I couldn’t wait to get started on Dorie Greenspan’s June recipe for Cola and Jam Spareribs. Not because my family loves ribs, or because I love to slow cook almost anything, or because I was hungry, but because of the name.
I’ve been taking a trip to ‘Nostalgia’ for a couple of weeks now, rediscovering photography and remembering the wonder of my childhood imagination. So when I read that we would be cooking with Jam and Cola, a flood of childhood memories entered my mind, and suddenly I’m thinking about carnivals and fairs, sunburns from laying on the beach too long and sand in places it shouldn’t be.
Growing up in Southern California we called Cola, Coke. It didn’t matter if you were ordering a Sprite, Pepsi or Dr. Pepper (my usual), if someone was going to the vending machine, and asked if you wanted a Coke, the next question would be, “What kind do you want?”
The combination made perfect sense to me after eating a summer diet of Peanut Butter and Jelly (Jam) sandwiches, and cracking open a can of Coke to wash it down in my youth. Combining those two ingredients with meat was like an a-ha moment, and I can’t wait to try it on other dishes.
Since I get our beef from Firsthand Food in bulk, I didn’t have the spareribs that the recipe called for, but it worked well on the Short Ribs. I was a little hasty in making these (if you call a two-hour cooking time hasty), but here is what I did:
- Instead of Spareribs, I used Beef Short Ribs
- Instead of Orange Juice, I used another blend (looking forward to juicing beets, greens and other veggies with one or two drops of liquid Stevia for sweetness on the next go around)
- We make our own ‘Cola’ with a Soda Stream machine, so I’m not exactly sure which ‘Cola’ I grabbed out of the refrigerator - probably Root Beer
I browned my meat on the stove after marinating them overnight, this differs from the recipe, but this is one of my favorite cooking pleasures and I couldn’t let the oven do it for me. I carefully dried the meat first, and reserved the marinade for the baking portion of the recipe.
The Chives are just about to burst in all of their purple glory, and I couldn’t resist adding these to the finished product. I served them simply over a bed of Cabbage, and let the cooking liquid serve as a dressing.
The ability to adjust these recipes is one of the reasons I like cooking out of Dorie Greenspan’s book, Around My French Table. The techniques serve as a foundation, but your imagination serves as the catalyst to creating your own flavor profiles. I’m learning a lot from being a part of this online cooking group. You should sign up here.
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