November 9, 2012

Grilled Ribs and The Long Weekend

These ribs are ready for grilling.
I belong to an industry that is irreverent of holidays. Unless you are among the privileged demigods or just lucky that a holiday falls on your day off, there is really not much of a choice but to work and command your mind to think of better things like double pay (if it is); no bosses (if they are good enough not to show up); and a lighter work load (though not guaranteed). But for someone like me who would rather bask in the sun, play in the shores, be home with my family or be somewhere else with my friends than be stuck inside a claustrophobic’s nightmare, no amount of positive thinking could keep my mind from wandering, wondering what my family or friends have been up to.

One effective way of distracting myself is by creating activities which do not require me from being absent. I know it will never be at par with other people’s trip home or out-of-town/country getaway, but at least I won’t kill myself in bed, thinking of the fun everyone is having except me.

Since November 31st fell on my day off, I decided to stay with the R’s for a “Halloween party.” Don’t get me wrong. We did not have decors or costumes at home. We just had dinner and watched “The Healing”. To that Baby R commented: Is this it? Is this already a Halloween party? [HAHAHA] I couldn't blame the kid. She was already disappointed because she prepared goodie bags but the children who went trick or treating seemed tired to go all the way to the fifth floor. Anyway, at least I didn't have to deal with my wild imagination alone in my dorm and I had the chance to play in the kitchen again.

Tita R wanted to have baby back ribs and, of course, carbonara. I had no idea how to grill ribs but I wanted the meat succulent and the flavor bursting just like Rub Ribs’ or Kenny Rogers’. Since I have limited myself to cooking pasta and anything that can be coated with Japanese breading and deep-fried, I had to tap whatever I have learned from watching cooking shows and reading cook books.
It is advisable that the thin membrane on the back of the ribs be removed so the flavors can seep through the meat.
From a show on Asian Food Channel (AFC), I learned that marinades do not necessarily mean liquid. They can be dry spices rubbed on the meat. So, I went to the condiments section and spent around 30 minutes checking the spices and other liquid seasonings. I ended up getting thyme and cumin because I often hear them from celebrity chefs. To make sure that I’d cook something close to a barbecue, I picked a packet of dry barbecue spices and a bottle of Mama Sita’s barbecue marinade. 

The bowl of dry rub is almost empty here. (:

I emptied the packet of barbecue spices, mixed in half a packet of cumin and paprika. I added salt and pepper because... well, I just thought of it. I also added some thyme. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I just rubbed the spices on the meat and satisfied myself with the delicious smell.

In a separate bowl, I emptied half of the Mama Sita’s barbecue marinade and added salt, pepper and thyme. I got addicted to the fresh smell of thyme so I just added it there. I also mixed around two spoons of ketchup because I was hoping that it will give my ribs a nice red color. 

From this nice pinkish color... this inviting reddish brown hue.

That’s the beauty of playing in the kitchen. You do not know what you’re doing and how your food will taste like but you do it anyway because your better judgement tells you to do so.

After two hours, I was already ready to grill. My dry rub was promising. It gave the meat a nice redness to it and a delish smell. The problem was I had no idea how to check if the meat was already cooked. I was restless and excited that I kept on turning the ribs over and basting it with my concoction of Mama Sita’s. After around 45 minutes of grilling, I was so disappointed to see that the meat on the edges of the ribs were still raw that I let Tita R, who already arrived from work, and the maid continue grilling for me. They sliced each rib apart so it would cook through. If I had a choice, though, I would still want it served in a slab.
On the grill

The fragrance of the ribs made me forget my disappointment. The flavor was something reminiscent of Middle Eastern and Thai food. Maybe, it was because of the barbecue spices that I used as base for the dry rub. Though it was not really as juicy and as fall-off-the-bone as I wanted it to be, it was not too bad for a first.
The ribs may have blackened but, surprisingly, they did not taste bitter at all.

After dinner, I gave each of us a piece of Halloween-themed sugar cookie which I bought from Max’s for P25. I wanted to have the Halloween doughnuts of Krispy Kreme but it was over my budget so I bought these cuties instead. They look hard but they are actually soft and chewy. I chose the ghost sugar cookie because it reminded me of Casper. (Hashtag 90’s kid.)
Our not-so-scary Halloween-themed sugar cookies.
"Help! I'm cracking!"
Now, you're scary.


I have to remind myself always that having something new to do is really up to myself. Sure I’d love to go on a vacation but if time and funds (and the boss) do not permit, it’s my choice whether to enjoy whatever I can do or stare at the ceiling and waste my time and energy over bitter thoughts. This I have to remind myself every hour. [HAHA]

As for my new recipe, I think I still have to cook more of it to learn the tricks to a fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs. But I really don’t mind as long as I’m able to nibble the last flavors off the ribs every time I cook it. And hopefully, I can have more time to play in the kitchen! 

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