Oh, Monkey Gravy!

This is one of my personal favorites. A good monkey gravy goes well with chicken, but even better with some succulent turkey. Since you’ll go to some trouble for getting the monkey gravy, use good quality turkey cutlets from the store-the gravy will do the rest!

Oh, Monkey Gravy:

* Monkey: This is the difficult part. Western culture, specifically their laws, are pretty restrictive when it comes to monkeys. You can’t find them in the wild here, and the ones left either belong to science labs or zoos. They’re registered and have to be treated in accordance with animal cruelty statutes. So here’s my strategy:
* $12,000 US Dollars
* 1 Passport sized photo

First book yourself a flight to Paris. Take a train down to the capital of Spain, whatever that is. There’s a dude there, in a bar. I forget the name, but it has a picture of a lady singing on the door. Tell the bartender you’re there for “Louis” and buy a drink, it’ll be a while. In an hour or so, a man will come in and go to the bathroom. Go back there and hand him $1,500 and the passport photo. He will give you a number to call and tell you to call tomorrow. Call the number, they’ll tell you where to go, and you’ll find your new passport waiting for you. Now with your new passport, book a flight to Africa. Any of them will do. Once off the plane, you will need to steal 1 monkey. They are literally everywhere, it’s not too difficult to find them.

The important part here is to be picky. Most species of monkey are 70% hair. Hair is not tasty, you don’t want it in your food. I recommend chimps. Mountain Gorillas also work, but they’re harder to stuff into a suitcase. That’s the next part, pick your monkey and get him into a suitcase. Buy some butter at the store to get it in there if you’re having trouble. If they don’t have butter, get whatever looks oily. If they click at you, don’t be concerned, that’s how they speak in Africa. If there’s a revolt, make sure to bribe the guards when you get to the airport. Now get back to Spain, take the train back to France, and get rid of your fake passport before coming back to the states. Check your suitcase once in a while, you don’t want your monkey to die after all that trouble.

Once home, open the suitcase and feed your monkey some bananas. They like them. Shave your monkey to get rid of any hair. Now give the monkey a hat and a typewriter, and wait for him to type a recipe for gravy. Once he does, make the gravy and enjoy.

What? You thought… You’re horrible!!!!

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Barbecue

If you want to know if a barbecue place might be good, ask when they started cooking when you get there. If they cook your dish around or near the time you order it, its probably not good barbecue. See good barbecue is not grilled, not cooked quickly-its cooked indirectly, and for hours. The emphasis needs to be on the hours. An optimal barbecue setup is having meat on a rack or some other permeable setting, displaced from the fire/heat source, and all this in some sort of container so you get a lot of nice smoke. The point of all this, aside from flavor, is that you get meat that falls off the bone. If you have to use your teeth to tear at the flesh on ribs, they weren’t barbecued well.

Unless you plan to set your couch on fire and hang meat from the ceiling, it’s unlikely that you have this setup. Your oven is the next best thing. Kept at 325 for several hours, it can make the difference between charcoal grilled mess and tasty, barbecue mess.

I’ve used the following recipe with some success:

Ribs with BBQ sauce:

Sauce:

* 4 tbsp EVOO
* 4 tbsp chopped garlic
* 1 cup red cider vinegar
* 1/2 cup soy sauce
* 2 cups ketchup
* 2 cups honey
* 1/2 cup strong black coffee or instant espresso or espresso
* Black Pepper

1. Saute the garlic in the olive oil
2. Add everything else
3. Store in fridge (do this at least a day ahead of time)

Ribs:

* 2 racks baby back ribs
* Gray sea salt
* Black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 325
2. Rub the ribs on both sides with the salt and pepper
3. Cut so you have approximately 7″ pieces of ribs
4. Cover a nice big cookie tray with aluminum foil
5. Stack the ribs on a metal pan so they form a sort of pile of ribs, but not directly on top of each other (think like you want to make a house-contains the heat!)
6. Cook for at least 2, maybe 2.5 hours, moving the ribs around every half hour so they all get to be in a different spot (cook more evenly)
7. Place the ribs on a grill (or heated pan on the stove) on very low heat, and baste with the sauce. Baste again every 10 minutes, both sides for each piece of ribs. The important thing here is that the grill is on very, very low heat-as a test, see how long you can keep your hand near the heat. If you’ve gotta pull away in less than a minute, its too high!
8. After at least 3 bastings, serve. If you want a stronger flavor, baste a few more times before serving.

Notes:

Sauce: The sauce given is not the only sauce that can be used with ribs, obviously. If you would like to make your own sauce, great. If you’re trying a store-bought sauce, save yourself the trouble of icky tasting ribs: heat up a little bit of the sauce, throw in a tiny bit of salt and pepper, see how it tastes. A lot of “barbecue” sauces in the store are actually just sugared ketchup to give a tangy taste with fried chicken, etc. They would not do well on actual barbecued foods, since the sugar would burn on the grill.

Salt: Sea salt is all the rage right now, the problem is a lot of it is…well…expensive salt. Nothing more! See purified sea salt is still just table salt, even if it has bigger grains. The point of getting sea salt is to get the dirty stuff. It might be a little more expensive, but its worth it. Part of the reason so many of us crave salt is that we’re actually craving the minerals that are supposed to come with salt-but we don’t get them because the white salt is nothing but sodium chloride. We want other minerals! The dirty sea salt, any color but white, has other minerals and a tiny bit of that salt will actually do more to make your body (and taste buds!) happy than a pound of the white stuff.

FAQ

Welcome to Amateurs with Knives! With this FAQ, you will know what to expect from the writers of AwK.

Q — Who are you people?
A — We’re culinary ninjas. By this we mean that we are neither culinary nor ninja, we’re just people who enjoy good food and cooking. Half of the staff has an unhealthy desire for Rachel Ray covered in maple syrup. The other half just wishes they were ninjas.

Q — What is your mission?
A — To convert people who enjoy food that comes in a jar and those sad, sad individuals who will wait two hours for a table at Olive Garden.

Q — But I like mac and cheese from a box.
A — That isn’t a question.

Q — What should I expect to read on this site?
A — Everything that’s food related. We are here to share recipes, photos, tips and techniques as well as review books, magazines, television shows and chefs – anything at all as long as it is somehow connected to food. There will also be be some instructional segments in varying degrees of difficulty.

Q — How is this different from any other food blog?
A — We are wittier, and don’t forget about us being ninjas, either.

Q — But you said you guys didn’t have any ninja skills?
A — A ninja’s main weapon is misdirection.

Q — So what makes you guys more qualified than any of the other bloggers out there, or myself for that matter?
A — Um…

Q — HAH! Got ya there didn’t I?
A — That’s not a question eith– oh wait, it is. Damn, you’re crafty. Well you’re already here, so why don’t you read something?

Q — Fair enough.
A — That wasn’t a question. Welcome to Amateurs with Knives!