Tuesday, September 28, 2010

If at first you don't succeed...

Dear Pastry,
Why do you have to be so difficult??? It’s not nice.

Truly, pastry makes me want to scream, cry, flop on the ground, kick my legs and pound my fists. In that order, and then simultaneously.

I’ve mentioned before how pastry and I aren’t friends. When I made my onion-fig crostata for the first time, the dish only lacked a homemade crust (I had used ready-made). When we had company a few weeks ago, I remade the crostata and even made my own pastry dough with creamy mascarpone cheese in it. It chilled in the fridge overnight and dared me to roll it out every time I opened the door. At the last minute, I balked and used my back-up ready-make crust again. And I’m glad I did.

Yesterday however, I decided to put my worries aside. I wanted to make goat cheese tarts, but without a crust it would be a goat cheese puddle at the bottom of the oven. It was time to conquer my fear.

This can’t be that hard, right? I did copious amounts of research online, only to find that there are crazily varying schools of thought on pastry. Differing amounts of wet to dry ratios left me thinking that I would be lucky if this even formed a ball of dough. After formulating a recipe that included two kinds of cheese, I pulsed it in the food processor, fingers crossed.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I dumped my dough out of the food processor and it looked like dough. I smushed it around a few times, formed it into a disk, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and smiled smugly to myself as I put it in the fridge to chill, thinking that I had beaten pastry.

Fast forward…I roll out the dough into some crazy abstract shape that doesn’t resemble a circle at all (I’ve got to work on that), and realize that it is WAY too soft and mushy. I didn’t over-handle it, it was chilled for more than an hour…it was just too soft. I quickly transferred it to my tart pans and hoped for the best.

After blind-baking for way longer than I expected, and then baking uncovered for way longer than I expected, they somewhat resembled normal tart shells, albeit with what looked like twice the amount of butter. At least it was a start. Maybe I had a chance…

Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese Tomato Mini Tarts

(Gratuitous tomato shot)

For tart shells:
Well, my attempt at the pastry didn’t quite turn out as well as I’d hoped, so I won’t be including it here. Either use ready-made pie crust or make a standard pastry recipe and add a little parmesan cheese to it. I added parmesan and goat cheese to mine, and the flavor was fantastic, but the overall consistency wasn’t right; not nearly as flaky as it should have been. Whatever way you choose, bake them off first according to the directions of the recipe prior to filling.

For roasted garlic:
1 head of garlic, peeled
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic cloves in a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Seal foil and wrap another piece of foil around that. (It will leak if not double-wrapped.) Bake for 35 minutes, until garlic is soft. (You could also roast the whole head and squeeze out the cloves if you prefer.)

For filling:
4 ounces goat cheese
1 head of roasted garlic
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped basil, plus extra for garnish
pinch of pepper

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
tomatoes (depending on size, you’ll need a handful of small cherry tomatoes per tart, or 1 small tomato per tart if slicing)

(Ignore the incredibly stained baking sheet)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put goat cheese, roasted garlic, parmesan, basil and pepper in a mini food processor and pulse until combined.

Spread cheese filling among the bottom of 4 mini tart shells. Top with tomatoes. (Note: I used whole cherry tomatoes, but the end result was a bit too tomato-heavy. Next time, I will slice small tomatoes and layer them over the top of the filling instead.)

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until tomatoes start to soften. (Time will depend on which tomato method you choose; less time for sliced.)

Remove from oven and top with toasted pine nuts and chopped basil.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

All in all, these were a success. My crust, while not perfect, had the yummiest hint of parmesan, which I loved. The creamy goat cheese filling was slightly tangy and the roasted garlic gives the whole thing a huge flavor boost.

I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but I’m determined to get back into the kitchen and make the perfect pastry. 

Until then: Karen – 0, Pastry – 1

In other news, I recently received my first award (and on the one month anniversary of my blog!)…thanks to Kristy at My Little Space for passing this on to me!  


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Test Kitchen: Shrimp - Part 3

Here is the final installment of my shrimp test kitchen dishes.  This one has several separate components, but it is SO worth it.

To see the other dishes, click here (Shrimp Mousse on Homemade Potato Chips) and here (Shrimp Curry Bruschetta).

(Same disclaimer: These are all still in pretty rough form and I need to make them again so I can write actual measurements and recipes, but I wanted to share to see what everyone thought.)

Shrimp, Roasted Figs, and Pears in Puff Pastry with Balsamic Reduction

salt and pepper
white wine

Sauté garlic in butter, then add shrimp and wine. When shrimp are done, remove from pan. Add cream to pan sauce and let reduce. Remove from heat. Add pan sauce to a scoop of mascarpone cheese and stir to combine. Return shrimp to sauce and toss.

olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut figs in half and toss with all remaining ingredients. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Let cool and cut in half again.

balsamic vinegar

Stir together in a small pot and let reduce over medium hear until syrupy. Set aside.

pear, sliced
puff pastry 
egg wash

When ready to assemble, roll out one puff pastry sheet to make it a couple inches bigger on all sides. Cut it in quarters.

Place some shrimp, figs, and pear in the middle of each square. Fold edges up, leaving the middle open, like a crostata. Brush pastry with egg wash and top with chopped walnuts.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. 

When ready to serve, drizzle with balsamic reduction.

This is hands-down my favorite of the three test kitchen dishes. The puff pastry is light and airy. The shrimp, figs and pears combine beautifully to make the most wonderful bite. I can’t say enough about it…I just loved it. 

For next time, I would cut the shrimp and figs up smaller for easier eating and more even distribution. (Don’t cut the pears too small…they’ll disintegrate in the oven.) Another option is to make the puff pastry much squares smaller for more of a finger food appetizer. 

I’m happy when a test kitchen results in one new recipe, but I am thrilled with three! I will definitely be making all of these dishes again…

Friday, September 24, 2010

Test Kitchen: Shrimp - Part 2

Here is the second of three test kitchen winners...

To see the first shrimp test kitchen recipe, Shrimp Mousse on Homemade Potato Chips, click here.

(Same disclaimer: These are all still in pretty rough form and I need to make them again so I can write actual measurements and recipes, but I wanted to share to see what everyone thought.)

Shrimp Curry Bruschetta

white wine
salt and pepper
hot curry powder
garam masala
pita bread or naan 

Sauté garlic and shallots in olive oil, then add shrimp, salt, pepper, curry powder and garam masala and deglaze with wine. When the shrimp are done, remove from pan and chop into medium dice. Return to pan. Over medium heat, add a little more wine to make a sauce, and more curry and garam masala to taste. (I ended up adding quite a bit more curry powder.) Toss the chopped shrimp in the sauce. Remove from heat and stir in chopped parsley. 

Serve on pita or naan. 

I served this on toasted baguette, but the bread overpowered such a delicate topping. Next time I would serve it on toasted pita or warm naan.  It would probably also be good over noodles.

This is a very simple but flavorful dish. The curry powder offers a little heat, while the garam masala gives it a sweet hint of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. 

Next up: Shrimp, Roasted Figs, and Pears in Puff Pastry with Balsamic Reduction

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Test Kitchen: Shrimp - Part I

Shrimp is a go-to fast and easy dinner in our house.  Even when you haven’t planned ahead, you can have shrimp from freezer to table in no time at all.  It’s quick to defrost and quick to cook.  It’s versatility allows you to do just about anything with it…shrimp can be roasted, boiled, sautéed, or barbecued.  Put it in a breakfast frittata, in a salad for lunch, or skewer and grill it for dinner.  

I’ve been in test kitchen mode over the last week or so, focusing on coming up with some new shrimp appetizers.  And since it is such a versatile ingredient, I wanted to try to come up with a few ideas that were all very different from each other, both in flavor and presentation. 

Sometimes test kitchens don’t go so well.  Sometimes the dish is just unsalvageable and goes in the garbage. Sometimes it’s edible but something you wouldn’t make again.  But then there are those times when you eat something and you say to your normally very critical self, “genius!”  Then, while patting yourself on the back, you proceed to eat the rest of the dish so quickly that you promptly find yourself on the couch in a food coma with two cats and a dog taking advantage of your placidity by sprawling all over you.  (Not that I know this from experience or anything.) 

It’s those times that make test kitchens completely worth it.

So here is the first of three winners…parts 2 and 3 to follow.

(Disclaimer: These are all still in pretty rough form and I need to make them again so I can write actual measurements and recipes, but I wanted to share to see what everyone thought.)

Shrimp Mousse on Homemade Potato Chips

white wine
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper
heavy cream
lemon juice
potato chips

Prepare gelatin by adding a little white wine to about a teaspoon of powder.

Meanwhile, sauté garlic and shallots in olive oil, then add shrimp, salt, pepper, cayenne and some white wine to deglaze the pan and let reduce. When shrimp are done, put contents of pan in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Add gelatin, lemon juice and chopped chive and incorporate into mixture.

Whip heavy cream into stiff peaks and fold into shrimp puree. 

Refrigerate for a couple hours to allow the mousse to set up.

Pipe onto potato chips and garnish with snipped chives.

Let me just say right off the bat that I wouldn’t make my own potato chips again.  It was a pain and the potatoes didn’t fry uniformly.  Some refused to get crispy, others went too fast and burned.  I might try baking them next time, but I will more likely just buy a bag of really good potato chips.

The mousse was excellent though.  It was fluffy and light, and not the least bit grainy.  The flavors are very delicate, but the shrimp comes through just enough to let you know it’s there.  Pairing it with the salty, crunchy chip works nicely.

Next up: Shrimp Curry Bruschetta

Monday, September 20, 2010


I am officially in love with farmer’s markets. Wandering through the produce stands with a cup of coffee in hand, I feel like I’m in my own little world. It is a fantastic world filled not only with the usual strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, and corn, but also with okra, swiss chard, pimientos de padrón, and squash blossoms, which are not typically on my radar. That is the allure of the farmer’s market for me…ingredients that take me out of my comfort zone. So lately, I’ve been coming home from the market with my reusable bags full of things that I don’t typically cook.

Carrots may be a boring standard for some, and I find that I rarely use them as a stand-alone ingredient. Always part of mirepoix, they get chopped up and thrown into soups and stews. So on Saturday morning, as I passed by a pile of vibrant orange baby carrots with the longest green tops, I thought about how lovely they looked, but eventually moved on without buying them. I then talked about them so much that Andy eventually told me to just go and buy them. I did (for only $1.50!), and with the greens brimming out of my bag, left the market a very happy camper.

It’s not often that a side dish is the star of the show, and as good as our salmon was, these roasted carrots were the object of our affection. (And believe me, the salmon was darn good.)

Roasted Carrots and Asian Marinated Salmon with Sriracha Aioli

1 bunch carrots
olive oil
salt and pepper
unsalted butter

On a baking sheet, toss carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven until tender, turning once. Time varies depending on size. (These took 18 minutes.) Top with a few pats of butter after removing from oven.

2 filets of salmon

2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chinese hot mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green onion, sliced

Mix all ingredients together in a Ziploc bag and add salmon. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

Sriracha Aioli:
1/4 cup mayonaisse
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, very finely minced
pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together. Set aside. (Can be made ahead and refrigerated.)

After the salmon has marinated, put it in a glass baking dish and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness. (These filets were about 1 inch thick and took 13 minutes.)

Plate the salmon and drizzle it with the aioli. Serve with carrots and rice.

The carrots, as simple as they sound, were just fantastic. Roasting them brings out the sugars and a little bit of a crustiness forms on the outside. Mmmmm.

The salmon has a sweetness from the hoisin sauce and pairs nicely with the heat from the Sriracha aioli. (I know, I know…I cheat on the aioli. I had a bit of a temper tantrum last time I tried to make the homemade version and didn’t want to ruin my evening. I’ll tackle that another time.) Cooked to just barely medium, the filets were moist and practically melted in your mouth.

See…I told you the salmon was good.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Can you ever have too much crostini and wine?

Obviously, if you ask me, the answer is no.

But if I was a reader of this blog, at this point I might be starting to think that all I do is make alcoholic sorbet, and drink wine while eating crostini. Okay, I suppose lately that may be true. In fact, I have another sorbet in the ice cream maker as I write this. It’s pineapple and rum, as suggested by Matt over at Chilebomb (his site has tons of spicy recipes), and it looks fantastic. But this post isn’t about the sorbet, and it isn’t actually about the crostini either, that just happened to be the vehicle for this tasty topping.

There has been a bounty of homegrown (not mine, sadly) tomatoes in my fruit basket. They are big and red and ripe and juicy and sweet. Thankfully, they are nothing like the almost white tomato slices I had on my Jumbo Jack the other day. We are completely spoiled now, and it will be a sad day when the crop dries up. 

Caramelized onions and shallots have been the subject of many posts I’ve read lately, and I’ve been craving them. When I saw the onions and tomatoes sitting next to each other in the fruit basket, I knew what needed to happen… 

Caramelized Red Onion and Tomato Jam

Again, I’m not quite sure what to call a dish. This isn’t technically a jam, but it’s even further from being a chutney, relish, or coulis. So, jam it is. 

These are estimated measurements, but it really depends on the taste of your tomatoes anyway, so adjust as needed. 

2 red onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 - 2 cups)
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
sprig of thyme, chopped
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste 
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste 

Heat olive oil in a small pot over medium-low heat. Add onions, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine, then let the onions caramelize, stirring only occasionally. (It will take a bit of time.) Once the onions are at their desired level of caramelization, add the garlic and thyme and let the garlic soften. Stir in the tomato paste, and then add the chopped tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and another drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Season to taste. As the tomatoes cook, their juices will come out and the mixture will start to simmer. Turn down the heat, cover, and let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. 

As I said, I put this on crostini, and sprinkled them with a little parmesan cheese, but it could be used for just about anything in place of a sauce or condiment. Spread it on a chicken breast sandwich, use it as a pasta sauce (thinned with some pasta water), or use it as a dip for roasted shrimp. 

This jam is both savory and sweet with nice depth of flavor, and leaves a little tingle in your mouth from the red pepper flakes. 

Now I’ve got to get back to my sorbet…

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sorbet - Take II

Oh, sorbet...where have you been all my life?

I was never a huge fan of fruit sorbets, always opting for the chocolate anything on the dessert menu. Andy, however, usually chooses the sorbet over most things. Of course, since I believe in equal opportunity when it comes to dessert, I will have a bite (or two, or three) of his. It didn't take long for me to realize that sorbet has its place on the dessert menu next to the decadent chocolate choices...in fact, it's lighter and more refreshing. 

After recently discovering how easy it is to make sorbet, I have fallen hard for this frozen treat, particularly when it includes the addition of an adult beverage. Since I made the Spiked Cantaloupe Sorbet, I've been thinking about watermelon and what might go well with it. All of the flavored liqueurs I thought of were crossed off the list...the flavor combination didn't sound right. Then I saw the tequila....watermelon margaritas? That sounded perfect. 

Watermelon Margarita Sorbet 

1 1/2 pounds cubed watermelon
1/2 cup sugar
2-3 tablespoons tequila (I used Cazadores Blanco)
1/2 tablespoon triple sec 

Put all ingredients in a blender and puree until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and run for the recommended time (mine went for about 40 minutes for this). Transfer the sorbet to the freezer to continue setting up. 

Note: I was worried when I looked into the ice cream maker when the timer went off. The mixture did not get very frozen...it was pretty loose and slushy when I put it in the freezer. After freezing overnight though, it did completely set up. 

The texture of this is completely different than the cantaloupe sorbet, which is creamy. The best I can describe the watermelon sorbet is by saying that it is crisp and fluffy...not icy or crunchy at all, and easily melts in your mouth. Watermelon hits you first, followed by the tequila, which does pack a bit of a punch. (I used 3 tablespoons of tequila, but will probably scale it down to 2 tablespoons for a more subtle taste next time.) 

Now I'm thinking of all the other fruit that could be turned into sorbet, and what additions I can make from the liquor cabinet. The ice cream maker may become a permanent fixture on the counter top. The possibilities here are endless...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Taco Love

If I had to pick my favorite area of the grocery store, it would probably be the clearance section of the meat department. Possibilities abound here! You never know what you’re going to find, and there is nothing wrong with this meat besides the fact that it is coming up on its sell-by date. At 50% off, I will gladly take it home with me. 

A few days ago, I picked up a pound and a half of "fresh pork meat for stew" for $2.43. That's right: $2.43!! Now I had to decide what to make with it. I knew I didn't want stew, but these chunks of pork would need to be cooked for a good amount of time to become tender. 

My thoughts turned to my latest purchase…the tortilla press. 

The tortilla press has become my new favorite kitchen gadget. I’ve always wanted to try making homemade tortillas, but thought it was a daunting task. I finally bought a press and started the process of making corn tortillas. When all was said and done, and I had a stack of fresh tortillas in front of me, I thought surely something would go wrong when I cooked them…this was way too easy. Much to my surprise and delight, they came out beautifully. These are some really good tortillas, and you know what that means… 


I'm not entirely sure what to call this dish...it isn't chile verde since the sauce isn't green, and it's not a typical carnitas recipe either. So, for lack of a better name, I’ll call them what they are: 

Shredded Pork Tacos 

This is really one of those “kitchen sink” type recipes, where you can throw in whatever you want to get the flavors and spice you desire. Since I had picked up some more assorted peppers at the farmer’s market, I knew those would go in for some heat, along with a few of those pickled peppers that I made last week that I finally got to open. (They morphed into some incredibly HOT peppers in the pickling process, and were delicious!) 

This is what went into my pot: 

1.5 pounds pork, cut into pieces
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 assorted hot peppers, chopped
2 pickled hot peppers, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 can chicken stock

corn tortillas
cilantro to garnish 

Heat some vegetable oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper and add to the pot, browning on sides for a few minutes. Once browned, add onions and peppers. Saute until soft. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two. Next pour in the tomatoes and juice and let reduce for about 5 minutes. Then add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about one and a half hours. (It’s a long time, but it makes the pork very tender.) Stir occasionally. 

When the pork is done, transfer all the solids to a food processor. Pulse a few times until most of the pork is shredded, but some chunks remain. (You don’t want a puree.) Add back into the pot, stir, and turn the heat up to reduce a little more. The consistency is pretty soupy, so use less broth if you want a thicker consistency. 

Fill corn tortillas with the pork mixture and sprinkle with cilantro. 

I am officially in love with these tacos. They were spicy, but not overwhelming, and left just the right amount of tingle on your lips. And I can’t say enough about the homemade tortillas…they really are worth it and a must-try. 

If you need me, I’ll be in the clearance section…

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Another Lazy Sunday

There seems to be a theme to Sundays in our house: laziness, the patio, and afternoon cocktails of some kind. Today is no different, although the seasons are definitely changing. Soon, our Sundays will consist of laziness, football and beer. But for now, I am hanging on with both hands to these last gorgeous sunshiney days, where it is actually to warm to sit in the sun and I am huddled under our only tree with the laptop for some reprieve in the shade. 

Since we had a bottle of champagne open (another theme??), I decided it was peach bellini time. Maybe my version isn’t the typical definition of a bellini…according to Wikipedia, a bellini is a mixture of peach puree and sparkling wine. This has both of those, but perhaps a more accurate name would be “Frozen Peach Bellini.” 

Our obsession with these drinks started at a local restaurant where a peach bellini costs $9. As you can imagine, our bill would skyrocket in a hurry after we each had a few of these at a Sunday brunch. A few years ago for Mother’s Day, we took Mom and Dad here and ordered the bellinis. My dad, a former bartender, proclaimed, “We could make these at home for free!” This is one of his favorite sayings. However, the funny thing is that it isn’t actually free, but it is a whole lot cheaper. I mean, we’re not knocking off the liquor store to get our peach bellini makings, right? So he proceeded to go stand at the bar and watch the bartender make our order. He came back, triumphant, and now we’ll never have to pay $9 for a peach bellini again. 

Frozen Peach Bellinis 

A few notes:

You can use fresh peach puree, but I use the bottled stuff (Finest Call). For this recipe, it’s just as good and keeps in the fridge for quite awhile, so you can always have a bellini at your fingertips. 

Simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water, brought to a boil and then cooled. This will also keep in the fridge for a while, but you can also buy this bottled. Both are fine.

5 ounces peach puree
4 ounces peach schnapps
4 ounces sparkling wine
splash of simple syrup
3-4 cups crushed ice (depending on how thick you like it) 

Put all ingredients in a blender and puree until no ice chunks remain. 

These quantities make either two super-sized drinks or four more normal-sized drinks. 

So easy and SO good. These can be consumed at an alarmingly fast rate, and are the perfect companion to your next brunch (or lazy Sunday).

Enjoy that sun while you can…and even after you can’t, a peach bellini will always lift your spirits.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Finger Lickin’ Fantastic

I always thought that making baby back ribs at home was too much work. You rub, you wait. You boil, you wait. You smoke…you guessed it, you wait. After finally glazing, you’re ready to eat. Think again! “Rib experts” say that you should let the ribs sit for 30 minutes (30 minutes?!?) under foil to let them rest.

Doesn’t that sound like a lot of trouble? Well, as I’ve recently learned, it is more than worth it…

If I had known that making ribs at home was this easy AND produced some of the best ribs I’ve had in a long time, the swine population might be in danger. Let me rephrase: the “extra-meaty” swine population might be in danger. 

That’s what I’ve been buying…”extra-meaty” baby back pork ribs. Now I’m sure there is someone out there who would disagree, but I can’t imagine why you would want NON-extra-meaty. If extra-meaty is an option, it seems to me that should be your choice. But I’m no expert, and clearly they sell the not-so-meaty variety for a reason. 

So…once you have your fully-meaty ribs, what do you do with them? The first few racks we tried, we followed recipes and ended up with good results. They were all eaten with vigor…always a good sign. Now we felt ready to attempt our own version, using the tips and tricks we’d learned previously. 

(Some recipes suggest boiling the ribs before grilling. We skipped this step, and don’t think the ribs suffered at all.) 

Barbecued Baby Back Ribs 

Okay, so here’s the rub. We went through the spice rack picking every spice we thought we might want in our rub. Then we went back through and picked out complementing flavors. Here’s what we ended up with: 

Equal parts salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, ground mustard, chili powder, cayenne pepper, ground chipotle pepper, and cinnamon. 

After trimming the ribs and removing the membrane from the underside (Andy uses a screwdriver per a recommendation and it seems to do the trick nicely), sprinkle the spice mixture generously over both sides of the ribs and rub in. Let sit overnight. (Disclaimer: There is still a lot of waiting…it’s just not as much trouble as I thought it would be.) 

Next…a sauce. After trying some very spicy finishing glazes, we decided on a tangier, sweeter sauce, which lets the spice from the rub come through. Of course, being total spicy-food addicts, we ended up with a little kick in the sauce after all. 

Unfortunately, I’m not sure on definite quantities here, but these are the ingredients: 

1 can tomato paste
cider vinegar
a couple handfuls of brown sugar
clove of minced garlic
onion powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper 

Whisk everything together and bring to a simmer. Let simmer and reduce to a consistency you like. (We made ours on the thinner side.) 

After the ribs sit overnight with the rub, put them meat side up on grill (indirect heat at 325 degrees). You can do the same in the oven. Time varies depending on weight, but for our 2.5 pound rack, it was 1 hour 45 minutes total. When there are 15 minutes left on the timer, glaze both sides of the rack with the sauce, starting with the rib side, and ending with the meaty side. Close the grill again and let the ribs finish. (You can tell when the ribs are close to being done when the meat starts pulling up from the bones.) 

Transfer the ribs onto a baking sheet and cover with foil for 30 minutes, ensuring very tender meat. At this point, Andy usually stares at the timer willing it to go faster. 

When ready to serve, cut between each bone. Serve with extra sauce on the side for dipping. 

So, yes…these do take a bit of time. But most of it is inactive, and what you end up with is a tender, juicy, sweet and spicy rack of extra-meaty baby back ribs. You’ll think back to the last time you had ribs at a BBQ joint and think, oh yeah…I’ve got those beat, and at a fraction of the cost!