It’s so easy for coleslaw to go so wrong. Limp vegetables. Too-sweet, watery dressing. A disproportionate ratio of mayo to salad. The trick is to...Read More
PA Eating: All-American Grill-Out
We’re sneaking up on the next big summer holiday (hello, fireworks!), and I’ll be returning to Pennsylvania once again for a swimming-and-cooking extravaganza with my family. I just realized I neglected to share the final installment of our kitchen adventures from my last visit, and you don’t want to miss any of these recipes. They’re delicious and easy, perfect for summery cave people. You can find my other Pennsylvania recipe recaps here and here.
Speaking of… here are two of my favorite grok-ians now, posing with our feast. That’s my dad (a.k.a., Sky Guy) and my niece Pepper… with cucumber salad, fennel slaw with mint, cabbage and bacon sauté, and slow-grilled baby back ribs.
Easiest EVER Baby Back Ribs
No sauce, no fuss… just delicious, tender, meaty flavor.
rack of baby back ribs
whatever other spices you want to throw in there
Heat gas grill on high heat until very hot. approximately 10-15 minutes.
Sprinkle ribs generously with the seasonings, patting the spices into the meat with your hands. Make sure the ribs feel loved; this will make them tender. (You know, I generally like tons of spices on just about everything, but my dad seasoned the ribs with the three basics (salt-pepper-garlic) and they were excellent just like that. You do what you like.)
Place the foil-wrapped ribs on the grill and close the lid. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting, and forget about the ribs for roughly two hours. Seriously. Don’t lift the lid of the grill. Don’t disturb the foil packets. Just let those little piggies roast.
When the time is up, let the ribs rest in the foil for about 15 minutes, then unwrap and cut. Pick up with greedy fingers and gnaw.
My mom’s been making this cucumber salad FOREVER, and because of that, it tastes like summer to me. There’s no real recipe – just a list of ingredients and your taste buds. Be bold! You can do it.
cucumbers, sliced thin (half moons!)
white onion, sliced thin (again with the half moons)
fresh parsley, chopped
salt, pepper, garlic powder
splash of vinegar (not technically paleo, may be replaced with lemon juice)
Place cucumber, onion, and parsley in a bowl.
Add mayo. Begin conservatively – I put in about a 1/3 cup to start. Stir gently and add more mayo gradually until the cucumber slices are lightly coated.
Add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir and taste. Trust yourself – this is the art part. You can do it!
This is another of my mom’s creations, so no defined recipe. But easy ingredients and technique.
If it’s too acidic, add a little more mayo.
If it tastes flat, add a little more salt.
Consider more parsley.
This salad doesn’t hold up super great; the dressing gets too thin after about 24 hours. If I make this for dinner one night, I try to eat the remainder for lunch or dinner the next day. The beautiful thing about this recipe is that it’s so easy to make a one-person serving: one cucumber, a little piece of onion, a spoonful of mayo, and you’re in business.
Smokey Cabbage Sauté
head of green cabbage, sliced thin-ish
one white onion, sliced into thin half moons
a few strips of sugar-free bacon
salt, pepper, garlic powder
Cook the bacon: Cook in a pre-heated pan, then drain most of the fat from the pan and use the remaining drippings to cook the onions. When the bacon is the way you like it, set it aside and move onto the onions.
Sauté the onions: Cook the onions in the hot pan until very soft and beginning to get nice brown spots.
Chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces and return to the pan.
Add the cabbage: Put the sliced cabbage into the pan, put a lid on it (PUT A LID ON IT!), and let the cabbage steam for a few minutes… like, maybe 3-4. Remove the lid, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir-fry vigorously.
Check for shininess: This dish tastes best when there’s a reasonable amount of fat in it. If there’s not enough, the cabbage will steam, not fry. Find your personal balance between way-too-greasy and way-too-bland but checking for shininess. There should be a slight sheen on the veggies and they should be getting caramelized. If they’re not a little shimmery, add another 1/2 to 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Against, trust yourself and your tastebuds.
Check the seasonings again: Give it a taste test to see if it needs more salt, pepper, or garlic powder. Salt content should always be checked mid-way through cooking and close to the end to get seasoning balance right.