Sunday, April 1, 2012

Country style braised ribs.

Lately this blog of mine has become something of a burden, after all it supposed to be about the food, yet I keep searching for a different format.  I find myself wanting to write about more profound things, thoughts that I have long awaited to put on paper.  I have the food and the recipes and the pictures all lined up, yet I keep searching for the context to put them in… luckily one just happen to pop up…

As I was sitting through a Cirque du Soleil tribute to Michael Jackson, I thought of the phenomena of one’s influence on society. A concept of one’s art (whether it a written word, a painting, a song, a building…) influencing thousands, millions of people, for generations to come.   A concept of recognizable white gloved moon walk, or a four boys with mop-top hair, or a sight of Roman amphitheater or a familiar quote, for fifteen minutes, a year, a century or longer….   How does one doing, influence a whole generation or a few, what imprint these icons have on our society?  I sat in a thousand full arena thinking that all the people there (and millions more around the world) sharing the same nostalgic love for this particular music, a single unifying thread linking so many against the odds… 

Our world consists of these individuals, the ones that left, or will leave an inerasable mark on our society.  They create their visions, sometimes with no regard of the consumer, profoundly absorbed in their love of their idea.  Some achieve stardom immediately and some are not recognized until long after their deaths, but they all have one thing in common, they unite likeminded folks all around the world, despite all the usual differences and times past… What would our world we be like without Shakespeare, Mozart, the architect of Notre Dame, Lady Gaga?  Some will stand the true test of time and some will fade, yet in their solace they keep millions of hearts and minds engaged, full of their vision….

We all search for some meaning in our lives; we search for it in different ways and in different contexts.  I think that being able to leave your mark on a world you live in is the ultimate goal.  Whether you engage a 10,000 people in an arena at a concert or you cook a dish that stimulates the senses of the few for just a couple of minutes, it doesn’t matter…. The fact is, if you have managed to invoke an emotion from even one person with whatever it is you do… you have succeeded, you have made your mark on the society, no matter how small or insignificant….  If today you wrote a paragraph that someone reads, painted a picture that someone contemplated or cooked something that made someone lick their plates… you are ahead of the game, on your way to making a small dent on your corner of humanity….

Upon reading the above ravings, my son asked me if I ever considered a career as a standup philosopher.  He also told me that I should probably stick to lighter subjects on this blog, and I think he is right.  So, no more contemplating of greater questions in life, next week I will go back to what I do best… cook.  Oh, and by the way, I am going to New Orleans next week, so hopefully I will have enough inspiration for another Travels and Tastes piece.

Speaking of leaving a mark on this world… here is the recipe for country style braised ribs that are definitely worthy of being called society altering:

Country Style Braised Ribs

2 Lbs ( 8 -10 pieces) of country style pork ribs.  Country style cut is usually boneless, or with just a tip of the bone left.  Cut from the loin portion.

1 small onion chopped

4 cloves of garlic chopped

Vegetable oil

For the dry rub:

1 tbs fennel seeds

1 tbs of ancho chili powder

2 tbs of brown sugar

1 tsp smoked cinnamon ( non-smoked is ok too)

1 tsp dry mustard powder

1/2 tsp of cayanne pepper ( use less if you are heat shy)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ tsp of kosher salt

For the braising liquid:

2.5 cups apple cider

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

3 tbs of tomato paste

2 tbs of honey

Salt to taste

Mix all the dry rub spices and rub the ribs generously.  Cover with plastic and marinade in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350F.   On the stove, preheat a heavy bottom, oven safe pot (Dutch oven is perfect).  Add the vegetable oil and sear each rib on all sides until nicely browned.  Set aside.  Lower the heat; add onion and garlic to the oil and sauté for a few minutes until soft.

Add all the braising liquid ingredients to the onion and garlic and bring to a simmer.  Add the meat back in, the liquid should just cover all the ribs.  If you need to add a little more liquid, add chicken or beef stock.
Cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour. After one hour, take the lid off and cook another 30-40 minutes or until the ribs are fall of the bone tender.
Once the ribs are done, the sauce should have become a thick glaze.  If it is still to liquid, take out the meat and reduce the liquid on stove top until it is a syrupy consistency.  Pour over the ribs and serve.

Now these are worthy of a following!

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