We shared a room until the day she moved away from home. Meticulous by nature, my sister used to draw an imaginary line across our bedroom, a line that I was not allowed to cross. Eight years older than I, Anita was more than just my big sister. She was my role model. Her shoes always matched her purses, her hair was what the 60s demanded of curly-haired girls, ironed, straightened and made to conform to the necessary flip that was all the rage. She took me to museums, bought me dolls and books, introduced me to new foods and exposed me to the exotic East Village, home of the Beatniks. This past weekend my sister and I once again shared a bedroom, as I kept her company while she’s recovering from a broken leg. We watched movies, reminisced, wrote down our family history, drank wine, and laughed. The best part was getting to be the “Big Sister” to my big sister, a role that I must admit I relish. The one thing I couldn’t do for her was cook, and so now that I am back home, I thought about what I would have made for her had I been able to. My mother always fed us beef when we needed to gain strength, firmly believing that red meat had restorative properties. A plate of ribs for my sister, that would be perfect. Speedy recovery shvester!
Grilled Short Ribs
3 to 4 lbs of bone-in Short Ribs
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Paprika
6 Tb red wine vinegar
Combine spices and rub into short ribs. Place ribs, flat side down, in glass baking dish in one snug layer, cover with foil and allow to marinate in fridge overnight or for at least several hours. When ready to prepare, sprinkle ribs with red wine vinegar, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.
Rib Glaze (adapted from Spirit of Tennessee)
1 cup Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup vinegar
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in small bowl.
Make glaze and brush on ribs while grilling, basting each time you turn the ribs. Grill on lowest heat for about an hour or till ribs are tender.
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I have no memory of the first time I ever ate BBQ. Clearly it wasn’t in The Bronx and it surprises me that what I now count among my favorite things to eat has a beginning steeped in mystery. Chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, corn, it doesn’t really matter, nothing tastes as good as something hot off the grill. That perfect combination of fat hitting flame is hard to duplicate in the kitchen. When the days are longer I often come home from work and BBQ, trying my hardest to re-create what I imagine “real BBQ” might taste like when prepared by those “guys” who love to cook meat (my guy doesn’t even eat red meat.) After all these years I am still a novice, mainly because we don’t really live in a BBQ culture. For me BBQ conjures up certain images like large family gatherings, home-cooking, cold beer, and being outdoors, all so appealing. So each year I try to learn a little more about grilling and once in a while I get it right.
BBQ corn is a staple at our farmers’ markets but because of the Latin influence you normally can have them plain or heavily seasoned, my personal preference. I have tried marinating the corn in spices before grilling them but the flavor never really penetrated the surface. I have tried shaking on the spices just after I have removed the corn from the grill, but that didn’t work very well either. Today I read an article that mayo is the “glue” of choice for grilled corn. I went and bought two ears of corn, pulled back the husks, removed the silk, brushed the corn with a little olive oil and grilled them on high for about 10 minutes. Then I brushed the grilled corn with a very thin layer of mayo, and rolled them in a combination of spices. I am proud to say that this is not my mother’s corn.
Spicy Grilled Corn
Prepare corn and grill for about 10 minutes, till lightly charred.
In a bowl mix 1/2 tsp smoked paprika with 1/2 tsp chili powder and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Add a pinch of salt.
Brush grilled corn with mayonnaise and roll in spices. Squeeze lime juice over the top.
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