Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The last supper (in Bermuda)...

The view out my kitchen window...

Barbequed Ribs with Tamarind BBQ Sauce
Blue Cheese Cole Slaw
Curried Sweet Potato Fries

We had an ‘04 Blanco Nieva Sauvignon Blanc with dinner tonight. It’s a nice little Spanish wine – 100% Sauvignon Blanc, clean, crisp and really nice floral tones. It went perfect with the cool Bermudan night, ribs with sweet and sour tamarind bbq sauce, blue cheese cole slaw and curried sweet potatoes. Ok, the perfect meal for the wine actually would have been those little bait fish swimming around in the waters here – scooped up, dredged in flour, fried in hot oil, a sprinkle of lemon and eaten like French fries; maybe a nice fennel and citrus salad to accompany them; good company and some Edith Piaf playing in the background... But the crispness and acidity played well against the sweet and sour of the barbeque sauce, the crew and I behaved like a bunch of four year olds (per usual) and all in all it was a great wine, and a great dinner…

When I came on board the boat, I was told that I couldn’t bring too much in the way of clothing and belongings, so I opted on a backpack full of clothes, and a case of wine and five pair of shoes (a girls has to have her priorities). I have three drawers and a half of a teeny, tiny closet for all of everything I own. So basically, my clothes are serving as buffers between the bottles… When I’ve worked my way through my stash, it’s going to be difficult to have to pay full-price for wine again; I’m hoping my wine friends in New York will still hook me up and ship to the Caribbean! I hear that wine is reasonably priced in the Caribbean… But I’m preferential towards Oregon, Spanish and Italian wines at the moment and from what I can gather, those Caribbean-ers drinks mostly French, but I guess if I have to go back to French --- it’s a sacrifice I’ll just have to make for the betterment of mankind…

But anyway, I digress (get used to it)…

I didn’t have a recipe to make the tamarind barbeque sauce that I had in mind so I just winged it and it came out tasty and delicious. I started out by caramelizing sugar in a pan, when I had achieved a nice, dark color I added tamarind concentrate then added some hoisin, ketchup, brown sugar and rice wine vinegar (just a touch) and cooked it for a good, long while. What’s not to like about hoisin? Tamarind is the fruit of a tree native to Africa, South American and Tropical climates. Ripe tamarind is tart and tangy, the quality it added to my barbeque sauce. In Mexico, tamarind is used to flavor drinks and candies. In Indian cooking it’s used as a counter-point to the sweetness of dates in tamarind-date chutney, Caribbean cooking it’s used a lot in sauces, and is found throughout Asian cuisine…

The engineer, who fancies himself a grill-master, and I had a debate about par-boiling the ribs and DM came by and threw his two cents in – which was that I should go ahead and boil them. Against my better judgment (but since I’d never tried it before), I par-boiled the ribs in water with bay leaves, oregano, marjoram, thyme and black peppercorns for about an hour. They came out anemic and grey, but tender. I tossed them in the bbq sauce before grilling. They were tasty but I think that par-boiling leached out at all that porky goodness and left it behind in the pot and in the time it took me to par-boil three substantial racks of ribs, I could have had them going in a slow oven, basting them and treating them with loving care to coax out all their delicious flavor – and then finishing them on the gas grill… My friend Vincent, from Mississippi, will surely string me up by my toes when he reads that I boiled the ribs. I say never leave decisions about barbequing to a non-American, and an American that can’t cook (the captain). Vincent would say never leave barbequing to a Northerner…

The sweet potatoes I cut into fat wedges, tossed in oil, dusted with curry powder, salt and pepper and stuck in a 425 oven until they were golden brown. And the cole slaw I made with shredded cabbage, carrots, apples, raisins and homemade blue cheese and gorgonzola dressing – quite tasty. But I’m sure any purist would have an opinion on that too…

I actually cooked for my friend Vincent and Melissa’s engagement party this past summer. Vincent’s family is all southern and it was requested that I make pulled pork. Marinating over night and six hours on the grill, the pork won accolades from the people that would know… For that I also made the blue cheese cole slaw, and found curried, pickled green tomatoes in a gourmet store (Rick’s Pick’s – excellent pickles of all kinds); with some nice, soft buns, they made the best New York version of a pulled pork sandwich…

At least now I can say with conviction that I’ll never par-boil ribs again…

1 comment:

prcrstn8 said...

Right now I'm having vicarious thrills (and LMAO about parboiled ribs) eating takeout sushi drinking Laphroaig and reading my favorite blog. The sauce sounds great - my mouth is watering. I'm already dreaming about next years big apple bbq block party...

 
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