Thursday, July 10, 2014

Grilled Teriyaki Spareribs & Crunchy Napa Cabbage Slaw


Growing up in the Seattle area you take a few things for granted - the incredible sushi, the lack of a need to wear sunscreen, and teriyaki joints on every corner. You might say that teriyaki shops are like barbecue shacks in the south, they are everywhere and you can get a decent meal at any of them (even if you have just one you're loyal to). Typically you get a few pieces of slightly charred crispy, teriyaki sauce glazed chicken thighs over white rice with a small iceberg salad. Simple food at its finest. 

Whenever I feel homesick teriyaki is the thing I crave. When I started helping my mom cook 'chicken teriyaki' was one of my go-to dinner meals. It wasn't very glamorous - just chicken breasts slathered in store bought teriyaki and served with some veggie over rice.  Lately I've even been craving teriyaki A LOT and so I started tinkering with making my own teriyaki sauce


I finally dusted off the grill this week (I know - its already the middle of July), which I think might be just the thing for perfecting the teriyaki joint style chicken, but ribs were crazy on sale post 4th of July - so I gave both spare ribs and baby backs a lick with my now-go-to teriyaki sauce. The spareribs won by a long shot for me - I think they're fatter nature made kept them juicer and gave more room for saucing. 

Rib purist might contend that you should grill or smoke the ribs first and then finish in the oven, but I find the technique below easier for a week night dinner or entertaining with kids. You can do a lot of the work the night or afternoon before and then just it takes just a few minutes to finish the ribs on the grill.  


Grilled Teriyaki Spareribs 
makes 4 to 6 servings 

2 tablespoons kosher salt 
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder 
1 teaspoon black pepper 
5 pounds spareribs, sliver skin removed
 
Combine the salt, sugar, garlic powder, and pepper in a small bowl. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, be sure to leave enough overhang to wrap the ribs. Rub the ribs evenly on both sides with the salt mixture, cover with the aluminum foil, and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes. 

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roast the ribs for 11/2 to 2 hours or until they are fork tender. While the ribs are cooking prepare the teriyaki sauce. 


Teriyaki Sauce*  
makes about 2 cups 

1 cup low sodium soy sauce
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, grated 
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger 

Combine the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic and ginger in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced by 1/3 and slightly thickened (it will continue to thicken as it cools). Remove from the heat and cool while preparing the grill. 



Heat a grill to medium high heat. When the ribs are tender, remove from the oven and cool for about 30 minutes before slicing. Grill the ribs for 2-3 minutes per side and bast with teriyaki sauce as they cook. The teriyaki sauce will caramelize on the ribs, so don't be put off by the dark color of the finished ribs. Serve with additional Teriyaki Sauce and sesame seeds, if desired.

Both the rib roasting and the sauce making can be done up to two days in advance. Cool the ribs before refrigerating and slice just before grilling - the heat of the grill will be more than enough to reheat the ribs. 


Crunchy Napa Cabbage Slaw 
makes 4 to 6 servings 

for the maple-soy dressing: 
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce 
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup 
1 tablespoon sesame oil 
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger 

for the slaw: 
1 small head of napa cabbage, about 1 pound, thinly sliced 
4 medium carrots, sliced into long strips with a vegetable peeler
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leave 
1/4 chopped chives 
1/4 cup sesame seeds 
2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted  

My friends at OXO sent over this Little Salad Dressing Shaker and I'm kind of obsessed with it. You can measure dressing ingredients right into it and the spout is perfect for dressing this Napa Cabbage Slaw.
Combine the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, and ginger in a small lidded container - such as OXO's Little Salad Dressing Shaker or a canning jar - and shake to combine. Taste and season with additional salt, as desired. 

Toss cabbage, carrots, mint, chives, and sesame seeds together in a large bowl. Add about have the dressing, toss, and taste. Let the slaw marinate for about 30 minutes before serving. Add the almonds just before serving. 

*You can absolutely use store-bought teriyaki sauce for this recipe - you will need at least 1 cup for basting. 

**OXO provided products for this post - including Little Salad Dressing Shaker, the Silicone Basting Brush, the 16" inch tongs (which are killer for the grill BTW). For more on their #What a Grill Wants series be sure to follow OXO on twitter. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

JUST A TIP | Cheap + Easy Flavored Water


An outtake from this cocktail, er, drink shoot led to a wonderful discovery: It doesn't take more than a few scraps to make infused water. 

We are all so accustomed to seeing photos of fresh sliced fruit in frosty pitchers - that we think we need the freshest, most delicious fruit to make something refreshing. Nah - just throw your citrus ends, strawberry tops, heck even cucumber peel into water and let them infuse for a few hours. Cheap and easy flavored water - ok that might not be pinterest worthy but will keep you hydrated this summer. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thirsty Thursday | Vanilla Lemon-Limeade


This week's installment of 'lets pretend this drink is a cocktail" looks a lot like lemonade. It also looks a lot like the only non-water or coffee thing I want to drink right now. Vanilla Lemon-Limeade is a dressed up version of that ubiquitous summer sipper.



I had a crazy crazy pregnancy for lemonade and there wasn't even time to let sugar dissolve. Luckily I had some vanilla simple syrup on hand (I use it for iced coffee, because I'm fancy…) so I threw that into some lemon juice and water. My crazy pregnant mind was blown.


Turns out lemon and lime (and citrus in general) is pretty awesome for pregnant ladies. Besides being loaded with vitamin C, citrus may help with nausea and aid digestion for mamas-to-be. Sometimes I wish the same were true for Champagne.  Still this Vanilla Lemon-Limeade feels like a fancy cocktail in my hand while I'm drinking it.


Both the vanilla and lime juice cut the acidity of the lemon juice - making this ade taste softer and sweeter than traditional lemonade. You can use all lemon juice, if thats what you're craving!


Vanilla Lemon Limeade 
Makes 1 1/2 quarts

1 cup Vanilla Simple Syrup, recipe follows
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 quart water
pinch of salt
Ice, lemon and lime slices to garnish

Combine syrup, citrus juices, water and salt and chill for at least an hour before serving.

Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup 
Makes 3 cups

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped


Combine the sugar, water and vanilla bean in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cool completely before using.