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Friday, January 20, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Yummy: Halftime Favorites

What's better than watching the game with your buds and enjoying some great food too?  But how do you enjoy foods like unctuous, juicy, high calorie spareribs (the "bad") without looking like one of the linebackers?

Take a small portion and fill up on side dishes like Asian Coleslaw, (the "good") and a big, green salad (also "good"!).  Have just a taste of dessert, but take a generous helping of fresh fruit, and then, of course, be sure to drink lots of water, tea or coffee along with your meal. I know, you've heard it before, but it really works.

These spareribs are really great with a crusty exterior and a moist, meaty interior, don't require you to be outside to grill them, and, other than a really long cooking time, are easy to prepare as well.  Plan on making these about 6 hours ahead of your serving time.  (The last hour is just resting the meat, so you can watch the game.)

Oven Roasted Spareribs adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 Tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 full racks of spareribs, 3 - 4 lbs.each (Costco's are great)
2 cups purchased BBQ sauce, plus extra to serve at the table (I like the smokiness of Jack Daniels Original, but if you prefer a predominately sweet sauce, try Sweet Baby Ray's)

Mix the first 5 ingredients together.

Cover two half sheet pans with heavy duty aluminum foil.  (You'll thank me later when it's time to do the dishes.)  Lay the ribs, meaty side up, on a wire rack on the sheet pans.  If you need to, you can cut the racks in half to make them fit.  Rub the ribs with the spice mixture on all sides.  Cover loosely with foil, and let sit at room temp for an hour.

Now wrap the pans with the ribs tightly with the foil and roast in a preheated 300 degree oven for an hour. Switch the pans top to bottom, left to right every half hour to keep everything roasting evenly.

Take off the foil (and reserve it for later) and continue roasting for another hour.

Brush the meaty side of the ribs with the sauce and continue roasting for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the ribs are very tender when tested with a fork.  

Finally, wrap each rack in the reserved foil, put them in a brown paper grocery bag, seal tightly, and let them rest for an hour at room temp - this step ensures the redistribution of juices in the ribs for a really succulent result.

Serve with extra sauce on the side...with plenty of napkins.

Asian Coleslaw adapted from The Instinct Diet by Susan B. Roberts

1/2 head of Napa cabbage
2 Tablespoons grated onion, or finely chopped shallots
1 Tablespoon shredded fresh basil, OR 1 tsp. dried basil
1 Tablespoon shredded fresh mint, OR 1 tsp. dried mint
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar OR any vinegar
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

Quarter the cabbage, remove the core, and slice the cabbage very thinly.  Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, except the peanuts.  Add the sliced cabbage and mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula.  Garnish with the peanuts just before serving.

Check out the above books and more at our Library today...

Enjoy the game without guilt - and, Go Giants! 

Diane Whitman
Reference Librarian
Football Fan

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