Baby Back Ribs w/Asian Citrus BBQ Sauce

Big grilling weekend coming up soon, so I figured this would be a good time to share my super delicious Asian Citrus BBQ sauce. I’m not a big fan of the overly smokey BBQ sauces out there, so I set out to make my own with the flavors I love. Baby Back Ribs are one of my ultimate favs. They are super easy to make and way too easy to eat. We take them camping pretty much every time we go, the kids LOVE them.

Ok let’s get started, preheat oven to 250 degrees, rinse the rack of ribs and pat dry. Salt and pepper really well on the meaty side. I use fresh ground white pepper, I think it enhances the sweet flavor of the pork. Wrap the rack in foil, place on a baking sheet and bake for 3 hours.

Now for the sauce. Here is what you will need.

Asian Citrus BBQ Sauce

  • 1-2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup Hoisin Sauce
  •  zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Mirin
  • 1 Tablespoon  Siracha
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

In a sauce pot – heat up the canola oil add the minced red onion saute until soft – add the minced garlic and  ginger – cook for a minute – and all remaining ingredients, except lemon juice– cook over low heat for 6-8 minutes – the sauce will be sticky and thick – remove from heat – add the lemon juice at the end and more Siracha if you want more spice. This will make about a cup of sauce, plenty for 1 rack and extra for dipping while you eat.

The sauce should be thick and chunky and taste amazing!

When the ribs are done, the meat will be falling off the bone. Slather them with the sauce and place them on a HOT grill, until the ribs are caramelized, should take 5 minutes each side.

Serve them up hot with your favorite sides. I did a tri color potato salad and green beans sauteed in brown butter and sliced almonds.The sauce will work with chicken or seafood or you could bathe in it, it’s that good!

Thai Sweet Sticky Rice

You know it –  Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango – at your favorite Thai place- warm, coconut, sweet & the sharp tang from the Mangos YUM!!!! I intended to use Mango, but I couldn’t find any ripe enough – don’t stress on the mango, try soft fruits with sweet and tart flavors – sliced peaches, kiwi fruit, pears, strawberries, raspberries – whatever you like best.The process for this rice is not quick, but the rewards are so worth it. First off the rice.You will need to find long grain Thai jasmine rice or glutinous rice – the above is the brand I found at a huge asian market in San Diego. Ask for help if you can’t find it, tell them you’re making sticky rice, you’ll get hooked up with the right stuff. Next how to cook this magical rice.This is the traditional pot and basket used for sticky rice – most Asian markets will have these and they are super cheap – the set cost me under $10. If you don’t want to get all silly like me and buy more stuff that you have to store in a kitchen that is packed out already – this will live in my garage which I’m slowly taking over with kitchen gear – poor Jim – you can use a pasta cooker/steamer basket. If you use the pasta pot – line the steamer basket with dried corn husks – the ones you use for tamales – oil the husks a bit so they don’t stick to the steamer insert. You MUST soak the rice over night, the quick boil method does not work on this rice.Rinse 2 cups of rice 3-4 times until the water starts to appear clear. Fill a bowl with cold water add rinsed rice and soak overnight, minimum of 6 hours. After the soaking you should be able to break the rice easily between your fingers.

Fill the basket with the soaked rice and rinse several times. Place the basket over the pot with boiling water. Cover the rice with a pie pan or a lid that will fit down in the basket – as close to the rice as you can.

Steam for 15 minutes – the rice will form a ball as you move it around the basketflip the ball to the other side – steam 15 minutes more – flip again – steam 15 minutes more -check the rice as you flip – it should be soft – you cannot over cook this rice but it can be undercooked and thats no good. Once the rice is done it can hang over the boiling water and stay hot while you prepare the syrups.

Syrup#1 – sauce syrup – in a small sauce pot combine 2 cups coconut cream/milk combo fresh or canned -1/2 cup sugar – 4 Tablespoons Palm Sugar or brown sugar – couple drops of almond or orange extract added at the end of cooking.Palm Sugar is sold in – you guessed it – Asian markets. While you’re there buying your cool new rice steamer, which is also a really neat hat, buy the palm sugar.It comes in these little hard rounds, you ‘ll need to chop them up a bit so they melt nicely. Cook the syrup on a low heat for about 10 minutes, don’t let it boil- you want to see steam but no boil – add the extract at the end of cooking. Keep warm and set aside. When the rice is done and still very hot, transfer to a mixing bowl and add the warm syrup #1Mix really well with a wooden spoon -the mixture will be soupy – cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes. Mix again and let sit for 10 more minutes until all the syrup is absorbed.While the rice is resting and absorbing the yummy syrup #1, start making

Syrup # 2 –  topping syrup – 1 cup coconut cream -1/4 cup sugar -1 teaspoon salt – couple of drops of almond or orange extract added at the end of cooking. Combine all ingredients except the extract, cook on low/medium heat  no boil for about 10 minutes until thickened, add extract and keep warm if serving right away. Both of the syrups can be made ahead of time – cool completely and keep in fridge for up to a week. 

Time to shape the rice/syrup #1 combo – take a wooden spoon and shape with your hands or use a ring mold. Run your hands in cold water to prevent the rice from sticking to everything, if using a ring mold oil the inside for easy release.You can shape all the rice in single portions – try cool shapes for fun presentation wrap with plastic keep in fridge for up to a week– to reheat the individual portions heat in microwave for 30-60 seconds depending on your microwave powerTo serve, place warmed rice portion a plate – ladle a small amount of warmed syrup #2 over the top – place fruit on top or to the side – ladle a bit more syrup over the fruit. The combo is amazing, the salty sweet coconut of syrup #2 is the prefect balance for the sweet sticky coconut rice and the tart sweet fruit.

Wow this was a long post!! It seems like a lot to do, but it went really quickly and its an awesome make ahead dessert that will WOW all the Thai food fans in your life. As always I get all my Thai knowledge from Su Mei Yu, if you’d like to go further with Thai food get her books, especially her first book Cracking the Coconut, which I hear is out of print – makes no sense at all to me, its seriously like my food bible.

I will be teaching Thai cooking classes this summer at Laguna Culinary Arts, this dessert will be part of my July 9th class – check out the schedule here and sign up!

Hope you enjoy- any questions let me know- Cheers- Sarah

Summer Corn Salad

Fresh Summer Corn – Peppery Arugula – Sharp Tangy Red Onion

I found this salad at Whole Paycheck aka Whole Foods in their deli section. I had it once and set to work on making it myself. It’s very easy with a simple light dressing so it doesn’t take away from all the lovely flavors that the ingredients provide.

What you’ll need: 4-6 ears of fresh summer corn (about 4 cups), 2 cups Arugula, half red onion julienned. Dressing- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil or canola, salt & pepper to taste. Adjust any of these items to fit your taste.

Cook the corn in salty boiling water for 6 minutes, make sure there is enough room in your pot so the corn can move about.Slice/julienne the red onion and wash/dry the arugula- place these in a mixing bowl – when the corn is done take a knife and remove the corn from the cob. There is no tidy way to do this, I’ve tried all the tricks, it’s still a mess.

Add the corn to the bowl with the red onion and arugula

Ideally the corn is still hot and it wilts the arugula. Mix for a bit so the hot corn gets everything warm and smelling good. Now for the dressing, mix the rice wine vinegar, oil and season to taste.

Dress the salad mixing really well, serve right away as a room temp side dish or chill and serve as a cold crispy salad. Add 1 cup cooked brown rice to this for a more substantial side dish or yummy lunch at the office.

This is a great dish, try it! – If you can’t get fresh corn, frozen will work just fine – at some point please make it with fresh, you’ll be happy you did. Enjoy!


Granola Gilded Girl Style

While I was in Texas with the Gilded Girls – Debbie made Granola. You know when you watch someone cooking and they do it all from memory? It’s effortless, easy to watch and the result is always tasty and filled with love. While she was hosting this huge event with a million things still to be done – she whipped up the best granola I’ve ever had. I watched and took mental notes. Once I was home I set to work on replicating what she had done so easily.  After testing a few different options and texting her for the recipe in her head I came up with this. It’s really about the ratios of your wet to dry and the flavors you add, like a blank canvas you make it all your own. Homemade is ALWAYS better, you know exactly whats in it and its way more cost effective.

Here are the basics:

5 cups whole oats– not the quick cooking kind, buy them bulk from a health food store way cheaper.

2 cups chopped nuts– I used whole roasted almonds not salted, you can control the salt levels this way if that is a concern for you, if not rock the salted nuts. You can use any nut you like, chop them or not but keep them bite size friendly.

3/4 cup dried fruit– I used dried cherries, a mix of 2 different kinds, chopped. Cranberries are really good and if you must, use raisins, but that would just ruin it!  for me anyway, I’m a freak! I can’t stand raisins- it’s a childhood trauma- long story.

2 cups shredded coconut– sweetened or not – your choice – omit altogether if you don’t do coconut, Debbie used it and it was delish!

1/2 cup canola oil– you could do half melted butter and oil or be totally decadent and use ALL butter….YUM

1/3 cup honey– agave syrup or maple syrup work really nicely as well or a mix of all 3.

1/4 brown sugar– regular brown sugar, dark brown sugar, or white death aka white sugar.

3/4 teaspoon salt– if you’re using salted nuts take the salt down to 1/4 teaspoon, you can also add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice would ROCK!

Preheat oven to 375. In a small saucepan on the stove combine the oil, sugar and the honey until melty warm. In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients.

Pour the liquids over the dry and mix really well, do it with your hands so you can feel that every item is coated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and spread the mixture flat on the sheet.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, mix/toss half way through the cooking time. You want it to get browned up, you will smell the nuts getting all toasty too….. smells so good. Watch it towards the end- you don’t want burned Granola. The mixture will seem soft still, but it will crisp up as it cools. Keep the granola in an airtight container or ziplock baggie for up to a week – 10 days. Sprinkle over yogurt, ice cream, pancakes or eat like popcorn while watching a movie.

Thanks Debbie for showing and sharing this with me, it’s so easy. I’m thrilled y’all are moving back to California. Maybe I can get her to guest blog her Red Velvet cupcakes sometime soon!! They are to die for!

Baked Eggs

Piping hot yummy tasty eggs in an individual dish. You can call them baked eggs or broiled eggs, whichever they are delish!

haha I made a rhyme!

I’ve been making these for years, Ina got me started on them and I’ve switched up the ingredients for whomever I’m cooking them for. Chorizo for my friends Luis and Aida, herbs and cheese for non hoof eating girl KR, ham and cheese for the husband, although he will eat them anyway anywhere. It’s a very simple process and you can always make it your own with the flavors you love most.

Things you’ll need:

Individual gratin dishes, Eggs, Cream, Butter, Cheese, S/P,fresh chopped herbs, chopped shallots and or chopped garlic.

Let’s get started, preheat your oven to 450, place your gratin dish on a baking sheet, add  1 T of butter & 2T of heavy cream to each gratin dish.

Place the baking sheet in the oven until the cream and butter have started to bubble and the gratin dish gets hot. This won’t take long so be careful and watch them. Take out the baking sheet and add your flavors. I did ham and cheese for this photo series. You can use cooked crumbled bacon, chorizo, fake soy meats or whatever you have on hand.

Add the ham first then crack the eggs whole over the ham. If you’re not using meat, simply crack the eggs over the hot cream and butter.

Then sprinkle on the cheese, herbs, garlic and or shallots.

Now we bake/broil them. This is a very quick process, depending on how you like your eggs cooked will determine the baking time. We like our yolks running, so I bake for a few minutes more in the 450 oven then I broil them for about 1-2 minutes. The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out so be very careful about how long you leave them in the oven or the broiler. They will become hard cooked eggs in the blink of an eye. Serve piping hot with crusty french bread for dipping.

Texas and the Gilded Life!

Spent this last weekend in Dallas, Texas with the Gilded Life Girls. They bought this Church 4 years ago and turned it into a huge home where they have these amazing art retreats.

This weekend 55 women from all over the country converged on this amazing space to attend this event. My Mom’s people come from Texas and Oklahoma, so hanging out with these women made me feel like I was with family. It was all of 5 minutes and I was y’all’in with the rest of them. It’s so good to get out of your own bubble and meet new people, everyone was so nice, friendly and funny. I laughed ALOT this weekend.

I was there to cook for these lovely creative women and this is the kitchen! Not a bad place to work at all.

 I brought my girl Jenny to help out and we banged out yummy food all weekend. We got so many great compliments and face to face thank you’s from everyone.

Seriously the people I met will be in my life forever, so many crazy cool babes!!

Big thanks and LOVE to Debbie and Shea, cheers for having me be a part of your amazing event and for this……

Debbie and Shea shared my adventures with Jo Packham the editor/creator of Where Women Cook and she asked me to be part of their summer issue. Look it’s me in a magazine!! Thanks Jo for the great opportunity!!