Tag Archives: FoodNetwork.com

A Letter to Taylor: No Fail Soup Recipes

My dearest, darling Taylor,

You are so very good at so many things. I know this because we went to college together and were in the same sorority (yes, y’all, Kappa Deltas are ballin’). You write a touching, yet hilarious, blog about motherhood and witty articles in actual publications. And, oh yeah, you’re mom to an adorable little nugget.
Taylor and Wee Connor

Come on. Is there anything cuter?

Look at his delight at the pho. This boy loves soup!

Look at his delight at the pho. This boy loves soup!

Wee Connor loves vegetables and hates bananas. I love Wee Connor.

Wee Connor loves vegetables and hates bananas. I love Wee Connor.

But apparently, dear Taylor, you are not the best at making soup.
IMG_7877
I haven’t tasted your soup. I fear you may be hard on yourself. Cause surely if you can make a human, you can make a soup, right? To be fair, I don’t exactly know how you make humans. It’s in a stock pot, right?
Winter is coming and without soup, you may die in Chicago. So, I’ve got three recipes for easy soup handpicked for you. I could say they’re foolproof, but you ain’t no fool. Friendproof? Eh, I’m still working on that one.
AOT,
Bethany
PS. If anyone else is eavesdropping with their eyeballs, aka eyvesdropping, these recipes will probably not work for you. These will literally only work for Taylor.
This is my Gramma’s recipe for her vegetable beef soup. No Grammas were harmed in the making of this soup. The most time consuming thing is the vegetable choppery. This is soup from an Indiana woman, so you know it’s going to keep you guys warm in the wintertimes. Plus, bonus: it’s delicious.
Say what you will about Rachael Ray (I hate when she calls it EVOO. There I said it.) But some of her recipes are really great. This is one of my favorites. It’s a simple, quick, stick-to-your ribs kind of soup. Plus, it’s easy to double and freezes well for up to 2 weeks.
Don’t be daunted by stock makery. I made the stock, but I had time to make some stock. I think there are places where you can easily take shortcuts. Buy a rotisserie chicken and use that. Buy boxed/canned stock instead of making your own. Would it be better to make your own at home? Eh, maybe. But ain’t nobody got time for that.
For the soup:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows
  • 8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

For the Chicken Stock:
  • 1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
  • 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 2 large white onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 1 turnip, halved
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

Yield: 2 quarts

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Not Clickbait: 74 Reasons to Grill Your Salad

74 Reasons to Grill Your Salad

1. It tastes good.

2. It tastes, like, really good.

3. It’s summer, so that’s a reason.

4. Bon Appetit’s editor said to do it. Bon Appetit is like Oprah. If they say to do it, you should do it.

5. Vegetables are good! Fire is good! Put them together, even better!

6. Salads are good! Grills are good! Put them together, even better!

7. How many do I have left? Oh, for fuck’s sake.

8. You can do all kinds of salads on the grill. Like this sexy lady. Steak and grilled scallions and beets and stuff. A real show stopper. Frankly, I ate most of this myself.

Wut.

Wut.

9. And this one, with my funky fresh friend anchovy paste. Cause funk is good! Salt is good! Put them together, even better!

Uptown funk you up no that was stupid pretend I didn't do that.

Uptown funk you up no that was stupid pretend I didn’t say that.

10. And this salad that I made up with fresh seasonal veggies and eat alongside the world’s largest burger. (If only someone had seen me unhinge my jaw to eat it like the true basilisk that I am.)

Salad and burger, a match made in heaven.

Salad and burger, a match made in heaven.

I also took a picture of it on the grill. I left my shadow in there so you knew i was really taking the picture.

FullSizeRender (1)

11. Ok, that had to be about 70 reasons.

12. Wow. Not there yet? I guess I’ll keep going.

13. It’s this list satire funny yet?

14. What about now?

15. Or now?

16. I love running a joke into the ground til it’s so unfunny that it becomes funny again.

17. Probably isn’t funny again yet.

18. Probably not yet either.

19. The thing is, I’m tired of all the clickbait out there. And I’m tired of the things that pass as journalism. Without perspective or POV or writing style. Or humor.

20. ….it’s a little funny now though, right?

21. The long and the short of it is, the grill adds a different dimension to your veg. Sweetness in corn is amplified tenfold. It adds smoke to everything, but somehow more to asparagus. It adds char. It adds heat and warmth. Suddenly, you have new temperatures to play with as well as textures in your salad.

22. So don’t be afraid to mix it up. You will undoubtably find something excited.

23-73. More grilled salad recipes

74. Eh? Sort of funny?

Grilled Steak Salad with Beets from Bon Appetit

Aioli:

  • ½ cup beef or chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large egg yolk*
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 1 pound tri-tip, New York strip, or skirt steak
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch scallions or ramps
  • 1 bunch spicy greens (such as arugula or mizuna)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 beets, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
For Aioli:
Bring stock to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.Whisk egg yolk and mustard in a bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually add oil, drop by drop at first, until mixture is very thick. Whisk in lemon juice and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Stir in stock.
For Salahd:
Preheat oven to 200°. Prepare grill for medium-high heat (or heat a grill pan over medium-high). Rub steak with cut sides of garlic and 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning several times, until lightly charred and medium-rare (an instant-read thermometer should register 130°), 14–16 minutes. Transfer to a rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.

Meanwhile, toss scallions on another baking sheet with 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning often, until tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to rack with beef and keep warm in oven.

Arrange greens on a platter; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. oil. Toss beets in a bowl with vinegar and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange over greens. Slice steak ½” thick; top greens with scallions and meat. Pour any juices over; season with salt. Serve with aioli.

*Raw egg is not recommended for the elderly, pregnant women, children under 4, and people with weakened immune systems.

Grilled Romaine Salad from FoodNetwork

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Citrus Caesar Vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano

Citrus Caesar Vinaigrette:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons anchovy paste | I used anchovy filets minced.
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions
Preheat a grill to medium-high.

Rinse and pat dry the lettuce. Cut the 2 heads in half lengthwise. Brush surface with olive oil and grill about 4 to 5 minutes total, turning occasionally. Place each wedge on a salad plate and drizzle with Citrus Caesar Vinaigrette or your favorite Caesar dressing. With a vegetable peeler, shave some pieces from a wedge of Reggiano-Parmigiano over each salad and serve.

Citrus Caesar Vinaigrette:
Place all ingredients in a pint jar with a lid. Secure the lid, then shake to blend. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Grilled Corn, Asparagi & Cherry Tomato Salad

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • Cherry Tomatoes on the vine
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Rub corn, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Char on the grill to your desired charification. 6-7 minutes for the corn and asparagus. 3-4 minutes for the tomatoes, until they burst. Toss with the diced onion, drizzle with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Eat it up.

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Welcome 2015: New Year’s Beach

Happy New Year, people.

It’s 2015 and apparently the millennium was 15 years ago. So, there’s that. Fortunately, the Willennium is still going strong and will never, ever end.)

4117PYF1RAL

I was lucky enough to ring in New Year at the beach in North Carolina with friends old and new. It was my second trip to Southport/Oak Island with Anna and Kevin and we BALLED SO HARD.*

*As you all know, ‘balled so hard’ means cooking, eating at restaurants, baking, drinking a few beers, watching movies and antiquing. Wait, what do other people mean when they ball so hard?

Anna is one of my favorite people to cook and eat with because she’s up for anything. (One of the many reasons I love her!) We threw together a delicious feast for New Year’s Eve dinner where everything was so perfect because we’re really amazing cooks and we’re great at everything forever.

If my sarcasm wasn’t coming through there, well, it should’ve been.

We DID throw together a delicious feast for New Year’s Eve. Kevin and his brother-in-law, Marty, grilled some pork tenderloins and shrimp. Anna and I concentrated on making some amazing copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits. I wasn’t going to go to Red Lobster anytime soon, and now, I’ll never need to go again!

Seriously though, the last time I was at a Red Lobster was after the softball Final Four my sophomore year of high school. We’d just lost in the semifinals and we were in the middle of nowhere Florida and the only place to eat was Red Lobster. My dad ordered a baked potato and there was a cockroach BAKED INTO HIS POTATO. He alerted the server, who alerted the manager, who promptly came over and gave my dad some Red Lobster Bucks as an apology. My dad left the Red Lobster Bucks as a tip because THEY DID NOT COMP HIS MEAL. Absurd.

But their biscuits are bomb as hell.

In addition to our biscuits, Anna made some lovely bacon brussels sprouts. And she and I collaborated on a really terrible cake. We had the idea to do a tres leches cakes (that’s three milks, y’all). We found a relatively unfussy recipe from FoodNetwork.com. I won’t go into details, but basically, it overcooked on the outside and didn’t bake AT ALL in the middle. We followed instructions! It was gross.

Redemption came two days later when we made an improvised Cranberry Cake out of ingredients we had in the pantry. We made them as cupcakes, which made us feel like we had the God given right to eat as many of them as possible.

As I mentioned, we BALLED SO HARD by eating at some of the local restaurants. WHAT?!!? WE ARE SO GD RICH WE ARE BASICALLY OPRAH!!!!

The food at the beach is really fun. Obviously a generalization, but it is unpretentious and focused on simple food with big flavor. These three places are terrific and should not be missed on a trip to Southport/Oak Island.

  • Terry’s Barbecue: This is a relatively new barbecue joint and it is the real deal. The chef/owner, Terry, is classically trained and spent years in big city catering. His retirement plan was to open up this tiny barbecue joint and do what he loved. We took it to go, since there isn’t a dining room yet (next spring, they say!) The pulled pork is excellent, served with an North Carolina vinegar sauce as well as a thick, sweet sauce, but the ribs? The ribs are the star of the show. They were smoky and falling off the bone. Go to Terry’s. Don’t tell him I sent you because he does not know who I am.

    Dat barbecue, tho.

  • Loco Jo’s Grill: A trip to the beach isn’t complete until you’ve had Loco Jo’s. It doesn’t make sense to have fish tacos on a menu with shrimp egg rolls, but it’s delicious and somehow all works together. I would’ve taken pictures of my food, but I was too busy eating it. Sue me.
  • Fat Andy’s: This is a wonderful example of food executed perfectly in a no-frills environment. It’s a cash-only place on the side of the road with picnic tables outside. Ain’t nobody got time for indoor seating. This burger was absolutely delicious. Every component was super fresh, served alongside the crispiest fries I’ve ever eaten. Fulton appreciated the fries as much as we did.

IMG_3343 FullSizeRender

At any rate, my first trip back to North Carolina was a great one. It was wonderful to spend time with Anna and Kevin and meet Anna’s sister, Susan, and her husband, Marty. I was also really lucky that my other friend Anna happened to be in town as well. I got to spend one morning hanging out with the Annas drinking bloody Marys and comparing Serial theories. Even more random, I ran into one of my theatre professors at a coffee shop.

2014 was a year of a lot of change for me. It’s been exciting and hard and scary and wonderful and sad, sometimes all at the same time. But it seems that fate was reminding me at the end of the year that even though I’ve physically left my friends, my friends haven’t left me. Sappy though that may sound.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled balling: 2015 style.

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Damn Delicious

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
For the topping:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper, if using.In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together buttermilk and butter. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Gently fold in cheese.

Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop the batter evenly onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. For the topping, whisk together butter, parsley and garlic powder in a small bowl. Working one at a time, brush the tops of the biscuits with the butter mixture.

Serve immediately. Leave no biscuit behind.

Better than the original because you don't have to go into a Red Lobster to eat them!

Better than the original because you don’t have to go into a Red Lobster to eat them!

Cranberry Cake from The Kitchn

Makes one 10-inch springform cake. Alternately: Four 4-cup loaves or 24 to 30 cupcakes.
Ingredients:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature for 1 hour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, optional
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups cranberries (12-ounce bag)

Optional pecan topping | This topping is optional, but should not be dismissed.

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, unroasted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10-inch springform pan (or a collection of smaller pans. This make 10 to 12 cups of batter.)

Use a stand mixer or hand beaters to beat the eggs and sugar until very smooth and increased in volume. If using a stand mixer, beat on medium speed for 4 to 7 minutes, using the whip attachment. If using hand beaters, beat on high speed for 6 to 8 minutes. The egg and sugar mixture will double in volume and turn very pale yellow, leaving ribbons on top of the batter when you lift the beaters.

Beat in the butter, vanilla, and almond extract, if using. Beat for 2 minutes or until the butter is smoothly incorporated.

Use a spatula to fold in the flour, salt, and cranberries. The batter will be quite thick. Spread gently into the prepared pan.

To prepare the optional pecan topping, heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir. Add the pecans and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, until the butter and sugar mixture is shiny and smooth and the nuts are well-coated with the butter and sugar. Spread over the cake batter.

Bake 60 to 80 minutes for the springform. For smaller pans, start checking after 30 minutes, but expect small loaves to take at least 40 minutes. Tent the cake with foil in the last 30 minutes of baking to keep the top from browning (this is especially important for the pecan topping).

Cool for 20 minutes then run a knife around the inside edge of the pan and remove the cake. Cool for an hour before serving.

The cake keeps and freezes well. To store, wrap the fully cooled cake tightly in plastic wrap and leave in a dry, cool place for up to 1 week.

To freeze, wrap the fully cooled cake in plastic wrap and then foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight at room temperature, still wrapped.

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The Luck Of The Irish: Or, How I Made Barbecue on St. Patty’s Day

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. Naturally, I was craving all of my favorite Irish foods: barbecue, cole slaw, and lemon yogurt cake.

Now, before you start throwing you blarney stones at me, I have an EXPLANATION.

The weather on Saturday was damn near flawless. It was 70. I wore flip flops. I wore a tank top. I ate dinner on the patio of a restaurant. ON THE GD PATIO.

And despite the fact that St. Patrick’s Day turned colder and I should’ve been seasonally celebrating the aforementioned St. Patrick, who did…a thing…for which he will always be remembered, I was not craving anything Irish. As much I love some corned beef and cabbage, the only thing Irish I was craving was Tom Branson.

He's dreamy

He’s dreamy.

HASHTAG YUM

Anyways. Warm weather! (That went away and became cold weather!) Delicious barbecue! (That was made indoors and is made of chicken and not porks!)

When you’re needing the south in your mouth (…ew….), who better to turn to than Paula Deen? She seems really nice and also, a little bit terrifying at the same time. Let me prove the terrifying point to you right now.

Um? I’m kind of terrified of Oprah, too.

I rarely crave cole slaw. But when I do, I fiend for it like an extra on The Wire. This recipe is from the Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro, who won Next Food Network Star a few years back. I prefer to think of him coming to his title as Sandwich King by more traditional means, having ascended to the throne of Sandwichlandia when is father finally succumbed to the delicious, yet fatal, pastrami-thelioma.

….that joke sure was a long way to go for a ham sandwich.

EH??!?!?

Never mind.

This sandwich is good. And simple. The sweetness of the barbecue matches up well with the cool (temperature) of the cole slaw, with a tiny heat (spice) from the sriracha. Plus, you can’t go wrong with the earthy flavor of celery seeds. Cause bonus, they WILL always get in your teeth.

I also made this Lemon Yogurt Cake by my best friend Ina Garten. Because, well, she’s great at everything. Everything except making things that are low in fat or calories. In the paragraph about this recipe in Barefoot Contressa at Home, she says that because it has no butter, it’s a lighter version of a lemon cake. Huzzah! The replacement for the butter is whole milk yogurt (healthy!) and vegetable oil (…um….). Plus, it still has plenty of sugar in the cake and essentially two glazes. I’m not convinced it’s any more healthy unless you just want to say “well, there’s NO butter in this cake. Isn’t that marvelous!” But it DOES taste good, especially with a cup of coffee. For breakfast.

HASHTAG BREAKFAST CAKE.

It was a lovely St. Patrick’s Day. Even though I didn’t wear any green. Or eat any colcannon. I’m gonna save that shit for the 4th of July.

Pulled Barbecue Chicken Sandwich, From Pauladeen.com

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 whole-wheat hamburger rolls
  • Coleslaw, optional, but….make that shit mandatory
Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium high heat. Once it shimmers, add the chicken thighs and sear until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in apple cider vinegar; using a wooden spoon stir up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, Worcestershire, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add the chicken back to the pan as well as any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Turn heat to low, cover and cook for 40 minutes.
A simmering

A-simmering

Once chicken is cooked, shred the meat with a fork in the skillet. Toss the meat through the sauce so it’s covered. Divide the pulled meat between 6 hamburger buns. Serve alongside with some coleslaw, if desired.
Barbecue Pulled Chicken and Cole Slaw Sandwich

Barbecue Pulled Chicken and Cole Slaw Sandwich

Three-Tone Power Cole Slaw, From Foodnetwork.com

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 ounces green cabbage, finely shredded | I used a bag of cole slaw mix and supplemented with pre-shredded carrots to get to about 18 ounces of cole slaw matter. Cause I was le tired.
  • 8 ounces red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated

Whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, mustard, Sriracha, sugar and celery seed. Season with salt and pepper.

This is the only slaw picture I took...so enjoy.

This is the only slaw picture I took…so enjoy.

In a large bowl, combine the green cabbage, red cabbage and carrots. Pour over the dressing and mix together. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Lemon Yogurt Cake, From Barefootcontessa.com or Barefoot at Home (copyright 2006)

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 ½ x 4 ¼ x 2 ½-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla.

B.W., Before Whisking

B.W., Before Whisking

Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Cake? Or Murderous Plant from Little Shop of Horrors?

Cake? Or Murderous Plant from Little Shop of Horrors?

Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Finished Cake? Or glazed murderous plant from Little Shop of Horrors?

Finished Cake? Or glazed murderous plant from Little Shop of Horrors?

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Novak family legend says that this rib recipe is why my pops fell for my mom.

If you take a look at the picture below, from 1979, I’m pretty sure he fell for the white pantsuit. Cause how could he not.

MariaandDave79

Sidenote. We know that this picture was taken on a night when my mother was neither cooking nor eating ribs. Cause how could you eat ribs in a WHITE PANTSUIT. Growing up, when we’d have ribs, I’d have to change into painting clothes to eat them. That is not a joke. And still, somehow, I’d wind up with rib sauce like near my ear. What the fuck was I doing with the ribs? Maybe I have a mouth ear… hmm.

Anyways. These ribs are the jam. And I’d been saying I’d make them for my friends Evan and Lauren since the dawn of time for forever for a while and I finally did about a week ago. Only hiccup? Lauren doesn’t eat meat.

CHALLENGE EXTENDED.

AND, ALSO, ACCEPTED.

IN CASE THAT WASN’T CLEAR.

…I WASN’T GOING TO NOT FEED HER FOOD.

Having never even purchased tofu at the grocery store before, I turned to my go to for recipes, FoodNetwork.com and searched “Barbecue Tofu” and was VERY disappointed. On 14 pages of Barbecue Tofu recipes, only 1 was actually barbecue tofu and it was a segment from a Bobby Flay show about barbecue. I lost interest after :12 seconds. And yes, I did actually look at all 14 pages.

So, I bought some firm tofu and just hoped that Lauren could help me. Cause that’s the kind of amazingly well researched fake food blog this is. Thankfully, Lauren learned me good. Which proves that she chose the right profession in becoming a teacher. She typically works with extra firm tofu, but this worked quite well. She taught me the steps to prepare the tofu. But the greatest lesson that she taught me is that the tofu is just a vehicle for sauce. So wise beyond her years…

Ah. The sauce. You guys. This sauce is so good. And frankly, it plays into some more Novak family legend. My mom tells me she got this sauce recipe off a bottle of Prell shampoo. She got the RIB SAUCE RECIPE off a BOTTLE OF SHAMPOO. I’ve tried Googling to verify, but to no avail. Prell doesn’t even exist anymore. Also? I work in advertising. Nowadays, I can’t imagine the hilarious faux (and real) outrage on social media if bumble and bumble came out with a recipe for Southern Fried Pork Chops. (“Um, yeah, hai, are they even organic free range pork chops, bb?”)

But it was the ‘70s. And it was different. I like this recipe even more because there’s a chance you could’ve been reading it in the shower and thought, “huh, this sounds good. After the Rockford Files, I’ll cruise on down to the store and pick up the ingredients to make this!”

I made the sauce the day before and reheated it over low, stirring frequently.When I made it the day ahead, I put it on some chicken wings that I did in the oven (400 for 45 minutes. Boom. Easy.)

Sauce

If you’re having ribs, you’ve got to have them with some sort of potato (duh…it’s AMERICA) and you’ve got to have some cole slaw.

I made my internet friend Phoebe Lapine’s sweet potato fries. Phoebe is rull cool. Lives in New York, cookbook author, and private chef. Just competed on BBCA’s Chef Race. I might have shed a tear when she got eliminated. Check out her blog Feed Me Phoebe. Phoebe and I share a love for French fries which makes me think that we’d be friends IRL cause we’d talk about all the different things we’d dip French fries into over cocktails. “Aioli IS underrated,” we’d laugh! And then cheers and order another plate of fries while discussing the pros and cons of beer ketchup.

This recipe for gluten free sweet potato fries is amazing–tasty and easy. In fact, the hardest part is not chopping your fingers off when you are cutting the sweet potato. Seriously, you will want to/try to chop your fingers off. But don’t. It’s not a good idea, even though it seems like one at the time.

For all of my mom’s prowess at the shampoo rib sauce (please note: not made of actual shampoo), I grew up on Marzetti cole slaw dressing. So it’s not too hard to beat, even if it’s just a simple introduction of some acid in the form of apple cider vinegar. And bonus, for those on Weight Watchers, this is only 3 points per serving. Boom.

I was worried about using all one oven to get everything done: the fries go in at 450, the ribs usually go in at 350, the tofu goes in at I have no idea what temperature….700? Is that what it is for tofu? And I am fairly certain that you do not need to bake the cole slaw. (That one WAS a joke, y’all.) I just kept an eye on the ribs to make sure they looked ok. And nothing burned! Well. Some of the rib sauce that hit the sheet tray and burned, causing the smoke alarm to go off. Twice. Causing Evan to look really cool to dissipate the heat from around the smoke alarm.

Ev

Everything tasted really good, though. And I didn’t wind up with rib sauce by my ear. Small victories! I did wind up with some on my pants, though. And I almost knocked over my wine. But the piece de resistance was when I made my delicious plate and then dropped it right on the floor. I guess some things never change. I should’ve worn my paint clothes over.

Floor Ribs

Maria’s Famous Ribs, from a bottle of Prell Shampoo in the 1970’s

For the sauce:

  • 2 cups of ketchup
  • 1 bottle of Heinz chili sauce
  • 8 TB of brown sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup of yellow mustard
  • 8 t. of Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of garlic salt
  • thin slices of lemon (1 lemon)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan or small pot. Bring to boil for 10-15 minutes.

You can use immediately, cool and freeze or cool and refrigerate for use in the next few days.

For the ribs:

  • 1 rack of ribs | My mom says a butcher once told her that it doesn’t really matter which cut you get: babyback vs. spare ribs. The grocery store only had babyback and beef ribs and well, there’s no reason to eat beef ribs unless you don’t eat pork ribs. These babyback ribs were quite tender.

Cut the ribs into sections. (I like to go for 3 ribs per section.) Parboil the ribs in salted water for 45-60 minutes. Check for tenderness. Preheat oven to 350. Drain and pat excess moisture off. Baste ribs with sauce and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Plate of Ribs

For the tofu version:

  • 1 package of extra firm tofu

Drain. Cut into cross-wise. Press excess moisture out with a paper towel. Using oil or cooking spray, pan fry until golden and firm, roughly 10-12 minutes.

Place tofu in baking dish and cover with sauce. Bake for 15 minutes at 350, or until heated through.

Baked Tofu

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Rosemary, from Feed Me Phoebe

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, rosemary, salt, and paprika until well incorporated.

Before Fries

Arrange the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet in an even layer. Take care to give them some space and not overcrowd the pan. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, redistributing once during the cooking process, until browned and crispy. Allow to cool slightly – they will get even crisper and firmer as they come to room temperature.

After Fries

Simply, Skinny Crunchy Slaw, from Skinny Kitchen with Nancy Fox

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup Nancy’s Skinny Ranch Dressing or reduced-fat mayonnaise | I did Duke’s reduced fat mayo here.
  • 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar

In a large bowl add shredded cabbage and carrots. In a small bowl whisk together reduced-fat mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar.

Refrigerate the cabbage, carrots and dressing until ready to serve.  Do not toss together until ready to eat.

Whole Shebang

Maria’s Shampoo Ribs, Phoebe’s Fries and Skinny Cole Slaw

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