Roasted Garlic Sriracha BBQ Sauce

I have made about a million different iterations of BBQ sauce in my life but have never really settled on a master recipe.  This problem is exacerbated by the fact that I have some friends from the south who argue at length about the relative virtues of regional BBQ variations and what, in fact, constituents a proper sauce.

Well, rather than try to mimic (or appropriate in the parlance of our time) a southern BBQ sauce, I decide to simply focus on the flavors I like and work out a master recipe that I can continue to tweak over time.  After all, I’m not a southern boy, but rather a son of Pennsylvania  now living in New England so why be fettered by BBQ provincialism?

I’d hardly call this done by any means, but initial batches are very promising.  I started with a generic BBQ sauce base that seems pretty common across the internets and built from there adding in maple syrup as a nod to my New England home, roasted garlic, and Sriracha.

Ingredients:

1/2 large sweet onion

1 head of garlic, roasted

2 cups ketchup

1/3 cup + 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

4 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 1/2 tbsp Sriracha or to taste

  1. Roast garlic in the oven and allow to cool for easy handling
  2. Roughly chop the onion and saute until it develops a golden color
  3. Add the onion to a food processor.  Remove the roasted garlic from its husk and add to the food processor.  Pulse until fine but do not turn it to mush!
  4. In a saucepan combine the onion and roasted garlic with the other ingredients and simmer until thickened (about 20 minutes or so) and adjust seasoning to taste.
  5. You can store in a container in the fridge for a week or two, or freeze it.  Given the acid content, this recipe could also be canned in a water bath canner.

That’s it!  I rarely make a recipe the same way twice but this is a good master recipe from which to tinker.  My best friend of 35 years and his family will be arriving this Sunday and I will be smoking a large brisket on the Big Green Egg.  This sauce will go nicely on a brisket sandwich.

Waste Not Want Not: Radish Top Pesto

Our daughter loved radishes and so we have been planting, harvesting, and replanting in quick succession and will do so as long as the weather permits (radishes bolt when the warm weather sets in).  Radish sprouts are great on salads and sandwiches, and we of course love the full grown radish root.  However, radish tops/greens are a different story.  Unlike beet greens, radish greens are not as appetizing in their raw state.

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Elsie sowing radish seeds in early spring
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She reaps what she sows!

The leaves are rough if not somewhat spiny and, of course, they have some zip to them.  But after all the effort that goes into planting, we hate to simply toss the greens onto the compost pile.  My wife discovered a recipe for radish top pesto that we have really enjoyed over at Genius Kitchen.

Ingredients:

2 -3 cups radish greens/radish tops

3 cloves garlic, smashed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons pine nuts

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place the first four ingredients in a food processor and pulse into a fine paste
  2. Add remaining ingredients and pulse to combine
  3. If the pesto is too bitter, add some additional sugar.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
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Radish greens are good in the compost but better in a pesto

That’s it, pretty simple.  Be forewarned, this pesto is very different from its basil based cousin; the spiciness of the radish definitely comes through!  We really enjoyed it though and it was a nice change of pace from the tomato sauce or traditional basil pesto we typically put on pasta. Special thanks to Genius Kitchen user Just Garlic for posting this recipe!

Of Cows and Cheese

Given my longstanding love of all things (or at least most things) agricultural I was anxious to find some way to indulge my interest in husbandry and agronomy.  Thankfully, one of my favorite organization–The Trustees of Reservations–posted a volunteer opportunity at Appleton Farms in Ipswich.  I have loved the farm since I relocated here 6 or so years ago, mostly because the rolling pastures remind me of home, or at least what home looked like before developers decided that McMansions were a preferable crop to hay or corn.  I’ve also had a longstanding love of the channel island breeds, and so I could not be happier that Appleton maintains a herd of Jersey cows.

Jersey cows have good dispositions and are inquisitive and at times goofy.

The members of the dairy team are really fantastic and though I came in with a little bit of knowledge there is a lot I don’t know and they have patiently indulged my questions and tolerated my enthusiasm.

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The farm maintains a farm store where they sell dairy products produced from the Jersey herd and beef culled from their herd of White Park cattle in addition to products from other producers.  Now having a steady supply of Jersey cow milk (higher in butterfat and protein than that produced by the ubiquitous Holstein) I decided to have a go at making cheese, something I’ve never tried before.  So, cheese made from milk from a humanely managed herd of Jerseys that I get to help feed and care for.  Farm to table indeed.

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I knew nothing of cheese making so I went to New England Cheese Making Supply Company and bought one of their beginner kits.  They provide you everything you need to get started including well written instructions.  Elsie and I decide to start by making Mozzarella. These instruction are not mine, but are directly from the recipe pamphlet provide with the cheese making kit.  This recipe requires 1 gallon milk, citric acid, rennet, and salt. In addition to ingredients, you need a 1 gallon stainless steel pot, thermometer, colander, knife, and slotted.spoon

  1. Dissolve 1/4 rennet tablet in 1/4 cup cool, chlorine free water (or use 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet).
  2. Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid into 1 cup cool water and pour into your pot.
  3. Pour 1 gallon milk into the pot and stir vigorously.
  4. Continue to stir while heating the milk to 90° F.IMG_1069
  5. Remove pot from heat and stir in the rennet.  Continue to stir for 30 seconds.
  6. Cover the pot and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  7. Check the curd.  If it is too soft or the whey is still milky let it sit a few more minutes.
  8. Cut the curd with a knife in a criss-cross pattern.
  9. Put back on heat and raise temp to 110° F while slowly moving the curds about.
  10. Remove from the burner and stir slowly for 2-5 minutes
  11. Pour off the floating whey.
  12. Heat a pot of water to 185°F.
  13. Ladle the curds into a colander.
  14. Dip the curds into the hot water.  After several dips use a spoon to fold the curds until they become elastic and stretchable.
  15. When it becomes stretchable enough remove the curd from the water and pull like taffy.  Add salt.IMG_1068
  16. Form into a ball and chill in ice water.

So, how did we do?  Not bad for the first time.

The cheese is a little harder/firmer than I intended–next time we will reduce the amount of time we stir it in step 10.  We could also use a bit more salt.  Nevertheless, we are really happy with our first effort.

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It made a great chicken Parmesan, which Elsie cooked up using a Raddish Kids recipe.

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I cannot recommend the kit from New England Cheese Making highly enough.  The instructions are great for a novice like me.