Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What's for dinner: ribs, chard, potato salad, chocolate cake experiment

The ribs that I mentioned in my last post look and taste like they may be the best ones I’ve ever done. The mustard baste is a nice counterpoint to the brown sugar, smoked paprika, coriander, and cumin in the rub. They are still in the warming oven, waiting for Dave to get home, but I of course have had a little taste – quality control, you know. I put them in the oven before 7 this morning at 250 degrees, and they were already tender at 11.

I had chard from the farm, the kind with pink and yellow and orange stems. I wanted to sauté it in bacon fat, but didn’t have any on hand. But I came up with what I think is a clever solution. I have chunk bacon in the freezer, as I make my own and only slice it as we need it. I used my coarse Microplane to grate a couple of tablespoons of fluffy frozen bacon fat into the pan, then added onions and the chopped chard stems to that and cooked it until the onion was translucent. Then I put in the shredded chard leaves. Worked quite well; we’ll see what Dave thinks.

Cooking potatoes for potato salad was a puzzle I’ve been trying to solve for a while: boil the potatoes whole, then peel and chunk while hot and toss with vinegar, cube the potatoes and boil them and drain them, or what. Today I settled on red potatoes, skin on, cubed and steamed. Then I was able to drizzle cider vinegar over them while they were still in the steamer. I like the results. As I’ve said before, I am kind of a purist when it comes to potato salad: potatoes, eggs, onion, celery, mayo (only Best Foods/Hellman’s will do), and yellow or Dijon mustard. Today I added fresh lemon thyme as I had some of that from the farm.

Finally, I’ve had a craving for chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting for several days now. I was going to make “fake” fudge today, which is choc chips melted with sweetened condensed milk. The last time I made that I realized that it’s not really fudge, it’s a form of ganache. While I was toasting pecans to go into the fudge, I thought that maybe I should make a chocolate buttermilk sheet cake and use the fudge mixture as an icing. So that is what we are going to do this evening. I’ve been on my feet too long today so I’ll have Dave make the cake when he gets home. I’ll add the pecans and also toffee bits to the fudge. It won’t be a thick layer because the fudge recipe normally goes into a 6x9 pan, and this will be spread on a 9x13 cake. I’ll let you know how the chocolate cake experiment goes.

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