A Finger Lickin’ Good Time

ohsogood

Two weekends ago, my friend Michael was visiting from LA, and I invited a bunch of friends over for ribs. I’ve never made ribs, and I don’t have a grill, so I was taking a bit of a chance, but I saw this recipe in Gourmet that seemed oven-friendly.

Sticky Balsamic Ribs

I’m on a budget and invited lots of people, so I got spareribs rather than baby back ribs. This turned out to be just fine, but I did cut them into smaller chunks before cooking. We started the ribs marinating the night before. The recipe is simple: garlic, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and cayenne. What’s genius about this recipe, however, is the technique. The end result of roasting the ribs with water, then broiling them delivered ribs that looked, felt and tasted like they were fresh off the barbie. The meat was succulent and falling off the bone; the sauce was sticky and sweet: everything you could want from ribs.

I was so enthusiastic about the ribs that I immediately told a coworker with whom I talk food that she needed to try them. She did last weekend, and said it was one of the best things ever to come out of her kitchen. Her guests broke into spontaneous applause. Need I say more?

Of course, you see more than just ribs in the photo. I also made slaw and potato salad.

The Rainbow Slaw, which I got from Bon Appétit was very good, but I had to make some changes to the recipe. They call for way too much cabbage. Half a head of red and green cabbage each is plenty. I also left out the yams. It’s an interesting idea, but I just didn’t want yams in my slaw. The apples are what attracted me to the recipe, and I loved them, but next time, I’m trying Asian pear.

Then the Potato Salad with Buttermilk Dressing. I had made this before. It’s a great recipe and the mustard-heavy buttermilk dressing is crisp and light, but I have a strong suggestion: make it one day ahead. Time made a huge difference. The day we made it, it was good, but the next day, it was irresistible.

yummers

That's right, there's a fourth item on the plate

At the last minute, we decided to add another dish: macaroni and cheese. This was a late addition, and we were already overextended, so we didn’t want to start from scratch. What we did, I must say, was ingenious. We got several boxes of Annie’s white cheddar mac and cheese and jazzed up the sauce with mustard and cayenne (to taste). Then we grated a generous amount of real cheddar cheese into it, gave it a stir and baked it for 30 minutes at 350˚ to melt the cheese. It brought the Annie’s to a whole new level, and it took almost no time to prepare. It’s a good shortcut to great macaroni and cheese.

Our guests brought beer and other potent potables. Michael played some Diana Ross. The soirée was a raging success.

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One Response to “A Finger Lickin’ Good Time”

  1. Moules Frites! « My Own Houseboy Says:

    […] By Houseboy My friend Michael was in town. Last time he visited, we made those wonderful ribs, so we had to think of something equally special. We settled on […]

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