Dinner last nite was so good I couldn't even take a good picture. May I present.... Smoked Duck Egg Rolls and 12 Spice Sticky Finger Ribs.
I mean to tell you this one was a hit right out of the park. Wow!
Don't tell The Big Man, but it is a fact that I have not-so-secretly been in love with a man named Tom Douglas for many years. Tom won't remember me but I shook his hand once and he made me laugh. And his restaurants have been the backdrop of several of my life's key events. Including the very last meal I had as a resident of a city which I used to love... I had octopus hash for breakfast. Yes, breakfast. Octopus. I'm not even kidding. It changed my life.
But his books! My goodness his cookbooks are extraordinary. One of my favorites is Tom's Big Dinners. This beautiful book is where I learned how to make Sticky Finger Ribs. I even ordered his special Chinese 12 Spice Rub with Love... five spices just aren't enough for this chef and that is for sure.
The fact is that you can't get Chinese five spice mix in an Amish town... and buying the ingredients separately was extremely expensive.. so I had to order from Amazon.com. Throw in a few more 'must have's' and I got free shipping (yipee!). I originally wanted the five spice to make a specific roast duck... but when I saw the 12 Spice Rub with Love... I was drawn back to my not-so-secret love. So I made the ribs.
You remember that I made smoked duck egg rolls awhile ago here... I used Tom's recipe for sweet chili sauce (in the book he uses it for his Crispy Shrimp Rolls). The ribs were a snap. Just rub on the rub, let sit in the fridge for several hours, bake in the oven for about an hour, then finish under a broiler with a stunning glaze. Then I made a quick fried rice. Easy peasy.
The best part about our dinner was that it was fun, easy, and many of the ingredients came from our yard. I smoked the duck a while ago and had it waiting for me in the freezer. And the ribs were from our recent hog harvest. I used a package of our small "baby back" ribs - I'm not even sure if that's what they are really called... we just ended up with some smallish ribs while we were doing the cutting and packaged them as such. They were perfect.
The prep was easy but there were a several steps. But making egg rolls is fun tho, so it doesn't seem like work. And I was happy to use some chicken fat for the stir frying and some tallow I rendered myself for frying the egg rolls. All the ribs really needed was for me not to burn them. The sauces came together in a couple minutes.
When we were done - we were done. I mean to tell you there are not a lot of leftovers and both of us are full and happy.
Who says you can't get good Pac-Rim Fusion Asian style food in an Amish town... for heavens sakes just go ordered up some ingredients and make it yourself.
And Tom, if you ever read this, thank you for everything. Really. It made a difference.
Happy Tuesday everyone! Now run right out and order one or both cookbooks and some Rub with Love - you'll fall in love too.