Kitchen Showdown

Yesterday I cooked dinner in the crock pot, so it is now in the kitchen sink filled with soapy water to soak off all of the food crusted to the inside.  Chances are it will still be there three or even four days from now.  My husband doesn’t want to clean it and neither do I, so this will result in a Kitchen Showdown.

A couple weeks ago, I made tacos for dinner.  When my husband was cleaning up, he put a lid on the dish of refried beans and stuck them in the fridge.  We were never going to use up the leftover beans and both of us knew that.  But as B slid them into the refrigerator, this was the conversation:

B:  I’m just going to save these because I hate cleaning up refried beans.
Me:  Wait.  So you’re putting them in the fridge so I eventually get annoyed by them and clean them up myself?
B:  Yes.

A week after that, we were putting away groceries after a shopping trip.  B always puts away dry goods and I take care of the refrigerated and frozen items.  Of course, as I was clearing out room in the fridge, those DAMN BEANS were still sitting there.  I removed the dish and placed it on the kitchen counter next to the sink.  And I left it there.  As B was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner that evening, he picked up the dish and said, “You left this here for me, didn’t you?”  And then he threatened to just throw the dish away.  After I threatened to throw him away if he didn’t just clean it up, he finally did it, grumbling through the whole process.

Well, it’s a similar story with the crock pot.  It’s always a hassle to clean and neither of us wants to do it.  One of us will at least fill it with water to let it soak, but after that it’s a game to see who gets annoyed enough with it to finally finish cleaning it.

It’s going to be a problem once my maternity leave ends at the end of the month.  I won’t have much time to cook during the week, so the plan is to do freezer dump meals every night—which means the crock pot must be cleaned immediately after each use.  It’s probably time to invest in the crock pot liners I’ve seen or we’re in a lot of trouble.

crockpot

I Want My Baby Back Baby Back Baby Back

I recently wrote about being intimidated by the prospect of cooking baby back ribs.  The day before writing that post, I’d cracked open an old crockpot cookbook I hadn’t used in over a year.  In it I found a recipe for Honey Ribs.  Aha! I’d thought.  The crockpot is foolproof!  No skill required!  After all these years, I was brave enough to purchase a rack of ribs at the grocery store.

First lesson from the experience:  The crockpot is not foolproof.  Yesterday morning, I gathered the ingredients to throw in the crockpot before work.  I…had…no…honey.

How does one make HONEY ribs without honey?  It’s like mac ‘n cheese without cheese.  Cherry pie without cherries.

So I had two problems.  One, I had no honey for my HONEY ribs.  Two, I had nothing else to cook for dinner.  With a pessimistic sigh, I retrieved the brown sugar from the pantry and decided it would be the understudy to my missing honey.  Because, you know, the consistency is pretty much identical.  (NOT.)

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The “before” pic.

In the end, there was good news and bad news.  The good news:  the meat itself was cooked to perfection.  It was tender and delicious.

The "after" pic.

The “after” pic.

The bad news: none of the other ingredients—beef consommé, barbecue sauce, dry mustard, maple syrup, or that blasted brown sugar—could be tasted. Not at all. The husband and I ended up smothering the ribs in Famous Dave’s barbecue sauce. Then they were pretty damn tasty.

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Awaiting a generous coating of Famous Dave’s Rich and Sassy.

While the recipe itself left something to be desired—aided, no doubt, by my failure to purchase honey before planning honey ribs—we both really enjoyed the end result. My husband’s great idea is that next time (because there will definitely be a next time), I’ll throw them in the crockpot before work one day, and he’ll take them out when he gets home in the afternoon, lather them up with barbecue sauce, and finish them in the oven until dinnertime.

The end verdict is that I can only laugh at how nervous I was about cooking baby back ribs. My fear was not about the flavor so much as it was about the actual meat. And that part was fantastic! Check one off the list for 2015 cooking milestones!

Anyone know of any crockpot rib recipes that actually pack a decent punch of flavor? If so, I’d love for you to share!