Saturday, June 21, 2008

Experiments gone awry. dinner for two.

I came home yesterday, as described in the previous post, with various cuts of meat and bags of produce, out of which I will have to somehow conjure up at least a couple of meals. Beginning with the pork spareribs and the sugar snap peas, tonight's dinner. The day had begun with taking my car to get fixed (damn nail puncturing my front tire) and a mocha mint Frappacino from Starbucks. (And a pesto pasta salad with chicken. This was breakfast). It had continued with a marathon shopping expedition through downtown Seattle, a late lunch (turkey-and-cranberry sandwich, quite good, with a refreshing iced lemonade - shopping makes me thirsty), ending back at my place as we dumped our bags by the door and collapsed on the sofa. But then I had to cook.

What the hell do you do with boneless pork spareribs, and what on earth possessed me to buy them? I would have to wing it. The internet was no help; it offered up sauces made with ingredients that I don't have on hand, like tomato paste or hoisin sauce or barbecue sauce. I would have to improvise. Ketchup was whisked together with some brown sugar and a few good sloshes of Worcestershire sauce; the ribs would be browned briefly on the stove, slathered with the sauce, and left to bake in a covered pan. I washed some brown rice, set it to cook, wondered how the "brown rice" setting on the rice cooker differed from the regular setting, and took the bag of sugar snap peas into the living room so I could snap the ends off the peas while watching a movie.

We watched the antics of three estranged brothers unfold across a sun-hazed landscape as the smell of caramelizing tomato sauce and roasting pork filled the air; occasionally I would check on it, flip the ribs, baste it with more sauce, wonder when it would all be done. The rice cooker beeped; it was time to cook the peas, and then we could eat. The sugar snap peas were quickly stir-fried, and dinner was ready. But something had gone awry. The pork was overdone. It was tough and chewy. It was like eating shreds of rope. Fortunately, the sauce is good enough to eat even if it were slathered on actual pieces of rope, tangy and sweet, the caramelized sugar balanced by the dark edge of Worcestershire sauce. C. is unfazed; she has eaten my culinary disasters before, nearly as many disasters as successes. And the rice is perfect, fluffy but still almost al dente, as are the peas, the fat pods tender and sugar-sweet.

I will have to figure out how to cook pork spareribs some other time. Meanwhile for dessert there is one remaining triple chocolate Dove bar for C. (I thought there were two, but apparently my mother ate the other one) and Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies for me. Meanwhile there are more paper packages of meat in my fridge for further experimentation, hopefully more successful than tonight's.


Juanita said...

Lady, that has happened to me more times than I can count! I think spareribs are diabolical. It is their revenge for us having the audacity to cook them.

What was the name of that movie? I can picture it -- they're on a train, right? But I can't remember the name of it. Was it any good?

kairu said...

Juanita, I was referring to The Darjeeling Limited. I love Wes Anderson movies, so I loved this one, too. Also I love the idea of taking a journey by train (I have fond memories of the Moscow-St. Petersburg night train).