52 - Thirteen

Thanksgiving will be a bit different this year, there will not be as much cooking as there usually is at Holly’s Diner.  Although there is still planning to be done.
This year will be an easy-bake version of Thanksgiving, so let’s reminisce about Thanksgivings past.
The menu list, the grocery list, the pre-Thanksgiving-prep list.  The cornbread stuffing, the brining of the turkey, the deviled eggs, the cranberry Waldorf salad, the biscuit dilemma, the mashed potatoes and gravy, the “something green,” the pies.  The timing, the leftovers, the leftovers the leftovers.
(Sigh)  This year will be different yet delicious; next year will be back to delicious and back to tradition.


52 - Twelve

A new recipe, or two.  This is Man Food!  The recipes are from the Food Network’s Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond but they are HH approved during football season.
I tried cooking baby back ribs for the first time and this recipe is all in the oven, no grill.  Along with roasted green beans.  Everything was delish!  The potatoes on the side were just a scalloped potato recipe from somewhere.
By the way, for the ribs, I used just a quarter of the ribs in the recipe and made up half the barbeque sauce.  Also, on the chipotle peppers in adobo, I just used 2 tsp of the adobo sauce since HH doesn’t like food too spicy.  The sauce was great, spice it up to your taste.  And the same with the green beans, just quartered the recipe.

Spicy Baby Back Ribs
Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond

  • 2 cans pop, such as Dr. Pepper
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • Two 5-ounce cans chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 2/3 cup brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 racks pork baby back ribs
To prepare the marinade, add the pop, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, chipotles, mustard, vinegar and garlic to a medium saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until reduced and thick, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Divide into 2 containers and refrigerate one container for later.

Brush the remaining container of the marinade all over the ribs on both sides. Wrap each strip of ribs individually in foil and refrigerate for 8 hours to marinate.

When you're ready to cook the ribs, preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Place the ribs, still covered in foil, onto baking sheets and cook for 2 hours. Increase the temperature to 300 degrees F. Open the foil packages and use the other container of marinade to brush another generous layer all over the ribs. Return the ribs to the oven with their foil packages still open and continue cooking for another 30 to 40 minutes, brushing on another layer of marinade as they cook.

Remove the ribs when they're fork-tender (keep cooking until they are). Slice and serve!


Roasted Green Beans
Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
  • 4 pounds fresh green beans, topped and tailed
  • 16 slices thin bacon, cut into tiny pieces
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Put the beans on 1 or 2 baking sheets. Sprinkle over the bacon and onions, and add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss around to mix and coat everything in oil.
Bake until the bacon is sizzling and the beans are starting to brown, 18 to 20 minutes.
Recipes courtesy of Ree Drummond


52 - Eleven

HH and I recently took a trip to Oahu and visited some of the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  This visit included Hank’s Haute Dogs in Waikiki and Big Wave Shrimp/Macky’s Shrimp Truck in Haleiwa.


Hank’s Haute Dogs was in a business section of Waikiki and the restaurant was under construction – they were expanding.  HH and I got to experience the original set-up with a few stools inside at the window counter and picnic benches outside in the converted parking spaces.  HH had the Fat Boy, a dog wrapped in bacon and deep fried.  I had the Hawaiian wit Kukui Portuguese sausage, mango mustard and pineapple relish.  Both were delicious and the natural cut French fries were awesome with garlic aioli dipping sauce.



At Big Wave Shrimp/Macky’s Shrimp Truck, the set-up was a food truck in a permanent setting, HH and I experienced that a lot on Maui too.  We had crunchy coconut shrimp and garlic butter shrimp with rice and salad.  This place had quite the business going, with the tourist buses pulling up and the to-go plates already for them to grab and eat.  The shrimp was very good.


52 - Ten

Saw’s BBQ in Homewood, Alabama, I just visited this spot again.  This is at least my third visit, if not my four, since they opened in 2009.  My cousin, SS, introduced me to Saw’s on one of my visits in the past few years.  Since then, I have read about it in few different magazines, and Paula Deen even called it the best barbeque in the nation in her June 2014 issue of Paula Deen Magazine.

 Saw’s is funky, greasy, the smell is captivating and the pulled pork is perfect just as the Auburn Tigers start playing football on a Saturday afternoon.  If you are ever in Birmingham, AL, you have to stop to for some sweet tea and barbequed anything!