Spicy Ribs

I don’t know what it is – I LOVE tinkering with ribs and my family loves eating them.  All of you will be emailing me your thanks after one taste.  One year I made these for Easter and nobody missed the traditional ham.

6 lbs. spare ribs – (if using more, double rest of ingredients)
1 cup apple cider vinegar

Sauce (tone down the hot spices a bit if it seems too hot for you)

1 cup water
1 cup ketchup
1 cup chli sauce
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. celery seed
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. hot pepper flakes
2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup hot sauce

Get out a large pot and place the ribs into it (you will probably have to slice them into small slabs) then fill pot with cold water to cover.  Add 1 cup cider vinegar to the water, bring to a boil then cover slightly and simmer for one hour, stirring them once in a while.

Half-way through simmering time, preheat your oven to 325 degrees, and get ready 2 baking pans with at least 2″ sides; position your oven racks to accomodate these 2 pans. Now make the sauce. . .

Place all the sauce ingredients into a large bowl, whisk well to combine then spread half into each of pans.  When simmering is completed, using tongs, remove the ribs and divide between the 2 pans, turning ribs to coat completely in the sauce. Place in the oven – uncovered – for 30 minutes; turn the ribs, alternate pans in the oven, then cook 30 minutes longer.

Pass the napkins.

Baked Ham

Another ham recipe in my repertoire that you must try.

1 head garlic, no need to peel
1/2 cup scallions – optional
1 large bunch chives
2 Tbsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. dried rosemary
1 8-10 pound fresh ham
2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 – 1 cup water
1 14-1/2 oz. can chicken broth

Preheat your oven to 350, rinse and pat dry ham then place in roaster in pan onto counter at least 30 minutes while your oven preheats. Make 2-inch deep slits all over ham. Place all ingredients up to the broth in a food processor or blender and whirl to a paste. Stuff 1/2 of this mixture into the slits as best you can and then pat it lightly over the ham, set the other half aside for now.

Bake, uncovered, for about 90 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees, add the broth to the pan and bake uncovered for another hour. Pat the remaining paste over the ham, cover the pan tightly with foil and continue to roast it for another 2 hours or until done, checking, adding a cup or two of water as necessary, and basting only occasionally.

Remove from oven and let rest about 10 minutes before serving.

Hot Cross Buns

Delicious anytime.

1 cup milk
1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) dry yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
4 cups flour – all purpose or bread
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/3 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter – at room temperature
2 large eggs – at room temperature
Icing Glaze:

3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp. milk or half-n-half, or cream

In a small bowl, warm the milk to about 100 degrees. Add the yeast and the 1/2 tsp. sugar – whisk or stir; set aside for 10 minutes – the yeast gets foamy during this time.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, place the flour, brown sugar, all the spices, and stir. Add yeast mixture and beat together. One at a time at the eggs beating well after you add each. Gradually add the butter and mix it very well – until the dough comes together. Don’t get discouraged at this point, sometimes it looks like a sticky blob, but then you dump it out onto a a well-floured counter top and knead it for about 5 minutes. It comes together very nicely. Knead it into a ball. Lightly grease a large bowl, place the dough ball in, and turnover to make sure both side are greased. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm spot until it’s doubled its size – this takes about 90 minutes.

When dough is ready, take it out of the bowl onto a very lightly floured surface and punch it down. Roll it out into a long log-type shape and divide it into about 12 pieces. (You can pinch off 12 pieces from the dough ball if you want to. I use the log method because it works best for me for measuring purposes). Form each of the balls into a nice smooth ball and place on a baking sheet that you have lined with parchment paper or a very lightly greased sheet pan (parchment paper is a very good investment). Cover this with plastic wrap that you’ve lightly sprayed with cooking spray – to avoid sticking – and place in a warm spot for 30 minutes. Your best bet is to preheat your oven now to 400 degrees then place the tray on top of that for 30 minutes.

With a small, sharp knife, make an “X” into the top of each bun. Place baking sheet in oven and bake for about 20 minutes – they will be nicely browned. Place on a rack to cool.

Make the glaze by whisking/mixing both the sugar and milk together in a medium bowl. Pipe the “X” onto each bun or you can ice as you wish.

Lemonade Muffins

What a springtime muffin!

2 cups flour
5 Tbsp. white sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup thawed, frozen lemonade concentrate from a 6oz. can
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter
1 large egg

Glaze Topping:
1/4 reserved lemonade concentrate
1/4 cup white sugar

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease the bottoms only (use something like Pam spray) of 12 muffin cup tin.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, powder and salt. In a separate bowl combine the lemonade, milk, butter and egg and beat with a fork or whisk to blend. Pour the lemonade mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a fork only until the dry ingredients are moistened. If you feel like you have to mix it more, now’s the time to stop!

Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake until golden brown and the toothpick test is clean – this takes about 20 minutes. Pop them out of pan immediately and place right side up on a rack. Poke 4 holes into each muffin and then spoon the glaze over each.

To Make the Glaze Topping:
Combine both ingredients in a small pan and heat until sugar dissolves.