Tag Archives: Betty Hahn

Smoked Ribs, a Tribute to the Zü

Christian and I don’t eat a lot of meat these days. We’re not vegetarians, but we are recovering graduate students and meat lightens our pockets more quickly than vegetables do. During my senior year of college, I lived in a vegetarian COOP called “the Zü.”  Initially, I was non-too-pleased about the idea of eating meat just once a week. (I’m from the Midwest, where the main food groups are meat and potatoes and sweet corn is considered a “vegetable.”) However, I am forever grateful to my “crunchy granola” housemates for teaching me that vegetarian food doesn’t have to taste like cardboard and leave you severely malnourished. They helped me re-imagine my dinner plate. Vegetables went from being “side dishes” flanking over-portioned hunks of animal protein, to center plate all-stars laced with flavor and accented by lesser-known proteins, like lentils, peanuts, black beans, chickpeas, yogurt, eggs, and quinoa.

Look at all us hippies!

On the rare occasion that we cooked meat at the Zü – about once a month – the meal took on ritualistic proportions. We savored every moment of the process, from prep to first bite. Meatlovers would come out of the woodwork, following the wafting scents into the kitchen.

Peeling crawfish in the Zü kitchen

In loving memory of those nights in the Zü kitchen with barbeque slow-cooking in the oven, I decided to smoke some ribs…

St. Louis-style ribs from WFM

Christian and I bought these ribs from Whole Foods Market. It was an impulse buy; we were cruising past the meat counter, and these babies caught our eye. One look at each other and there was a mutual understanding that this meat needed to be in our bellies and not behind a glass counter.

Rubbed ribs

A nice trick learned from Tyler Florence (TFlo)…Mix lime juice, water, and white vinegar, add to BBQ rub of choice to form a paste that will adhere to the ribs and create a thick, savory crust when cooked. Caution: be sure your BBQ rub isn’t overly salty. We learned that the hard way.

Cedar planks courtsey of Betty Hahn

First, I placed the ribs over soaked cedar planks to protect them from the hot coals. They cooked this way for about 30 minutes.

Smokin'

When the ribs were nearly cooked through, I threw the wet planks on top of the coals and placed the ribs on the hot grate.

We bought this grill for $25 off some grad students

I covered the grill and let the ribs smoke for another 10 minutes or so. Then I took the lid off and fed the fire, which created a good charred crust on the meat.

Deliciousness.

Isn’t that beautiful???

My first ribs

Helloooooo ribs!!!

Man eats rib.

Satisfied husband = Mission accomplished

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Filed under Dinner, Food, Nostalgia

Sustenance: a Week in Review

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On Monday, we woke early, had an early breakfast, and Sarah went for a long bike ride. When she returned home at 10:30 a.m., she was already hungry for lunch. While an early start makes for a more productive day, it wreaks havoc on a regular meal schedule. It was 2:30 p.m. and already her tummy was growling. Perhaps it was the warm, humid air that swept through Austin that day, or perhaps it was because HEB had mangos on sale for $0.50 each. Whatever the reason, a mango lassi sounded like a really, really good idea. Two mangoes, a cup of Greek yogurt, a splash of milk, and a bit of honey later…sayonara hunger pangs!

On Tuesday, we were determined to use the Napa cabbage that had been sitting in our fridge since the last CSA pickup. In the past, it had sadly gone to waste as uneaten coleslaw. Inspired by a recent visit to The Peached Tortilla (thanks Betty Hahn for the gift card), we decided to make our own kimchi (a fermented Korean cabbage, similar to sauerkraut, but spicier and sweeter…a great topper for just about any sandwich-like food). The jury is still out on whether or not this will be safe to eat. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to this risky culinary endeavor!

For Wednesday dinner, Christian made Tawainese-style Three Cup Chicken with Thai basil and red chiles. Sarah, at first skeptical of all food that appears to be Chinese take-out, soon concluded that the meal surpassed her expectations. In the end, we dubbed the meal “Thunder Thighs with Terrible Rice.” Why such a strange name you might ask? Sarah purposely didn’t follow the cooking instructions for making arborio rice, thus making it “terrible” in the eyes of an Italian chef, but “just right” for our purposes. The “Thunder Thighs” portion of the name originated from the fact that we were making chicken thighs, while listening to an “Earth Sky” segment on the radio (yes, we are nerds). Apparently, paleontologists (our fellow nerds) had recently discovered a new species of dinosaur and appropriately named it “Thunder Thighs.”

On Thursday night, we had to catch a meeting at The Canine Center about dogs and babies (don’t get any ideas, yet!). Having no time to fix a meal, we zapped our Thunder Thighs and Terrible Rice in the microwave and scooted off to our meeting.

Friday night Sarah whipped up some Red Lentil Soup that she read about in a recent edition of Food & Wine. Apparently, it’s a recipe inspired by the red lentil soup at Soup Cycle – a soup delivery service in Portland, Oregon that brings your order to you on a bicycle!

This morning (Saturday) we breakfasted on Beet Cakes (thanks Stefanie Leacock for the recommendation!) and Ginger Lemongrass Sodas. Not bad for a couple of kids sans culinary degrees.

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