Category Archives: CrummyCook

CrummyCook Does Ribs

I can imagine what you’re saying: “surely even the CrummyCook has cooked ribs before!  What’s the news here?”

The news is that I’ve never cooked ribs on the gas grill before using indirect heat.

I’ve done plenty of “ribs in the oven”.  And I’ve done a fair share of “ribs in the oven/finish on the grill”.  But I’ve never — until this past 4th of July weekend — done ribs slow-cooked on the grill, away from the heat.

My friend and partner @harrydandrea has been inflaming my desire to try this for some years now.  Not to mention egging me on.  He’s of course an all-charcoal-grill man, with few utils for gas.

But here — with indirect heat — is one of the places gas can shine.  You don’t have to worry about the (lack of) charcoal flavor because your food is not directly above the charcoal.

So it turns out it’s really really easy.  Per Mark Bittman, you just rub the ribs with rub, keep the grill at an internal temperature of no more than 300-350 degrees, and cook for a long time.

Which I did.  Debbie did the rub — cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, a couple of other things, no surprises — and we cooked them for ~6 hours.


Here’s the ribs pre-cooking with the rub on.  Not a great photo (sorry!), so it’s hard to tell how huge they are.  These are three racks of back ribs, very meaty, maybe 3-4 lbs each.

They turned out really really good.  Debbie and I liked them.  We took it over to some friends’ on the 4th and they liked them.  We’ll do it again.

Poached Eggs with Greens and Goat Cheese on Toast

I’m sure you know how it is with food: it speaks to us in a welter of voices and feelings: whispers, sighs, hot voice in the ear.

So last night, on my way back home, thinking about dinner, I got an authoritative “Poached Eggs” from my limbic system.

I like them.  I’m not very good at making them (they spread out too much or else the yolks get too hard).  Good chance to practice.

But what to make with them?  I had noshed at the last event of the day — a reception for some teams finishing up an Entrepreneurship course — and didn’t want some blowout dish like Eggs Benedict or hash and eggs.

Epicurious to the rescue.  They had a dish called “Poached Eggs with Ramps” that looked like the ticket.


That’s theirs.

Well, needless to say, I didn’t have any ramps, but I did have some baby chard from the farmer’s market.

And I didn’t have goat cheese, but I had some La Tur, which is a blend of goat, sheep, and cow.

Safe improvisations, both.

And I had some nice gnarly-looking multigrain bread to give some bottom to the piece.

So, I sauteed the chard with olive oil and salt


As I feared, I ran into trouble with the eggs.  First egg spread way out, even with the vinegar in the water.



Second egg went a bit better, and I knew enough by now to get them out of the water before the yolks turned to adamantine,


20150306_195228Here’s the final result.  Not too shabby, and very tasty.


A decisive answer to that limbic voice.



“Delicious Broccoli-Rice bake”

So, Debbie went out of town last night for a few days.  Perversely (since the whole genesis of Crummycook was spelling her in the kitchen) her trips generally bring the Crumster out of retirement.   And so it was last night.

I looked up “brown rice” (I had a couple of cups cooked left over) and “ricotta” (because we have a pint of it and this happens all the time: we use a bit of it for one recipe and then the rest eventually goes to mold).

Guess what?  My beloved Epicurious let me down.  Nothing for these two except some recipe that didn’t look very interesting.

So I just googled the ingredients, and one that came up — from — was a casserole-type dish with brown rice and broccoli… and ricotta.

Broccoli-Rice casserole

Not the best picture, but you can see what it looks like.  Cheesy on top, with chunks of broccoli throughout a rice-and-cheese matrix.

Pretty good.  No one to do criticism and self-criticism with, so not much to say in that regard.  But I’d cook it again, although with fewer pots and pans.  I somehow filled the sink with apparatus making this, and it’s not that hard.

Maybe I should go back to past Crummycook recipes and reduce the pot-and-pan count…

Crummycook rears his head: Stuffed Cabbage

I’ve been trying to find time to do CrummyCook some more, and was able to make something last night.

Stuffed cabbage, to be exact.

My mom made an unbelievable stuffed cabbage, at least in memory, so the benchmark was high.

I took a recipe from The Joy of Cooking, which also loomed large in my childhood.  My brother David and I had a scheme to cook everything in Joy and got as far as a couple of recipes.  Story for another time perhaps, especially since David died 47 years ago yesterday.



Here’s how it looked.  The look was good, true to my memories of long ago.

Debbie liked it, or said she did.  I thought the sauce was a little bland.  To my mind, I didn’t put in enough salt and brown sugar, so the sweet and sour flavor was off a bit.  I guess the upside is it didn’t give me heartburn.

All in all, a good job on a personal classic.  And looking to do more CrummyCooking in coming months.

Cauliflower, Swiss Chard, and Chicken Soup

I’ve shared my conclusions about dieting, right?  I can benefit from diets, but only by picking a new diet gimmick every six months or so.

It makes sense: the motor of a diet is your zeal, and zeal, let’s face it, wears out over time.  Nothing to re-hone that zeal like a new gimmick: “the 3 don’ts”, “the seven heavenly foods,” whatever.

Latest gimmick: Happy Body diet and workout, the brainchild of a Silicon Valley couple.  Props to an old friend Kem Smith for letting me know about it.

The diet part of it calls for two big meals and three small snacks a day, spaced out at three-hour intervals.  All are supposed to be “balanced” and “wholesome” (although, perversely, Clif bars are considered a balanced and wholesome snack, and perhaps they are).  The meals feature protein and vegetables for satiety, minimizing cereal-style carbs and certainly “refined” carbs.

All a long preamble to last night’s Crummy Sortie, a soup made with cubed chicken breast, cauliflower, and chard.

Sorry, no picture.

Very simple, kind of tasty, Happy Body Adherent.


None.  It came out fine, but mainly due to few moving parts.

Oh, and I was the only eater.  Debbie out of town again.

Trying Out Something New on CrummyCook

I’m working with a startup who is trying to enable tipping on blogs as a monetary way of saying “thank you” for content that you’ve enjoyed.

I’ve put a sample TipJar on my site, which will appear (once you have signed up) next to each post.  If you like what you’ve read, just hit the TipJar button and you will be encouraged to leave a small token of your esteem.

Nothing will appear for a little bit while I test to make sure it kinda works, and then I’ll put out instructions about how to do it.

We could be changing Internet history (in a modest way!) together.

Corn Custard with Chorizo and Mushrooms

With Debbie late coming home from work and probably stressed, I sat and watched the chicken chorizo sausages I had had her leave out of the fridge that morning, and wondered what the h**l I would do with them.  Talk about having to eat your words.

We had had a week of chili, sausage and pasta, and other sausage and bean vehicles, but it seemed as if all the chorizo recipes involved either pasta or legumes.  Sigh.

Then I found this one.  In Epicurious, of course.  And, as it happened, we had mushrooms.  And Debbie loves corn.

Corn Custard with Chorizo and Mushrooms recipe

Above is their picture of it.

Sadly, I didn’t have quite enough mushrooms (and I could believe the quantities they were asking for).  And the chorizo didn’t get quite crispy enough, and didn’t seem to fill the baking dish.

We had a tasty dinner, but not spectacular.  Too corny, if you know what I mean.  Or too custardy.  Not enough savory oomph.


Here’s mine.  You can just see the yellow-ness of the filling, as opposed to the savory darkness of theirs.

Anyhow, a noble pitching-in.  Reasonably tasty.


Follow the recipe the first time

Respect the proportions.

Osso Buco (again)

Had the yen to slow cook something on Saturday, and Debbie signed up to eat Osso Buco if I made it.

(It turns out that a lot of those slow-cooking things squeam her out.  Like oxtail stew, or even lamb shanks.  I was surprised.  I guess you can know someone for a long time and still find out things about them.)

Debbie loves Marcella Hazan, so I found this recipe for osso buco online.

Only thing is it calls for 2 hours cooking, and I wanted to put it in the slow cooker for like 6 hours.  After some dithering and fretting, I did just that.

It turned out fine.  The meat was tender and falling off the bone.  The marrow was satisfactory (and, because of squeam, I got Debbie’s marrow as well).

Criticism/Self-Criticism: I was afraid to brown the shanks too long and burn the pot/use up the oil.  You can’t brown stuff too long.

Glazed Sea Scallops with Wilted Napa Cabbage Slaw

The genesis of this one: one old(er) head of Napa Cabbage languishing in the hydrator drawer + a lamb recipe that required overnight marination.

Solution: get some fish from Black Salt and do something quick with the Napa Cabbage.

The result?  Asian-oid scallops on top of a Napa Cabbage-based slaw from recipe here.


You can make out the scallops on the slaw here, although I apologize for the shoddy production values.  Some day I’ll learn how to shoot Food Porn.  Definitely on the Bucket List.

I liked it pretty well; I think Debbie was working and didn’t even taste it much.

Oh well.