Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Could there be anything cooler than Food in Jars' Drink Week 2012? I think not! Here's an easy breezy drink that uses up some of that jam you have packed in the fridge! I can't wait to hear what other great drinks are lined up for the what may be my favorite week of summer.

Last week my sister and her family were in town from Florida, and they rented a house in the cute little town of Phoenicia. We went for a night, and I brought a full meal. The day before I smoked a pork shoulder using this rub with harissa which I've been loving, made some Carolina barbeque sauce for it (from Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Polcyn). We had pulled pork sandwiches, with fresh corn and a simple creamy coleslaw. It sounds so simple, right? It was so SO good: smoky meat and piquant sauce, fresh corny goodness and celery seed-y slaw. But also, maybe it was this pitcher of Jamgria we started with? (Well, the kids didn't have the Jamgria, and they still loved dinner.) For dessert I made a lemon creme pie with blueberries with a pretzel crust (using this lemon creme I stashed in the freezer!) FYI: pretzel crust was delicious, but mine turned out very crumbly.

Since that fun visit, I've been perfecting this drink. Or maybe perfecting drinking it. Most any combination of wine, jam and fruit will work if you use your common sense, and most especially if you use St. Germain. I've heard it called the duct tape of the cocktail world. It can fix anything!

16 ounces of white wine, I used a sweeter riesling
1 ounce St. Germain
A tablespoon of jam*
1 peach, sliced

In a pitcher, combine the fruit, wine, St. Germain and jam. Let sit in the fridge for about an hour. Serve in tall glasses, topped with seltzer. I like a ration of 1:1 because these are so easy to drink on a hot day. But that's up to you!

*A note on jam: I used an apricot-sour cherry jam. Using a jam that has pectin in it is far from ideal. You want a soft, fruit-and-sugar-only jam. If you do use a firmer jam you'll have to muddle it a bit to incorporate into the drink.

Drinking garden-side.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Smoked Spare Ribs

Whoah. Did I make this? That's what I said when I pulled this from the smoker. I've actually made this a few times now. It always helps to have good meat to start with, which I did. But then I did something that in some ways is pretty easy, and not too time consuming and ended up with something that I was amazed that I made. This is why I rarely go out to eat. That and the fact that I don't have the money to pay for this kind of stuff unless I make it myself. 

5 pound rack of ribs, membrane removed (mine was already cleaned and ready to go--want to learn how to do this? Here's a random video on the subject.)

Have the meat at room temperature. Rub ribs generously on both sides with this dry mix:

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup of kosher salt
2 teaspoon of cumin powder
2 tablespoons of paprika
cracked pepper
1 teaspoon of harissa, dried, powdered form

Let meat sit for a few hours at room temperature. Smoke at 225 degrees for about 5 hours, bone side up. You really have to do a temperature on smoked meats; time just won't tell. I pull mine at 165 degrees. I used a mixture of cherry and apple wood.

So, are you a smoker?