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7/20/2006

Dining

LET 'EM SEE YA GRILL

 

There are any number of things you can do with our make-ahead beer-based Tapped BBQ Sauce, but here are two of the best ideas we had. Slow-roast some sticky tempeh ribs and simmer some sweet black lentils to serve them on. The taste may seem redundant, but if presented alongside some vinegar-laden onion rings, you’re golden.

Baby Back Tempeh Ribs

1 8-ounce package tempeh

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup Tapped BBQ Sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Take the thawed tempeh and slice into thick 3-inch-long strips. Then heat the oil in a large skillet on high heat, and place the tempeh strips in one by one. After 3 or 4 minutes, or when crispy and brown, flip the strips onto the other side. Once fully browned, remove from heat. Grease a casserole dish or deep baking pan and place the strips in neat, tightly packed rows. Then thoroughly cover them with your barbecue sauce and throw them in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until sauce has become bubbly.

BBQ Lentils

2 cups black lentils

4 cups vegetable broth

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup Tapped BBQ Sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Measure out your lentils and wash them thoroughly, then drain well. Fill a large saucepan with the veggie broth, the lentils and the bay leaf. Bring to a slow rolling boil and then simmer about 20 minutes or until most, but not all, of the broth is reduced. Add the barbecue sauce and brown sugar and stir vigorously. Cook off more of the broth for about 10 minutes and then serve.

Balsamic Batter- free Onion Rings

1 yellow onion, skinned and sliced 1/4-inch thick

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Heat your skillet on a high flame. Place the onion slices in the pan facedown and dry-sear them for two minutes. Sprinkle the top of each onion with the salt, sugar and cumin, and carefully turn them over and sear. Then add the balsamic. Once the vinegar is bubbling vigorously, cover your pan and reduce the flame to medium, or place your pan on a heat diffuser if you have one. Reduce the vinegar until it is almost completely gone. Drizzle the onions with the remaining ooze when you plate them.

Beverage: Stone’s 2006 Vertical Epic Ale

Soundtrack: Tom Waits’ Swordfishtrombones

Tapped BBQ Sauce

If you fail to finish off a keg, you’ve shirked your responsibilities, and there is only one way to redeem yourself: Turn it into a thick and smoky barbecue sauce. Here’s a recipe that makes use of those wasted cups of beer and boosts your self-esteem. The only problem is that once you go apeshit smothering everything in your fridge with this sauce, you’ll wish you had a keg to go with it.

4 cups keg beer

2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil

1/2 white onion, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch celery leaves, finely chopped

1 shot bourbon whiskey

2 cups canned whole tomatoes with sauce

2 cups vegetable broth

3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons corn starch

Tap what’s left of the keg and throw 4 cups of beer straight into a medium saucepan and onto the stove. Bring it to a slow rolling boil and let it go until beer reduces by half. (This recipe works with the dregs from any keg, but it’s far tastier with a darker, more boozy beer like Stone’s Arrogant Bastard.) Set aside or refrigerate overnight.

When you’re ready to make the sauce, start by heating the butter or oil in a large pot. Toss in the onion, garlic and celery leaves, and cook for five minutes. Pour in the shot of bourbon and cover for one minute. Uncover, add the tomatoes, and let cook for 10 minutes. Once the tomatoes are tender, squish them with a slotted spoon.

In a large measuring cup mix the broth, mustard, Worcestershire, vinegar and hot sauce. Bring the saucepan up to high heat and add the mixture. Once it boils, turn the heat down, add the brown sugar and simmer it for one hour, covered.

The sauce should have reduced by about an inch. Bring the heat up again and add the reduced keg beer and molasses. Let it cook off for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste. If it seems too tart, add 1 tablespoon more of molasses.

To thicken it make a slurry: Fill a small bowl with 1/2 cup cold water, add the cornstarch, and stir with your hands until milky and without clumps. Bring the sauce up to a hard boil one last time and add the slurry 1 teaspoon at a time, stirring vigorously. It should visibly thicken. Set aside to cool, where it will thicken considerably more. Once room temperature, store in jars or bottles and use on everything for a week.

Beverage: Lagunitas Censored Ale

Soundtrack: Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street

dining@orlandoweekly.com
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