Kansas City Ribs

When we think Kansas City, we think ribs.  Not barbeque or smoked meats generally, but ribs specifically.  We’re not sure why, since we’ve never been there.  Maybe it’s because Kansas City is renowned for slow-smoked meats finished with a tangy/sweet sauce, and ribs in particular are at their best when cooked via those methods.  No matter the reason, we knew we would be cooking ribs in the smoker for the Steeler Opponent-City Challenge when the Steelers played the Kansas City Chiefs.  And since Dan prefers to go Flintstones-style with quantity on the rare occasions we have ribs, we made them when my parents were in town for a weekend visit so we could share the smoky BBQ goodness.  And my parents were gracious enough to don some Steeler garb for that weekend’s game and the S.O.C.C. feature photo (thanks guys!)  While they are not die-hard Steeler fans per se, my parents are definitely big fans of their son-in-law (as he is of them) and were happy to support the team.  And we were all super-fans of the delicious, mouth-melting Kansas City ribs.  We didn’t as much enjoy the tough game the Steelers had against the Chiefs (even less so after Big Ben got hurt), but they managed a win nonetheless (in overtime, which is so not my favorite), bringing the current S.O.C.C. record to:  Steelers 6-3, Foodie Lawyer 8-1

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Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

Ina Garten has a new cookbook called “Foolproof:  Recipes You can Trust.”  We have most of the Barefoot Contessa’s books and use them all the time.  As soon as we got this one, I picked a recipe for our weekly menu — Oreccheitte with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage.  Not only was it delicious (it is one of Dan’s new favorite pastas), but it was also pretty easy to make and, true to Ina’s word, foolproof.

Our garden has exploded with peppers.  We picked a bunch (all different varieties), made up a batch of our pickling recipe and canned 4 pints of pickled peppers.  We may never need to buy jar peppers again.

Although the temps are still in the 80s, fall is in the air.  We don’t get a lot of fall foliage around here, and when we do it lasts for about 5 minutes, but we enjoy the pretty colors while they’re here.

Our sister-in-law introduced us to the brilliance that is roasted kale chips in a salad (thanks Cary!)  All you do is trim the kale leaves off the stems, then drizzle the leaves with olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and roast them on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  When the kale is crispy, crumble it up and sprinkle it on your salad.  The kale adds great salty and bitter (but in a good way) flavor and nice crunchy texture to an otherwise boring garden salad.  And bonus — kale is a superfood!  We may never have salad without kale chips again.

No matter who you voted for, the presidential election is an excellent reminder of how fortunate we are as a nation to have the freedom and privilege to exercise our right to choose our leaders.  Democracy can sometimes be taken for granted, and aggressive partisan politics can be exhausting, but on Election Day we could not be more proud to be Americans.

Okra Tomato Side

Okra is still in season around here — at least in our garden.  If you can get fresh okra where you live, this side dish is a great way to use it.  And bonus if you also have garden-fresh tomatoes.  As much as we love the simple saute method of cooking okra, we adapted this recipe to beef it up a bit with the added texture and flavor from the tomatoes, along with a sauce made with a base of sauteed onion, celery, jalapeno and garlic, simmered in a mixture of tomato paste, chicken broth, red wine vinegar and fresh thyme.  The hearty result could be served over rice for a light lunch, and makes for a nice accompaniment to a fish, pork or chicken main course that needs a little extra zing.

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New York Style Pizza

While the great City of New York boasts countless amazing restaurants and many diverse types of cuisine, the thin-crust pizza is ubiquitous there.  From Famous Ray’s (not to be confused with (regular) Ray’s or Ray’s Original) to Lombardi’s to Grimaldi’s — with multiple locations of each throughout the city — it seems like you can get a decent slice on just about any block.  So when the Steelers took on the New York Giants this week, homemade thin-crust pizza seemed like a natural choice for the Steeler Opponent-City Challenge.  We’ve made homemade pizza dough before, but decided to consult our trusted source, Cook’s Illustrated, for a thin-crust pizza recipe that covered both the dough and the sauce.  Although it wasn’t perfect (we might let the dough chill in the fridge for 2 days instead of 1 next time), the pizza was delicious and comparable to some we’ve had in NYC, so we consider it a win.  The Steelers also won this week, bringing the S.O.C.C. record to:  Steelers 5-3, Foodie Lawyer 7-1.  It was far from a hollow victory — the Steelers battled the reigning Super Bowl champs, at the Giants’ home stadium, against several arguably unfair (so Dan tells me) referee calls and yet still won — but we nonetheless celebrate the win in a most humble and respectful way, mindful of Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath in New York and New Jersey.  The people who have been affected will surely rally, rebuild their lives and recoup their losses, but it won’t be an easy or quick process (help if you can.)  As much as we recognize and sympathize with the devastation, we believe in the resilience of the collective human spirit and in hope for new beginnings.  And it is heart-warming to hear all the stories of people helping out so far — from the $23 million raised during the concert telethon, to the marathon runners putting their time to good use helping out in hard-hit Staten Island after the marathon was cancelled, to countless volunteers just showing up and asking what they can do to help.  Even the Steelers did their part — flying in the morning of the game and foregoing hotel rooms for themselves so that rooms would be available for displaced New Yorkers in need.  The Steelers may have beaten the Giants this week, but humanity wins overall when so many people — strangers, friends and family members alike — come together to take care of each other in the face of disaster.  Well done.

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Weekly Menu (Nov. 3)



  • Homemade Chicken Soup


  • Turkey & Mushroom Risotto (w/ leftover smoked turkey)


  • Chicken Tikka Masala


  • Orecchiette w/ Broccoli Rabe & Sausage


  • Take-Out


  • Light Turkey Pot Pie (w/ leftover smoked turkey), Salad


  • Dinner & a Movie

Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

We spent a long weekend (made even longer by Hurricane Sandy) in the Boston area visiting Dan’s older brother, our sister-in-law and our niece and nephew.  We could not have asked for better weather while we were there, except of course for the wind and rain when the storm blew through on Monday.  The only storm-related effects we encountered were a couple of cancelled flights, school closing for a day and a few hours without electricity — all of which added up to bonus time with family and great appreciation for how fortunate we are to have all that we do.  We know others along Sandy’s path were not nearly so lucky and our hearts (and a donation) go out to them.  We always cherish visits with family, but this one in particular seemed extra special — many thanks to our hosts (including the littlest ones) for a wonderful trip with lots of fond memories made.

One of the many highlights of our trip was a visit to a local farm to pick apples and get pumpkins.  It was a beautiful day (check out our nephew — wearing shorts!) and a really fun experience.  I had never been apple-picking before (around these parts, “apple-picking” means selecting them out of the bins in the grocery store) and am still shocked by how much better an apple plucked right off the tree tastes than the ones purchased in the store.

For Dan, every trip to the East Coast requires at least one meal involving lobster.  Although it was soft shell (meaning it had recently molted) which typically means less meat, it was plenty big and delicious and he thoroughly enjoyed every succulent bite.

We hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween — especially anyone affected by Hurricane Sandy:  hopefully you were able to escape the devastation for at least a little while and enjoy something spooky, sweet or otherwise festive for the holiday.  We made a big pot of beef & barley soup (complete with homemade beef stock — post coming soon!), put a scary movie on TV (The Shining) and delighted in handing out candy to lots of cleverly-costumed kids.