Last week on the day that Little Boy “Did it!” with the rock and the water, I was all wrapped up in the spirit of “Did It” that I didn’t start crying when I looked into our refrigerator and saw only a pack of short ribs on the shelves amidst the milk and eggs, and almost nothing else. As tempting as it was to open the freezer for another pizza or nuggets or fish sticks, I didn’t.
I decided instead to do it – to cook the ribs.
Two important caveats: I have never cooked ribs before and we had virtually no other ingredients.
So I googled “easy pork ribs,” and after noting that none of the recipes were at my level of easy, I had no grill and no one had a method for bringing a fairy godmother into the kitchen to just make it happen, I took a deep breath and said to myself, You can do this. Your kid can get a rock that is out of his reach, you can cook ribs.
Victory is contagious, what can I say.
Through some small miracle, Baby was happy, and Little Boy was mesmerized for at least an hour by a few trays of ice (Husband mentioned to me that when he took Little Boy out for lunch he – Little Boy, in case anyone is wondering – was fascinated by the way the ice melted and disappeared into his water.)
Seriously, he sat there with a tupperware semi-full of water and ice cubes, playing with ice, eating ice, sloshing water everywhere. Later I added frozen peas – even more fascinating! And he ate all the peas. For anyone keeping track, this was an activity that kept him occupied for a large amount of time and healthy and cheap and easy and educational (we got to talk about water’s different forms – SCIENCE, OH MY WORD).
In the mean time, I turned my eyes to our meager pantry – olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt, garlic, onions, muesli, baking powder, tea, lavender honey, vanilla essence, and I’m sure there were a few other things. My point is the pantry was bare. And now you’re probably thinking, She glazed the ribs with baking powder and cooked it with muesli!!!
I did not.
But I did use the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic and honey, and ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you. These ribs were lick-your-fingers tasty. Husband said they were amazing, but it is worth mentioning that he was eating frozen pizza and other fascinating frozen fare for the past week, so his judgment – or at least his taste buds – might have been at less than top form.
And me? Yes, it felt great to sit down and eat a real meal, but it was made only sweeter by the fact that I did something I did not think I could do. (And honey.)
You better believe I did a happy dance in my kitchen, arms raised in victory, proclaiming to my toddler and anyone who would listen – I did it.
“Did It” Ribs or The Easiest Recipe Ever
This is an incredibly easy recipe for ribs – I think it took me a total of 10 minutes to put together, and that’s probably because I crushed garlic, which takes a long time, am I right?
- Heat oven to a very low heat (mine was around 150 C/300 F)
- I had two racks of pork spare ribs, and I crushed two cloves of garlic and rubbed a clove per rack into one side with some salt (and obviously if we had pepper or red chili flakes, I would have added that as well).
- In an oven-proof casserole dish, add olive oil and the ribs, browning both sides until there’s a nice colour
- In a bowl whisk together soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and honey (melt the honey if it’s too thick). There’s no science to the proportions here. I just tasted as I went along until the mix was to my liking; the idea here is salty, sour and sweet. (There are so many other combinations that would work, too: lemon juice, barbecue sauce, whiskey, stock, sugar, etc.).
- Pour it over the ribs. The liquid should cover the ribs, so add water if it doesn’t.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover it with a lid or foil, transfer to the oven and bake for about two hours or until meat is tender and tasty.
We ate this with rice and a bag of frozen Chinese veggies. Ridiculously easy, incredibly tasty.