Tuesday, May 3, 2011

sunset sticky ribs

Well guess what I have for you today? An actual recipe! Are you excited? Well you should be– ribs make me think of summer and with the weather in New York finally heating up, I am ready to turn on the grill! Of course, since I live in a small 5th floor walk up, I don't actually own a grill, which is why I love these sweet and sticky oven roasted ribs.

This recipe comes from The Sunset Cookbook, which was published last fall. Sunset Magazine is a Western lifestyle magazine that has been published since 1898, and they've always published lots and lots of recipes featuring fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. As an East coast girl, I didn't grow up reading Sunset, but it seems like it would be right up my alley. I mean, they are responsible for the first known published recipe for pesto way back in 1946! Clearly, this is a publication that I should get to know.

Of course, Nathan is from California, and it was his mom, Tenli, who first brought Sunset to my attention when they published their first ever cookbook last year. Tenli bought the book for Nathan, and it's chock full of tempting recipes for dishes that typify California cuisine. Plenty of Mexican and Asian influences, and all the wonderful vegetables and produce that you would expect from this type of cookbook.

In paging through, I am really impressed with all the recipes. They are simple and straightforward, without any fussy ingredients or techniques. These are meals with big, bold flavors that can be prepared without exotic ingredients, specialized equipment or undue stress. Sure, sometimes it's fun to challenge yourself in the kitchen, but these dishes manage to be exciting, delicious, but also utterly approachable.

I am really excited to cook more with Sunset, especially when my CSA starts back up. But seriously, with recipes like Fennel-crusted Trout with Lemon-Ginger Vinaigrette, Gin and Spice Flank Steak, Roasted Kohlrabi and Eggs with Mustard and Honey, Baby Pumpkins with Garlic Custard and Salt-Crusted Beets with Avocado, Lavender and Thyme, who wouldn't want to put this book to work in their kitchen?

So far, the only thing we've tried are these Sweet and Sticky Ribs, but if the other recipes are as good as this, I am sure we'll be getting a lot of use out this book. The ribs are first rubbed with chili powder, salt and cumin seeds. For extra flavor, you can toast the seeds in a frying pan to bring out their fragrance. After roasting the ribs, you top them with a glaze of honey and lime juice. The lime, chili powder, honey and cumin flavors all go really well together, making a nice mix of sweet and spice and acidity. If you like cumin, this is definitely something you will enjoy.

Sticky Ribs
adapted from The Sunset Cookbook, p. 421

Brush a sweet, tangy glaze over ribs coated with a a mix of spices, then roast instead of grill to get crispness and good flavor without the risk of burning. The original recipe called for 8 lbs. of meat, so it can certainly be scaled back up to feed a crowd.

Serves 2 to 3 | Time: 1¼ hours

1 rack pork loin back (baby back) ribs or ½ rack pork spareribs (about 2 lbs. total)
¾ tbsp each chili powder and kosher salt
½ tbsp cumin speeds
¼ cup honey
1½ tbsp fresh lime juice
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425˚. Trim fat from ribs.
2. In small bowl, mix chili powder, salt and cumin seeds to make the spice rub. In another small bowl, mix honey and lime juice for the glaze.
3. Rub spice mixture over both sides of ribs.
4. Line a baking pan with foil. Set a flat rack in it and lightly coat with olive oil. Set ribs, meaty side up, on rack and roast until lightly browned on top, 20 to 30 minutes. Turn slabs over and switch pan positions. Roast until other side is browned, 20 to 30 minutes longer.
5. Brush generously with glaze. Continue to roast, basting occasionally, until glaze is browned and bubbly, 6 to 12 minutes. Turn ribs over and brush generously with more glaze. Roast, basting occasionally, until glaze is browned and meat between ribs is no longer pink in center (cut to test), 6 to 12 minutes longer.
6. Transfer ribs to a board. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut between ribs.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you guys are enjoying the cookbook. One of the best things about life in California is the abundance of delicious growing things all year round. When you're here this summer, let's cook together.