Sunday, 2 May 2010

Mother's Day a Week Early

My parents were in town for the weekend in the midst of their cross-country road trip, so I thought I should treat my dear mother to a decent dinner of my own making. Yes, there are some decent restaurants here in Brandon (yesterday we enjoyed a nice lunch at Lady of the Lake), but I believe nothing says "I love you, Mom" better than making her a nice dinner instead of taking her out for one.

I originally wanted to make this dinner yesterday (Saturday), but Mom's volunteering to make lobster in ginger & green onion sauce after spotting a sale during my grocery run trumped my plans. One consequence was that my back ribs were marinated for an extra 24 hours, which at times can be a good thing.

Along with my maple, thyme and grain mustard ribs, I made a salad involving roast beets. One week ago I was tempted by the healthy sizes and appearances of the beet roots and especially the stalks, and I promptly sauteed the stalks with some garlic for one of those dinners that weekend. I had then roasted the beets for future use, and tonight's dinner seemed like a good opportunity. Missing in this photo was freshly steamed corn on the cob to complete this satisfying dinner. My parents enjoyed the dinner and especially found the ribs delicious; I was successful. Happy Mother's Day!

Maple, Grain Mustard & Thyme Ribs
(I'll declare a caveat here that the measurements are approximate as I actually didn't use measuring spoons at the time.)
One (1) rack of pork back ribs
Just enough olive oil to coat the ribs
2-3 tbsp. (30-45mL) grain mustard
2 tbsp. (30mL) maple syrup
1/4 tsp. (1.25mL) dried thyme leaves
  1. Place ribs in a roasting pan or baking dish.
  2. Pour all other ingredients onto the ribs and rub until as evenly coated as possible on the top side of the ribs.
  3. Flip ribs upside down to at least coat the underside with the liquids.
  4. Flip the ribs right-side up, cover with foil or wrap and let marinate in refrigerator for at least twelve (12) hours. (I originally wanted to marinate my ribs for ~20 hours, but circumstances meant I ended up marinating them for ~44 hours.)
  5. On the day the ribs are to be cooked, bring out of refrigerator and let rest under room temperature for about two (2) hours. This will minimize uneven cooking of the meat.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
  7. Remove wrap or foil covering ribs, and place ribs in the middle of the oven. Let cook for 45-60 min. (With my oven, 45 min. was enough.)
  8. After cooking time expires, bring ribs out of oven and let rest/cool for 15 min. Serve.

Salad with Roast Beets (serves 3)
Two (2) large beets, stems and tails removed
~150g baby greens
Handful of pumpkin seeds
75mL Olive oil
25mL Balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
  2. Wrap beets individually in aluminum foil and place them in the middle of the oven. Let roast for at least an hour.
  3. Remove from oven and, once cool enough to handle, remove skin simply by holding the beet in one hand and pushing the skin across the surface with the thumb of the other hand. Skin from cooked beats will fall off easily. (Steps 1-3 can be done in advance; if so, beets can be refrigerated whole in an airtight container before use.)
  4. Cut beets into bite-sized cubes and set aside.
  5. For the dressing, mix the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a separate container, and add salt and pepper to taste. This is your basic balsamic vinaigrette.
  6. Place baby greens in a large mixing/salad bowl, followed by the beets and pumpkin seeds. Pour enough vinaigrette and toss salad until ingredients are evenly mixed and coated. Serve.

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