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Ultimate Brownies

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Brenda and I have tried a few different homemade brownie recipes over the years, and none of them could get us to switch from using a box mix... until now!  After making these the first time, we will never go back to a box mix.

This recipe is inspired by Ina Garten's outrageous brownie recipe.  The coffee really enhances the chocolate flavor.  I have cut the recipe down, and simplified it a bit.  

Ultimate Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 11 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 Tbs instant coffee granules
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 Tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 Tbs flour

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Butter and flour a 9 x 13 x 1-inch baking sheet.

  • Melt together the butter, instant coffee granules and 11 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

  • In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder and salt; add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and remaining chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 2 Tbs flour, then add them to the chocolate batter.

  • Spread batter evenly in the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then knock the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the batter. Bake for approximately 15 minutes more until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake!

Scott Pollacek - about me

 

Ribs

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I love good ribs!  I could break into the baby back ribs song, but I spare you the singing.  We have tried for years different methods of making ribs at home.  Some were good, some not so good.  But finally we have found the perfect method for cooking ribs.  So this really isn't a recipe but the process that we follow to slow smoke ribs.

Picking out the right ribs is important.  I suggest going to your butcher or local meat market and asking for St Louis style pork ribs.  You want there to be some fat, and nice meaty ribs.

Next is a good rub for the ribs.  there are lots of good rubs available in the store, but I like to use my own rib rub recipe.  Although it is called a rub, you shouldn't actually rub it into the flesh of the meat.  That will just tear up the meat.  Coat the ribs with a little bit of olive oil, spinkle with the rib rub, and pat it so that it sticks to the meat well.  set it aside for at least an hour so the rub turns to a syrupy marinade.

DSC 2731 500

3-2-1 smoking method:

Prepare your smoker (Or grill).  We use a small electric smoker since we don't really cook a ton of meat all at once.  

 smoker

If you are using a grill, you'll want to cook the ribs over indirect heat, and keeep the temperature around 225.  Once the temperature has stabalized, add the glazed ribs to the smoker.  You should have a pan of water or even better, a comnination of water, beer and apple cider in the smoker to produce steam that will keep the ribs moist.  Add a few chuncks of hardwood chuncks for the smoke.  I like to use a combination of apple wood, cherry and hickory.  This method of smokig is called 3-2-1 smoking for the length of time for each stage of the cooking.  I have done this many times, and the ribs are always juicy, tender and flavorful.

  • The first 3 hours the ribs will be on the smoker with smoke, meat side up.  Make sure that the water pan has enough liquid throughout the cooking.  I also like to spritz the ribs with apple cider a few times in the first 3 hours.  
  • The next 2 hours you will wrap up the ribs in aluminum foil, and add some apple cider before sealing up the foil.  Back on the smoker this time meat side down, no smoke necessary for these 2 hours since the ribs are wrapped up.  
  • The last 1 hour, back onto the heat, meat side up, without the wrap and still no smoke necessary.  The final 15 to 30 minutes you can add barbeque sauce.  Sometimes I like to finish off the last few minutes on the gas grill with higher heat to get a little char on the ribs, but that is up to you.

The ribs are really cooked through after the first 3 hours, but the 2 hours in the foil wrap make them very moist and tender.  You will notice the meat is starting to pull back from the bones when you unwrap them after being in the foil.  After the full 6 hours on the smoker the ribs will be tender and flavorful.  My mouth is watering writting this up.  I can't wait for the ribs to come off the smoker today!

Scott Pollacek - about me

 
Jan
14
2014

Sun Room Tile

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You might remember around 6 years ago we tiled a whole lot up at the camp.  Well, I guess it is about time we finished what we started way back then.  We had planned to redo the sunroom tile as part of that project, we even bought the tile for it but never got around to it... until now.  Of course after 6 years, the scope of the project got a little bigger.  We have added radiant floor heat, and are putting in a ceiling fan and recessed lights as well.  Here is a slideshow of the progress so far.  A few more weekends until it is complete.

Scott Pollacek - about me

 

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bag white chocolate baking chips - chopped
  • 1 cup craisins lightly chopped
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted  
White chocolate cranberry cookies

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven 350°F. 
  • Blend butter, sugars, vanilla, and eggs until mixed.  Sift toghether the flour, baking soda and baking powder.  Stir sifted dry ingredients into dough mixture, add chips and craisins. Chill about one hour in refrigerator.
  • Measure out about 1 oz dough balls and slightly flatten. Bake 8-10 minutes.
  • Makes around 4 dozen cookies.

Notes:  Dough will seem dry or stiff, but flattening the cookies before baking makes for a perfect cookie.  They do not spread much in the oven.  We have found that the base of this recipe makes great cookies.  It's very easy to experiment with alternate chips and ingredients.


Scott Pollacek - about me

 

Mint chocolate chunk cookies

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (10 ounce) mint baking chips
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted  
Mint chocolate chunk cookies

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven 350°F. 
  • Blend butter, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and eggs until mixed.  Stir in mint baking chips and flour. Chill about one hour in refrigerator.
  • Measure out about 1 oz dough balls and slightly flatten. Bake 8-10 minutes.
  • Makes around 4 dozen cookies.

Notes:  Dough will seem dry or stiff, but flattening the cookies before baking makes for a perfect cookie.  They do not spread much in the oven.


Scott Pollacek - about me

 
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