It feels like summer in Qingdao. With the sun high in the sky by 8am and the temperature nearing 80 degrees by midmorning, I have less desire to cook than when the weather is cold and dreary. I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen when it's perfect weather to be outside. Nor do I want to stand over a hot wok or leave the oven on for hours.
I knew it was time to cook something though. It had been a few days since I had blogged about food, and I was tired of eating out at restaurants. Yesterday, I went grocery shopping for the first time in over a week. With no plan in mind, I just wandered the store trying to find something to spark my interest. I bought a chicken to cook this weekend, but knew I wouldn't have time for that yesterday because Turner wanted to play frisbee when he got home from work. Glancing over the meat case, I spied some pork ribs that looks perfect for a quick bake in the oven with barbecue sauce. We gave away our little Weber grill when we moved apartments last year, otherwise I would have grilled them outside for that extra flavor only charcoal can impart.
I made some brownies when I got home from shopping because it's always good to have something chocolatey on hand.
Then I made a quick barbecue sauce with soy sauce, ketchup, molasses, honey, a little rice vinegar, cumin, salt, and chili powder. Any combination of flavors like these, be it tomato paste and brown sugar also, make a wonderful sauce, and much healthier than anything out of a bottle.
I poured half the sauce on the ribs in the baking dish and put them in a 400 degree oven covered in foil for 30 minutes. After that, the foil came off and the rest of the sauce poured over the top to bake for another 30 minutes. The ribs are done when they have a nice dark crust and the meat has shrunk a little on the bone. We had Mexican rice (which I now love, maybe because of the MSG in the chicken boullion) and green beans alongside. The ribs were sticky and dee-licious.
On another note, I bought a container of dried peach chunks and this morning was craving some scones to go with my coffee. What to do when you crave scones? Make scones of course! I quickly threw the ingrediants together and started to cut the dough into triangles when I remembered that I forgot the sugar! It had already been a long morning because I went for a run before having coffee--what a really, really bad idea. I dumped the unbaked scones back in the mixing bowl and quickly mixed in the sugar, reformed them into triangles, and put them in the oven. The cardinal rule of scones is not to overmix, so I thought these might be too tough due to the extra mixing.
They weren't photogenic by any means, but man did they hit the spot. They actually came out pretty well!
This is a good morning for me... coffee, scone, and food blogging. Now I just have to get off the couch.
Here's the recipe should you want to whip up a batch yourself. It's super easy.
Buttermilk Scones with Dried Fruit
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons basking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup chopped dried fruit (apricots, peaches, craisins, raisins...)
1 large egg
1/2 buttermilk (I cheat and use 1/2 cup of milk and a bit of lemon juice or white vinegar)
1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional but really nice)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare "buttermilk" so acid can react while you get everything else ready.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda in mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix with hands, pastry cutter, or mixer until it's in small pieces. Add fruit and sugar (and zest). Beat egg into milk and then add to dry ingredients. Mix quickly until just combined into a rouch dough and turn out onto floured surface. Pat into 9-inch circle and cut into wedges. (I usually make about six, but they're big so adjust for your preference.)
3. Bake 12-15 minutes until tops are golden brown. Enjoy warm from the oven (with jam if you prefer).
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