Monday, May 17, 2010


Drifting through May, not yet at June, it's a bit past Spring, but it's not quite Summer, one of those in between times of the year. The early spring vegetables are past their prime but the corn, tomatoes and okra haven't reached their fullness. I've been perusing the T. Keller books for inspiration and most of TFL and Bouchon are very seasonal recipes. Trust me when I say perusing, poor Jim lugs the darn things upstairs each evening and downstairs each morning; I think they weigh at least 5 lbs each. I have found a couple of candidates from Ad Hoc at Home for this week, but I am unprepared for that today and will shop tomorrow. Today we have an easy meal, Ribs and Cole Slaw.

I use a dry rub with only the slightest touch of a sauce at the end, and sometimes no sauce at all. Afrer all, you want to taste the pork first and the sauce as a complement, not the other way around. Take your ribs out of their wrapping , rinse them and cut the membrane from the rib side. Trim any excess fat and let them dry and come to room temperature.

My dry rub, which is really an amalgamation mix of many recipes I've read, is as follows (I decided I didn't really know what amalgamation meant and didn't feel like looking it up because that would lead to a jungle vine-ful of word choices and I'd never get this posted):

3T chili powder, the fresher and darker the better
1T garlic powder
1T onion powder
1T ground cumin (preferably freshly ground)
1t ancho chili powder
2t kosher salt (or to taste)
2t freshly ground pepper
1t sweet paprika
1t dry mustard (optional)
3 T light brown sugar

Mix it all up and this should give you enough for 2 slabs of ribs I'd bet it would be good with skin on chicken too.. cooked low and slow.

Place the ribs on a very large sheet of aluminum foil and sprinkle the top side liberally with the rub. Sprinkle lightly (because it wont stick as well) on the underside. Wrap your foil into a package and place into a preheated 250 oven for 2 hours. Check at the 2 hr mark and if you want sauce spread it on the ribs and keeping the foil open put back into the oven for another 20-30 min. If you don't want sauce, just open the foil and continue cooking 20-30 min.

For the cole slaw, shred 1/4 cabbage (remove the heavy white core before shredding) on a mandoline or cut into very thin slivers with a knife  (about 3 cups). You want the pieces to be fork-friendly so you may have to cut into lengths as well. Run a few carrots over the coarse holes of your grater and mix with the cabbage. I also added some green parts of scallions for color.

For the dressing mix all these in a bowl and adjust proportions to your liking:
3/4c mayonnaise
1/3 c milk
2 T creme fraiche or sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp celery seeds (I didn't have any)

Combine the cabbage, carrot mix with the dressing and add salt and pepper to taste. Let it sit in the fridge at least an hour before serving. This will make more dressing than you need, but makes a nice green salad dressing too.

When the ribs are ready, plate 'em up and eat!  These were good ribs, not too fatty. And at 2-3 ribs per serving this will serve 4 easily. Or, in our case 2 dinners for 2. The cole slaw changes character in the fridge, the dressing and the salt pull the moisture from the cabbage and carrots so they shrink a bit and become really crunchy and their flavors intensify. It's a nice textural counterpoint to the ribs.

See you soon.

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