Memorial Day Menu: Asian BBQ Ribs May 22, 2013

Filed Under: Asian BBQ rub - Sue Fuirst @ 7:14 pm

No chatter this week, these ribs speak for themselves.

Asian BBQ  Ribs


  • 3 racks baby back ribs
  • 4 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon, Basics Fuirst Asian BBQ Rub
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce


Preheat oven to 275°.   Place the ribs, meat side up, in a metal roasting pan.  Generously rub the ribs with 4 tablespoons Basics Fuirst Asian BBQ Rub.  Cook for 2-3 hours, until ribs are tender. Heat outside barbecue.  Mix barbecue sauce with remaining 1 teaspoon Basics Fuirst Asian BBQ Rub.  Brush on cooked ribs.  Grill ribs are nicely glazed and beginning to brown at edges.  Cut racks into individual ribs and serve with napkins.  Serves 6-8.

Navigating Foreign Aisles May 15, 2013

Filed Under: Uncategorized - Sue Fuirst @ 9:04 pm
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Picture this, the other day I was confidently walking through a new-to-me Asian market.  This place is the real deal – all of the fruit is exotic and all of the packaging is in the native language, of which I have no knowledge and no way to distinguish Vietnamese from Chinese.  I came with a friend to check the store out and to purchase miso, tamari and a few other pantry staples.  Did I say confidently?  Not so much!  When I finally located the miso aisle (yes, an entire 5-foot refrigerated section dedicated to miso paste), I spent 15 minutse staring at the choices and trying to make my selection; not easy to do when all of the labels are in Japanese. I was bemused and amused.  Upon entering the store, I assumed I knew what I wanted, but when faced with so many choices I froze.  Panic and price forced me to make a decision.  That, and my friend Victoria, phoning from the frozen food aisle, with the fava beans I needed, asking where I disappeared to.

Why this story?  What’s the moral?  To make you feel better when standing in the A&P completely unsure of what you are buying.  I’m just a phone call away for assistance.

sesame miso soba noodles

 8 oz package soba noodles

1 Tb grapeseed or canola oil

4 cups assorted vegetables such as sliced mushrooms, bean sprouts, scallions, edamame and shredded vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, broccoli, asparagus or bell peppers

1/3 cup white miso paste

2 Tb agave syrup or sugar

¼  cup tahini paste

2 Tb tamari or soy sauce

½  teaspoon grated ginger

½  teaspoon shirachi or Asian chili paste

½  cup warm water

2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds, optional

2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro, optional

Kosher salt and ground pepper


Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add vegetables and cook folding once or twice until crisp tender, about five minutes.  Transfer to large bowl to cool.  Season with salt and pepper.


Cook soba noodles according to package directions.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Add to bowl with vegetables.


Add miso, agave, tahini, tamari, ginger, shirachi and water to bowl of a blender.  Pulse until tahini and miso are well blended.


Dress soba with ½ cup miso/sesame dressing.  Toss to combine, top with sesame seeds or cilantro and serve at room temperature.  Makes a great side dish or alternative to pasta primavera for a meatless, vegan meal.


Remaining dressing can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Poach a Salmon for Mother’s Day Brunch May 8, 2013

Filed Under: Cassoulet seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 11:19 am
Tags: , ,

Ah, Mother’s Day.  Despite all of the flowers, homemade cards and love, Mother’s Day is frequently still a day of service and serving for most moms.  So, I set out to make the day’s menu a bit more relaxed.  Poached salmon is a win win for Mother’s Day.  It’s a make-ahead, low-fat, high omega-3, delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Salmon also has many varieties in different price points which makes it great for entertaining.  Happy Mother’s Day!

poached salmon

1 ½ lbs salmon filet, cut into 6 portions or left whole

¼ cup white wine, optional

juice of ½ lemon

2 Tb Basics Fuirst Cassoulet Seasoning, preferably wrapped in cheesecloth

Place the salmon in a poaching pot or pot deep enough to submerge the fish.  Cover with water, wine, lemon juice and Basics Fuirst Cassoulet Seasoning.  Bring to a boil and immediately lower to a simmer.  Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes.

With a slotted spatula, remove fish from poaching liquid.  If you did not wrap the Cassoulet Seasoning in cheesecloth, then gently rinse off spices that may cling to fish.  Place on plate and let chill in refrigerator until ready to eat.  Salmon may be made up to two days ahead.  Serves 6.

Serve with Basics Fuirst Cassoulet Dip as a side sauce.  See for recipe.


Eggplant parm for meatless Monday aka enough with the chicken recipes! May 1, 2013

Filed Under: italian seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 8:19 pm
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A few years ago my family decided to adopt Meatless Mondays.  Ha, that lasted for a while.  Going meatless for one day a week wasn’t as big a pledge as to to commit to Monday specifically and, when Meatless is not on a dedicated day, it seems to lose the hubris.  Since then my middle son has become a vegetarian and I’m trying to cook meatless more frequently.  Now I’m in trouble – once a week was doable.  I’m finding it hard to break the carnivore mentality.  We all miss the satisfying chew, the meaty bite.  Thankfully, mushrooms, butternut squash and of course, eggplant all satiate this call.

The eggplant parmesan here is lighter and fresher than most.  The eggplant is baked, not fried, in crispy panko and the sauce consists of lightly seasoned chopped tomatoes.

baked eggplant parmesan


baked eggplant:

2 large eggplant, sliced ¼” thick

Kosher salt

2 eggs

¼ cup milk (any kind)

1½ cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 ½ Tablespoons Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning

2- 28 ounce cans or boxes (I like Pomi brand) chopped tomatoes

2 cups part skim mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 400°.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and spray with cooking spray.  Set aside a 9×13 Pyrex dish.


Sprinkle sliced eggplant with salt, place in colander and let sit for at least 30 minutes.  This releases water and bitterness from the eggplant. After the salting, lay flat on paper towels to dry eggplant.


In medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  In a separate shallow bowl or dinner plate, mix together the panko, Parmesan, 1½ Tablespoons Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning. Dip the eggplant  into the egg mixture, then coat with the panko. Place prepared eggplant on baking sheet. Spray eggplant with cooking spray before baking and bake for 30 minutes or until beginning to brown.

Place the tomatoes and 1 Tablespoon Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning in a saucepan and heat to a simmer.


Cover the bottom of the Pyrex with a thin layer of sauce.  Layer eggplant over the sauce.  Place it in tightly but try not to overlap.  Cover generously with sauce, evenly top with half of the cheese.  Repeat another layer of eggplant, sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes.