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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Instant Pot Pork Ribs

Instant Pot Pork Ribs

I love to cook ribs low and slow, then grill them with BBQ sauce to make them crisp and flavourful.  But slow roasting the ribs in the oven takes hours.  You can get the same tender results in the Instant Pot in minutes! 

Instant Pot Pork Ribs

I normally make at least two racks of ribs in the oven, since it takes so much time and effort, but with this method, I can justify making just one rack for a weeknight dinner.  I never thought I'd have homemade ribs on a weeknight!

Instant Pot Pork Ribs

I use a homemade spice rub when I make ribs, but you can season them any way you like.  Montreal Chicken seasoning is great for ribs.  

Instant Pot Pork Ribs

In the Instant Pot you need to use the rack to cook ribs.  You also need some liquid for pressure cooking.  I used chicken stock this time, but apple juice, cider or beer would be great!

Instant Pot Pork Ribs

For tender ribs, cook on Manual for 21 minutes.  It will take about 40 minutes when you include time to build up and release the pressure.  Still reasonable for a weeknight dinner!

You can spread the ribs with your favourite BBQ sauce and serve when they come out of the Instant Pot, but I like to crisp them up on the grill.  

Instant Pot Pork Ribs

Here's the recipe:

1 rack spare ribs
2 tablespoons spice rub (see recipe below, or make/buy your own)
1 cup chicken stock, apple juice, beer or cider
BBQ sauce

Rub ribs all over with spice rub
Place rack in Instant Pot
Add stock, juice or beer to pot
Place ribs on rack in pot
Seal Instant Pot lid
Set Instant Pot to 21 minutes on Manual setting
Once done, let pressure release naturally
Grill or broil ribs, brushing with BBQ sauce until crisp

BBQ Spice Rub
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all spices together and store in a sealed container. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Homemade Limoncello

Homemade Limoncello

I love making homemade liqueurs. It's not always cheaper than buying them in the liquor store, but it is lots of fun, and you can make them to your own taste, in the amounts you need. 

This homemade Limoncello is bracingly strong and tart, and not too sweet.   

lemon in cheesecloth

I used this method to make Limoncello by suspending a whole lemon wrapped in cheesecloth over vodka to vaporize the lemon oils without muddying the flavour. 

homemade limoncello

I used a high-proof vodka, but you can use any clean-flavoured vodka you enjoy.  I don't believe there's a lot of taste difference between top-shelf and lower-end vodkas, so use what you like. 

I'm not usually terribly picky about using organic produce, but for this I highly recommend finding organic lemons. Everything in the lemon skin will go into the liqueur, including any pesticides lingering there.  If you can't get organic, scrub them very well before using. 

Bundle the lemon into cheesecloth and tie it with a length of twine, leaving a long string to suspend the lemon over the vodka.

homemade limoncello

I used only a cup of vodka to make about 375mL of liqueur, but you can easily double the recipe using two lemons if you have a large enough jar to suspend them without touching the vodka.  

Pour the vodka into a wide-mouth jar, suspend the lemon above and wrap the string around the mouth of the jar until it holds on its own.  Then put a lid on the jar. 

homemade limoncello

Label it! Then put it in a cool cupboard for a month.  

When a month has passed, you'll see condensation on the jar.  That's the alcohol drawing out the flavour from the lemon peel.

homemade limoncello

Remove the lemon in cheesecloth and discard it.  Make a simple syrup by heating water and sugar.  Once the sugar is dissolved, add the zest of one new, fresh organic lemon and let it steep for 15 minutes.

homemade limoncello

Mix the syrup and lemon peel with the vodka and let it sit for another 30 minutes.

homemade limoncello

Strain the liqueur into a bottle and discard the lemon peels. I used an old gin bottle and my awesome husband made this cute label for the bottle.

Homemade Limoncello is great to give as a gift, and there's still enough time to make a batch before Christmas! 

It is great served over ice, mixed with prosecco, or in a cocktail. 

Here's the recipe.  Cheers!

2 organic lemons
1 cup (250mL) vodka
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

large wide-mouth jar with lid
peeler or paring knife to peel lemon

Place vodka in a large, wide-mouth jar.
Wrap 1 lemon in cheesecloth and tie string around the top to secure it. Wrap the string around the mouth of the bottle to suspend the lemon over the vodka.  Make sure the lemon doesn't touch the vodka. 
Put the lid on the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks.
Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan. Peel the second lemon, avoiding the white pith.  Once the sugar has dissolved in the water, add the lemon peel to the syrup and let cool for 15 minutes. 
Mix the lemon syrup with the vodka and let sit for 30 minutes.
Strain the Limoncello and keep, refrigerated in a pretty bottle or give as a gift.