MAPLE AND HICKORY PORK RIBS
I used unsweetened pineapple juice which tenderizes the meat and also impart a bit of a sweet-tangy lusciousness to the pork. The marinade is more of a ham braising liquid with my addition of whole cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, garlic and whole peppercorns. The added sweetness and smokiness is from the maple syrup, and to finally round off the flavors I put a few globs of white wine vinegar.
I found that braising the ribs in its own marinade over the stove, on a moderate fire until the meat gets tender and the marinade thickens into a glorious glaze is more time saving than waiting for the whole bunch to braise and get sticky in the oven.
The addition of Hickory barbecue sauce adds stickiness and the flavor of a backyard barbecue to this dish. :)
1 kg. pork ribs
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
4 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
4 whole cloves
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns or 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons coarse salt (not table salt)
Marinate: Put ribs in a ziploc bag and dump all the marinade ingredients over the ribs and marinate overnight… but for best results, marinate for two days inside the chiller.
1/2 cup hickory barbecue sauce (your favorite brand)
2 tablespoons canola oil
After marinating the ribs overnight or after two days, dump everything onto a saucepan and braise the ribs over moderate heat. When ribs become fork tender and the marinade thickens to a glaze-like consistency, remove the ribs out of the pan, set aside. Strain the thickened marinade into a bowl and set aside. Heat a saute’ pan and add the 2 tbsp. of canola oil, 1/2 cup of hickory barbecue sauce and the strained marinade glaze. Dump the ribs onto the pan and toss occasionally until the barbecue sauce adheres to the ribs and become sticky. Remove from heat and serve.
Makes 5-6 servings
BARBECUED SHRIMPS AND CHEDDAR CHEESE SPAGHETTI
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons cider vinegar or red cane vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons tabasco or any hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds large shrimps, shelled and deveined
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for greasing the grill pan)
Cheddar Cheese Spaghetti:
1/2 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
pinch of nutmeg
salt and white pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, just about a minute. Stir in the ketchup, soy sauce, cider vinegar, brown sugar, honey, hot sauce, dried thyme and cayenne pepper. Simmer over low heat for 40 minutes or until thickened.
2. Transfer the barbecue sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour half of the sauce into a bowl (to use for brushing the shrimps before grilling) and reserve the other half (to serve on the side).
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling add a decent amount of salt. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta well and drizzle a bit of oil and toss well.
4. In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the half-and-half and shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce slightly thickened. Add a pinch of nutmeg, cayenne pepper, salt and white pepper (according to taste). Finish the sauce with the finely chopped parsley. Add the spaghetti onto the pan of cheese sauce and toss well.
5. Put 3 shrimps on each skewer.
6. Preheat a grill pan. Brush the shrimps on both sides with the barbecue sauce. Grease the grill pan with vegetable oil. Grill the shrimps over moderate heat, turning once, about 30 seconds per side (shrimps are very delicate and cooks fast).
7. Transfer the shrimp skewers to a plate. Serve with the Cheddar Cheese Spaghetti.