Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ribs and Coleslaw...Happy Labour Day

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My niece and her family are coming to visit the P-Man and I for the long weekend! I was 10 when my niece was born, and I have to tell you, the 10 year old 'me', HATED the just-born 'her'. The last baby to be born in our family was ME, and I was completely miffed by the arrival of the 'baby'! I  managed to tolerate her, and when we both grew a little, I liked having someone to boss around.
 When she was little, she used to stay with us all summer, and I remember eating with her. She wasn't a fussy eater, but she sure did have her favorites! Shake and Bake chicken drumsticks, creamy mashed potatoes, and canned niblets corn was usually the first meal she ate when she arrived, and man, that kid could eat! My mom also used to make spareribs in canned sweet and sour sauce, with white rice...You would think the child had never even seen food before...the way she snarfled down those ribs! I am quite a bit past 10 years old now, and she is a bit past just born, and mother to 2 children herself...but as old habits die hard...I decided to make her ribs for her first meal at our place.

Ribs and Drippy Sauce
I prefer to use pork ribs. This amount of sauce can handle 2 racks, and I always cut them into '2 rib' pieces. I have moved past the canned sweet and sour, but prefer to let whatever is in my pantry guide my sauce making. I always include some kind of fruit, and I like tomatoes as well. I always use some kind of mustard, and some kind of vinegar...but for the rest of the ingredients, I just keep tasting until I get something I like. These particular ribs were nearly perfect. Tender and flavourful, with a sauce that was thin enough to get absorbed into the rice, but not contaminate the coleslaw section of the plate. The sauce went something like this:

Baked Pork Ribs:
Cajun Seasoning Rub ( any sort of rub you like will do, just rub it in when the ribs are room temperature, then refrigerate overnight if you have time.I didn't add salt because the rub was full of salt, I'm sure.)
1 jar of your choice of fruit jam- I used homemade plum/peach with cinnamon
1 small can Italian stewed tomatoes
1 to 2 tablespoons of: Dijon mustard,balsamic vinegar,brown sugar,soy sauce,chili sauce,ketchup, hickory BBQ sauce.
3 to 5 cloves of garlic minced
couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary
fresh flat leaf parsley to garnish

Throw everything in a pot, except the parsley, and simmer until the sugar is melted. Let cool, and taste. It should be strongly flavoured, as it is going to cook in the oven for at least 2 hours. If it tastes to sharp, add more sugar, too sugary, more soy or get the picture.
For the oven:
Take the ribs out of the fridge at least an hour before the are to go into the oven. Once the sauce has cooled, pour it over the ribs, and turn to coat. Place ribs uncovered in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, until you see some colour. The turn oven down to 300 degrees and cover ribs with foil. bake for 2 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone. Garnish with parsley and serve.

I am a big fan of my Aunty Ann's coleslaw. It is made with oil and vinegar and LOTS of garlic.(Search my site for the recipe.) For some reason with ribs, I prefer a creamy dressing on my coleslaw. I'm not a big mayonnaise fan, but I remember seeing an episode of the Barefoot Contessa, where Ina Garten made a coleslaw with a mayonnaise based dressing and used vinegar to thin the dressing out. Genius! It's the only way I would ever consider making creamy coleslaw.

Cathy's Creamy Coleslaw:
1 medium head of cabbage shredded thin as you can
2 to 3 carrots coarsely grated
fresh chives and parsley chopped
2 to 3 stalks of celery sliced fine, like the cabbage
1/2 cup reduced fat real mayonnaise
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
1 heaped tablespoon of whole grain mustard

Mix dressing ingredients together, and pour over vegetables. Salt and pepper generously, and mix to combine. Refrigerate over night if possible. Let coleslaw come to room temperature before serving, remix, and re-season if necessary.

Serves many...with leftovers!

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