Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spicy Root Beer BBQ Sauce

Spicy Root Beer Barbecue sauce

I've never been a big fan of soda.
Never been big on juices either. Think it's probably the sugar.

I used to have a sugar allergy, so my mom avoided feeding me (and herself) any refined sugars until I became three.
My snacks of choice as a toddler were onigiri (savory rice balls) and dried persimmons, and my drinks of choice water & green tea.

Nowadays, even though I'm more than capable of imbibing (and of course enjoying) all types of beers and sparkling wine, I'm really not big on sweet drinks. (translation: keep those chick drinks away!!)

So whenever we have visitors, hubbie and I buy soda solely for them; and by the time they leave, we have a couple bottles of sodas lying around in the garage with no one to drink them.

Today I'm slow-roasting some country ribs courtesy of Elise's recipe and seeing her Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce, I figured I could use those forlorn bottles of root beer sitting in the garage.

A quick Google search led me to this recipe on All Recipes.

I tweaked the spices a little, since we like things hot around here.
Feel free to tweak my version to your liking too!

* Spicy Root Beer BBQ sauce *

2 cups root beer (one bottle is actually 1.75 cups)
2 cups ketchup
juice of 1 meyer lemon (or half a regular lemon)
about 1/2 cup apple cider (put the lemon juice in the measuring cup, and fill up to the 1/2 cup line with apple cider)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger*
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder blend (Whole Food's Valle de sol)
1/2 teaspoon hot curry powder*
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

saucepan (2qt or larger)
heat-resistant spatula or wooden spoon
half-cup measuring bowl with a mark at the 1/4 cup line (or regular measuring cup)
1/2teaspoon measuring spoon


1) Mix all ingredients in a saucepan, and set the pan over medium high heat.
2) Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat (low to medium low) and simmer for 15 minutes or until the desired consistency is reached.

*I use Penzey's spices - if you've never tried their spices, I really really recommend it! They're so fresh and much more potent than any other spice brands I've tried, including Morton & Bassett's.


I simmered my batch for a good 30 minutes for a thicker consistency.

Pack it away in a glass jar, or paint immediately onto some ribs. Enjoy :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

first official Paleo recipe: garlic-roasted parsnips & sunchokes

Sunchokes. Have you had them?

There was a book my mom had (one of the few English books in our house when I was little) and it was a mini-encyclopedia of veggies. One of the pages in there that I would read over & over was the page on sunchokes, or Jerusalem artichokes. Maybe it was because I loved artichokes. Maybe it was because they looked like ginger. Or maybe even, because it had the word "sun" in the name. Whatever the reason was, I was in love with those little veggies even before I tasted my first one.

This is where I'm supposed to tell you about my dreamy experience of eating my first sunchoke. I wish I could. But my memory sucks so much I can't really remember when I had my first one. Probably in California. Probably bought at the farmers market.

I just know that every time I have them, I love the taste. And every time I cook them, I've forgotten how they taste. (they taste like artichoke hearts!)

So when I came across this roasted parsnip & sunchoke recipe in my Practical Paleo book, I knew what to make for dinner.

I adapted the original recipe to make it extra-garlicky, but feel free to leave out the garlic entirely if you're not so partial.

~ Garlic-roasted Parsnips & Sunchokes ~

Serves 2 generous portions, or 4 smaller if you have other side dishes

3 tablespoons herb butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 large parsnip, skin kept intact
3~4 sunchokes, skin kept intact
salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Melt the herb butter in the microwave (30 seconds should do it). Add olive oil and sliced garlic and let stand. If you don't have herb butter, just use regular butter and add a dash of salt & dried or fresh herbs of your choice.

Slice the parsnip and sunchokes into 1/4in-thick pieces about 2 inches long. You want them to look like  2x10 lego blocks. I like to keep the skin on root veggies since there are tons of nutrients right between the skin and flesh, but you can peel them if you like.

Throw the veggie sticks in a large ovenproof dish, toss with the butter/herb/garlic mixture, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 30~40 minutes.


Right before you serve, give the veggies another toss, making sure they get re-coated with the butter/oil mixture that's settled at the bottom of the dish. We had this tonight with steak au poivre (pepper steak - I'll post the recipe soon), but any nice protein would do.

Bon appetit!