Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stoner Cooking

McDonald's McRib Sandwich Recipe
Todd Wilbur

Calories: 307
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Have you been fondly missing the guilty pleasure that is the famous boneless pork creation offered only for a limited time at your local McDonald's? If you've got a food processor you'll never have to go without the unmistakably unique taste and texture of the sauced-up sparerib sandwich that's dressed with pickles and onions and served on a soft, warm sandwich roll. The food processor is essential for grinding up the meat that's been cut away from the bones of a large rack of uncooked pork spareribs. The pork in McDonald's sandwich is combined with salt, a little dextrose sugar, plus water and a few preservatives, and then it is pressed into the shape of a small rack of ribs. Your version wont have the same fake bones stamped into the patty, but after shaping the meat and freezing it, you will be able to make cloned McRibs any time you want in your own kitchen in less than 10 minutes. If you follow these steps exactly, you will be shocked at how similar your home version tastes to the real McRib McCoy. I'm a huge McRib fan, and I was blown away by this one.

16 ounces uncooked pork spareribs meat (cut off the bones from 1 rack)
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 6-inch center split white sandwich rolls (Sara Lee makes the perfect size)
1 cup Hunt's Original Barbecue Sauce
8 dill pickle slices
1/2 cup sliced yellow onion

1. Combine pork, water, sugar, and salt in a food processor and puree on high speed for 30 to 60 seconds or until completely smooth.

2. Divide pureed pork into 4 equal portions that weigh 4 ounces each. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick foil. Using your fingers that have been moistened with water form each portion of pork on the lined baking sheet into rectangles that measure 6 1/2 inches by 3 inches. Gently press another sheet of parchment paper or nonstick foil onto the top of the pork patties and then pop the whole pan into the freezer for a couple hours, or until the pork is frozen solid.

3. When you are ready to make your sandwiches preheat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Slice the sandwich rolls to separate the top and bottom half, then brown the faces of the top and bottom roll halves (crown and heel).

4. When the rolls are browned, use the same pan to cook the pork. Cook the pork on one side for 3 to 4 minutes or until browned in spots, then flip each pork patty over and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove all the pork patties to a platter to cool just a bit. The barbecue sauce will stick better if the pork cools down for a minute or two.

5. As pork cools pour 1 cup of barbecue sauce into a large shallow bowl. When the pork has cooled some, use tongs to dip each patty into the barbecue sauce until the pork is completely covered with sauce. Place the pork onto the heel of a sandwich roll, then arrange two pickle slices on the pork. Drop about 2 tablespoons of chopped onion on the pork, and then top off each sandwich with the crown.

6. Just before serving, zap each sandwich for 15 seconds in your microwave on the highest setting. This will warm the bread as if it had been wrapped in paper like the original.

Serves 4.


If you want a smokier flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke to the food processor when you puree the meat.


Prepare healthier meals with these MSG-free seasoning recipes
Christy Pooschke
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Switching to a natural foods diet sometimes means saying goodbye to some of your favorite recipes because they call for store-bought ingredients (e.g., bouillon) that are full of hidden MSG and other health-depleting additives. However, if you are dedicated enough and willing to experiment a little, it is often possible to find homemade equivalents for such items that will serve your purpose just fine. For example, following are homemade versions of 4 widely-used seasoning mixes, all of which can be prepared ahead of time for added convenience.


Commercially-available taco seasoning mixes generally contain lists of ingredients like the following: "wheat flour, salt, dried garlic, maltodextrin, chili peppers, spice, dried onions, monosodium glutamate (MSG), paprika, sugar, silicon dioxide, soybean oil and malic acid."

It is simple to make your own homemade, additive-free taco seasoning using nothing more than dry seasonings and salt. This recipe is so delicious that you won't even miss the MSG! Combine the following dry spices and store the mix in a sealed container. This amount is equivalent to 1 packet of store-bought taco seasoning, and it can be used accordingly in your regular recipes.

2 tsp chili powder (see recipe below)
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp onion granules
3 1/4 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp sea salt (optional)


You may assume that chili powder is just ground up dried chili peppers, but often this is not the case. Check the ingredients list on the chili powder jar in your cupboard, and you may be in for quite a shock! Many varieties contain MSG, anti-caking agents, and other flavor enhancers and additives. The good news is that it is quick and easy to make your own. Combine the following dry spices, and store the mix in a sealed container.

6 TBSP paprika
2 TBSP turmeric
1 TBSP dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cayenne
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves


Dry onion soup mix adds great flavor to recipes like meatloaf and roasts. Unfortunately, commercial varieties contain MSG and other additives. Mix together the following dry spices. Use the mix immediately or store it in an air-tight container for later use. This recipe is equivalent to one packet of store-bought onion soup mix and can be substituted in all of your favorite recipes!

3 TBSP dry onion flakes
4 tsp onion granules
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic granules


Many cooks rely on bouillon to add a "kick" of flavor to gravies, soups, roasts and other recipes. Unfortunately, most of this "kick" in commercial varieties comes from the MSG they contain! This recipe requires a bit more effort than the seasoning mixes above, but it will last a long time because it yields about 42 cubes!

Combine the following ingredients in a saucepan without any liquid. Cover and cook over the lowest heat setting for 2 hours. Transfer the mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen solid, transfer cubes to freezer bags or air-tight containers, and store them in the freezer for future use. Dilute these cubes at a rate of one cube per half cup of water.

3 cups freshly minced celery, tightly packed
3 cups freshly minced carrots, tightly packed
2 cups freshly minced onions, tightly packed (about 2 medium onions)
2 TBSP sea salt
1/2 pound ground beef (grass-fed is best)


Anglesey, D. Battling the MSG Myth: A Survival Guide and Cookbook. Kennewick: Front Porch Productions, 1997.

Blaylock, R.L. Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills. Santa Fe: Health Press, 1997

About the author

Christy Pooschke is a writer and consumer advocate who is passionate about helping people reduce their reliance on processed food. She specializes in teaching consumers how to shop for and prepare additive-free, natural foods. Check out her educational blog, natural foods cookbook, additive-free grocery guide and personalized services at

Her passion for eating REAL food was sparked in 2007 when she eliminated her Fibromyalgia symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes. Until this point, she was ingesting a Standard American Diet of boxed dinners, soda pop, candy and fast food.

Since regaining her health with an additive-free diet, Christy has been on a mission to educate others about the dangers lurking in their cabinets and to help them achieve maximum health by reducing their reliance on processed foods.

In her free time, Christy operates Completely Nourished, Inc., a non-profit organization she founded to educate folks about natural foods, natural health and natural living. Check out the resources, recipes and online community available at It's free!


Asian Pork Kebabs

Preparation time: 25 Minutes
Servings: 8

These pork kebabs are best when you have time to marinate them overnight, so plan accordingly. Serve with jasmine rice and sautéed spinach or snow peas.

Any firm fruit, like peaches, nectarines or apricots can be used in place of the pineapple.

Dipping Sauce

•2 tsp. minced garlic
•2 fresh Thai or jalapeño chilies, chopped; or 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
•2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce or soy sauce
•2 Tbsp. lemon juice or rice wine vinegar
•2 Tbsp. honey
•2 Tbsp. sesame oil or toasted sesame seeds
•1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
•1/2 tsp. each black pepper and salt
•2 lbs. whole boneless pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes (from the narrow end of the loin)
•2 small onions, peeled and cut into eighths
•2 cups canned or fresh pineapple wedges or mango chunks

Marinade (makes about 1 1/2 cups)

•1 cup dry sherry or dry white wine
•1/3 cup soy sauce
•1/4 cup minced fresh ginger

1.Combine marinade ingredients.
2.Add cubed pork loin and toss to coat. Refrigerate overnight.
3.Meanwhile, combine dipping sauce ingredients in a saucepan and gently heat over low for 3 to 4 minutes just to blend. Let cool, then refrigerate.
4.To serve, thread marinated meat onto kebabs as follows: onion, then pork, then pineapple, repeating in this order once more per kebab.
5.Grill or broil about 7 minutes per side, turning once with tongs, until pork is browned and cooked through.
6.Serve with dipping sauce.


Steak Sandwich

It doesn't take much more than some nice meat on some nice bread to make an out-of-this-world steak sandwich. Cut steakhouse executive chef Lee Hefter gives us his steak recipe.

A sandwich should be thoughtfully laid out, with components that add up to a complete meal, but the most important thing is that the ingredients should be of excellent quality. They should also be easy to come by: It’s a sandwich, after all. That’s why I start with steak. It’s never been easier to buy great beef. For the perfect steak sandwich, don’t be afraid to buy a nice cut of beef. The three basic cuts I use to make a sandwich without requiring the tenderization process of a marinade are rib eye, New York strip (sirloin), and filet, all available from any butcher. To season it, simply salt and pepper the meat, and that’s it. That’s all you have to do to it.

This open-faced sandwich is a bit more elegant than one you pick up; it’s like a great steak salad on toast. Again, other than salt and pepper, there’s no need for seasoning. You get all the zing you need from glazing the sautéed vegetables with a little steak sauce added right to the pan. Everything you want is already in that bottle — the tomatoes, the spices, the vinegar — and in just the right proportions. It’s a fail-safe way to add flavor; you’re going to look like a genius.


•8-oz prime strip or rib-eye steak or filet
•Coarse salt and ground black pepper
•Unsalted butter
•1/2 cup red onion, sliced into half moons
•1/2 cup pickled cherry peppers (hot and sweet), sliced
•1 cup white mushrooms, sliced thin
•2 tbsp steak sauce (like A1)
•Hoagie-style soft roll, ends trimmed, split horizontally
•Garlic mayonnaise (see below)
•4 slices Vermont white cheddar (about 4 oz)
•Arugula, cleaned and dressed with red-wine or light balsamic vinaigrette
•2-inch piece fresh horseradish root, peeled


Grill, broil, or pan-sear steak until medium rare, season with coarse salt and ground black pepper, and let rest before thinly slicing. In sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter until lightly browned, and caramelize onions. Add peppers and mushrooms and cook, flipping frequently, until well mixed, about 3 minutes. Add steak sauce and simmer to glaze, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Lightly butter roll and lightly toast in skillet (buttered sides down). Spread toasted sides with garlic mayo and place on foil-covered sheet pan. Top with cheese and melt open-faced under preheated broiler. Remove and transfer to serving plate. Arrange steak atop broiled bread, overlapping slices slightly, and evenly distribute vegetable mixture, finishing with dressed arugula salad. Using small-hole side of box grater or microplane zester, shred horseradish root (as when working with raw chiles, do not touch your eyes) over sandwich and serve.

How to Make Garlic Mayo

Place peeled garlic clove on clean work surface. Using broad side of a chef’s knife, crush slightly and macerate, using circular motions, until it becomes paste. Add a pinch of kosher salt and mix. Stir paste into mayonnaise, adding ground black pepper and a pinch of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley. Use about 2 garlic cloves to 1/4 cup mayo, more or less according to your taste.

Lee Hefter is the executive chef at Wolfgang Puck’s steakhouse, Cut, in Los Angeles. His favorite sandwich besides this one is the torta de lengua (beef tongue) from his local taco truck in Los Angeles.

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