Foodiva's Kitchen: French Fridays with Dorie - Sarsaparilla and Jam Spareribs

Friday, June 10, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - Sarsaparilla and Jam Spareribs



Let's just face it, I'm not very good when it comes to savory stuff. My repertoire of meat and seafood dishes is limited. Considerably limited. Don't get me wrong, I love eating these types of meals...I'm just not so commodious when it comes to the actual cooking part. My repertoire for dessert is greater, perhaps 10 times more. I think I already mentioned my sweet tooth? Yes, you get what I mean :-).



So this week's French Fridays with Dorie's recipe was Cola and Jam Spareribs, which I modified a tiny bit. Well, a bit more than a tiny bit, actually. And if the ribs didn't quite come up to my expectations, Dorie is essentially off the hook. I had only myself to blame. First switch was on the ribs: I used beef spare ribs which were larger and added to the specified cooking time. Second switch was the marinade: I used peach jam instead of apricot, but not sure whether that really made much difference. Hey, they're both orange and jammy... 

 My marinade: Sarsaparilla, Five-spice mix with goji berries, peach jam, citrus fruits and ginger

The third switch wasn't so much a substitution as an addition. I ground my own five-spice mix but made it kind of six-spice with the addition of dried goji berries. Don't ask why, I can't reason out that thinking other than to say that goji berries are great antioxidants and good for blood circulation. It made me feel better to have this smidgen of a healthy ingredient to balance out all the lusty, grilled ribs we were about to tuck into.

The last thing I did differently was to add my favorite childhood soft drink, Sarsaparilla. I used to glug tons of the lovely stuff straight out of brown-tinted glass bottles and I remembered it tasting much better than Coke in those days. It's a small wonder how I didn't end up as a mutant (or at least in my assessment I didn't).

Spice rub and the jam-citrus marinade


So that was it. The Sarsaparilla probably made all the difference. It was less sweet, less distinct-tasting than Coke and made the ribs taste rather bland. Perhaps I shouldn't single out the soft drink as the main culprit for my thumbs-down on this dish. It could be any combination of  the other switches I'd made to the ingredients or maybe it was just my cooking technique. As I told you, I'm just not very good with savory stuff.

Served with purple and orange sweet potatoes and some guilt-free cucumbers. Boring, I know...

The original recipe for Cola and Jam Spareribs is on page 280 of Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. My fellow bloggers have also come up with their versions of the same recipe, so have a look at their beautiful ribs here!

Oh, by the way, if you haven't entered my small giveaway and you want to try your luck, check out my polvoron post here. Closing date for entries is on June 15, 2011.

Have a Zen-ilicious weekend!

25 comments:

Adora's Box said...

I would probably like this recipe. The sarsaparilla and the five spice reminds me of the Chinese herbal soups which I like. Beef ribs, yes to that, too.

Foodiva said...

Adora, you've put it so succinctly! That was what the ribs tasted like to me, similar to Chinese herbal soup. Probably due to the sarsaparilla which is originally derived from sassfras. Brilliant! Mystery solved.

Pachecopatty said...

Sorry you didn't love your creation- they sure do look scrumptious.
I've always liked sarsaparilla, you hardly ever see it and I would have thought it would have been delicious as a basting sauce for your ribs;-)

Three-Cookies said...

Really nice char on the ribs. Cola and jam would have taken care of your sweet tooth - this is a nice two in one sweet savoury dish!

yummychunklet said...

What a great twist on the "cola"! I bet these tasted great because they look fantastic.

Lizzy said...

Love all your tweaks, Maya...sorry they weren't winners...but you plated them beautifully~

Nana said...

Maybe you made changes, but they look like good
changes. The ribs really look tasty. Both Tricia's family
and mine did not care for the flavors, but both
of our ribs cooked very well using this oven
process.

Erin said...

Oh yeah! I love Friday's to see everyones posts! Yours looks wonderful, even if it didn't work out as you had hoped.

Torviewtoronto said...

this looks wonderful sorry to hear it wasn't a winner

Cher said...

I love, love, love that you ground your own "six" spice. Extra credit points for you!

Adriana said...

I love sarsaparilla! It's one of those drinks I associate with my grandfather. I think it makes sense as a substitute to the cola, and it's definitely less bad for you than the most sodas out there. Extra kudos for blending your own six-spice powder!

Biren @ Roti n Rice said...

I was just thinking of sarsaparilla the other day. I don't think I've seen it here in the US. Those ribs do look good even if it wasn't up to your expectations. Have a great weekend!

Trix said...

This is probably the prettiest ribs plating I have ever seen, for real! I love the sarsparilla idea - but you know, I read a few people who used coke and said it was still bland. Me, I went with booze - always a sure thing! lol

Candy Girl said...

I love your changes! Your ribs look fantastic!

Kris' Kitchen said...

Good for you to be creative...this recipe is not a keeper for me even with the Cola. Oh well, nice to try new things and I don't expect to fall in love with everything. Our ribs were juicy and fall-off-the-bone tender, however, no flavor...yours had a chance; sorry they did not meet expectations either.

Sis. Boom. said...

I am going to run right out and get some sarsprilla for making these again. Such a lovely plating is right. Great job!

Kate@Diethood said...

The ribs look amazing! I'm beginning to think that I maybe should have tried this with beef... eh, there's always next time. :)

I've never tried sarsaparilla... I'm curious!

onewetfoot said...

Your presentation is lovely! A lot of people were underwhelmed by this week's recipe. We quite enjoyed it, though. Sarsaparilla always reminds me of western movies and the candy stores in heritage village attractions.

Sandra said...

I just want to pick it up from the screen..soooo tempting and delicious looking ribs, and whole presentation!!! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!!!!!

spcookiequeen said...

Love your healthy reasoning there, that's why I always pop my vitamins to wash down a piece of cake. lol These do sound good. Hope you had a great weekend.
-Gina-

Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane said...

What do you mean you're not good at savoury? This looks pretty darn good to me! Loving the 'guilt free cucumbers' and use of peach jam! It's still orange, I'm sure it's fine! :)

Foodiva said...

Thank you Doristas and friends, for your loveliest comments. Apologies, I've been away from the blog for a few days so just going over to visit your sites now!

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Great, now I am dying to try a Sarsaparilla as I have never heard of it. Your ribs look fantastic and I live your changes...and crazy goji berries addition.

Nami @ Just One Cookbook said...

Hi Maya! I've never heard of Sarsaparilla before, so it's hard to guess the taste. It looks great though. :-)

Michael Toa said...

What are you talking about Maya? I think these ribs look utterly delicious. I like sarsaparilla, but never thought of using it for cooking.

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