- oven-cooked pork spare ribs
- crusty French bread
- carrot & beet salad
Today the weather was really windy and weird -- not at all conducive to grilling. So, I made spare ribs in the oven. Did you know that pork spare ribs are relatively cheap? I didn't, until I went shopping for meat the other day and noticed that holy crap, meat has gotten really expensive!
I get a lot of comments about the amount of meat we eat here in the Badger household, and it's true that we eat a lot of it, but we have our reasons, yo. For one, I've been told by doctors (after a lifetime of anemia) that my body is unable to process/utilize non-heme iron. I can ONLY use heme iron, and that ONLY comes from animal flesh -- you won't find it in eggs, dairy, beans, greens or grains. In addition, both DH and my daughter are allergic to soy, legumes and tree nuts. I do try to load up our family diet with high-protein grains (like quinoa) and other foods as much as I can, but the easiest way for all of us to get iron AND protein is through meat and fish.
So. Anyway. On to the recipes!
I bought pork spare ribs with the chine bone removed. That isn't 100% necessary, but it does make it easier to carve them once they're cooked. I made a dry rub of brown sugar, powdered ginger, ancho chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper and rubbed it over both sides of the ribs. Then I placed them on a rack in a roasting pan, poured about a half inch of water in the bottom of the pan, covered it VERY tightly with heavy-duty foil, and put it in the oven at 200 degrees F for about five hours. Then I removed the foil, boosted the heat up to 400 degrees F, and cooked the ribs for another 20 minutes or so, basting with bottled barbecue sauce during the last 10 minutes. After letting them rest for about five minutes I carved them into individual riblets. They were SO deliciously tender and flavorful, y'all.
This sounds like a lot of work, but it REALLY isn't hard to do at all. Most of the "work" time is spent in the oven with no interference from the cook. You can mix up the spice rub the night before, come home for lunch to rub the ribs and stick them in the oven, then boost up the heat and baste them with sauce when you get home from work in the evening. If you're going to be away from them for longer than about six hours, just cook them on a lower heat. As long as you add water to the pan and cover them tightly, they aren't going to burn.
The French bread was bought already made and just warmed through in the oven while the meat rested. Again, you can do this in minutes after work.
The beet & carrot salad can easily be made the day before. In fact, it might be better to do it that way so the flavors can meld for a bit. I made this salad in an effort to use up some of our most recent CSA share -- fresh beets, lovely fresh carrots, and green garlic.
All I did was wash and peel the carrots and beets and then shred them in my food processor. I would guess that the amount I had yielded about two cups of shredded veggies altogether. In a non-reactive bowl, whisk the juice of one lemon (or you could use lime juice, or vinegar) with an equal amount of oil -- I used some pistachio oil that's been lurking in my fridge since DH brought it back from a business trip to the south of France, waiting for the perfect salad opportunity. You could easily use EVOO or some sort of nut oil, whatever you like! I grated in one clove of "green" garlic (you could use a regular garlic clove, and just mince it if you don't have a microplane grater) and added a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Then I dumped in the shredded veggies and tossed them to coat. Because I can't leave well enough alone, I also snipped in some fresh mint and flat-leaf parsley.
I have never been a big fan of beets, I think because the only kind my mom ever served were the pickled ones from a jar, which are an abomination (sorry, Mom!). This salad was deliciously earthy and a bit tart, which made a nice complement to the rich pork ribs. Very yummy, and I would definitely make this again!