Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Hate BBQ

Holy exhausting.  This has been quite the day.  In fact, this might be the first time I sat down.   I am just not high-energy enough for a day like this, particularly after my first week back at work!

When I got up this morning, I cleaned the house.  This included a much-needed and sweat-inducing mopping session.  After I showered, Mom and I went on a marathon grocery shopping trip.  Tomorrow, Tuck and Linda are coming to visit, and I planned a rather insane and out-of-my-comfort-zone menu.  After we got out of there, it was time to start my nonstop kitchen day!

First I should explain the menu.  I decided to actually make meat.  I know, shocking, and I hate meat.  But Tuck is on a crazy diet because of his diabetes, and meat is really one of the only things he can eat.  I will be making him my carb-less cauliflower mash, but he needs a little protein too.  So I am attempting to make ribs.  I scrounged up a cookbook that my uncle PJ had given me a couple years ago for Christmas called America's Most Wanted Recipes: Delicious Recipes from your Family's Favorite Restaurants.  Basically it gives the "secret" recipes of restaurats, which I think is very cool.  And somehow I got it into my head that I was going to make a barbecue-style meal (despite the fact that I actually hate BBQ food).  So my menu includes BBQ ribs and BBQ beans, both from the Hard Rock Cafe, a salad with hibachi-style ginger carrot dressing, cauliflower mash, and flufferutter cookies for dessert.  In an attempt to make tomorrow a bit easier, tonight I decided to make some things tonight, so I made the beans.

Ugh.  So here's the thing.  The recipe says it serves 6, so I planned on doubling it.  Even though we will probably have 6 people for dinner, Mom insisted that I triple it and make enough for 18 (she's crazy!).  So, fine.  I tripled everything.  And this, my friends, was my downfall tonight.  While the texture and the look are perfect... the taste is not.  My beans are pretty vinegar-y, and I am starting to think that perhaps when multiplying a recipe, one should not multiply the vinegar.  I went into panic mode and started Googling everything I could about how to cut down the acid.  I tried brown sugar and white sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, and even my mom's suggestion of baking soda (which you perhaps realize is exactly how you make a volcano model explode... baking soda and vinegar.  Yeah so that went well!).  To be honest, I am not sure if my additions changed the flavor of the beans, because I couldn't bring myself to taste them again.  I hate barbecue food - all that ketchup and mustard and sauce - so I am not a very fair judge.  I will have to wait till Nick helps me out tomorrow.  I am hoping that the mellow a bit overnight.... either that or they will become inedible by tomorrow.  I'm a bit depressed:(

After I put the beans in the oven, I made some dinner, and per Kenzie's request, it was the Boston Market recipe for their macaroni and cheese.  We love that stuff.  Mom was not as happy, since we spent a ridiculous amount of money on the three cheeses that this recipe calls for.  However, I am very happy to say that this recipe turned out much better than the beans!  The sauce is so rich and cheesy; it has bleu, American, and cheddar cheeses in it!  Kenzie said it tasted exactly like Boston Market's, and I caught her having seconds.  So at least tonight was not a total loss!  One note: I decided to quadruple the amount of pasta (who the heck cooks 4 ounces of noodles!?) and only double the amount of sauce.  This was my mom's ingenious idea, and after my multiplying mishap earlier tonight, I went with Mom's advice.  I am glad I did; there was lots of pasta left, and it wasn't too soupy.  I didn't get the chance to snap a picture of it, since we were all devouring it so ravenously.  Just trust me that it wasn't healthy at all, but it was absolutely to die for.

Then I sulked for a while about my beans, but finally I knew I had to bake my cookies tonight.  Linny had requested the fluffernutter cookies, so that's what I made tonight.  It felt good to make a recipe that I know will turn out delicious!  And they did.  Luckily.  These are peanut butter cookies with mini marshmallows on top, and a drizzle of chocolate.  They are definitely one of my favorite cookies I have made this year.  I am sure Linny will love them tomorrow!

Now it is definitely time for bed.  Tomorrow I have two intimidating racks of ribs awaiting me, along with a homemade salad dressing and who knows what else I'll think up?!


Hard Rock Cafe BBQ Beans
fromt  America's Most Wanted Recipes: Delicious Recipes from your Family's Favorite Restaurants
serves 6

two 15-ounce cans pinto beans (the recipe says to use the liquid it comes in, but I think that's gross)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons diced onion
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon, for serving

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Pour the entire contents of the vans of pinto beans into a 2-quart casserole dish.

3.  Dissolve the cornstarch in a small bowl with the 2 tablespoons water.  Add this solution to the beans and stir.

4.  Add the remaining ingredients except the bacon to the casserole, stir well, and cover.

5.  Bake for 90 minutes or until th sauce thickens.  Stir every 30 minutes.  After removing the beans from the oven, let them cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.  Top with crumbled bacon.

Boston Market's Macaroni and Cheese
fromt America's Most Wanted Recipes: Delicious Recipes from your Family's Favorite Restaurants
serves 6

1 tablepsoon minced onion
4 tablespoons  (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
4 ounces American cheese, cubed
1/4 cup cubed bleu cheese
1/4 cup cubed cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
4 ounces semolina rotini pasta, cooked al dente

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Saute the onion in the butter until translucent.

3.  Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.

4.  Slowly stir in the milk.

5.  Stir in the cheeses, salt, pepper, and mustard.

6.  Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.

7.  Stir in the prepared macaroni.

8.  Lightly butter a casserole dish and pour the pasta mixture into the dish.

9.  Bake for 20 minutes.

fluffernutter cookies
from Sweet Pea's Blog


For the Cookies:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1   3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Mini marshmallows

For the Chocolate Glaze:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed, scraping the side of the bowl occasionally, until smooth. Transfer the dough to the refrigerator and chill 15 minutes.

3.  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

4.  Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a 1½-inch ball and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until very lightly browned.

5.  Remove the cookie sheets from the oven. Using your thumb, press into the cookies again and place 3 or 4 mini marshmallows on top of each cookie. Return the cookies to the oven and bake 2 to 3 minutes longer, until the marshmallows are melted. Cool cookies for 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

6.  To make chocolate glaze: place chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until chocolate is melted and whisk until smooth. Add vanilla. Drizzle a small amount of chocolate glaze over the top of each cookie. Glaze will set slightly upon cooling.

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