• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

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    Bison Ribs, and the Many, Many Things We Did with Them

    One of our other awesome purchases from the CIA this past weekend were buffalo ribs. They were unbelievably huge. My friend Terri leant us her smoker, and we lightly smoked the ribs before finishing them in the oven and with a vinagery Carolina style BBQ sauce.

    We did all sorts of things with the ribs. I diced some and made an awesome, super meaty chili that I froze for cooler weather. I couldn’t resist posting this picture of Matt eating a rib whole – it gives a great idea of just how huge they were! Despite the fierce look on his face he’s so happy!

    Then, on Matt’s request, I shredded some of the meat and put it inside my steamed buns. These buns take a little bit of effort, so they are great when you have a really good (really flavorful) cut of meat leftover and are looking for something different to do with them. Many Asian countries have their own version of these buns – mine sort of crosses the Chinese with the Indonesian – the result is fluffy and delicious. The dough also holds up well to freezing so you can make a big batch and save some balls of dough for future use. The longer they can rise, the fluffier they will be, and on this lazy Labor Day weekend I let them rise for over an hour in a bowl, then an hour rolled into balls, and another 30 minutes with the filling inside before steaming them. Matt and I dream of having a stand selling different flavors of these at the Farmer’s Market using only local products!

    It was a delicious (and deliciously long) weekend.


    Glazed Beef Spare Ribs with Sweet and Spicy Cucumbers

    So after eating massive quantities of pork due to my impulse purchase of a 6# shoulder, we figured we’d keep it light for the next few days. That is, until we saw an incredible rack of beef spare ribs at the market on a wicked special. Naturally, we couldn’t resist. Yes, I was aware as I walked out of the store that I probably didn’t need to eat more meat for dinner. Did I care? No.

    While Matt was at work, I rubbed the ribs down with some spices. Then before I put them in the oven, I glazed them with a glaze of vinegar, tomatoes, sriracha, and more spices. After they were rubbed and glazed, I put the ribs in the oven for about 2 hours at a low temperature. You could also grill them (yum) or leave them in the oven for up to four hours, which will leave the meat melt-in-your mouth and falling off of the bone.

    Giant Burritos with All the Fixins!

    There are two parts to this story.

    1. I don’t generally love chain restaurants. Sure, I am the occasional patron, but you’d be hard-pressed to find me frequenting the fast food or family-style restaurants that crowd every town’s restaurant landscape. But as with everything, there is one (huge) exception. Chipotle. Oh, how I miss Chipotle. In my hometown, there was one very near my house, and another one on the edge of town – both working to satisfy my gigantic burrito needs. But there is no Chipotle in Hyde Park or it’s surrounding cities. It was a devastating blow to my college years.

    2. Funny things happen when you’re jetlagged. Usually, I am dead tired upon returning from a trip of some magnitude and I lounge in bed and struggle to get through the first week as I readjust to reality and my new time zone. But I think I was so used to operating on very little sleep on my European trip, that normal sleeping hours in bed have confounded me. The first night we were home, Matt and I slept at about midnight and found ourselves wide awake at 5:30 a.m. The next day, it was 6:00, and so on. As we strolled the aisles of the grocery store (the only thing to do anywhere at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning), we realized that by shopping for a meal this early, we could do something I hardly ever do on the apartment kitchen – slow cooking techniques. This defies one of the rules I try to abide by – it is not QUICK. But, it’s so incredibly easy that I believe it cancels it out.

    It’s the perfect kind of thing to do on a Sunday. Dry rub some ribs, and stick them in the oven at a low temperature, and leave them alone. Then shred the meat, layer it with toppings, and you have one very happy reproduction.