Ribs (and the absurdity of cooking mass quantities with less than massive cooking equipment)

I think I’ll start this post off with this photo, just for the hilarity of it all:

Rib Overflow

Yeah, well, I thought they’d fit at first. Ha.

Last week, I had quite a lot on the list to cook. Mashed potato pies, for instance — those got done on time and looked rather nice.

Mashed Potato Pies

Then the split pea soup… and here is where things got a little hectic. Firstly, it boiled down a little more than I’d like, although that may have been a consequence of making a soup that took three hours to cook in a pot the size I used (which is, also, the largest one I have) — if I’d had a slightly larger pot, I probably could have added more water. (I also would not have had as silly a picture as the first one I posted in this blog entry.) Still, I ought to be able to thin it out when I reheat it to serve. Of course, I also forgot to take a picture of it until *after* I transferred it to the container it would be frozen in (although at least I remembered to take a picture before it froze, so I suppose that’s something).

Split Pea Soup

And then… well, one way or another it turned into Friday and I still had to make all three types of ribs, the deli roll surprise, and the broccoli-salami mini-quiches. And cook for the Sabbath (although a wonderful friend took pity on me, probably when she saw the panic on my face, and invited us for lunch, so that was a little less to handle). But somehow, I managed to crank everything out.

First, the easy ribs — just seasoned with salt and pepper:

Salt and Pepper Ribs

Then the ones in a “Way Down South” sauce — these were meant to be braised in a pot (hence the silly picture)… which turned into filling up three pans full of spare ribs and sauce:

Way Down South Ribs

I used two full bottles of wine to make all the sauce for just over two dozen of these spare ribs. Here’s a closeup, because it’s worth drooling over:

Way Down South Ribs Closeup

Then there were the honey mustard ribs, whose cooking time got so close to the Sabbath that I could only take a picture a day later, after some refrigeration time. They don’t look as great in the photo, but rest assured, they were lovely coming out of the oven:

Honey Mustard Ribs Closeup

And yes, I made three full pans (just over 2 dozen):

Honey Mustard Ribs

Finally, the deli roll surprise. Inside each one of these lovelies is a whole bunch of pepper steak strips, along with the implied deli meat.

Deli Roll Surprise

Now I still had the mini quiches to prepare… but I also had two whole fresh salmon fillets in the refrigerator that I’d purchased less than a day before, which I didn’t want to have to freeze (freezer space is getting tight now, defrosting’s a pain, and I’d rather use fresh than frozen). And making the salmon takes a lot less time than the quiches. So I went with the fish.

There was salmon in a lemon-pepper garlic sauce (store-bought):

Lemon Pepper Garlic Salmon

And salmon in a honey teriyaki sauce (teriyaki is store-bought):

Honey Teriyaki Salmon

And that’s when it got to be sundown on Friday night, and my time was up. But I got the jump on this week afterwards. On Saturday night, I made the fire popper chicken that was on this week’s cooking list:

Fire Popper Chicken

And then today (Sunday) I made the broccoli-salami mini-quiches.

Broccoli-Salami Mini Quiches

Which basically puts me not only back on track, but even a little ahead. This week’s cooking list includes potato-chicken croquettes in a citrus and green curry sauce, stuffed cabbage, apple kugels, and the fire popper chicken and salmon; the latter two are already done, so that gets me ahead just a little — which is a good thing, as I’m already gearing up from going on my vacation from this endeavor so that I can — wait for it — cook for Rosh HaShanah. That’s right, it never ends. But after this week, I’m done packing things into the freezer (or more accurately, telling my husband to pack things into the freezer). And then we get to play my favorite game — how many foods can I pack into the refrigerator and still have room to defrost everything else?

Stick around and feel free to place your bets….

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Menu #5: Friday Night

Appetizer Mini broccoli-salami quiches
Soup Vegetable soup
Salad 1 Chicken salad
Salad 2 Israeli salad
Entree 1 Stuffed cabbage
Entree 2 Cherry chicken puffs
Side 1 Yerushalmi kugel
Side 2 Mashed potato pie
Side 3 Zucchini in tomato sauce

…And we’re almost done! With the menus, at least. The vegetable soup is my own concoction, and to be honest, I never even got around to serving it last year. I had left cooking it for Friday during the actual holiday, since I was cooking it to be eaten on Shabbat, but it didn’t get done in time — and truthfully, no one missed it. But I’d like to make it anyway — it’s a pretty good soup, if I say so myself, and also pretty light — so I’m going to try and start it early and just reheat it a few hours later. Hopefully that will work.

I made the stuffed cabbage last year, and it went over extremely well — and it freezes wonderfully, which is a good thing in my case. The Israeli salad is the only item on any of the menus, in case anyone has noticed, that is getting repeated (but I think I’m allowed one item, right?). Yerushalmi kugel is a noodle pudding made with fine noodles, caramelized sugar, and a lot of pepper. I was lucky enough to find a recipe on the internet somewhere that provides enough of a kick to make me happy but does not set my guests’ mouths on fire. And the mashed potato pie is my lovely mother-in-law’s recipe, to which I added soymilk, which I think makes a huge difference in how light it tastes.

One more to go, and the cooking commences next week!