’s move on to the cooking.

The first step is to mix the paprika with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until a paste forms. Once the paste forms heat it in a large soup pot over medium heat until it darkens. Once the paste is dark enough, add the beans, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir and then cover the pot to let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Once those three minutes are up, lower the heat to a low setting and allow the beans to cook for an hour or an hour and 1/4.

When the beans have softened you can discard the bay leaves and add garlic, cumin, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes.

While this is happening, get your lamb or chicken sausage out and slice them. You will cook your sliced meat in a small skillet with olive oil for about 4-5 minutes.

As soon as the meat is ready, I say it’s ok to add it to the soup, but if you’re nervous about it you can go ahead and dice your lemon rind, wait until those initial 30 minutes are up and add everything together. After you add the meat and lemon the final step is to pepper and salt the thing.

The final result is comforting and tasty. The lemon and cumin are the strongest flavors. I think if I made this again, I’d dial back on the cumin. I also recommend letting the lemon soak into the soup. I actually liked my leftovers of this soup better than my fresh version because the lemon flavor had blended into the soup by then as opposed to overpowering it.

The best part about this soup for me was the garlic though! By the time this soup is ready for consumption, the garlic has softened and becomes this nice ball of mushy goodness. I’m not describing it well at all, but trust me when I say it’s delicious.

So, yeah, this soup was a success and I’d make it again if I had some help. It doesn’t top French Onion Soup, but it’s a contender for sure.

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Awwwwww, it matches my placemat!

 

*Some time after this blog was published, I discovered that Trader Joe’s sells preserved lemons. You always find the thing you need after you don’t need it.

Miso Chunky and Vegan Soup

I know the title is lame guys. I know it is. My sparks of creativity are just not flowing right now. Maybe they never have? Why can’t I be the mad genius I dreamed of being as a little girl? The kind people whisper about and say, “That girl is crazier than a nest of bat excrement, but damn is she a talented genius!”

I could be like Christian Bale, Marlon Brando, Tesla, or even the log lady from Twin Peaks! I mean she’s not crazy, but she can talk to a log! That log knows all and that’s impressive.

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Sadly, I am not a log lady nor a genius. I might be a little crazy, but every time I try to get a psychiatrist to diagnose me they’re just like, “Eh…you’re an emotional person, but you’re a little too self aware”

I’m just not reaching any of my major goals.

Maybe I’m a manipulative genius who is so talented I manipulate myself? If that’s true, that’s just not rewarding and kind of useless.

Cooking is useful and rewarding though! Hopefully I’m getting better at it, but it’s hard to say because unfortunately I have to give another meh review.

This Chunky Miso Vegetable Soup comes from Isa Does It. Isa has not been doing it for me lately, which is sad, because I like her first few recipes. Isa and I come from different worlds, though. She’s vegan and lives on the east coast. I love cheese and live in LA. She’s Jewish, I went to catholic school. She’s a brunette and I’m a fake blonde. Despite these differences we’ve come so far and I’m not about to give up on her now.

Anyway, here are the ingredients,

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of peeled carrots in 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 ribs of celery, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 4 cups of cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup of green beans trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15 ounce can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup of mellow white miso
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced scallions

The first step is to preheat your oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil has heated up, add the onion with a pinch of salt. Saute this for about three minutes or until the onion has softened. The next set is the carrots and celery. You will saute them for three minutes as well. Then you add the cauliflower, green beans, broth, and the pepper.

Cover your pot and allow it to boil. Once boiled, reduce the heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes. While your soup is simmering, leave the lid on, but propped open ajar.

The goal for now is to allow the cauliflower to tender and once it has tendered you can add the beans and miso. I have a note about the miso. I got mine at Trader Joes, but it was a miso soup mix. I was sure to pick the most basic one I could find, however, the next day I was in Lassen’s and found the type of miso Isa wants you to use. I decided that from now, when I’m making one of Isa recipes I should shop at Lassen’s.

It is a health food store after all.

Whatever miso you pick up, you’ll want to stir it in your pot until it dissolves. Once it has dissolved, pepper and salt to your liking, add some scallions, and serve.

As I said, for me this soup came out ok. I think my problem is that I’ve lost my enjoyment for miso soup. Meaning, I used to love miso, but lately my feelings have been lukewarm.

It’s not fair to miso. Miso deserves better. If you love miso, though, than I imagine you’ll love this recipe. So try it out and enjoy!

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Miso pretty?