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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blueberry Balsamic Barbeque Sauce

This is my entry for the What's Cooking? Ingredient Challenge! Blueberries are not my favorite fruit, in fact, I'm not really a fruit person at all, so I was a little nervous about having blueberries as an ingredient challenge. I thought about going the simple, tried and true route with blueberry muffins or pancakes or coffee cake and figured Zach would get to reap all the benefits. So, I started searching through my (many) cookbooks. In my Best of Cooking Light I found a pleasant surprise -- this recipe for Blueberry Blasamic Barbeque Sauce. Zach loves balsamic vinegar, so I figured it was worth a try.

I made the sauce and we had it on some pork spare ribs -- yum! It was tart and sweet and a nice spin on traditional barbeque sauce. It did stain the meat a purple color, as would be expected, but still looks rather odd. If I make it again I would probably add some diced onion and garlic in with, I think it would benefit from some fresh flavors instead of the dried garlic powder. I also added in a few grinds of black pepper and one shake of cayenne pepper. I might also up the balsamic to 1/3 or 1/2 cup, as it is a flavor Zach and I love.

It makes quite a bit, so we have plans to use some next week on chicken breasts. Mmmm, purple chicken breasts - haha!

Blueberry Balsamic Barbeque Sauce
The Best of Cooking Light

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1/4 cup)


2 cups fresh blueberries

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons ketchup

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat; cool. Place blueberry mixture in a blender; process until smooth.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 67

Fat: 0.2g

Protein: 0.5g

Carbohydrate: 16.9g

Fiber: 1.4g

Giada's Penne with Braised Short Ribs

Yum! This dish was super delicious! We were spending a Saturday morning watching Food Network, as usual, and when I saw Giada make these I knew I'd be making them soon too. They were really easy and fantastic.

I made a few substitutions based on what I had on hand, but they were still excellent. I used about 2 pounds pork ribs (bone in) and 1 pound boneless beef ribs. That's what we had in our freezer, and since we are moving soon it's my mission to use everything up so we have as little as possible wasted. Also, as I went to measure the Dijon mustard I discovered it was practically empty, so I ended up using some spicy brown mustard to make up the difference. I used a shiraz for the red wine and regular beefsteak tomatoes instead of Roma, since again, that's what I had in the house.

Also, I didn't really do the last step. After we saw just how much sauce there was, we simply divided it into two equal portions. I froze one (the picture is from the frozen, then defrosted batch since I forgot to take a picture the first time) and served the other. I didn't see the point of having so much meat with only one cup of sauce, and what to do with the leftover sauce without meat? So, we decided to stretch it out to two good sized meals. With a pound of pasta with each one, it was more than enough for two of us for dinner and many yummy lunches.

I think this would be a good meal to have guests over for too, since you can get the major work done before they arrive, and then it all comes together fairly quickly at the end. When I reheated the frozen sauce we just defrosted in the microwave and then warmed it through on the stovetop. I added in a cup or so of wine to loosen it up as it reheated. You could probably use beef stock too, but we had some wine leftover about a week or so old we didn't really love as a drinking wine, but worked just fine to add more juice to the sauce.

Penne with Braised Short Ribs
from Giada at Home, found on

Cook Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes 4-6 Servings


4 pounds beef short ribs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

5 Roma tomatoes, cut into eighths

1 cup red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 cups low-sodium beef broth

1 pound penne pasta

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  • Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Season the ribs with salt and pepper. In a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or ovenproof stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. In batches, add the ribs and brown on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the ribs and set aside.
  • Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and mustard. Bring the mixture to a boil and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  • Return the ribs to the pan. Add the beef broth, cover the pan and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours until the meat is fork-tender and falls easily from the bone.
  • Remove the ribs from the cooking liquid. Using a large spoon, remove any excess fat from the surface of the cooking liquid.
  • Using a ladle, transfer the cooking liquid in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
  • Remove the meat from the bones. Discard the bones. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into small pieces. Stir the shredded meat into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and place in a large serving bowl.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the sauce and add to the pasta. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the pasta. Toss well and thin out the pasta with more sauce, if needed. Sprinkle the pasta with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley before serving.