Cumin dry-rub Ribs with Pineapple Salsa

Here’s a recipe that would be great for your 4th of July festivities.  A dry rub that you can make ahead and smother some ribs in and let them hang out in the fridge for a day or two before you slow cook them, then grill them off to perfection.  The rub has just a few simple, savory spices, and there’s also a glaze of sweet, sticky, spicy sauce.


1/4 cup ancho chile powder

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ground cumin

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

1 rack baby back ribs

1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, smashed

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 cup honey

1 pound fresh pineapple rings, sliced about 1/2 inch thick

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

1/2 cup chopped cilantro


  • In a small bowl, combine the chili powder with 1/4 cup of cumin, 2 tablespoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • Set the ribs in a cooking dish, rub all over with spice mixture, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate

ribs coated thickly in the dry rub

  • When you’re ready to cook them: preheat the oven to 350°
  • Add a small bit of water to the bottom of the cooking dish and bake the ribs for 45 minutes, until just tender
  • Cover with foil and bake another 30 minutes
  • Meanwhile, puree 1/2 of the jalapeño with the garlic and 1/2 cup of lime juice, add in the honey and the remaining 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • Pour the glaze mixture into a saucepan and simmer over low heat until thickened, about 15 minutes
  • When the ribs have cooked to tender, raise the oven temperature to 450° or light your grill
  • Brush the ribs with half of the glaze and bake or grill for about 20 minutes
  • Brush with the remaining glaze for a sticky finish
  • Grill the pineapple rings over high heat, turning once, about 5 minutes (or pan fry them in a cast iron skillet over a high heat for 2-3 minutes) and set aside to cool

pineapple rings ready for the grill

  • Dice the pineapple and transfer to a bowl and add the brown sugar, onion, cilantro, and remaining 1/2 jalapeño and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Season with salt and pepper

Pineapple Salsa

We served this with a black & pinto bean salad.

cumin rubbed ribs with sweet & spicy glaze, pineapple salsa, and black & pinto bean salad

This recipe was inspired by Food and Wine.


Black Bean Chili

If you’re in the market for a flavorful chili that’s low in fat and high in protein, this one’s for you.  This recipe has absolutely no heat to it, so if you like it spicy, add a fresh jalepeno to the mix.  Or you can opt to serve it garnished with sour cream and a spicy salsa on top.  This dish has a great balance between the creamy beans and the sweet corn.


1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, diced

1 TBS + 1-1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

6 medium cloves garlic, chopped

2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain)

2 TBS ground cumin

2 TBS red chili powder

2 TBS dried oregano

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

salt and black pepper to taste

fresh cilantro and scallions


  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a medium size soup pot and saute the onion and bell pepper in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until translucent
  • Add garlic, cumin, and red chili powder and continue to saute for another minute
  • Add 1-1/2 cups broth and the rest of ingredients, except for the cilantro and corn. Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered
  • Add corn and cook for 2 minutes
  • Add cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste

chili topped with sour cream, cilantro, scallion & a wedge of lime

Post inspired by this recipe on World’s Healthiest Foods.


Cauliflower with peas and potatoes (Gobhi Aaloo Mutter Ki Subzi)

One night I was trying out a vegetarian main dish and wasn’t quite sure how it would come out so I needed a stand-by, hearty side dish to fall back on in the event that it was a failure.  Turns out the vegetarian loaf which included such ingredients as red onion, spinach, red bell pepper, boxed falafel mix, and goat cheese wasn’t all that bad.  But this side was excellent.  It’s got some heat to it, with the fresh ginger and chili, but you could certainly scale back on those a bit.  It’s got lots of textures, sizes and shapes.  I think that mushrooms would be a nice addition to this as well.

falafel loaf with cauliflower, potatoes & peas


1 head of fresh cauliflower florets

2 large or 3 medium-sized potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 tbsps olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 large onion, chopped fine

2 tsps minced garlic

1 tsp minced ginger

2 tsps coriander

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp chili powder

2 large tomatoes, chopped finely

1 green chili, chopped

1 cup petite frozen peas

Salt to taste


  • Put potatoes & cauliflower florets in a steamer and par-cook for about 10 minutes

steamed cauliflower & potatoes

  • Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan on a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and cook for a minute
  • Add the onion and fry until soft, stirring often
  • Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a minute
  • Add all of the spices and cook for 1 minute

onion, ginger & garlic coated in spices

  • Next add the chopped tomatoes and green chili, stirring well, and cook until tomatoes start to get soft (about 2-3 minutes)

fresh tomato & green chili

  • Now add the cauliflower florets, potatoes and peas. Stir well. Add salt to taste. Cover the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat

the completed dish


Recipe adapted from a post on

Sweet Potato & Kidney Bean Chili

This chili is a thing of beauty.  By beauty I mean that the flavor of the green bell pepper transforms from an underripe, sharp, crisp bite to something soft and sweet.  The ancho chili & crushed red pepper are balanced by the sweet potato and carrots.  The mushrooms provide a welcome texture contrast.  There is nothing boring about this dish.  Served with bread and, yes, a little butter (as there is almost zero fat in the entire pot) it is wonderful.  The bread is almost necessary to sop up the nice broth left in the bottom of the bowl.  You just can’t leave it there to be washed down the drain….

sweet potato & kidney bean chili


1 medium onion, chopped

4 medium cloves garlic, chopped

1 TBS fresh ginger, chopped

1 medium carrot, sliced

1 medium green pepper, cut in 1-inch squares

2 cups sweet potatoes, cut in 1-inch cubes

2 cups portobello mushrooms, quartered

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 TBS tomato paste

1 TBS + 2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth

1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained

salt & black pepper to taste


  • Chop the garlic and onions and let them sit for about  5 minutes while you chop all of the other veggies

chopped onion, garlic, sweet potato, green bell pepper and carrot

quartered portobello mushrooms

  • Heat 1 TBS of broth in a soup pot. Sauté the onion in broth over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent
  • Add garlic, ginger, carrot, pepper, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently

veggies sauteeing in a soup pot

  • Add spices and mix thoroughly
  • Mix tomato paste and broth together, then pour over spiced vegetables. Cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add beans, salt, pepper, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes on medium heat uncovered

cholesterol-lowering, fiber-packed kidney beans


Recipe adapted from a post on the world’s healthiest foods

Lentil Chili

I’m a sucker for well-prepared lentils (as is my sister) so when I came across a recipe for chili made with lentils rather than kidney beans I Had to try it (and have my sister over for dinner, of course).

It made for a perfect dinner on a cold night.  This recipe uses ancho chili powder for a very mild heat, with a super flavor.

Red bell peppers lend a sweetness, and opting for fire-roasted diced tomatoes added a different element of flavor to the profile.


8 cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

4 teaspoons ancho chili powder

16-ounces brown lentils (about 2 1/4 cups)

2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  • Bring 3/4 cup broth to a simmer in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook about 8 minutes or until onion is clear and pepper is tender.
  • Stir in chili powder and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add lentils, tomatoes and remaining 7 1/4 cups broth.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes or until lentils are almost tender.
  • Uncover and cook 10 minutes longer. Stir in cilantro and serve.

We opted for spinach salads as a first course.  Since the chili was so lean we had goat cheese on crackers and a little bit of crumbled bacon on top.

And, of course, a nicely crusted French sourdough bread to dip in the chili 😉

Yummy dinner + fantastic company = happy Kitchbitch!