Things go better with... Cola and Jam Spareribs!

This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Cola and Jam Spareribs.  A curious combination and not one that I was immediately drawn to.    Ingredients include Chinese Five Spice powder, ginger, apricot jam, orange/lemon juices, and Coke.  Hmm, well... here we go!

The recipe was straight forward and easy.  We like ribs, in traditional BBQ style, so we were eager to try these as the aroma spread through the house.

Here's the rack on ribs rubbed with the spice mix and spread with the jam/juice mixture.

The next steps were easy!  Bake and baste.   The caramelization process was fun, and produced really nice color.  I needed to add a little more water and ended up using the entire can of Coke. 
After 2 hours, here are the finished ribs!

The meat was tender but not falling off the bone, and the flavor was interesting.  We decided you have to approach the meal as a variation on roasted pork, rather than ribs.  The Asian twist with the spices, and the sweetness of the jam create a nice flavor.  Gary liked the spareribs a lot, I thought they were fine, but not crazy about them.  I admit, I had fun cooking with fizzy Coke.   A nice accompaniment for the ribs could be Spicy Asian Slaw.   I made asparagus - overcooked - and a little past its peak.  It wasn't a perfect combo, but tasted ok.
While this wasn't my favorite dish, it was fun to try, and fun to share.  Next week's recipe is Rhubarb, a spring favorite.   Enjoy!

Our Dear Julia

Over the past few weeks I've been thinking and referencing the great works of dear Julia Child.   Her personality radiates through the pages of her books. At the recent demo day at Bekah Kates, a kitchen store in Baraboo, I used Le Crueset cookware to demonstrate its wonderful uses.  The recipe I made was Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon.   I made it three times, actually.  Once at home before the store opened for tasting during the morning, and another while people shopped.  The smell of the deep, rich sauce greeted shoppers as they entered the store.   Several times people asked me, "it that "HER" recipe?", or, "did you see the movie?"   We all knew who we were talking about.   It just wasn't right not to make it just one more time the next day while spending time with friends.   Julia would have insisted!   As the leaves fall, give it a try!

About a month ago, I had a surprise arrive in the mail.  I had pre-ordered a cookbook and it arrived.   Not just any cookbook.  One of the best I've seem in a long time.   Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking With Julia, just wrote another amazing book,  Around My French Table.   Each recipe is well written and looks delicious.   While it's a beautiful book, it will be used and will be marked with the little sauce here, and a drip or two there.   Ms. Greenspan has a great blog if you're interested in learning more.

Another piece of Julia news!  In late October, ahead of schedule, As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto is being released.   I can't wait!   It's hard to imagine a book being better then her My Life in France but it will be fun to see. 

My most recent Julia moment was on Friday.   I made a wedding cake with spice cake and apricot lekvar filling.   The lekvar recipe was Julia's from Baking with Julia.  It's a delicious apricot paste with almonds and hint of brown sugar.  It's similar in consistence to thick applesauce.   The color is a deep pumpkin color which makes it a wonderful topping for scones, too.

Here's my recipe: 1 bag dried apricots (about 1 1/2 cups) 1/2 cups slivered almonds 1/4 - 1/3 cup brown sugar 2 tsp.  grated lemon or orange zest dash of lemon juice 2/3 cup water

Simmer the apricot, water and zest until the apricots are soft.  Combine apricots, brown sugar and almonds in a food processor and mix until smooth.  Spread in a pan, and cool, covered with plastic wrap.  Enjoy on scones, muffins or even as a cake filling.  Will keep 7-10 days in the refrigerated.

Enjoy autumn baking, cooking and entertaining.  Until next time, Bon Appetit!