Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tasty Spare Ribs

This weekend, we decided to go Southern and Eastern with our cuisine. Not south-eastern, mind you, but attempting our own version of BBQ spare ribs.

We had gotten some nice spare ribs that we decided to marinade and bake.

To properly marinade them, I first took them out of the package and stuffed them into a takeout container so there would be little room for the marinade to go and hence go into the ribs.

I didn't have a set recipe in mind for the marinade; I just pulled a bunch of things out of our fridge and cabinet and set about mixing them together until I had the taste I wanted.

I started out with honey and then added soy sauce. I think added vinegar and rice wine. Then I threw in some garlic powder and black pepper. Finally I added cane sugar. Then I mixed everything. That took a while since the sugar granules would not dissolve. Now I started taste-testing the marinade. It was a little too sour and sweet so I added soy sauce until the sweet and salty was just the right balance.

Then I carefully poured the marinade over the spare ribs.

Soak 'em up, spare ribs!

Then, cause marinades work better in the cold (I'm not sure where I heard that, maybe on Nigella Bites?), I covered it and stuck it in the fridge.

After 20 minutes, we pulled the ribs out to bake.

After plating all the ribs on the oven pan, each rib got a wash of the extra marinade. The rest of the marinade can be used for basting.

Into the oven they go! We looked online to see what temperature we should bake them at and we found 1 recipe that said 300 degrees for 1.5 hours for 4 pounds of ribs. Since we only had 2 pounds, we figured we'd just keep an eye on them.

We've been doing the "use only one part of the recipe" thing a lot recently. Mostly it's because we already have a sauce or marinade or something in mind, we just need to know the finer details of the science of cooking. Our theory is, as long as the meat is the same, it should cook the same way.

While the ribs were baking, we started on our veggie dish - snow peas and tofu.

Here are the cleaned and peeled (at least the stemmy things on both ends) snow peas and tofu.

FI prepares to cut up garlic for the dish, while I use a knife to section the tofu into cubes. There's something so satisfying about cutting up tofu, especially in its box. I love to cook, but my knife skills aren't the greatest and my knives are neither super nice nor super sharp, so I'm always having a tough time making quick, clean cuts. But tofu yields so easily and you get the edges of the box as a guide, so it's fun to make quick, clean cuts down and across the block of tofu.

The garlic and snowpeas went into the wok first since they'd take longer to cook.

Then we added the tofu and a little teriyaki sauce.

Our finished veggie stirfry!

After 20 minutes, we checked on the ribs and basted them with the marinade. After 40 minutes, we flipped the ribs over and added another coat of marinade.

We finally took them out at about 1 hour and 10 minutes. This was after testing a small rib first. You'll notice one less rib in the picture below versus the picture above.

I then plated everything for us to eat.

A homey and simple meal, plated on our coffee table, to enjoy!

I like our create-our-own-flavors type of meals. We basically use what's available in our kitchen and then adjust to our own taste. We use the web for guidance on the science part of it, but the sensory part - how it tastes, how it chews, how it looks - that's all up to us.

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