Sticky Rice with Spicy Thai Dipping Sauce

If you like something that is truly spicy, tangy, and packed with flavor, you must try this sauce. It is so easy to make and is compatible with barbecue and rice. This recipe takes very little time to make, so lets get started.

Ingredients:

1-2 cups Thai Sticky Rice
1-6 Thai Peppers (depends on how hot you want it)
4 TB Sugar
1 Lime
3 cloves of garlic
3-6 TB Fish Sauce
Soak the rice overnight in a bowl of water. This softens the rice and shortens the time to steam. When the rice is ready, rinse the rice and place in a bamboo steamer. The steamer can be found at your local asian market for under eight dollars. Cover and let steam for nearly 10-15 minutes per side. I say side because you will want to remove the bamboo steamer and knock it against the counter as to loosen the rice. Then you can toss it so it flips over. Sounds difficult, it is not. Continue steaming the other side for ten minutes.

During the time the rice is cooking, chop your other ingredients and place in a serving bowl and mix well. Feel free to taste as you go along. If it is too salty, add more sugar or lime juice.

When the rice is ready. Take the ball out and place it on a cutting board as you will want to flatten it out a bit and begin to fan it, as to cool the rice. I purchased a bamboo container that I can cover the rice for four dollars.

Keep in mind that the rice should be served warm and cannot be saved for leftovers. 🙁

Our kids love rolling the rice into little balls, (we do not let them eat the sauce), making shapes, and then eating.

Enjoy.

Spiced Chicken and Mozzarella Panino

ChickenNearly six months ago, a wonderful appliance was added to our kitchen, the panini maker. The panino is an Italian sandwich which is commonly filled with meat, cheese, or other food, and typically served hot. Since the panini maker has been in our house, we attempt to enjoy paninis at least once a week, basically because they are so easy to make and take a very short time to cook. Some of our favorites are ham and swiss cheese, turkey and gouda cheese, ham, egg, and cheese, and now the spiced chicken and fresh mozzarella.

I started by pounding by butterflying two chicken breasts and pounding them slightly . I then seasoned them well with fresh cracked pepper, sea salt, basil, and olive oil. Once the breasts are done marinating, I threw them on the grill. While the chicken was nearing completion, I placed a slab of fresh mozzarella cheese onto each breast and let it warm through for a few minutes, then removed them from the grill.

PaninoI plugged in the panini maker and waited for the warming process, which only takes 4-5 minutes. During this time, I took out some rustic Italian bread (the bread is extremely important) from the freezer. I use a brand called Turano which appears to be local to the Midwest. Laying down a medium sized piece of bread on the maker, I then added a thin slice of fresh mozzarella cheese to that, then the chicken breast, then another piece of bread. Slowly close the panini maker and apply some pressure. I hold it down for a minute or so, then began to make a fresh tomato, cucumber, and mozzarella salad with olive oil. Once the sandwich had some nice grill marks, I took it off and plated.

I hope you enjoy this sandwich as must as we did!

I want my baby back baby back, baby back ribs

Our anniversary was last night. Six years. It’s been fun thus far, trust me. We decided to stay around the house this year, so with that in mind, of course my first question was, ‘What would you like me to make for dinner?’. The response was, how about some appetizers and some wine? That was a remarkable idea, however nothing was coming up to mind that would allow a variety of appetizers without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Rib PlatterMy solution started by baby back ribs, egg rolls (as we wrapped plenty), stuffed mushrooms, homemade french fries, and a cucumber and tomato salad with olive oil. My main focus in this post however is the ribs.

I started by using my rub to generously season both sides. Once the season is in place, get your hands the ribs and really rub the seasoning into the meat. I then place ribs in a ziplock bag and used about 3 tablespoons of sherry cooking wine added to the bag. I rubbed everything in together, sealed the bag, put it in the fridge, and forgot about it for a while. Actually, every time I opened the fridge I took a peak, and my mouth began to water.

rib seasonedI planned on putting these on the grill a bit later, however in the meantime, I preheated the oven to 325 degrees, and placed the ribs on a pan, foil on the bottom, and covered with foil. These cooked in the oven for 1 hour. I took them out, and let sit until I was ready for the grill, approximately a hour later. The ribs were still warm when the foil was uncovered.

rib grilledThe grill was set to around 350. I placed the ribs on the grill and seared them on both sides. I then lowered the heat and let the sugars from the rub and the ribs begin to caramelize. I love this process. You can almost begin to visualize the meat falling off the ribs. I continued to flip these every fifteen minutes or so for approximately 45 – 60 minutes.

Upon completion, I decided to add some Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce. This stuff was phenomenal. It was a perfect blend of sweet and spice. I like to add my sauce towards the end, still on low heat. I coated the ribs throughout the cooking process around 3 times, then removed them off the grill, served with egg roll, salad, and fresh fries.

In the words of my lovely wife of six years “these are the best ribs I have ever had”. We did not say a whole over dinner, there were lots of ‘ummmmms, ahhhhhs’ which to me always means that the food is really good.

Everyone has their recipe for good ribs, but my philosophy is this:

  • Use a rub and let it set in for hours
  • Slow cook ahead of time before searing and slow cooking on the grill
  • Choose the right sauce

It’s All in the Rub

Whenever you are cooking, especially on the grill, there is one thing that I think you should always use. Rub. Rub is so versatile that you can sprinkle some on vegetables, eggs, and plenty of other food, however because of the word ‘Rub’, I do just that. I rub my meat(s) generously. The all American rub that I have been using is really simply to make and trust me, it is pretty killer.

Ingredients include:

  • 1/3 cup course salt
  • 1/4 packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

As you can tell by these ingredients, it is going to be great.
Store these in air tight containers for up to 6 months. Typically this rub could be used with 5-10 pounds of meat.

You could be creative as well and in a creative container give these as gifts. Stay tuned for my Rib recipe which blew the socks of my wife. It’s a good one.