Memphis Style Dry-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs

We don’t cook baby back ribs that often, but when we do, we usually do a wet marinade. This time we decided to try our hands at creating a Memphis style rub for a change of pace and it turned out quite delicious. We cooked the ribs on the grill, but we didn’t put them directly on the rack, but instead used a foil-lined baking sheet. They turned out to be moist and tender with just enough spice to have a little zing. The rub is something that could be used on different types of meat such as pork or chicken as well. We matched it with a Southwestern Pasta Salad that we’ll share the recipe for next week.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 Rack of Baby Back Ribs – membrane removed
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Paprika (we used a hot paprika, but smoked paprika is fine)
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp All-Spice
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all of the spices in a bowl. Using your hands, rub the ribs generously with the spice mixture. Let the ribs marinade in the rub for 2 to 4 hours in order to let the flavors absorb into the meat. Heat a grill to a medium-low heat, about 325 degrees. Place the ribs, bone-side down, on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with a non-stick spray. Set the baking sheet onto the grill and close the lid, keeping the heat around 325 degrees. After 10 minutes, flip the ribs to meat-side down. After another 10 minutes flip the ribs back to bone-side down. Cook another 10 minutes and remove from the grill. Let the ribs rest for about 5 minutes, then cut into individual ribs and serve.

Memphis Style Rub
Ribs with Rub
Barbequed Baby Back Ribs
Ribs with Pasta Salad

Middle Eastern Spinach Pie

Spinach and cheese pies can be found in a variety of locations, but they are common in the Middle East where they are made as a single serving pie called Fatayer. We made ours as a larger pie that serves about four people. It is quite tasty and while we had it for a main dish, it can also be served as a side dish with a meat such as lamb. We have seen variations of this using Filo dough as well as Feta cheese, but we used puff pastry sheets and a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. It can be made as a Vegan dish with some slight modifications. We cooked down fresh spinach, but it can be done with frozen spinach if you prefer. We found it to be quite delicious.

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Melting the Cheese into the Spinach

INGREDIENTS

  •  2 lbs Fresh Baby Spinach – stems removed
  •  2 Medium Shallots – finely diced
  •  2 Garlic Cloves – minced
  •  4 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese – grated
  •  4 oz Mozzarella Cheese – cut into small cubes
  •  1 tsp Dried Dill
  •  1 Pinch of Fresh Nutmeg
  •  2 Sheets of Puff Pastry (cut to fit the baking dish)
  •  1/8 cup Roasted Almonds
  •  1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  •  1 tsp Cumin Powder
  •  1 large Egg – beaten
  •  2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  •  Salt and Pepper to taste

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Baby Spinach

INSTRUCTIONS

Toast the coriander seeds in a small sauté pan over medium heat for about 1 minute. In a spice mixer or blender, combine the almonds, coriander seeds, and cumin and pulse until the ingredients are blended and the almonds are ground into small bits. Don’t grind it to a powder as you will want to have the crunchy texture. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, sauté the shallots and garlic in the butter until the shallots are soft, being sure not to burn the garlic. Add the spinach in batches until it is fully cooked down (you might need to add additional butter). Stir in the dill, nutmeg, as well as salt and pepper. Turn the heat off and let it cool slightly, then add the cheeses and stir until the cheese is fully integrated. Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Place a sheet of puff pastry on the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon the spinach mixture over the pastry sheet, leaving about an inch border. Place the second puff pastry sheet on top of the spinach and pinch the edges of the top sheet with the edges of the bottom sheet. Brush the edges of the top pastry sheet with the egg wash. Cover the center of the pie with the almond-spice mixture. Cut into individual size pieces and bake in the oven until golden-brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.

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Baked Spinach Pie

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Nut and Spice Mixture

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Fresh Cheese

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Sauté the Shallots and Garlic

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Wilt the Spinach

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Spinach Mixture on the Pastry Sheet

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Ready to Bake

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Delicious Dinner

 

Variations of Lasagna

We have enjoyed a variety of lasagna meals throughout our different travels, but especially during our time in Italy. Although lasagna refers to the traditional tomato, meat, and cheese between layers of pasta, more generally speaking it is just food that is layered. We have enjoyed some very creative lasagna meals over the years and have recreated a few of our favorites at home as well.

Traditional Meat Lasagna – Sometimes there is nothing better than the original. We had several different traditional lasagna meals during our time in Tuscany and it is certainly a meal that we never get tired of.

Traditional Lasagna Recipe
Traditional Lasagna with Garlic Bread

Greek Moussaka – Instead of pasta, this Mediterranean dish uses egg plant to create the layers of deliciousness. Made with ground lamb and aromatic spices, it is a wonderful meal and something that we hadn’t eaten until our time living in Europe.

Greek Mousasaka Recipe
Greek Moussaka at a Restaurant in Frankfurt

Crab and Spinach Lasagna – Using a béchamel with seafood is a great way to do a unique twist on lasagna. Using spinach also keeps it fresh, but despite the fact that it has crab and spinach, there is still plenty of cheese to make it hearty.

Crab and Spinach Lasagna Recipe
Crab Lasagna

One of the things that we haven’t created yet is a Mexican or Southwestern style lasagna, but that is certainly another great option. Regardless of whether you only eat traditional lasagna or branch out to some different variations, lasagna is certainly a meal that almost everyone enjoys. Lasagna makes for a great meal to serve at a party as well as for feeding a large family. It is often better the next day as a leftover than it was on the day that it was first made.