Sunday, June 24, 2012

Barbequed Ribs

One of my favorite backyard meals is barbeque and considering how much I love them, I never mastered making good ribs. They always turned out dry and tough. Finally I found a recipe that has turned out great. Prebaking them makes all the difference.
You need to plan ahead for these as they have to be baked a day ahead. Baking them makes them tender and the rub gives them so much flavor. The sauce, well it's finger-licking good!!

First spread your garlic over the ribs and bake them on a rack in a roaster covered. You don't even have to mince them if you don't want too. Just slice and put on top. Bake them for 2 1/2 - 3 hours depending on the thickness of your ribs. You don't want them to be falling apart, just fork tender. Cool slightly.

Mix your rub ingredients together and cover both sides of your ribs. I had one big full rack and it took most of the rub so you might have to double your rub ingredients. Wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight.

You can make your sauce a day ahead if you like and reheat, or an hour before you grill your ribs. Reserve a small amount of sauce for basting and the remainder for dipping.

The following day grill your ribs over medium heat 12-15 minutes, basting with sauce until nicely browned and glazed.

Barbequed Ribs

1-2 full racks of baby back ribs
3-4 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 chili sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 clove garlic crushed
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place ribs on a rack in a roasting pan. Spread the minced cloves of garlic over the ribs. Cover and bake for 2 1/2- 3 hrs depending on the thickness of your ribs. Mine were thick so I baked them for 3 hrs. Cool slightly.
2. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin. Rub spices over both sides of cooled ribs. Wrap ribs in aluminium foil and refrigerate overnight. Note: You might have to make extra rub depending on the size of your ribs.
3. In a medium saucepan, mix together brown sugar, cider vinegar, ketchup, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, onion, dry mustard and garlic. Simmer over low heat uncovered for 1 hour. Reserve a small amount for basting, the remainder is for dipping.
4. Preheat grill for medium heat.
5. Place ribs on grill and grill uncovered for 12-15 minutes basting with the reserved sauce, until nicely browned and glazed.
Serve with remaining sauce.

Linking to Stonegable for on the Menu Monday

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gregory Ridge Trail

This is a hike we did 2 years ago today June 18th 2010.

Gregory Bald is on the western end of the Smoky Mountains rising above Cades Cove with an elevation of 4,949 feet. It is named after Russell Gregory, an early settler in Cades Cove who used the 10 acre meadow for grazing.
Gregory Bald is a type of mountain known as a grassy bald unlike most summits which are heavily forested.While it is not clear if the bald was created by nature or cleared by early settlers for grazing, it is one of two balds the park service maintains to keep from becoming forested.
We chose to do the Gregory Ridge Trail, an 11 mile round-trip hike which begins at the end of the Forge Creek Road just past the Cable Mill area in Cades Cove. We could have taken a two mile round-trip shorter trail, but it's location on a one-way road requires a long out-of-the-way trip back to the hotel so we opted for the longer trail. This tough trip gains 3000 feet in elevation.

Gregory Bald is most famous for the spectacular display of flame azaleas that bloom around mid June.
This hike was on my to-do-list for a long time but we were never there at the right time, so we finally planned this vacation around the time the azaleas are normally in bloom. Luckily, I think we hit it pretty much at peak.

After a strenuous 6 mile hike we emerged from the woods onto the grassy bald. Our tiredness disappeared as we were overcome by the beauty of the azaleas.

 Wall to wall azaleas.
This has to be one of the best displays of azaleas on the planet. They were just stunning! Everywhere you looked, bright pinks, reds and orange painted the bald.

I was glad we made it up early enough to see the dew on the azaleas.

I decided the coral and pink shades were my favorite.

The white ones seemed to be the scarcest.....

and we only found a few yellow ones.

On a clear day Gregory's Bald offers a full panoramic view of the park, but it's pretty cloudy and hazy on this day. The clouds lifted just enough to give us a view of Cades Cove.

 Yellow tinged with pink. So pretty!

I could have stayed up here all day but we have a long hike back down. I highly recommend this hike but it is strenuous so plan accordingly. Take lots of water and some high calorie food with you.

A few photos taken on the hike down. A very knobby tree I liked.

Indian Pipes
I spotted these beside the trail on the way down. Unlike most plants Indian Pipes lack chlorophyll, the stuff that makes plants green. It looks like a fungus but it's an actual flowering plant.

Mountain Laurels were blooming in the lower elevations.

Footbridge over Forge Creek.

The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears

I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I've heard before
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I'll sing once more

Lyrics from the Musical "The Sound of Music"

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Surprise Bird Visit

I'm enjoying watching the birds bring their young to the feeders this summer especially the bluebirds. The bluebirds are now coming on their own and I was elated to discover there are three instead of two like I originally thought.

They are inquisitive little things, this one is checking out the bird bath.

What do I do now?


"A-Splishing and A-Splashing"

I finally managed to capture all three on one photo.

Brown Thrasher

Tufted Titmouse

Downy Woodpecker

And the surprise bird.....
Red-Headed Woodpecker
I mentioned before that I've never had a Red-Headed Woodpecker at my feeders. Well, last week one morning my husband said there was a Red-Headed at the feeder earlier. I was pretty skeptical but he had taken a few pictures to prove it. I was a little upset that I had missed it but I set my camera up just in case he came back, and sure enough he did.
It's always exciting to see a new bird at the feeder, especially a rare one like this.

They are very skittish birds but he's been back everyday for over a week now. I'm hoping he stays!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

New Hosta's in the Garden

Here are the new hostas added to my shade garden this year.

Hosta "Liberty"
Hosta of the year 2012. This one was on the top of my "have to have" list. This hosta is one of the most beautiful hostas I've seen in years and a real standout in the garden. I can't wait until this reaches full size!

Sum and Substance
A striking chartreuse-gold colored hosta with heavy substance and a waxy sheen. This one will get humongous some day. This was HOTY 2004.

Deja Blu

Spilt Milk

Paradise Island
This hosta has yellow-green leaves with a darker green margin, but I bought it especially because of the red petioles and I like how some of the red color comes up into the base of each leaf.

Hosta "Orange Marmalade"
Doesn't look like much now but supposedly it emerges in the spring with gold-orange leaves. This hosta goes through several color changes throughout the season with the orange variegation being the most sought after.

Captain Kirk

Praying Hands
Praying Hands is a very unusual hosta with upright, narrow, tightly folded leaves that resemble hands folded in prayer. I decided to experiment with growing hostas in pots. The real test will be keeping them over winter. HOTY 2011.

Hosta "Cuyahoga"
This is a fairly new and hard to find hosta so I grabbed one up when I saw it at Wade and Gatton. I don't have much info on it, just liked the photo I saw on-line.

Frosted Mouse Ears
 I love the mouse varieties of miniature hostas. Just adorable!! Somewhere I saw a list of 28 different mouse types. 
  Miniatures are perfect for borders, fairy gardens and in containers.