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Chinese Spareribs

These are from page 6 of the Jan-Feb 2018 issue of Cook’s Illustrated.  They’re a fair amount of work, but they turned out really really tasty.


I made a couple of changes to the recipe, though.

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Another Lunch

Skin-on chicken thighs are one of my favorites, despite the fact that they are increasingly hard to find in grocery stores in reasonable quantities (<4 lbs).  Usually I stew them, but sometimes I also roast them:


These were brined overnight and seasoned with garlic, rosemary, and thyme, then roasted in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes.  The sauce is a simple dijon mustard and lemon juice pan sauce, thickened with flour.

The skin was dried with a paper towel after being taken out of the brine, and lightly dusted with cornstarch.  It ended up amazingly crispy (as if it were fried), while the chicken was nice and tender and tasty.


Best Meal of the Trip: Runners up

Had to go to Simi Valley for work at the end of January, so I made the trip a bit longer, and spent both weekends in Los Angeles.  No point in racing home to be in Pittsburgh in February!!  Anyway, it’s always fun deciding on and posting the best meal of the trip; this time since it was a relatively long trip in an area with good restaurants, there were a lot of strong candidates and even the losers are worth a blog post.

First, Baja Cantina:


It’s right near the Venice Pier.  This is the Enchiladas Suizas, my favorite dish there.

Continue reading Best Meal of the Trip: Runners up

Emilio’s Brick Oven Pizza in Sterling, VA

This was my favorite pizza place when I lived in Northern Virginia.  I happened to be in DC last week, so I stopped by for a dinner.  It was every bit as good as I remembered.


This is the Roma pizza, with portabello mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and marinated tomatoes.  The crust is nice and thin and crispy:


It’s very near Dulles Airport, and definitely worth a stop!  They also say they deliver now.

Dijon Pork Roulade


This is actually another dish I used to make many, many years ago, although this version is quite a bit fancier than what I did back then.  The sauce is really yummy and definitely what makes the dish.  I rarely make that much French food, so it’s good for a change.

It’s actually easier than it looks.  If you take a chilled pork tenderloin, and use a sharp, short knife parallel to the cutting board about 1/4 inch above the board and cutting 1/4-1/2 inch in at a time, you can slowly unroll the pork tenderloin like a scroll.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just need a large, mostly intact sheet of tender pork, which you can then slather with dijon mustard, cover with fresh spinach, and then roll back up tightly.  The most time consuming part is stringing it up to hold it together.  Then lightly sprinkle the outside with thyme.

Saute the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, then add 4 cloves of minced garlic, and saute for another minute.  Deglaze the pan with half a bottle of white wine, then add the pork along with another tablespoon of dijon mustard.  Cover and braise for half an hour.  Remove pork and mushrooms from pan, and reduce sauce by half.  Put sauce on plate, then sliced pork, then mushrooms.

Best Meal of the Trip – Baden, Switzerland

You’d think this would be a tough one, but unfortunately there aren’t actually all that many good contenders.  Baden, despite being in the German section of Switzerland, is mostly populated with uninspired Italian restaurants.

I will have to give it to the Veal Cordon Bleu at Schwyzerhusli:


As you can see, it’s almost a schnitzel.  Which isn’t a bad thing.  According to others, the pizzas are also really good.  But see what I said about Italian food?

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