As should not be surprising, my parents have been a little concerned about me since I called them last Friday night and said I’d had a little run-in with the stairs, but I was fine, except I couldn’t really lift my left arm and I’d bumped my head a couple times on the way down but I didn’t really have to go to the emergency room, did I? Because surely this would all be better in the morning? Alas, in the ten days since they’d explained to me six different ways ’till Sunday why that was the wrong answer, but spared me the told you so when the diagnosis was dealt, all they have wanted to know is what they can do for me. You can only tell people “nothing, I’m fine” so many times before they threaten to storm your apartment and cook you dinner — how hard is my life, eh? — and that pretty much brings us up to tonight.
Except, I am apparently allergic to such fine treatment because when mom said she wanted to make Mexican-spiced chicken cutlets, I said I wanted to make pork riblets instead. She said she’d make salad but I said there was this miso-carrot dressing I’ve been itching to try. So, mom said she would make rice — rice, people — and I said, but we have all these little red potatoes to use up and she finally gave up and just brought cake. See what you get for trying to do nice things for me?
The cake is amazing. But I’m not going to tell you about it until tomorrow, because I am certain this entry has not yet amply exemplified what a pain in the ass I can be.
Now, one of the most cardinal, basic rules of dinner parties, and the one I consistently break is that you should never try out recipes for the first time on your guests. But when those guests are your family and have to love you either way (right now, SantaDad is guffawing) I say go to town on them. Fortunately, everything worked like a charm. The cream of wild mushroom soup was great, really great, but I’m not certain lives up to the awesomeness exemplified in the Balthazar recipe I made last year. And it’s funny, because if I had tried this first I would have loved it endlessly, but it happened the other way around and now it only gets second billing. Woe is it. The carrot-miso-ginger dressing is excellent, and I’ll make it again and also, if you have any uses for fresh miso, please let me know because I have a freaking lot of it leftover. The hoisin riblets are utter riblet perfection. Go, print out the recipe, laminate and frame it. You can thank me, and by me, I mean Epicurious.com, later. Just don’t try to cook for me. I mean because seriously, nobody deserves that kind of punishment.
Hoisin and Honey Pork Riblets
Adapted from Gourmet, 1992
3 1/2 pounds pork of spareribs, halved crosswise, preferably by a butcher, and cut into individual ribs
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon English-style dry mustard
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
In a kettle of boiling salted water simmer the ribs, covered, for 30 minutes and drain them well.
In a large bowl whisk together the honey, the soy sauce, the garlic paste, the hoisin sauce, the mustard, the vinegar, and black pepper to taste, add the ribs, and toss the mixture well, coating the ribs thoroughly. Let the ribs marinate, chilled, for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Remove the ribs from the marinade, arrange them in one layer on the oiled rack of a foil-lined broiler pan, and broil them under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat, basting them with the marinade, for 3 minutes. Turn the ribs with tongs and broil them, basting them with the marinade, for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until they are browned well and glazed. Discard the marinade.
Miso Carrot Dressing With Ginger
Adapted from the New York Times
Yield: About 1 1/4 cups
1/4 cup peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons white miso, sold at Asian markets and specialty stores
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into big pieces
1 inch-long piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into coins
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1. Put all ingredients except salt and pepper into food processor and pulse a few times to mince carrots. Then let machine run for a minute or so until mixture is chunky-smooth.
2. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to several days.