Pardon the interruption, but I need to own this: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/dining/09sous.html?_r=1&ref=dining. I just had to share. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
I love football season. Except the Patriots are freakin killing me this year. Bums. Nothing better than a chilly Sunday afternoon with my peeps and some good football food. I used to have people over a lot on Sundays. And when I say people, I pretty much just mean my cousins, but they used to come over a lot. And then they got a new fancy tv, and my tv just doesn’t measure up, and also they moved, and the walk to my house is longer than 30 seconds, so it doesn’t happen as often anymore. But anyway, cozy Sunday afternoons with football and food are my fave. I am not sure what it is about football – maybe because the games are so long, and there are usually three on in a row. It just isn’t the same with baseball or basketball.
My brother was up from NY for three weeks or so recently working with one of his buddies, so I got to see him more than usual, and one of those times was a Sunday. The Giants were on and he decided to come over and hang out all day, and that lured my littlest down from New Hampshire, and my cousin over from the far reaches of Charlestown. It was fantastic and just like old times. All we were missing was the almost littlest, and a few more cousins and my life would have been complete.
The ribs are ones that I have made before on several occasions. I have made them for 4, and I have made them for 40…
They are always a success. They originally came from Fine Cooking (do you notice that comes up a lot? Get yourself a subscription, stat. I love this magazine, I have never had a bad recipe from them, and they are always easy enough to not be at all intimidating, but not at all dumbed down. They are always great for entertaining. Run and pick one up, I promise you’ll like it) but get modified slightly almost every time based on what I have in the house (or in this particular case, what I totally forgot to add because I am a space cadet.)
It starts with St. Louis style pork ribs. They get a dry rub, some low, long cooking time and a sauce to drizzle at the end, and they are delicious and easy. St. Louis style ribs just involves creating a more uniform rack of pork spare ribs by removing the rib tips and skirt from the top of the ribs, and removing the tough membrane from the boney side of the rack. Ask your butcher to do it. Or look it up on the webs and try to do it yourself. Or if you are cooking for 40 hungry crazies and don’t want to take the time to trim 12 racks of ribs to the St. Louis style, don’t bother. It actually does not matter at all for these, as it turns out.
This is the beginning:
Uh, I just went looking for that photo and realized how many things I still have in the queue to tell you about. I am a slacker.
This is an Asian flavored recipe. The rub has chili powder, brown sugar and chinese five spice powder, and the drizzle is mostly soy sauce. This particular Sunday I was out of a couple things and instead I used, surprise surprise, ras el-hanout with the five spice powder. Guess what?! It was delicious! That is some remarkable stuff. I also totally forgot to add brown sugar. Oops. Didn’t matter though. Still good. I am including a link for ras el-hanout, because if I am going to talk about it so much, I should probably hunt down where you might be able to find it, or else that’s just mean, since not everyone has little sisters that head off to exotic places and bring them spices. Which reminds me, I have been wanting to show you this…she flitted off to Budapest about a month ago and brought this back.
Can you even stand it? Look at that little scoop! The best part is that I think this bag cost her like 50 cents, and it would have cost like 50 bucks in the States. Thanks Al!
The ribs get rubbed with the dry rub, and then put in a 325 degree oven for 2 or 2.5 hours. Technically the recipe says a 300 degree oven, but perhaps I have mentioned that my oven burns 125 degrees too hot, so 325 is the lowest I go. This should be inconvenient enough that I get it fixed. It is truly a demonstration of my laziness that I have not, since it would take an explanation to my very dear, but not very english speaking Italian landlords, and I can’t quite imagine how that would go, and don’t often have the energy for such things. I just avoid recipes where I would have to dehydrate things (I am looking at you, Alinea) and I can’t really use my oven as a warmer. So far I have survived.
After two and a half hours or so, the house smells fantastic and the ribs are very tender and they bend in half pretty easily when you try to lift the rack up with tongs. I took them out of the oven, sliced between the ribs, drizzled with the soy dipping sauce and sprinkled with scallions. Voila.
These were pretty tasty, as I have come to expect from this recipe. The boys and the girls were happy. I finished off the afternoon with some brownies that I made from the recipe on the back of the Ghirardelli cocoa container. They were also pretty tasty.
And with that, I am going to leave you with the recipe, and head off to plan my next post because I am rambling like a crazy person today. I need to work on my focus for next time.