Easy Fall-Off-the-Bone BBQ Ribs

I love barbeque–especially ribs. I don’t like just anyone’s sauce, though, so I make my own (that recipe is on my blog somewhere).

Now, if you have a favorite sauce, whether it’s from the supermarket or the health food store, you can use this recipe to cook up your very own batch of ribs.

You can get spare ribs, back ribs, country ribs, pork ribs, beef ribs … so many to choose from.

How do I pick?

I happen to prefer the flavor of the pork ribs. After that, I pick what’s on sale. Now how easy was that?

I’m going to give you my fool-proof recipe/method and a couple of variations you can use. All you need is about 2 1/2 hours, a Dutch oven or stock pot, baking pan(s), water, ribs, sauce, and seasonings. You can do this!

Ingredients:

  • Ribs (whatever kind you like and however many you want to make) (Note: 2 1/2 pounds will make a nice layer in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan)
  • Sauce (whatever kind you like; about 1 cup for every 2 1/2 pounds of ribs, give or take)
  • Seasonings (I use sea salt or kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, and something like Mrs. Dash)

Method:

  1. Open the package(s) of ribs; if they are already cut apart from one another, you’re ready for Step 2; if not, I just take a sharp knife and cut between every other bone, so I have 2-rib pieces (if they’re big, I cut those in half again).
  2. Put the ribs into a pot and fill with enough water to just cover them a bit. As I place the ribs in the pot, I sprinkle them with Mrs. Dash, salt, pepper, and onion powder so each layer of ribs is seasoned.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and simmer (just bubbling) for one hour (until rib meat is fork tender).
  4. Remove ribs to baking pan(s) in a single layer; spoon sauce over ribs.
  5. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees F for 1 1/2 hours (if you like your sauce to caramelize a bit more on the ribs, put them on a medium-high grill or under the broiler for 5-10 minutes).
  6. Keep warm until ready to eat!
  • Serving suggestion: I like BBQ ribs served with baked corn on the cob and scalloped potatoes … or baked beans … or cheesy hash brown casserole … or summer slaw … or bread and butter pickles … but mix up the colors a bit (something light, something dark).

I made a big batch of ribs this afternoon, and here are some pictures I took along the way with some tips so you know you’re on the right track:

Cut up the ribs so they’re more manageable.

 

Get your seasonings of choice ready. Some folks like to add some cayenne or garlic powder here.

 

Put the ribs into a pot, seasoning each layer.

 

Yes, it will make a layer of foam on the top of the water for a while.

 

The foam will start to thicken into little “islands” — the meat/bones are cooking. It’s a good sign!

 

The foam will start to thin out … it’s telling you the ribs are getting there!

 

After cooking about an hour, you’ll have cooked ribs in a pot of nice broth (freeze it, add veggies to make soup, or use it to cook pasta in for more flavor).

 

Move the cooked ribs to pans and put sauce over them.

 

Cover with foil, bake in the oven for 90 minutes, and you’ll be good to go! (It’s worth the wait!)

 

Advertisements

How To Boil Eggs Better

Even fresh eggs will be easy to peel!

I found this method on MelsKitchenCafe.com site … and it’s great!

You can boil as many eggs as your pot will hold – just make sure they stay in an even layer and aren’t too tightly packed together.

If using small or extra-large eggs (instead of the large eggs called for), adjust the time as needed.

INGREDIENTS

  • Water
  • Large eggs (storebought or fresh)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Fill a pot of water halfway and bring to a boil.
  2. Gently lower eggs into the water (enough for an even layer). A strainer or slotted spoon works well for this – try to get them into the water as quickly as possible. Make sure the water covers the eggs by at least an inch. If not, add more hot water.
  3. Bring the water to a gentle simmer and start timing for 12 minutes. Take care not to let the water come to a rolling boil or the egg whites can be rubbery and tough; keep it at a gentle simmer.
  4. Fill a bowl with ice water.
  5. Remove the eggs from the water with a strainer or slotted spoon or carefully drain the water from the pot.
  6. Dump the eggs into the ice water and let the eggs sit for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Take the eggs out of the ice water and peel immediately, tapping the large end of the egg to start the peeling and making sure to get under the membrane while peeling. The peeled eggs can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for several days.

Potato Soup – 2 Ways (Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker)

I found an old recipe someone had jotted down on a scrap of paper for me, but I’d never tried it.

Potato Soup - Slow or Fast

Potato Soup – Slow or Fast

I made a few “modifications”, and I like that it has a flavor that is a little different from the potato soup I usually make. Give it a try. It’s good comfort food that’s easy and fast (if you like).

You can throw it together in your slow cooker and leave it all day while you’re at work (or over night like I did). Or if you need it to be fast, throw it together in the pressure cooker for about 7 minutes, and you’re done.

The chicken bouillon granules and ranch dressing mix give it a rich flavor that blends well with the bacon and could make others think you spent hours creating this soup.

BAKED POTATO SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 10 or so medium potatoes, washed & cubed (either white or red work well)
  • 3 T flour
  • 3/4 c bacon chopped (I got a package of the precooked microwave kind and crisped it all up and saved some for garnish.)
  • 1 small red onion (or half a medium)
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 2 T chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 T ranch dressing mix
  • 2 t dried parsley
  • 1 t Morton Nature’s Seasons (or seasoned salt … or Mrs. Dash)
  • 1/2 t ground black pepper
  • 3 c water
  • 1 c half-and-half (or whipping cream)
  • shredded Cheddar cheese (I get a 2 c package)
  • 1/4 c green onion, chopped (optional)

Method:

  1. Put potatoes in bottom of slow cooker or pressure cooker.
  2. Scatter flour over potatoes and stir to coat.
  3. Evenly distribute next 8 ingredients over potatoes.
  4. Pour water into the cooker.
  5. Slow Cooker: Cook on low 7 to 9 hours.
  6. Pressure Cooker: Bring up to pressure and cook 5 to 7 minutes then cool to relieve pressure.
  7. Stir half-and-half into the soup and cook additional 15 minutes or so over low heat. (You may add some shredded cheese here also, or simply save it for garnish when serving.)
  8. Garnish with shredded cheese, chopped green onion, and maybe more bacon to serve.

Notes:

  • Add about 1/2 c shredded cheese with the half-and-half and heat it until cheese melts. Then when serving, put out individual ramekins or custard cups with garnishes in them for everyone to decide how much they want to add.
  • You can refrigerate and reheat this soup well.
  • You can freeze this soup and serve it later … perfect for making holidays meals a bit simpler … or add grilled cheese sandwiches for an easy Sunday lunch.

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

Hot & juicy peach cobbler

So I went to the grocery to buy my sister at least $10 of fresh fruit the other night. She had a coupon for $2 off if you bought at least $10 worth, so I was looking around, pretty unimpressed by the pickings that evening.

There were only a few apricots, but I took the four I thought looked edible. A few dark plums and grapes went into the cart too. Then I saw the peaches. I had gone to a local farmer’s stand and bought some peaches that were just wonderful–tender, sweet, juicy. So I picked up a couple small bags of peaches.

The total was about $11.50 of fresh fruit, so I was good to use the coupon … mission accomplished!

Of course, the peaches were hard as little rocks. I think baseballs are softer. And the flavor was apparently on vacation somewhere with the juice.

What to do? Easy. Cobbler and pie are easy ways to make the worst looking fruit or the hardest fruit very tasty treats!

I had a total of 17 small to medium peaches to work with (because my sister and I had each eaten one). I would have liked to have had 19 or 20, but this was still good. I took a few pics along the way so you can see how easy it is. With this much fruit, I made a 9 x 13 pan of cobbler … if you cut it in half, you could make a nice 8 or 9″ square pan of bubbly goodness. I don’t like it to be too sweet, so if you want it a bit more syrup-y, add a little more sugar to the fruit — you may need to adjust it depending upon how sweet your fruit is.

PEACH COBBLER

INGREDIENTS:

  • 18-20 peaches, small to medium
  • 4 T lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 c sugar

    Making peach cobbler

    Making peach cobbler

  • 2 2/3 c all-purpose flour
  • 6 T sugar
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 c butter, cold
  • 1 1/3 c buttermilk
  • 4 t sugar
  • 1/4 t nutmeg, freshly grated if you have it
  • 1/4 t cinnamon

METHOD:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Ease in a few peaches so they are submerged for a little over a minute.
  3. Remove peaches to your sink with a slotted spoon or small strainer.
  4. Running cold water over them, you should be able to peel them easily by “rubbing” off the skin and peeling them (I like to start at the bottom of the fruit, pulling the skin apart with my thumbs, then peel up toward the top).
  5. Repeat until all peaches are peeled, but while new ones are in the water bath, you can begin the next step.
  6. Cut down to the “stone” (seed) all the way around the peach from top to bottom to top again. Using your knife blade and a twisting motion, you usually can pull the peach halves apart so you can remove the stone and any stem that might still be there.
  7. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  8. Cut the peach halves into slices or wedges. (Notice how much more tender your hard peaches have become?)
  9. In the 9 x 13 pan, toss the peach slices with 1 c of sugar and the 4 T lemon juice (optional). Cover with foil.
  10. Bake fruit 15 minutes (20 if it’s not hot & bubbly yet). Leave it covered, and leave the oven on.
  11. While the fruit is heating, take a mixing bowl and stir together the flour, 6 T sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
  12. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender (or you can use a fork to mash/cut the butter until it mixes finely into the dry ingredients). You want to mix it until you have no pieces larger than small peas.
  13. Pour in the buttermilk and stir a few moments with a fork so the mixture forms a sticky dough. Once it’s all moist, stop mixing.
  14. Uncover the fruit and drop the dough by heaping tablespoons over the fruit until you’ve used all the dough.
  15. In a small bowl or coffee cup, mix the remaining 4 t sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon together.
  16. Sprinkle over the biscuit dough.
  17. Bake uncovered until the biscuit dough is golden brown. This should take about 30 minutes.
  18. Allow to cool about 15 minute or so before serving by itself, with whipped cream, or ice cream.

 

HINT:  If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, stir a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice for every 1/3 c of milk into your milk and leave it sit for about five minutes. So for 1 1/3 c of milk, add 4 t of vinegar, stir, then let sit.

Now that you know how easy it is to make a batch of hot fruit cobbler, you can use the same recipe to make other cobblers … just leave out the peaches and substitute rhubarb, apples, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, apples & cranberries, or mixed berries instead. You may need to tweak the sugar content a bit depending upon sweetness, but you get the idea.

In the wintertime when fresh fruit may not be as plentiful, pull some fruit from the freezer to make a hot cobbler to ward off a cold night.

Daniel Boone and Johnny Appleseed would be proud of you. Now go forth and make cobbler!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger-Lime Grilled Shrimp

My niece, Lisa, makes this shrimp entrée that everyone just loves–it’s marinated, grilled shrimp.

Ginger-Lime Grilled Shrimp

Ginger-Lime Grilled Shrimp

Lisa and her husband (and kids) picked up my sister (known as Nana the last dozen years or so) to have her over to their place for dinner. She hasn’t gotten out much since she had a total ankle replacement done earlier this summer, so it was a welcome adventure. This shrimp was on the menu for “Nana’s Night Out”.

The kids love it as much as the adults do, and it is an easy dish for a special occasion … or just something to make any day special.

Now, I have found quite a number of recipes for this dish. Everyone has their own subtle “personalizations”, and this one is Lisa’s. Use it as she has it here, or make it your own–this is a good one to be a bit more “free” with.

So grab your gas, charcoal, or George Foreman grill and give it a try!

 

GINGER-LIME GRILLED SHRIMP (approximately 4 to 8 “average” servings)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 2 t ginger, grated
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 T cilantro, minced (you can use frozen or paste)
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs cooked shrimp, medium sized, with tails

METHOD:

  1. Add all ingredients except shrimp, one at a time to a large bowl, mixing well after each addition.
  2. Add shrimp to bowl and mix to coat all pieces.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. Either place shrimp on skewers or a cooking tray and grill, or simply place them directly on the George Foreman grill and cook until heated through.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

  • Serve with a green salad or sliced tomatoes and rice pilaf on the side (the shrimp is truly the entree here!).
  • Make large salads and put shrimp on top for a light summer meal (a few shrimp can go a long way).
  • Use toothpicks to make it easy to pick up a pair of shrimp at a time to use as an appetizer.
  • Grill chicken breasts and put a few shrimp on top of each piece of chicken for a flashy presentation (and it makes the shrimp go further!)

VARIATIONS:

  • You could leave out the garlic and add a couple tablespoons of minced onion in its place.
  • In place of the cilantro, you could use minced parsley and/or fresh peppermint leaves.
  • Make it a bit more Italian by replacing the ginger with Italian seasoning blend and substituting minced fresh parsley for the cilantro.

NOTES:

  • You could use salad, small, medium, or large shrimp (I usually buy the frozen, precooked in our area)–but don’t rely on the “size” they say on the package too much. Those sizes are not regulated, so you never know what it means. What is regulated is the numbers. If they say 20/25, they are letting you know that there are 20 to 25 shrimp in one pound. Take that number and divide by four (or two) to decide how many shrimp each person should get in a serving.
  • The larger the shrimp, typically the more expensive (and impressive) they will be.
  • The smaller the shrimp, the quicker they will cook (or overcook) … and the larger the shrimp, the longer they will need to cook … so be aware!
  • Typical servings of shrimp are 1/4 to 1/2 pound per person, depending upon what you are serving alongside the shrimp and whether you are serving to the Undereaters Anonymous group or the local college football team. Audience does matter.

Thanks, Lisa!

 

Butter Pecan Banana Cake … Easy Version

Butter Pecan Banana Cake

Butter Pecan Banana Cake

I love banana bread … and I really love the whole wheat banana bread I’ve been making almost exclusively for the last couple of years, but sometimes I don’t want bread. I want cake.

We were raised in a home where Mom made dessert fresh every day. We had dessert for dinner every evening, and for most lunches too. Not healthy, but it sure was great for being a kid!

This is a cake I make when I want to have something a little different for having guests over … when I just want some carbs to fill in that sweet spot that gets to craving things from time to time.

It’s kind of heavy like a pound cake–only more moist. It’s more banana flavored than banana bread and a bit sweeter.

I have two different versions of the frosting — both are quick to make, but one is quite simple. The cake is easy to put together in no time at all … it starts with a cake mix! (It’s okay. They’ll never know!)

Speaking of frosting … I tend to make the frosting a bit stiff in consistency, and I kind of ‘place’ it on top of the cake in a ‘halo’. Why? Nothing taught in a pastry course. No, nothing requiring an understanding of the rules or theory behind baking. It’s just that my sister doesn’t really care for frosting, so I opt to not frost the entire cake to make it easier for her to remove it with her fork without being too obvious in front of the guests. You can do it your way. The frosting is buttery, so put it over a warm cake and it will tend to “drizzle” down the sides a bit. Frost the cake and place it in the sun or near a heat source for a few minutes to make it smooth out, then you just have to clean up what puddles at the base of the cake. Do it your way!

Give it a try!

CAKE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pkg butter recipe yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 medium bananas, ripe & mashed
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 c pecans, chopped fine

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 c pecans, chopped fine … or coarse
  • 1/3 c butter or margarine (or 1/4 c butter or margarine)
  • 2-3 c powdered sugar (or 1 container vanilla frosting)
  • 2 t vanilla

CAKE METHOD:

Butter Pecan Banana Cake

Butter Pecan Banana Cake

  1. Combine all ingredients except pecans in a mixing bowl. Beat the usual 1 minute on low speed and 2 minutes on medium speed.
  2. Stir in the pecans. (By the way, I buy a 6-oz bag of pecan halves, which is about 1 1/2 cups, then I chop them and use half in the cake and half in the frosting.)
  3. Pour into Bundt pan you have sprayed with cooking spray (or greased & floured).
  4. Bake in 325 degree oven for an hour (possibly more), until a toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean (crumbs, no batter).
  5. Cool in pan 25-30 minutes, then invert and allow to cool completely (it’s a dense cake and will take a while, so pop it into the fridge for a bit if you’re in a hurry).
  6. Make the frosting and frost the cake.

FROSTING METHOD #1:

  1. Soften or partially melt 1/3 c butter.
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. Alternate between adding half cups of powdered sugar and mixing until you reach the correct consistency (I like it to be a little stiff and pull into a ball.).
  4. Stir in pecans.

FROSTING METHOD #2 (use ingredient amounts in parentheses):

  1. Heat butter and pecans in a medium skillet on medium to medium-high heat, stirring to toast the pecans.
  2. Cool partially.
  3. Add butter/pecan mixture to bowl with purchased frosting.

VARIATIONS:

  • For the frosting, when toasting the pecans, add 2 or 3 T of sugar to “glaze” the nuts a bit. You can do this for either method.
  • In the cake, you could substitute coconut for half or all of the pecans if you like.

NOTE:  Be sure the bananas are ripe. This means the bananas are yellow with small brownish spots…no green around the ends. If you need the cake now and can’t wait for the bananas to ripen, you can peel them and pop them in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes to make them a bit more “mushy”, and they’ll work better. If you need them tomorrow, try putting the bananas in a brown paper bag with the end folded closed over night–they’ll ripen faster than in the sunlight. (Actually, it’s the gases they give off that will speed up the ripening process closed up in the bag.)

Bon appetit!

 

Bread and Butter Pickles

Carrie's Bread & Butter Pickles

Carrie’s Bread & Butter Pickles

When I think of summer, I think of barbecues and picnics.

And what does a hot summer day at a hot grill need? Something cold, crunchy, sweet, and tart all at once!

Bread & butter pickles have those things all wrapped up for you. And they’re really easy to make.

My niece, Carrie, found they had a huge harvest of cucumbers this year, so my sister suggested she try her hand at bread and butter pickles. Our mother had made them every year, canning or freezing them so we could have them not only in the heat of summer but also for the major holidays too (yes, they have always been a part of our “veggie trays”).

Carrie found–as I am sure you will–that she ended up making a triple batch today because her family ate the first batch in a few hours! Take a look at how easy they are to make, and try a batch…then try another…you may just find you need to make a bunch to either can or freeze for later!

Here is the recipe Carrie ended up with after a little modification:

METHOD:

Take:

  • 5 1/2 c cucumbers, sliced thin
  • 1 lg sweet onion, sliced thin

Add:

  • 3/4 T kosher salt

Allow cucumber slices and salt to marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Then rinse thoroughly.

In saucepan, mix:

  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t celery seed
  • 1 1/2 t mustard seed

Stir until simmering,

Pour over rinsed cucumbers and onions. Let cool for 1 hour then refrigerate.

Serve next day…if they make it that long. Within a few hours, they will be ready to eat!

Chuck Roast With Vegetables … a classic

Chuck-Roast 13

My sister just had her ankle replaced four days ago, so I decided to make a meal I thought she’d really enjoy: Chuck Roast with potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and mushrooms.

Ingredients:

  • beef chuck roast (look for even marbling so as the fatty parts melt, they help tenderize the stringy meat pieces)
  • 1 or 2 cans of beef broth (or vegetable, or chicken …)
  • a pinch of dried rosemary or a couple sprigs of fresh
  • vegetables of your choosing (carrots, celery, mushrooms, potatoes …)

Here’s an overview of my method I used with any meat that is a bit tougher.

1.  First, I prep the veggies. I like to wash then cut them up. I rarely peel anything like carrots or potatoes.

Chuck-Roast 01

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Then in really hot oil, or oil & butter, I brown the onions a bit. Not cooking, mind you, just browning a bit so they share their flavors with the oil in the pan.

Chuck-Roast 02

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Then I add carrots … and maybe the celery to brown them a bit also.

Chuck-Roast 03

4.  Set aside the veggies so you have your pan free to brown the meat next.

Chuck-Roast 05

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Next I coat both sides of the roast with kosher salt and some pepper before browning the roast on both sides in the same pan I did the vegetables. (This is where I add butter to the oil.)

Chuck-Roast 04

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.  Here, the meat is browned a little, but it could stand to brown more, so I’ll let it go a while then flip it again … and remember to keep the pan hot!

Chuck-Roast 07

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  Now I add some liquid (broth, water with bouillon, stock, wine) to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring the browned bits off the pan. I make sure I have enough liquid here to make into a gravy later. This is where I like to add about 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary or 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary to the liquid (this way it will be spread all through the pan, and the smells of rosemary will infuse itself throughout).

Chuck-Roast 08

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. I seem to never have enough room in my dutch oven for the roast and all the veggies I put in, so I have a roasting pan set aside (you know, something big enough to roast a turkey…); thanks for the perfect-size pan, Cuisinart!

Chuck-Roast 06

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.  I finally place the roast in my baking/roasting pan. I put the veggies over and around the roast, placing most solid (like potatoes) on the bottom later.

Chuck-Roast 09

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.  I then add the browned veggies I had set aside earlier, and I pour the liquid from the browning pan over the top.

Chuck-Roast 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

11.  Now cover the pan with a lid or a piece of foil so it can slowly cook undisturbed at about 275 degrees for about 2 hours per pound of meat. (Yes, just like when you’re cooking ribs, low-and-slow is the way to go.) In reality, I cook a 3-lb roast for about 7 hours. (Put it together just before lunch, have a bite to eat, clean up the kitchen, and you’ll have plenty of time to get ready for dinner guests in the evening … and no dirty dishes to contend with when guests are arriving.)

Chuck-Roast 11

 12.  When the time is up, check to see if the meat is falling apart tender yet; if not, extend the cooking time 30 minutes and check again. If it is, get everything out to a warm holding area and either keep the liquid as an ‘au jus’ to accompany your meal, or thicken it to make gravy.

Chuck-Roast 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what mine looked like (after I took a couple plates away for “testing purposes).

Here are the “tricks” that aren’t so tricky:

  • When the meat and vegetables are in the oven, no peeking! This is like a cocoon where the butterfly is being created … it must not be disturbed until it is nearly ready to come out. Yes, you will have to just be patient and have faith that the cooking gods are with you.
  • When browning the veggies and meat, be sure you have the oil hot … not necessarily starting to smoke, but nearly so.
  • Pick vegetables you and your fellow eaters will enjoy.
  • Something to make it a little “sweeter” tasting … try throwing in a couple of diced tomatoes. It makes it a little more like swiss steak, but kids might like this better.
  • When you make the juices into gravy, you can shake (or wisk) flour and either water or milk to make a creamy gravy … or use cornstarch with water to thicken it into a more clear gravy. Not enough flavor? Keep some Kitchen Bouquet on hand or gravy flavoring liquid (I get mine at an Amish grocery near my home) … a little splash will do it!
  • When deciding how much salt to rub onto the roast before cooking, remember you are seasoning the meat and all the vegetables and the broth too … don’t be too stingy!

 

How To Make Iced Tea That is Clear, Not Cloudy

I drink iced tea more than any other beverage, and I know many of you are the same. Or maybe you need to make tea for guests.

Iced tea tastes better when it looks better - clear is clearly better!

Iced tea tastes better when it looks better – clear is clearly better!

Either way, here are a couple of tips to help you make sure your tea looks as great as it tastes:

  • When you brew your tea on the stove or use your iced tea maker, make sure it is cooled to room temperature before you put it in the fridge — cooling too quickly can make it cloudy.
  • Already made your tea, and it turned cloudy? Easy fix:  just pour in a bit of boiling water to clear it right up!

There you have it.

Iced tea that is clear, not cloudy.

Easy. Simple as making iced tea!

 

Bonus tip:  for something special (like the wedding punch bowl) where you would like nice, clear ice, try boiling the water, cool it, then boil it again. Once it has cooled the second time, freeze it in your mold. You will have removed the extra air bubbles that make the ice look white when it freezes. Cool, huh!

Perfectly Potent Margaritas

margarita_limeI really like a nice cold margarita — especially when the warm weather is here.

My problem with so many margarita recipes, however, is that they are sometimes tricky to make so they are consistently great every time. This recipe is perfect in that respect: consistently wonderful! And easy!

Now, you may want to be careful, as these are fairly potent too … and so easy to drink them without realizing that your punch is getting you a little punchy.

You can make some minor changes to this one and add raspberry, lemon, or even apple or peach to your ‘ritas too!

I’ll cover some variations after, but here’s the basic recipe for about a half-gallon (2 qts):

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz container of limeade concentrate, frozen
  • 12 oz tequila
  • 12 oz lite beer
  • 6 oz triple sec
  • 12 oz crushed ice
  • 12 oz lemon-lime soda

Method:

  1. Empty container of limeade concentrate (still frozen) into your blender.
  2. Fill the container with tequila and add it to the blender.
  3. Add a can of lite beer (I like to use Corona) to the blender.
  4. Fill the container half full of triple sec and add it to the mix.
  5. Fill the container with crushed ice and add it to the blender.
  6. Blend until smooth-ish.
  7. Stir in a can of lemon-lime soda. (Don’t try turning on the blender with carbonated beverages in there … trust me, bad idea, long story, I’ll share another time.)

Ta-da! You’re finished! And it’s great!

 

Alterations:

  • Try something like this for a little variation: double the recipe, except use one 12 oz container of limeade concentrate and one 12 oz container of another frozen juice concentrate (like raspberry lemonade or even margarita_raspberryorange juice).
  • For a stronger taste, make a single batch, but instead of the limeade concentrate, just substitute in another flavored lemonade or limeade concentrate (strawberry, kiwi, raspberry). This way you can make a pitcher of each and sample!
  • Go gourmet! Make the standard recipe, but add cucumber slices and mint … or kiwi/strawberries/blackberries.

Let me know what you think!