Saturday, January 19, 2008

Progress, Pilgrim (say it in a John Wayne voice)

I'm managing to get a few things done here. Lazy days are great, but I usually end up sorry that I didn't do more. The laundry is going, and the rack of ribs is in the oven (more in a moment). Ken worked out, and we've both gotten cleaned up, and we have all afternoon to "putter." I'm wearing my hoody sweatshirt, and I feel good.

Disclaimer: Please note that my wearing a hoody is in no way an endorsement of Bill Belichick and/or the team he coaches. It's just warm, and it has pockets.

Okay, let's talk about baby back ribs. (Feel free to sing "I want my baby back baby back baby back" as Fat Bastard right now.) Ken's mom made these for us a few years ago, and we raved about them so much, she made them again when we visited in December. They literally fall off the bone. There's nothing to it--she just salts and peppers them, puts them in the oven on a low temperature (200-225°), and cooks them all day. I'll keep an eye on them, and cover them with foil if I need to, but I really need to do nothing else to them. Today is a great day to make them, too, because I get to have the oven on all day, and maybe make it a little warmer in here!

Hey, I found Emeril's Braciole recipe, although he calls it Sicilian-Style Beef Roulade. I had read several similar recipes, and it sounds like this one is authentic Sicilian, with the hard-boiled eggs in the middle.

Sicilian-Style Beef Roulade

3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds thin, flat beef cut for braciole (such as top round)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 thin slices mortadella
3/4 cup grated caciocavallo or Pecorino Romano
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/3 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 hard-boiled eggs
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) whole Italian tomatoes, crushed, with juices
2 bay leaves

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, combine the bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and cook, stirring frequently, until bread crumbs are golden and toasted. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Place the beef on a clean, flat work surface and pound to tenderize and achieve a thickness of 1/4-inch or less. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Cover 1 side of the beef with the mortadella slices, leaving a 1-inch border along all edges. Add the grated cheese, garlic, parsley, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and pine nuts to the cooled bread crumbs and stir to combine. Spread the bread crumb mixture evenly over the slices of mortadella. Cut the eggs in quarters lengthwise, and lay them down the middle of the meat, end to end, and cut sides down. Roll the beef up, carefully enclosing the filling around the eggs, all the way to the other end. Tie the roll with kitchen twine in several places so that the filling is secured and the roulade is tightly bound.

Heat the remaining oil in a large Dutch oven or other pan large enough to hold the roulade and brown the meat on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and turn the meat to coat on all sides. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes and their juices, and enough water or stock to come 2/3 of the way up the meat. Bring to a boil, add the bay leaves, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, turning occasionally and basting with the pan juices, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove the meat from the pot, cover loosely, and allow to sit for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving. If necessary, continue cooking the pan juices until reduced to sauce consistency. When the meat has rested at least 20 minutes, remove the twine, slice into 1/2-inch slices, and serve with the reduced pan juices.


Wow, does that sound good, or what? I don't know if my Dutch oven is big enough to cook this monster, but I think that if I fold in the ends of the beef, I can make it the right size to fit in there. Has anyone ever heard of caciocavallo cheese? I assume it's something like aged Parmesan, but I've never heard of it. Okay, here we go:


[kah-choh-kuh-VAH-loh] From southern Italy, caciocavallo (meaning "cheese on horseback") is said to date back to the 14th century, and believed by some to have originally been made from mare's milk. Today this cheese comes from cow's milk and has a mild, slightly salty flavor and firm, smooth texture when young (about 2 months). As it ages, the flavor becomes more pungent and the texture more granular, making it ideal for grating. Caciocavallo is one of the pasta filata types of cheeses (like provolone and mozzarella), which means it has been stretched and shaped by hand. It may be purchased plain or smoked and comes in string-tied gourd or spindle shapes.

<snort> Cheese on horseback!

Hmm, sounds like I might have a hard time finding that around here. I have seen Pecorino Romano, though, and I think you can subsitute Provolone for Mortadella, if I can't find Mortadella. I seem to recall that when making Muffalettas a few years ago, the recipe called for Mortadella, but Provolone would work also.

This recipe is obviously high maintenance, so it's one I'll try on a weekend or a day off. I think I will end up trying it, though. It sounds fun and yummy, and fairly impressive.

More later...until then, The Cheese Rides Again!


jimsulliv3 said...

I love baby back ribs, but in a hurry, I cheat by steaming them on a rack in a water filled pan with a aluminum foil tent for an hour @ 300 degrees. Then I broil them for another half hour, basting regularly, while singing "Cheese on Horseback Blues", a tune often hummed by John Wayne while circling the wagons.


luvrte66 said...

Hee heeee! I'd like to hear "Cheese on Horseback Blues."

Thanks for the hint for baby back ribs. Sounds like a great way to cook 'em!

:) Beth

shrbrisc said...

girl I am hungry now lol I hope you enjoy your ribs

rdautumnsage said...

Just for the record there is nothing wrong with wearing a hoody at home while relaxing. I have one on now and yes the hood is up. It just so happens my computer is in the foyer (center of house next to stairs going up) and it's the coldest room in the house. The best way to have ribs for me is on the grill. Over the summer we pick up hickory chips and place them on warm coals and leave the lid on for a few hours. The heat slow cooks the ribs and they have that smoked flavor (who says you need a smoker).....

I haven't heard about caciocavallo before. Sometimes you can find places over the internet that ship specialty cheeses for you. Might be pricey, but for that once in a great while indulgence, it might be worth checking out. (Hugs) Indigo

luvrte66 said...

Indigo, your ribs on the grill sound SO good. We love to grill 'em, too, but at...let's see, we're at 8° right now...grillin' just ain't happenin'! Ken's a great sport, and will grill when it's chilly, but chilly is different from freezing!


pepebuddy2 said...

Hi Beth-This is Debbie and Danny from the cruise--
Yes your posting all your good meals is making me want to experiment and cook home more!!! one question...Do you put BBQ on your ribs when you cook them that long!!  Hope you all are doing well!!

luvrte66 said...

Hi Debbie and Danny! Great to hear from you--how is retirement treating you? Are you still planning the Hogs on the High Seas cruise? It's 10° here at the moment, so some of that hot Caribbean weather sounds wonderful at the moment!

For the oven-roasted ribs, no I didn't use any BBQ sauce. Just salt and pepper. They were very lean and meaty ribs, and the flavor was really good, so no sauce was needed. In the summer, if Ken grills the larger pork ribs (I forget what those are called), we use sauce. He cooks them slowly for quite a while, then puts the sauce on for the last few minutes.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope to see you here again soon!

Hugs, Beth

pepebuddy2 said...

It's 4 degree's here in Louisville!
Yes still planning on 'Hogs on the High Sea's' in November and yes wish it was right now in the warm sun!!!
Danny is driving a 'big rig' semi now after retiring from Ford in Aug.-49 is too young to totally retire so on to his new profession which he LOVES, no more BS from the big boss's.
Maybe in the summer we can ride the Harley to Indiana!!

luvrte66 said...

Debbie, I can't believe it's that cold in Louisville..that's just crazy! Congrats on your next cruise, and I hope you enjoy it as much as all of your other ones! Glad to hear that Danny is enjoying his second career--sounds like it gives you more flexibility for vacations, etc. Hey, cruise on up here any ol' time--there are lots of beautiful places to ride around here!

Hugs, Beth

pepebuddy2 said...

Sorry to bug you but I am NOT a cook....
Were your Baby Back Ribs BEEF or PORK?
Danny says BEEF (and he eats them all the time out)
But I went to 3 different places today (even a specialty meat shop) and
all they had was then I got confused (and it doesn't take much
for me when it comes to cooking!!)  Thanks and HOPE YOU FEEL BETTER!!!

luvrte66 said...

Hi Debbie! Yeah, after a few hours, I'm feeling better. Thanks for the get well wishes! And you're not bugging me at all!

The baby back ribs I got were pork. I don't think there are beef baby back ribs. Just to make sure I'm not passing along bad information, I found a neat website: It says that baby back are pork. It looks like they have tons of great recipes...yum!

How can I be hungry after having an unhappy belly? I don't know...but I'm a trooper!

Hugs, Beth