70 Degrees in November!

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Dinosaur Bones

When I was a kid we used to get these amazing beef ribs from a place called Noonan’s in Los Angeles. Well Noonan’s is gone. Nobody seems to have their recipe. People on the internet keep asking, but to no avail. Chez Melange in Redondo Beach recently claimed that they served, “Noonans Ribs, The Once Famous Westside Rib, Smoked, Dry Rubbed, Grilled and Glazed with Roger’s Barbecue Sauce,” but they’re no longer on the menu.

Anyway, I love beef ribs. The Bob was a little skeptical, but he’s always looking for an excuse to smoke something on the BGE so we ended up with these bad boys.

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I don’t really want to talk about the rub or the smoking method. I want to talk about membrane. All the recipes I saw said to remove the membrane as you would with pork ribs. The Bob saw something that said in the south they leave it on and call it “bacon.” Well, he left the membrane on half the rack (the fattier side) and it was nothing like any bacon I’ve tasted. But it was charred fatty goodness and it kept the meat on those bones extra tender. It was a bit harder to eat since there were some chewy bits and the meat without the membrane picked up more flavor from the rub, but overall I was a fan. Next time I think we will try leaving the membrane on the leaner end of the rack to see if we get the same results.

 

Ghost Pepper (and by Extension Fuego in Arlington)

Wiki says, “In 2007, Guinness World Records certified the Bhut Jolokia as the world’s hottest chili pepper, 10,000 times hotter than Tabasco sauce.” So why would I try one? Well it all started as it usually does, with the hunt for a decent taco in DC. The Bob and self heard that there was a new Mexican restaurant in Arlington, but since we left that shopping mall that calls itself a neighborhood I’m usually loathe to go back. It’s unfortunate since there are a number of really good dining destinations in the area including Liberty Tavern and Ray’s the Steaks. This time though, we needed an oil change and wanted to see a movie. Well there’s a Jiffy Lube in Arlington and we could see Seven Psychos at the newly remodeled movie theater in Courthouse. Perfect.

Afterwards, we had little choice but to check out Fuego. The margaritas and chips were great. The guacamole was good (tangy and a little spicy) as were some pork sopes. They make excellent fried yucca, crispy on the outside and really creamy on the inside (a hard feat to accomplish with that unyielding root). The tacos though? Eh. The brisket was decent, but the fish taco was just downright bad. So the search continues. What made the experience really interesting was that they serve a ghost pepper and onion relish. I couldn’t resist trying it.

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Those things are fiery. I was sweating but at the same time half my mouth was numb. I don’t really know what the point of this pepper is because added to anything it would surely overpower every other flavor. But it’s pretty cool to say I ate something that scientists at India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation planned to use in hand grenades. Or isn’t it?

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http://www.fuegova.com/

P.S. Check out the new theater in Courthouse. It has some awesome seats.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake and Other Delights

This was a big cooking weekend for us.  In addition to those lobsters below, I made a variation on Fergus Henderson’s garlic rabbit (Chicken Little instead of Peter Cottontail was the victim in our recipe). In the future I will buy an older chicken because while this was delicious and garlicy, I’d like to cook the liquid down more but the chicken was already falling off the bone.  There were also a couple of lovely salads: pea shoots in one case, kale in the other but subject to the same dressing (sherry vinaigrette made with my favorite olive oil) and the same garnishes (pomegranate seeds, ricotta salata and toasted walnuts). A delicious pasta dish actually made according to the recipe was also involved.  I don’t usually follow recipes — particularly not when I make pasta. I make an amatriciana based on this one (http://www.babbonyc.com/rec-bucatini.html) all the time. But frankly, that much guanciale and that much oil just can’t be a regular part of my diet.  This time it was a special occasion though, so I used that ¾ pound of pork.  It was delightful! I figured since I was on track to causing somebody to have a coronary at my dinner table why not finish with cheesecake? Pumpkin cheesecake! This Martha Stewart version is a little lighter, more chiffon-y if you will, than regular cheesecake 9http://www.marthastewart.com/335642/pumpkin-cheesecake).  And it turns out canned pumpkin is really good for you. So maybe I was actually doing those guests a favor.
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