Sunday, June 25, 2006

Summer Rib-bage

Well, it's June, the fog has rolled in and we're busting out the heavy coats -- it must be summer. In San Francisco.

We spent an afternon at a wedding up in Glen Ellen yesterday. When we left it was about 55F and when we got up there it was probably 95F. Such a heat spell!

Back home, it was 55F -- I wrapped the scarf around my neck more tightly and Eric zipped up his leather jacket.

Nevertheless, when the fog finally burned off today, it was quite warm and lovely. I wandered out to Civic Center, completely forgetting that it was Pride today, San Francisco's biggest, funkiest party day.

After wandering around smelling Hawaiian barbecue all morning, I decided that tonight it would be our favorite Lime Grilled Ribs, maybe with some of my trademark Limey Guacamole, and a Roasted Corn, Roasted Tomato, and Arugula Salad.

I went on a little shopping trip at Whole Paycheck and trudged up the hill back into the fog bank with my summer menu items in tow.

Eric has been doing the Happy Rib Dance all evening. This particular recipe, from the ever trusty Cuisine, is tasty, tangy, fingerlickin' good. It makes a lot of extra dipping sauce, which -- rather than let go to waste -- we often use on a nice flank steak.

Lime Spare Ribs

2Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp ground coriander

3 Tbsp chopped ginger
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper

2 racks of spare ribs (26 ribs)

You can use either spare ribs or baby back ribs, but spareribs are tastier.

To trim ribs (if your butcher hasn't already), trim the "skirt flap" from the sinew side of the ribs. Cut off the breast plate and flexible feather bones that form the rounded part of the ribs. Remove the sinewy sheet of membrane from the back of the ribs by grabbing a corner of it with a paper towel and slowly pulling it away from the bones.

Dock between the bones with a fork (kind of like pricking a potato). Lay the ribs out on a large baking sheet lined with tinfoil (for easy cleanup).

Mix rub ingredients together and rub all over the ribs, top and bottom. Then cover with foil and let them sit for an hour.

Heat the oven to 250°F and slow roast the ribs for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. The meat will pull away from the bones slightly when they're done.

While that's going on, mix all the Lime Sauce ingredients together.

If you're going to grill, prepare the grill by rubbing it down with a paper towel soaked in oil.
If you're doing it in the oven, preheat the broiler.

When the meat is pulling away from the bone, it's about ready. Take it out of the oven and uncover. Slather it on the top side with Lime Sauce and put it on the grill or under the broiler. After five minutes, take it off, flip it over and slather the other side. Then put it back in the heat for another five minutes. Flip over again and slather it one more time on the top side. Cook another few minutes until it's nice and crusty and tasty-looking and you can't stand another minute of waiting...

To go with it, I wanted something with a lot of flavor, but not too much competition with the spicy ribs. This salad I made up on the fly, so the recipe is a little loose.

Roasted Corn, Roasted Tomato and Arugula Salad

1 box of grape tomatoes (split the large ones in half)
Two ears of corn (shucked)
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
salt to taste
Some peeled garlic cloves might be nice too!
A few handfuls of arugula

Preheat the oven to about375F.

On a large baking sheet, spread out the tomatoes (and garlic cloves) and toss with olive oil. Butter the corn on all sides, and liberally salt everything.

Roast the vegetables for 15 -20 minutes, and then check on the tomatoes. The small ones should have popped and/or deflated. Scoop all the tomatoes (and garlic) out of the pan and leave the corn in the oven for another twenty minutes or so.

When the corn is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool. Then cut the kernels carefully from the cob.

In a mixing bowl combine the corn, tomatoes (and garlic) and arugula together with your hands.

Limey Guacamole de ME

1 medium diced tomato (plum tomatoes or nice ripe organic ones work best)
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 3 limes
1 small finely chopped onion
4 peeled mashed avocados
1 chopped green anaheim chili (or for extra zing, 1 small serrano chopped -- carefully -- with gloves on)
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl mixing well. Taste it as you add in the lemon-lime juice. I like it tangy so I put in extra. And I like it salty, so I add a good amount of salt too. Keep tasting and adding. Make sure it's um...well tested.

You are the chef, after all. It's your prerogative.

Serve with blue corn chips.

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