Golden Gate Meat Company Spice Rub & Sriracha Ribs

As a food lover that is trying to lose weight, I don’t want to lose the flavor! I want to make substitutions that will leave me satisfied and retrain my taste buds away from craving sugar. I love a good barbecue sauce but they are usually filled with sugar, once my friend, now my foe. Luck me, my cousin sent me a great pork and poultry spice rub from the Golden Gate Meat Company (that was in my birthday package that I was obsessing over and still am!) It’s full of flavor and has no sugar, no MSG or the dreaded g-word. Gluten. (Another frenemy.) I love it and although the spice rub is not on their website, you can still order it via phone or e-mail. You can contact them at 415.983.7800 or They have other rubs available along with a Rasta Rub, which I would love to try out one day! I combined the rub with Sriracha sauce, which although the second ingredient is sugar, it never leaves me with those sugar cravings and it has only five calories per teaspoon. I will probably disappoint alot of true barbecueers out there as I par-boil my ribs before throwing them on the grill. ( I know, I know. I hang my head down low in shame. I just haven’t learned the trick to cook them through without burning them. Maybe one day…) But either way, enjoy!

  • pork ribs, par-boiled
  • Golden Gate Meat Company pork & poultry spice rub
  • Sriracha sauce

Once your ribs are cool enough to handle, baste them with the Sriracha sauce. I used just enough to get the ribs moistened. Next, coat with a liberal amount of the spice rub, packing it on. Once your grill is nice and hot, place the ribs in the grill, until you get some nice grill marks on them and the ribs are cooked through, turning as needed.

Black Beans with Guanciale

Guanciale…I had no idea what it was until this past Sunday, when I googled it; found out and was confused, yet excited enough to put it in my basket for purchase. Pork cheeks. Hmm…Standing in the supermarket staring at this package with a little bewilderment, I thought to myself, this fatty piece needs to be in a pot of black beans, even though I never tried it or have even cooked with it before. But it somehow reminded me of authentic Spanish black beans with pieces of pork and thought this new discovery could be a very nice substitute. Boy, was I wrong in leaving this guanciale in a dicey chunk form. Thinking that I love a good chunk of pork in my beans, why not a chunk of pork cheek? This is a creation of another form, flavorful but only in thin slices or in small bites, not chunks. And when I started cooking with it, thinking it was similar to bacon that it would melt and give off a fat to saute the garlic and onions in, I was wrong. It strangely stayed in chunk form but turned translucent, almost like frying jello. I never saw anything like this before and it required a slight do over that was worth the extra effort and made a magical pot of beans. Enjoy!

  • 1 pound dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 pound finely diced guanciale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion, (1 medium)
  • 5 cloves of garlic or more
  • 1 cubanelle pepper, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch dried epazote
  • 1 teaspoon fruity balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper

The package that striked my fancy in the first place that was laying among an assortment of cheeses, salamis and sausages:

The piece of meat that they call “Guanciale“ that had me at hello:

The chunks that were a mistake, despite their initial allure:

To make your black bean magic, in a large Dutch oven, combine the guanciale and the olive oil, saute until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Next add in the onions, garlic and cubanelle pepper and saute another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in your beans and add in the water, bay leaf, sea salt and the epazote. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat. Once your beans have come to a boil, lower the heat to low and simmer covered for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally as once the water reduces, your beans can stick to the bottom of the pot. Stir in your balsamic vinegar, (I used an apple balsamic vinegar) and adjust the seasoning adding salt and black pepper as needed. Simmer for another 10 minutes. This is even better the next day! Serves 6.

Pork Loin with Thyme, Orange & Prune Sauce

Hello December! The month that is waited for earnestly, with great excitement. It’s the happiest month of the year, usually full of cheer and merriment. And chances are, you’ll have a party, to spread the cheer. Which sometimes, can be more stressful, than not. But here is a nice idea for a dish that has lots of flavor that isn’t too demanding of time but tastes like it is. A succulent juicy pork loin gently flavored with thyme, oranges and sweetened with prunes. And a touch of Grand Marnier, makes it extra special. The secret to the pork being so juicy and flavorful is letting it sit overnight in the juices and when your pork is done, making a nice sauce out of the pan juices. Mmmm…go send out those invites! ;)

  • 5 pound boneless pork loin
  • 6 springs of thyme
  • 1 cup tightly packed prunes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (about 4 oranges)
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, divided
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

Generously salt and pepper your pork loin. And place 5 of the springs of thyme diagonally, over the pork. In 2 inch intervals, tie off your pork. (I used 7, 14-inch pieces of kitchen twine to tie off the pork, trimming the excess.) In a heavy bottomed 13×9 pan, drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of the pan. Place your pork down, fat side up. Sprinkle the prunes around the pork and pour the orange, apple, 1 tablespoon of the Grand Marnier over the loin. Add in the leaves of the remaining spring of thyme. Cover with foil and let sit in your refrigerator overnight. Once you are ready to bake your pork, bring it to room temperature, or slightly under. Dot your pork with the butter and place in the oven, tightly covered. Bake for and hour and a half at 325 degrees, averaging 20 minutes per pound. Half way through, baste your pork. Once your pork is done, carefully move it to a cutting board and cover with the foil, allowing it to rest. Take your pan juices and prunes. Set up a strainer over a bowl and drain your prunes, squeezing the prunes, to get out all of the liquids. Using a hand immersion blender, puree your prunes and set aside. Ladle your pan juices into a gravy separator and pour the defatted juices into a pot, continuing until all of the liquid is defatted and add in the prune puree and the remaining tablespoon of Grand Marnier. Bring to a boil and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Whisk in the heavy cream, simmering for about 3 minutes, until thickened. Remove the twine and discard. Cut into thin or thick slices and serve with the sauce on the side. Serves a party of 6.

Slow Roasted Pork Loin with a Pear & Rosemary Sauce

Autumn means dropping temperatures, cozy blankets, apples, leaves in the yard and roasts in the oven. They create that warmth in the house, that only a slow cooked meal creates. This slow roasted pork loin is so juicy. It’s perfect for a weekend, where you make it early on in the day and let it sit on the stove, while you go rake some leaves, coming in and out, sneaking in a bite or two, with its’ luscious sauce. Its’ intoxicating scent, still lingering in the air, making coming into the house, all the better. This is a nice roast to make for your family and it’s great for company. Serve with a nice savory pear salad with blue cheese and serve the pork with buttered green beans on the side and end the meal with a pear crisp. Happy weekend!

  • 2 pound boneless pork loin
  • 1 ripe Bartlett pear, peeled and cored & chopped
  • 10 red seedless grapes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Chardonnay wine
  • 2 tablespoons fig marmalade
  • 1 oz. balsamic vinegar
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 2 oz. light cream
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

In a sauce pan, melt the unsalted butter on medium heat and add the grapes and pear, let it saute for a few minutes. Add in the wine, vinegar and fig marmalade, combining everything well and heat until bubbling. It doesn’t take long, about 5 minutes. Add in the rosemary and juniper berries, combine well. Drizzle a little olive oil into a heavy bottomed baking pan. Salt and pepper your pork loin and place into the pan, fat side up. Spoon the fruit around the pork and pour the liquid over the it. Place in a 325 degree pre-heated oven for about 45 minutes, uncovered, until cooked though. Average about 20 minutes per pound, until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. (If making a larger piece of loin, just extend the cooking time, averaging the 20-minute-per-pound-rule.) Remove your loin to a smaller warmed baking pan and cover, while you make the sauce. Let your pork sit for 15 minutes, so the juices stay in the meat. Remove the juniper berries from the sauce and discard. Into a blender, or using a hand-held immersion blender, blend your sauce away, adding in the cream. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve alongside the pork and enjoy! Serves 4.

Bolognese Pasta Bake

This is perfect if you are making a nice dinner at home to celebrate the special men in your life on Father’s Day, whether they be your own dad, father to your babies, hubby or just an awesome guy. This dish takes some time to make but it is well worth the effort. Give the guys a day off from the grill, not that the gals can’t grill! That reminds me of the time my husband told his whole family how great my steaks are! We piled the steaks on the grill and of course, I was so happy to be surrounded by my family, I kinda forgot about the steaks. Oh yeah, you guessed it. They were as burnt as toast! We all scraped at our burnt steaks making a special music together, the scraping done in unison, lol. The steaks were tough, similar to beef jerky, extra burnt flavor added, lol. So…if you are a looking for that comfort food to comfort the special men in your lives, this is a great dish to make minus heating up the charcoal! ;)

  • 1 pound good ground pork
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots. finely grated
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 28 oz. can crushed peeled Italian plum tomatoes, if the tomatoes pieces are too big you can crush by hand
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few grates of fresh nutmeg
  • a few grates of fresh cinnamon
  • about 3 small dried mushrooms
  • 1 allspice ball
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vegeta, or any all-purpose seasoning that you like
  • 1 pound of fun pasta, I used dischi, shells and rotini are great, any pasta that will ”hug” your sauce and cheese
  • 2 pound container part skim ricotta cheese
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, heat your oil on low heat, add in your shallots and garlic. You want to watch this, don’t neglect it, the way I neglected the grill, lol. Stir often, you don’t want this to burn. And if any piece does burn discard it, it ruins the sauce. Low and slow is the secret to sweating the shallots and garlic. Once the shallots and garlic are translucent add your ground pork, breaking it up. You don’t want to brown the pork just cook it through. Add in your can of tomatoes, bay leaf, a little nutmeg and cinnamon (just a touch), dried mushrooms and the allspice ball. Cook covered for one hour and fifteen minutes on low heat. Stir often so it doesn’t burn. Remove the bay leaf, allspice, mushrooms and discard and add in 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Taste your sauce and add seasoning if you need to. Cook your pasta, on the slightly under done side, it will continue cooking in the oven. Add a tablespoon of unsalted butter to your pasta. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Take half the sauce and spread evenly in a 13 x 9 inch pan. Spread half the pasta (3 cups) evenly on top. Spoon half the ricotta cheese (2 cups) on top of the pasta. The trick to good cheese coverage is using a small spoon. And then using a spatula to spread it out evenly. Follow by layers of the remaining sauce, the rest of the pasta and the cheese. On top of your ricotta cheese you want to grate the Parmesan cheese. Grate it fine and cover every inch of the pan, the best part, crunchy cheesy topping. Put the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes, keep an eye on it and add more time if it isn’t as brown as you like. Pair this up with a green salad and dinner is served. Enjoy!

What a beautiful carb!