Oven Meatballs

“Italian” Style

1.5 lbs. each, ground beef [don’t use super lean, 85/15 is good] and pork. Or it can be 2 beef to 1 pork. The traditional mixture is equal parts beef, pork, and veal. I don’t think veal adds much flavor, it’s more of a textural thing.
1 medium/small onion, minced fine
3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
A pinch of cayenne [To your taste, you know what I mean.]
A small handful pickled pepperoncine slices, finely chopped [not necessary, but I like it].
3/4 cup ricotta cheese [also unnecessary, but it adds moisture and an unctioness to the result].
1 tbs. dijon mustard
1/2 cup milk
A handful of chopped Italian parsley
3/4 cup grated/finely chopped parmesan cheese
24 saltines [8 per pound of meat] roughly crushed.
– A note on the preparation of the crackers: You can use a rolling pin to crush them. But I prefer to use a chef’s knife to chop two or more crackers at a time. You want 1/8″ chunks – NOT fine crumbs.

Note: If you have bacon fat on hand, use it to fry the onions and garlic. Or, you could finely chop a few slices of cooked bacon and add it to the meat mixture. The point is to give your meatballs a bit of smoked bacon flavor. Anyway, I like it.
– Fry the onion until soft. Add a puddle of oil, heat, and add the garlic. Cook until you smell the garlic. Turn off heat.
– In a large bowl: Whisk the eggs. Add salt, black pepper, cayenne, pepperoncine, mustard, milk, and ricotta. Add the pan of cooled onions and garlic. Mix. Add the saltines and parsley – combine.
– Add the meat. You don’t want to overwork it – the meatballs will be tough. I like to add big pinches of meat, and mix, etc. If added all at once you actually work the meat more trying to break it down. Plus it’s cold [your hands are the best tools to blend a meatball mixture].
– Prepare as many sheet pans that will fit in your oven. I like to use parchment paper, but foil works as a more expensive alternative to make clean up easier.
– Scoop out about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 diameter ball of meat mixture with one hand and roughly shape it round with your other hand’s fingers. [I actually have a scoop. A tablespoon will do.]
– Plop as many balls on the sheet pans as you think are a not-crowded fit and pop the pans into a preheated 400° oven.
– Cook for 12 mins. Remove the pans and turn over each meatball. Return the pans to the oven [rotate pans to different racks if you’re fussy].
– Cook another 10 mins. The finished meatball temp should be at least 160°


Skillet Cornbread

I’ve tried a lot of recipes for cornbread. There are two basic types: Southern style – which has a neutral or sour flavor, and Northern style – which has a sweeter flavor. I’ve made both, and I must say I prefer the sweeter version. This is my recipe for…

New England Skillet Cornbread

I’ve added a variation to the recipe that includes fresh cooked corn, which makes it much tastier I think.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1.25 cups of Quaker Oats cornmeal [I’ve tried all sorts of ‘stone ground’ brands – they’re too crunchy.]
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. baking powder
2 cups chopped cooked corn*
4 tbsp. sugar [If you use fresh corn, subtract one tbsp. of sugar per ear/cup of corn.]
1.5 cups milk [If you use fresh corn, subtract 1/4 cup of milk per ear/cup of corn.]
2 eggs
6 tbsp. melted butter [You can use a combination of any ‘fat’ – 2 in the pan and 4 in the batter. I like to use bacon fat in the pan and 2 tbsp. each of olive oil and butter in the batter.]
Add some finely chopped pickled jalapeno to your taste, if you like it.


* If you’re using fresh, cooked corn, cut the kernels off the cob[s]. I have found that 2 ears make a pretty good addition the the standard recipe. [Don’t forget to scrape the spine of the knife over the cobs to release the juicy remains of the kernels.] You can use cooked frozen corn instead of corn off the cob if you prefer.
Chop the corn. You should end up with one cup of chopped corn per ‘ear’.

– Put a 9″ cast iron skillet in your oven and turn it to 425°.

– Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. NOTE: Sugar is considered a wet ingredient.
– In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the other wet ingredients and mix.
– Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. NOTE: Stir only enough to combine the ingredients. Over stirring will produce more gluten, making the corn bread tough.
– Remove the skillet from the oven and add your preferred ‘fat’. It should heat/melt very quickly. NOTE: Butter has some water content to it and may ‘spit’ – be careful. Add the batter quickly and return the pan to the oven to bake for 20 – 25 mins.
– Check with a thermometer. The cornbread will be done at 190°


Good for you and easy to make too [except for cleanup, perhaps].
Most store brands are OK. Some are better than others – perhaps you have your favorite. My problem with the commercial brands is the cost. The ingredients [mostly chick peas] are pretty cheap. So how come the price of a little tub of hummus is so damn expensive for what you get? I especially have a problem with brand[s] with containers that look similar in size to the honest brands on the shelf – but have a pretty sizable indentation on the bottom – sneaky!
No thanks, I’ll make my own.

This is a double recipe. It makes approximately 36 oz. I like to make this double batch because of the aforementioned pain-in-the-ass cleanup of the food processor.

NOTE: I assume you’ll dip with pita… But other folks like to dip with veggies. My daughter, Jessiche has made this recipe. She likes to dip veggies in her hummus. She suggests a bigger flavor of garlic and less of the lemon. I concur, and I would also suggest the option of equal portions of tahini and peanut butter. A better balance of flavors with veggies.

2 cans, 15.5 oz. of chick peas [I like Goya brand]
1/2 cup of lemon juice – approx. 2 lemons [Include grated zest from one of the lemons – too much makes it bitter].
2/3 cup of tahini [An alternative/addition if you like a sweeter hummus: You can use creamy peanut butter instead of tahini, or a portion of each – 2/3 cup total. Use the natural, all-peanut stuff without additions of sugar or shortening.]
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda*
3 good sized garlic cloves
A handful of chopped Italian parsley, if you like. It can be mixed in or used as a garnish when served.
Finely ground black pepper and cayenne to taste [optional].

– Drain the chick peas, but reserve the liquid from the cans.
– *This step is optional if you like a really smooth hummus. It’s not necessary. Put the chickpeas in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil gently for 15 – 20 minutes with the baking soda. The object is to soften them and loosen the skins. The skins will separate and float to the top. Add cold water and when you can, skim off the skins with your fingers. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
– Leave the paper on 2 of the garlic cloves and place in a toaster oven or a frying pan to lightly toast and soften them. [This tames the strong garlic piquancy. They become sweeter, with a toasty flavor.] Or, for a quick result without the nice toasty flavor, you can microwave them until they soften.
When they’re done, let them cool. Squeeze out the garlic mush from the paper husk.
Peel the third clove. Chop, sprinkle on a pinch of salt, and cream by dragging the side of the knife edge over the pieces until smooth.
– Put all the garlic and chick peas into the processor.

I like to add all the liquids for measurement in a large [16 oz.] measuring cup. It also helps to liquify the tahini so it’s easier to pour. If you don’t have a large measuring cup, just add the separate ingredients to the processor.
– Squeeze the lemons, add the juice and zest.
– Add the olive oil.
– Add the tahini [and/or peanut butter].
– Stir a bit and scrape out the liquid ingredients into the processor. Use a rubber spatula, you’ll need it later to remove all the hummus goodness from the processor.
– Add all the other ingredients [except for the pepper and cayenne] to the processor and take them for a spin.
– SLOWLY add water and some of the reserved chick pea liquid, which has some saltyness and chickpea flavor to the spinning processor until you get the consistency/thickness you like. Be careful not to thin it too much. Stop the processor to check consistency and flavor. Add more seasonings if necessary and spin briefly after each addition.
– Add some pepper and/or cayenne if you like a touch of spicyness in your hummus.

When you’re done, scrape out the hummus goodness into containers – enjoy with some pita bread [or veggies].
I like to freeze half the batch for later. It keeps well.

*The Quesadilla Revisited

I’ve been making Q’s for a long time. Working on different flavors and such. I think I’ve perfected a few relatively quick and easy recipes, but the process and preparation has remained pretty much the same.

It all changes now. The boredom of doing the same things have compelled me to go into trances – to change the construction of the Q. To serve the people.

To be specific, these new recipes serve 2 people.

Use three 8″ flour tortillas.
With your largest frying pan, lightly color them by pan frying with a touch of oil. Turn off the heat.
Spread the tortillas evenly around the pan. Schmere a thin refried beans layer, if you got ’em. The tortillas will overlap in the center. That’s OK, just try to get as much pan contact you can.

Add the other usual quesadilla ingredient suspects.
Don’t forget the cheese. Make it cheesy.

Turn the heat to med low and cover the pan.
The whole point in covering the pan is to melt the cheese. Check now and then. Don’t let it get too steamy.
When you think the pan contents are warmed enough, take off the lid. Give the pan a circular swirl to loosen the tortillas.
The 3 tortillas should hang together as one mass thanks to the cheese glue. As the bottoms get crisped, they’ll slide easier. The point is to make the bottoms crispy – not burned. You’ll know when they’re right.

Turn the contents out onto a cutting board. Cut slices like a pizza.

This one is more of a ‘veggie’ roll up, but warmed.
Prepare your favorite veggie wrap ingredients. I like shaved carrot, tomato, lots of thinly sliced lettuce, and something in the onion family – a little salad dressing too… I like creamy parmesan. If you like it spicy add some sliced pepperoncini or jalapeno.
I said veggie roll, but that doesn’t exclude the addition of any meat substance you might like. Here’s a Grumpy Davich recommendation – small dollops of deviled ham, only half a can. It adds its own particular spiceyness.
Piquancy is necessary… it’s a cheese sandwich with a Spanish disposition.

Beat an Xlarge egg [or 2 small eggs] with a little water or milk and a sprinkle of salt.
Use two 8″ flour tortillas.
Slightly coat your largest fry pan with oil and heat quite a bit. Turn the tortillas in the pan to coat them with the pan oil. Then, flip them – get them to puff a bit and lightly toast. Turn off the heat. Take the tortillas out of the pan and slice in strips, about 1/2 inch wide. Return the strips to the pan, in one layer, all in the same direction.
Now is the time to pour in the egg. Once you’ve spread the egg to coat and glue the tortilla strips, turn the heat on low if necessary. You want to cook the egg, but leave it slightly shimmery on top. This will happen quickly. Add the cheese. Cover the pan and check quickly to see if the egg looks good and the cheese has begun to melt.

Lots of melty cheese – remember, it’s a quesadilla. The cheese will help to bind the tortilla strips too. When it looks good to you [the cheese doesn’t have to be completely melted] turn it out on a cutting board.

This one is way-full.

Add the veggies, dressing, and meats. I forgot to add the dressing. Doesn’t matter, I tasted every ingredient.

Roll or fold contents in the direction of the tortilla strips. Cut as you like and serve.

The Cuban


Maybe there is a recipe and claim to the ‘authentic’ Cuban sandwich. I doubt if there is an archetype, I don’t care. I like it my way and this is how I make it.
The most helpful thing about this recipe is the process of cooking it without a sandwich press. So I will tell you now, you need a large fry pan and preferably, a cast iron pan [or a sheet pan and a brick, or some other heavy object]

These are the ingredients:

– Pork. You could use sliced up leftover roast pork, loin, chops, or even the meat from barbecue ribs. The key is to cut it according to how tender it is. You can use chunks or slices if it’s tender or chop it up fine if a little tough. The best meat would be pulled pork from a Boston Butt or Picnic Shoulder. There’ll be lots of leftovers if you cook one – perfect for The Cuban.

Pulled Pork, The Short Recipe:
The bone-in version comes with a thick skin cap; I usually cut it off with most of the attached fat layer. Get your grill real hot. [I like to make it smokey with the addition of some fruit tree twigs]. Sear the shoulder on all sides. When that’s done, remove from the grill and coat it all over with a spice mix. Put it in a Dutch oven or pot with a good sealing heat-proof cover. You can add a splash of the beer you’re drinking, or rum, bourbon, wine, or a little orange juice – but it’s not necessary – a good amount of liquid will be produced from the meat alone. [Skim off the fat and save the liquid to make a nice barbecue sauce.]
Preheat your oven. Time and temp depend on the weight and if the pork is bone-in or not. Figure about 25 min. per pound at 325° boneless, or 30 min. bone-in. [A typical pork shoulder – about 7 lbs. will take about 3.5 hrs.]
Internal temp. should be around 190° when it’s done. [This is very important; most pork cuts are usually done at 145° – a shoulder too. But a shoulder has a lot of connective tissue that is tough and doesn’t start to melt until around 180°.]. You want it to be fall-off-the-bone tender! Even 200° internal temp. is OK.
Shred the meat when it cools a bit.

– A nice loaf of bread. It can be anything, as long as it isn’t too dense. I prefer a small Italian loaf, although I’ve made it with sourdough, ciabatta, and salio.

– Sliced ham [traditional] or hard salami, which I prefer.

– Cheese, something that melts good and is not too overpowering in flavor. I use two different cheeses, Swiss and Muenster.

– Dill pickles [lots], sliced thin lengthwise.

– Other ‘veggie’ ingredients like finely chopped pepperoncini [just a little if you like hots], or sliced tomato if the meat is dry, or sliced avacado for its flavor and smooth texture.

– Mustard [your choice, traditionally it’s yellow]. Salt and pepper.

– And the pork, of course. If it’s not perfectly tender, chop it into easy-to-chew pieces.

Putting it all together:
– Slice the bread in half lengthwise, You can cut it in half sideways too if a whole loaf is too long for the pan. Butter the inside [yes, the cut part] of one half and put it butter side down in your largest frypan. Or, you can trim off a bit of the crust to make it flat. The reason is that if you toast the crust sides they will become very crunchy [and will cut your mouth when you chew].
At this point you want to layer the ingredients so they will stay put and not slide out:
– Lay on slices of one of the chosen cheeses to cover the bread.
– Add the pork [salt and pepper].
– Layer the pickles [and other veggies].
– Layer on slices of the other cheese.
– Add slices of the deli meat.
– Mustard
– Top it all with the other half[s] of bread [don’t butter yet].

Place your cast iron skillet on top and press down to flatten the sandwich until the skillet is balanced.
Heat it on the stove, low heat, for 15 minutes. I like to move the pan a bit to be sure there is even heat under each part of the sandwich as it crisps. Remove the ‘weight’, butter the top of the sandwich then turn it over carefully with a spatula. Replace the ‘weight’ and heat for another 15 minutes or if the cheese melts and drips in the pan.

That’s it. Slice up portions and enjoy.

NOTE: If you want to make a lot to feed a big group you can put the buttered loaves on a sheet pan with a weighted sheet pan on top and bake in the oven at around 300°. Keep your eye on them because they can burn quickly. There’s no need to turn the loaves, but both sides will be equally toasty if you do.


In all its forms – the near bloody rare breast presented at chichi restaurants, or served pressed at a Chinese restaurant, duck is a tasty, all dark meat bird. My favorite is the crispy skinned, fall off the bone tenderness that this recipe will provide to you, my faithful fan[s].

The fresh game duck is only available to those hardy souls who get up early and spend long hours in cold damp environments with their faithful water dog – the duck hunter. For the rest of us, our only available duck is the farm raised variety found frozen hard as a brick at our local supermarket.

The process begins. You’ve got to give it about 3 days to defrost in the refrigerator. After defrost don’t think you can cook it like a roaster chicken. There’s way too much fat, you’ll end up with a smokey [fire] result if you cook it at high heat, hoping to get that crispy skin that is so delicious. Low heat for a long time will cook the meat nicely but you won’t get the crispy skin.

You’ll need a broiler pan to do this thing. But if you don’t have one, you’re smart, you can figure out how to put together an oven pan and a rack  – to be covered with foil so the duck steams.

I recommend at least a butterfly treatment, cutting through the breastbone [easier]. But I like to cut along the backbone on both sides, leaving that as a separate part and then cutting through the breastbone to net two distinctive halves of the bird. Or, it can be quartered at this point – 2 breast/wings and two thigh/legs. In all cases butchering shears is the tool to have. But if you don’t have one, a serrated knife [bread knife] will do the trick because duck bones are pretty fragile.

Slice through the fatty parts of the skin in lines about a half inch apart with a very sharp knife. Don’t go down to the flesh. Lay the duck on the rack, skin side up with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper on all sides. The rest goes like my process for ribs. It’s steamed then broiled. Boil some water, add it to to the broiler pan. You can also add some aromatics like chunks of onion, smashed garlic, and fronds of fresh sage to the broth. Cover tightly with foil. Put it in the oven at 250° for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours [you’ll smell it when it’s done].

– Alternatively, steam for 1 hour at 250°, remove foil and roast for 1/2 hour at 375°. It will be cooked [internal temperature 170°] and the texture of the meat will be a little more firm than the all steam method. Of course you will still need to crisp the skin further.

Broil it to crisp the skin. Remove the foil [be careful of the escaping steam] then put it on the highest oven rack and broil to perfection.

NOTE; Duck fat is delicious and wonderful to use as a frying oil. Put the bottom of the broiler pan in the fridge or freezer until the fat on top solidifies. It will then be easy to scrape off the ‘water’ below. Put it in a jar, cover and keep in the fridge for future use. It keeps for a long time.

Fryolater-Free ‘Buffalo’ Wings

NutritionTriangleBuffalo wings are great finger food and if you add blue cheese dip, crunchy veggies and a few beers you’ve got the essential ingredients to sustain life.

If the vittles are good.
I’ve had good wings and bad ones too. My main complaint [besides tough chicken] is that even though they come out of the fryer crispy, after a shake in the [mild, medium, hot, or nuclear] sauce they’re all slimy  – and gooey too, if they’re made with that awful bread crumb coating. Crispy skin – gone. Alternately, you can ask for sauce on the side if you want the cook to spit in it.

Save your money on bar beer, buy a six and make your own wings at home. I can’t truly call this a recipe for Buffalo wings because the traditional method is to deep fry the suckers. But who has a fryolater or wants to deal with a couple of quarts of 350° oil on their stove? My method is to cook ’em in the oven.

Chicken wings
It’s up to you how many you want to buy/eat and the convenience of having them pre-cut, or not. I would not recommend buying the frozen ones in a bag though. Nothing wrong with frozen, but they’re just too damn big. Dry the wings with paper towels and arrange them close together [on a big plate].

[You could mix all the ingredients, but I’m not giving proportions. I would just recommend a sprinkling of more or less depending on your taste.] Coat one side, turn over and do the other.
– Celery salt, black pepper, dry mustard, oregano, chile powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne [careful!], smoked paprika [lots].
It’s best to refrigerate for a few hours uncovered in the fridge. It will dry the wings and concentrate the flavors.

When you’re ready to cook
Corn starch.
Panko [not necessary, but makes the coating even more crispy].
Crush it to make it cling better. 

For the sauce
Frank’s Hot Sauce.

Crunchy stuff
Carrot and Celery [cut into narrow 2–3 inch long pieces].

The Procedure
It would be good to take the wings out of the fridge [about a half hour] before you start to cook them. Preheat the oven to 450, with rack in the middle.
For 2 to 4 portions of wings, add about 2 tbs. each of flour and corn starch [and crushed Panko, if you like extra crispy] to a plate and mix.
Coat the wings by rolling them individually in the ‘flour’ mixture. [Knock off excess.]
Place the wings [spaced] on a sheet pan covered with parchment or foil that has been sprayed with oil.
Very important. The wings will take about 40 minutes to cook. They brown mostly on the side that’s down. TURN THEM EVERY 10 MINUTES. [That’s why they don’t do it this way in pubs.]

Blue Cheese Dip
Make it easy on yourself. Buy some bottled stuff. I usually choose ones that are yogurt based, rather than the typical mayo/sour cream base. [Choose a brand with a wide top to store what’s leftover]. And, buy some blue cheese. Add enough chunks to make the dip interesting. Then adjust the flavors if you like. [I like chopped parsley, usually more garlic powder, a little Worcestershire, black pepper, and paprika.] I’ve made my own dip in the past; the problem is that it liquifies quickly without the emulsifiers you get in the store-bought stuff.

Hot Sauce
Real simple – equal portions of Frank’s [I like the extra hot version] and butter. Microwave in something with a handle and spout [Pyrex measuring cup]. If you like it real spicy, add some cayenne to taste.

You can pour a little sauce on your wings, or do what I do. Pour a little puddle of sauce on the plate and dip as you eat – spicy chicken meat and crispy skin – the best!


Chili – with an I


Grumpy Davich has been making chili for years, but not based on a tradition of chili  – my mom never made it.
I’ve been working on this recipe since my first taste… from my best friend’s mom. It was kind of a tomato stew with hamburger, spice, and beans.
A whole new taste for me; I was hooked.

Let me say at the outset that this recipe is not a bowl of ‘red’, a traditional competition chili. That’s a Texas thing; I’ve made it, but it lacks the complexity I’ve built into this chili. My chili is not restricted by tradition – it tastes good and that’s all that matters to me. It’s one of my favorite things to eat.

Ingredients: 12 portions [with beans]
2 oz. of dried peppers –  a combination of ancho, pasilla, new Mexico, or cascabel chiles – it doesn’t matter, whatever you can find. you will find a preference with experience and what is available. Dried chilis create a mellow base of hots which is essential in a chili.
4 chiles out of a can of Chipotle with Adobo, chopped small. [Scrape out the seeds unless you want your chili extra spicy.]
2 tbl cumin seeds
1.5 large yellow onions, chopped
4 celery stalks, minced fine
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 Poblano peppers, if you can find them. Or a couple of big red peppers. [Poblanos will have some good spice, but you will have to take off their skins. I use a MAPP gas torch but a propane torch will work to sear the skin, which can be scraped off under a trickle of water]. Chop either peppers into bite sized chunks.
2 lg. cans of whole tomatoes, with juice
6 strips, chopped bacon [not maple flavored], or rendered bacon fat [2 tbl]
2 lbs ground chuck [85/15]
1 lb ground pork
salt and black pepper to taste
1 package of chorizo sausage

A long, grocery list for a simple dish… but actually it gets more complicated than a typical stew, which chili is. At his point it’s all about fussy procedure…

The Procedure
– Toast the cumin in a small frying pan until you can smell the fragrance and set aside.
– Put the ancho and Anaheim peppers in a [toaster] oven and crisp them – careful, they will burn quickly. [If you smell them, it’s probably too late]. They need to be separated from the seeds [leave some in if you want extra hots] and stems. Pulverize [along with the toasted cumin]. I use a coffee mill.
– Slice the casings and peel them off the sausage [NOTE: Only soft, fresh chorizo needs to be cooked]. Put whole sausage into a small frying pan with a little water. You’ll cook them on simmer for 40 minutes, turning them quarterly every 10. If you bought cured chorizo [hard], it only needs to be chopped into bite size pieces and will benefit from a quick browning. 
– Roll out the burger [yes, use a roller] really thin, think McDonalds. Cut to the largest squares you can manage turning on a grill. Add salt and pepper liberally. If you have to fry them, make big patties, so that you can hold a spatula against them all [four maybe] to dump out the fat/liquid. [Too much liquid in the pan will prevent browning.]
– Sear those patties! This is the thing that makes this chili unique – browning the burger and cutting them into chunks. They’ll have a similar tooth [not texture] to the braised steak of traditional chili.
– While the meat cools, in a large pot, cook [sweat] the onion, celery and the fresh red pepper with the bacon [fat]. When the veggies are getting soft, clear a spot in the pot, add a little oil and cook the garlic for a minute. Squeeze the tomato juice from the cans [with their lids] into the pot. You can add some beer, water, or wine if there’s not enough liquid to cover the veggies. Bring the pot to a light boil and simmer until there’s no crunch to the vegetables.
– When the meat cools, chunk it into about about 1/3 inch cubes. Put into a large bowl and add the powdered chili, cumin, [and chipotle powder] and mix gently to coat.
– Cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces and add to the cooking pot.
– Add the chopped chiles with some adobo sauce [instead of the powdered chipotle].
– Add the cooked, seasoned meat.
– Bring slowly to a soft boil.

It’s ready, all but for the beans…
Horror to the purist to add beans. [The purist wouldn’t eat any chili that wasn’t just chiles, tomatoes maybe, and beef.] Screw that, mine is better.
– I like beans with my chili; canned red beans [Goya] are the best. Just add proportionally to the serving of your pot chili. I like one can of beans [rinsed] for a two-person serving. I usually portion the leftover meat chili mix and freeze it, then add canned beans fresh to future leftover meals.

Heat it all up, fwamp it into bowls, throw on some grated jack cheese, sprinkle with chopped scallions, and scoop it up with tortilla chips – yum.

Rice Doesn’t Belong In A Burrito


Rice is the common accompaniment to most ‘south of the border’ meals, but spare the grain in my burrito. It’s a side, and belongs on a plate. The burrito is fist food, something to g’nosh as you walk. Beans are essential in a burrito, rice is excess. Give me flavor, not filling.
Beans make the burrito! They’re the flavor and texture that holds the thing together. Seasoned beans are the essence, and with the addition of some kind of meat, the flavor is quintessence. Try this filling.

Ingredients  [For 2 very hungry people]
1 chorizo sausage [the Portuguese version is spelled chorico]. Take off the casing and chop to 1/4″ size bits.
1 small can of pinto, kidney, or small red beans, rinsed [I prefer Goya].
1/4 lg. onion, chopped small. 2 lg. cloves garlic, chopped fine.
Your favorite chunky salsa; I like Green Mountain Gringo medium [careful, non hot-heads, the chorizo has some spice too].
Grated cheese, lots [jack… colby… muenster… any soft cheese]. Add a little sharp cheddar too.
Cumin powder.
Chopped pickled jalapeños if you like hots. [I like Vlasic if I can find it.]
Lime juice.
Fresh chopped tomatoes, if you think the salsa isn’t enough tomato flavor.
2 to 4 scallions, chopped.
Sliced avocado is good too.
Burrito size tortillas.
Any color bell pepper*

The Procedure – Add some oil to a skillet [bacon fat is better] and add the onions. When they start to soften, push them to the edge of the pan and add the chorizo. ‘Brown’ without burning. Turn down the heat and add the beans. Add a good splop of salsa and mush the whole thing with a wooden spoon. It’s mostly the beans you want to mush.] If the mixture dries out, add a little beer or water. When you’ve got a chunky mush texture, add cumin, black pepper, and salt to taste. Make a small clear space in the hot part of the pan, add a little oil and the garlic. When you smell it [a minute], mix the whole thing together; you’re ready to serve.
– Sprinkle the grated cheeses over a burrito size tortilla on a plate and microwave until the cheese just starts to melt
– Schmear the filling in a strip on the front third of the tortilla.
– Add the scallions, a squirt of lime juice, more cheese, chopped jalapenos, if you like it hot [I do, so I add some hot sauce too], tomatoes, if you like it juicy, [and avocado].
Hopefully, you know how to fold a burrito! [Fold away from you to envelop the filling, close in the sides and make the final fold/roll.
– Microwave the prepared burrito if you like. [The veggies will cool the burrito a bit.]
[If you don’t have a microwave, section portions of the mix in the pan, add the final ingredients, cover the pan and heat until the cheese melts. Fwamp each portion on a tortilla], fold, eat, enjoy!
You might even like to take your burrito for a walk.

*NOTE: I recently tried this addition to give the sandwich some veggie crunch…
Slice some bell pepper EXTRA THIN. Microwave it for a very short time to take out the rawness. Add as much as you like when you assemble the burrito. It will hold up to any heating you do and still provide a nice crunchy texture.

New England Ribs

A slow braise like the New England boiled dinner is the influence. It’s not true barbecue, but after finishing on the grill the results will compete with any traditional method – fall-off-the-bone-tender!
If you don’t have a broiling pan  you can use a large roasting pan with raised cooling rack[s] placed in the bottom.

2 racks Pork ribs [Saint Louis Cut is the best] This will feed 6 to 8 people.

The Rub:
2 tbl. brown sugar
2 tbl. paprika
2 tsp. chipotle powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

The Sauce [If you don’t use it all, it freezes well]:
15 oz. tomato sauce
2 oz. tomato paste
3 tbl. molasses
2 tbl. ketchup
1 tbl. cocoa powder [sweetened]
1 tbl. Worcester Sauce
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chipotle powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. vinegar
2 tbl. lime juice [add at the end of cooking for brightness]
[Thin with beer if necessary]

The Procedure
It’s good to rub the ribs a few hours before cooking, then chill [leave them uncovered]. Take the meat out of the fridge about a half an hour before cooking. Get the oven to 250, put them on the broiler pan and add about 1/4″ boiling water. Cover and seal with aluminum foil. Put the pan in the middle of the oven. It will take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cook them fully. You’ll smell them when cooked [the meat will shrink from the bones].

While they’re cooking, make the sauce.

Get your grill really hot, spread some sauce on the ribs and sear them, both sides. If you don’t have a grill you can put them under the broiler to achieve the same effect.  They’re already cooked, so all you’re doing is charring the surface!
Slice to individual ribs add extra sauce and a sprinkle of hot sauce. Enjoy!

It’s Great with cole slaw and potato salad [maybe a future post].