Not too long ago I was fortunate enough to get a gift of a dehydrator. I know, it sounds lame, but it is something that I have wanted for a very long time but never really pulled the trigger on the purchase. I was lucky enough, however, to have a wife that is either a really great listener, or one who wanted some beef jerky for that matter. Who knows. Whatever the case, I’m in heaven, and I have been looking at dehydrating everything from beef to vegetables, to fruit.
The latest was dehydrated pineapple and it was based on an idea from one of my colleagues. This stuff was awesome and my wife and daughter fell in love with this. Packed full of flavor and nutrients, what’s not to love.
Let’s get started.
1 pineapple, skinned, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
I know… complicated, right?
I have a four tier dehydrator, but use however much pineapple, keeping about a 1 inch distance between each piece on each rack.
Turn on your dehydrator, and let that baby on for about 14 hours. Yep, about 14. Check the pineapple about 10 hours in to be on safe measure. Just be careful not to over dry this stuff. My family loved it with just a little bit of give in the texture.
Once you are comfortable with the texture and time, refrigerate them in a sealed tight jar, or vacuum seal them for future storage.
These things are like candy, but yield a nutritious bite, and if my kids are down with that, I’m down. Give these a try if you are looking for different ideas for dehydrating food. Hope you enjoy!
Scallions and ginger, oh my! OH MY is right. This stuff is something to be reckoned with. I normally have some sort of homemade sauce in my refrigerator, and it’s funny because we just upgraded our refrigerator, and kept our older one, primarily for all of my condiments and sauces. I swear I have an aisle of Asian condiments or ingredients, a variety of barbecue sauces, mustards, and ketchups, only to name a few. My wife is happy now that all of these condiments have their own home. But let’s get to the point. Scallion and ginger oil. Holy Moly this stuff is the bomb diggity. Super simple to make, and trust me, you will be using it on pretty much everything, well, besides chocolate chip pancakes or something along those lines, but that’s your game.
Let’s get started.
2 bunches of scallions, cleaned, and thinly sliced
1 cup of grapeseed oil, warmed
3 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
1 tbsp kosher salt, to taste
2 tbsp soy sauce, to taste
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar, to taste
I say to taste because once the mixture cools down and mixed, add more salt, soy sauce or vinegar to your liking.
Start by heating a pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the oil and let it come to a warm, if not hot temperature. Nothing smoking hot, but something you know is nice and warm.
During this time, get your other ingredients ready.
When the oil is hot, add the scallions, ginger, salt, soy sauce, and vinegar to a bowl.
Pour in the hot oil, and give a good stir. Let it come to room temperature, then taste a bit and adjust any seasoning if necessary.
Trust me when I say this. This stuff rocks. It’s almost the hidden umami that everyone questions when I use it, either on potatoes, omelets, or on grilled meat. It’s that good, and it lasts for weeks in the refrigerator. Don’t judge me on the tomatoes, as I know they are not in season here, but we grilled some meat, had this as a side alongside some rice, and it was amazing. Simple and easy. Go for it and enjoy!
My wife is a big fan of gnocchi. Who isn’t for that matter? I remember when she had some dental surgery done she had to eat some soft food, or heck jello for that matter (which she wasn’t having any part of), so I decided to make her a homemade batch of ricotta gnocchi. She fell in love with it from that day, and so did I. Soft, pillow like dough made from potatoes and a bit of flour, I mean what is not to love and love to make for that matter. So on a recent trip to a store, we saw this package of gnocchi. I typically would never buy something like it, but my wife and I both looked at it and said ‘should we try it?’. This is where the gnocchi alfredo came into play.
Before I was going to make the homemade alfredo sauce, I was really torn to make a sage and brown butter sauce (one my kids totally love), but to me that is a bit seasonal and I had no sage growing as it is winter in Wisconsin. That’s when I knew my kids would love a creamy and cheesy alfredo sauce. They devoured this pasta.
Let’s get started.
1 batch of gnocchi (make your own, or try store bought)
5 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup of milk
3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt, to taste
1 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
Now the gnocchi we tried was from Costco. It was from Maffei, and something we have never tried before. You can try any brand if you want and it is typically found nowadays in your frozen section, or refrigerated pasta section at your grocery store. Again, if you don’t want to go that route, make your own. It’s not difficult, and in all honesty the texture is better when done homemade.
Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. This will take a handful of minutes, so make your alfredo sauce as this is happening. Grab a good spoonful of course salt and add it to your water as well.
Let’s make the sauce.
To another sauce pan, bring it to medium heat and add in your butter. Let that begin to melt, then toss in your garlic. Let that cook a minute or so and once the butter is melted and slightly bubbling, stir in the flour. Mix well so that it forms a nice paste. Cook this for another minute or two but be careful not to overcook the flour. You want a light blonde, if that, for this sauce. Remember, it’s alfredo sauce.
Add in the cream, and milk, and continue to whisk until the flour breaks up, and begins to thicken. Once that sauce begins to thicken, add in the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, and continue to whisk. Lower the heat, and stir occasionally while you add your gnocchi to your boiling, salted water.
This particular gnocchi took about 1 1/2 minutes to cook. Once these babies were floating, I removed with a slotted kitchen spider, let the drain, and added them directly to the alfredo sauce. Once all added, stir them gently into the sauce, and serve family style.
My family devoured this stuff. Creamy, cheesy, garlicky. It was right up everyone’s alley. The store bought gnocchi? Uh, not a big fan but something that was quick to make during a busy work night. The sauce. Make the sauce. Enjoy.
I am a huge fan of Chinese char siu pork. If you have never had it, it is basically a reddish colored pork (primarily from red food coloring which is optional), and perfectly seasoned from things like Chinese five spice and other wonderful ingredients. So this past week, pork ribs were on sale and I knew my kids would love for me to go out into the cold, and smoke some ribs, but that was not about to happen, especially with a lot of people kidding bad colds around these parts. So instead I came up with two batches of ribs, one Chinese char siu style and the other using a rub from Dizzy Pig.
These almost fall apart Chinese char siu pork ribs will have you smacking your lips and licking those fingers.
Let’s get started.
1 rack of pork ribs, membrane removed from the backside
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup of Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
1 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice (a little goes a long way)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh minced ginger
1 tbsp dark Sesame oil
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of ketchup
1 tbsp red food coloring, optional
Cooked Jasmine rice, optional
I know this sounds like a bunch of stuff, but most should be stocked in your household for standard Asian style cooking.
I like to cut my ribs into 4 rib segments so that they fit nicely into a sealable bag.
Start by making the marinade. To a mixing bowl add everything but the honey, ketchup, water, and food coloring.
Give a good mix, then add your ribs to a sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade into the bag, seal, and gently toss the marinade around so it penetrates all of the ribs. Place into your refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. We are going to cook these ribs low and slow, then increase the heat over time.
During this time, take the ribs out and set the bag onto the counter for about 20 minutes or so to take off the chill.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and using tongs, remove the ribs from the bag and let any excess marinade fall into the bag. Reserve the marinade as this is going to cook down with the sauce.
Place the ribs in the oven and cook for about 2 hours. About 1 1/2 hours in, crank the heat to 350 degrees.
Take the reserved marinade and add it to a pot on the stove. Add the water, ketchup, red food coloring, and honey and give a good stir. Cook this on medium-low heat until it has reduced by half, and adjust the heat to low if necessary. This is going to be our glazing mixture to finish the ribs.
Take a look at the ribs. Once they begin to slightly caramelize (you know how you like your ribs), slide the oven rack out so you have access to the baking sheet, and begin brushing on the glaze, all over the ribs. Return back into the oven, cook for a few more minutes, then repeat with the glaze. Keep an eye on them as you do not want the glaze to burn. Repeat this a few times, then once you are satisfied, remove them from the oven, finish with another brushing of the cooked glaze mixture, and plate and serve.
Serve alongside cooked rice, and you have yourself one heck of a meal. If you are looking to jazz up some ribs, and want to go to a great Chinese route, give these a try, I’m almost certain you are going to love them. Hope you enjoy!