Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Five Words To Thrill Any Mom's Heart.

Returning home from school yesterday, Darling Daughter uttered the five words sure to warm any mom’s heart:  It smells good in here.

I’ve heard the words before, but they never fail to give me a little thrill (or as my family used to say, “a pat on the popo.”)  To be honest, I’d be equally delighted to hear, “Hey Mom.  You know that advice you gave me?  Well, I talked to my friend today, and we worked it all out.  You were right.” 

“You were right,” however, isn’t part of the 13-year-old vernacular.  Come to think of it, “you were right” isn’t part of most adults’ vernacular.

“It smells good in here” is close enough.  (And for the record, any kid who walks in my kitchen and says those five words is absolutely entitled to use, without repercussion, the three words I detest, “What’s for dinner?”)

I’ve been cooking nearly all my life, including a culinary fiasco at age eight, which thanks to Mom’s intervention and Dad’s patience, did not result in a single trip to the ER.  It’s safe to say that a family-wide case of trichinosis could’ve turned me away from the kitchen for life.

Nowadays, cooking is just what I do – for comfort, for fun, for healing, for nourishment.  It always surprises me, then, when someone says they don’t cook.  How can that be?  You’ve got to eat, right?

Besides, cooking isn’t hard. 

That aroma that DD embraced yesterday afternoon?   It wafted from a dish with only three ingredients.  Heck, I’ll even spot you the salt and pepper.  That’s still only five ingredients, for crying out loud – boneless pork ribs, barbecue sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Five ingredients, plus some steamed rice and a box of frozen peas -- voilà, a complete meal.  Not to mention a “Hey, it smells good in here.”

If I just keep working at it, "you were right" could be just around the corner.

Super Simple Boneless Pork Ribs

2-3 lbs. boneless (often called “countrystyle”) pork ribs
½ cup cider or white vinegar (don’t use the expensive stuff)
½ cup prepared barbecue sauce (any brand will do, I usually use “Bone Suckin’ Sauce,” because I like the label)
½ cup water
salt and pepper

Spray a lidded, nonstick skillet or saucepan with nonstick spray.  Generously season the ribs with salt and pepper.  Over medium high heat, lightly brown ribs (in batches, if necessary) on all sides.  Combine vinegar, barbecue sauce and water and pour over ribs in pan.  Reduce heat to low, put lid in place, and cook until done.  Check occasionally.  Should be fork-tender in about 1 ½ hours.  Serve with hot steamed rice or grits.
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