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!