Crouton’s Pasta alla Puttanesca

This is my interpretation of spaghetti alla puttanesca (whore’s spaghetti), a simple yet robust pasta dish that’s easy to make with around-the-house ingredients (well, our house anyway). Don’t be squeamish about the anchovies … they add flavor to the dish, but without the strong salty taste people associate with anchovies on pizza. You can make […]


Weekend Countdown

The kids and grandkids are coming for the weekend; possibly my niece and her boyfriend; maybe even some Aussie friends who’ll be in town. I’m planning a cookout for Sunday, and I’ve already started. The menu? Smoked pork spareribs, smoked beef brisket, baked beans, corn on the cob.

Peeling the membrane from the ribs



Ditalini’s Birthday Dinner

Our friend Mary Anne cooked dinner for us in honor of Ditalini’s birthday. I swear, I’m going to have to feature some of her recipes on Crouton’s Kitchen, particularly her Brussels sprouts, which she prepared with bacon (bacon makes everything better, and I love Brussels sprouts to begin with).

Prime rib, salad, Brussels sprouts, […]


Memorial Day Barbecue at Dino’s

Photos from the Memorial Day barbecue we enjoyed at Cousin Dino’s house in Las Vegas the other day:

Dino at the smoker

Ditalini, Escargot, Rudy, Dino

Dino’s a wet rib guy who prepares his own secret sauce (hint: it incorporates a can of Coke). He smokes exclusively with mesquite. The ribs were brilliant, […]


Our Smokin’ Dinner

I didn’t live blog dinner (that would have been pretty rude, wouldn’t it have?), so I’m posting a final smokin’ update this morning, long after the big family meal. Because we all deserve to see how it turned out, right?

Baguette, son of Crouton, prepares the beans

The table, […]


Live Photobloggin’ Smokin’

Bet you haven’t seen that combination of blog title words before! I’m half an hour into the smoking process, photographing and blogging as I go; here’s where I’m at:

Chicken on the lower rack

I prepared two chickens by cleaning and cutting them in half with heavy duty kitchen shears, brushing them […]



This blog hasn’t exactly been smokin’ lately, and I apologize for that. Tomorrow, though, I will be literally smoking: two racks of ribs, two chickens, two salmon filets. I prepped the ribs and coated them with dry rub two days ago and they’re resting in the fridge. I halved the chooks and coated them with […]


Bangers & Smash?

Italian bangers, that is . . . my menu plan for tonight is Italian sausage with peppers, onion, & garlic, served with panfried smashed potatoes. Ditalini, I hope, can be coaxed into making a green salad. We’ll probably eat on trays, watching Lakeview Terrace on the home jumbotron. Hey . . . I’ll let you […]


Party Food

We hosted a birthday party last night. The friend whose birthday it was requested we serve our salad with grilled salmon. We also had steamed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, and carrots), roasted chicken, and a corn casserole. Here’s the spread, with the first of our guests attacking:

Closest to the camera is […]


Crouton’s Easy Dry-Rubbed Ribs


pork spareribs (St Louis style or baby back) dry rub (Corky’s, Rendezvous, or home made) barbecue sauce (whatever kind you like)


With this recipe, you basically prepare and cook the ribs first, then finish them off on a gas or charcoal-fired grill.

Leave ribs as they come from the package, in […]