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Friday, May 23, 2014

Mother's Day BBQ

For this past Mother's Day, my husband and I hosted a BBQ for our families. I wanted to make ribs on the grill, since I have never made them from scratch and have been craving them like crazy. Besides, the weather is FINALLY warming up, and what's better than meat on the grill?!! 

I found a recipe for BBQ ribs with a root beer BBQ sauce from Bobby Flay, the celebrity grill king! I liked the idea of creating my own sauce with sweet notes of clove, cinnamon and anise instead of a spicier sauce which not everyone loves. I also paired the ribs with a few sides: corn muffins, caramelized sweet potatoes, coleslaw and watermelon. The rib recipe calls for brining the ribs overnight, which helps tenderize the pork. Unfortunately, being the grilling novices that my husband and I are, we didn't start the coals on the grill until 1/2 hour before guests arrived. I later learned that ribs should be grilled low and slow for about 2 hours! 2 hours that we did not have!!! Adam's aunt arrived to save the day by salvaging the ribs and grilling them perfectly in less than an hour! I think the brine really helped keep the meat moist even though we sped up the cooking process. 

Take a look at this fab recipe from Bobby Flay for your next BBQ. Your guests are sure to be impressed!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Khyber Pass Cafe

Last week my husband and I dined at Khyber Pass, an Afghani restaurant off Snelling and Grand Avenue in St. Paul, MN. Afghani cuisine stems from a variety of cultural groups including: Middle Eastern, Greek, Persian, and Indian. I was able to recognize many similarities to Indian cuisine in their use spices and sauces, although Afhgani food is not spicy. The interior of the restaurant is small and decorated with colorful tapestries and plants. The vibe is casual and geared towards the hippy, Macalester crowd. 

Walking into the restaurant, it took a moment for the staff to seat us, and we were never warmly welcomed or introduced to the restaurant. The waitstaff seemed unfriendly and dismissive of our table, making my husband and I feel immediately uncomfortable. I kept reassuring my husband the food would be tasty enough to make up for the lacking service. We ordered two dishes to share, the Sabzi Korma and the Kadu Borani. The Sabzi Korma is a lamb curry dish served with spinach cooked with leeks and basmati rice. The lamb was a bit tough, yet I enjoyed the curry alongside the creamy spinach. The basmati rice was unexciting and could have used more curry to soak up the bland rice. Our second dish, the Kadu Borani highlights butternut squash served with braised onions, tomatoes, brown sugar and spices; topped with a yogurt sauce and basmati rice. I enjoyed the sweet flavors of the squash paired with the tangy yogurt, but again I could have used more sauce. Overall, the food was tasty but doesn't compare to the bold and rich flavors of Indian food I so adore. Because of the poor service, we will not be returning. I hate give a less than great review, but I also have to be honest about our experience.

Click here to view their website  

Friday, May 2, 2014

Gouda, Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Pork Chops

I made these chops from a recipe I found at Pork chops can often be boring and dry, so I liked the idea of stuffing the chop with a flavorful blend of mushrooms, onions, spinach and gouda. Coating the chop in a horseradish mustard definitely amps up the flavor and panko bread crumbs keep the moisture locked in. The recipe does not call for onions or mushrooms in the filling, but I like their addition to the dish. To highlight the mustard flavor, I added a bit to the spinach mixture as well to merry all the flavors together. 

Check out the recipe here: