Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Any excuse for a party

I remember when my friend Mark, who hails from India, used to complain that whenever people found out where he was from they would comment on how much they loved Indian food. This bothered him immensely as he thought his home country was somehow being reduced to the trivial or unimportant.
In my point of view, people who are food minded, and there are a lot of us, will associate almost any country first with it's food. Oh sure, music is also a great ambassador but it lacks the full sensual experience that food provides. The smell, texture and taste of a fine meal stays with you long after the evening has passed. What do I think of when I meet a Greek, Italian, Mexican, Cuban, Irish, Argentinian.......? Food. Food, food and food. You come from where? Really, sounds delicious, I mean fascinating.

Let's face it, there are few things we can't live without. Food acts as a necessity and a luxury, from basic fare to high art. You are what you eat. How fortunate we are in this day and age to have access to a variety of culture's foods and fiestas. The calendar can provide inspiration for innovative dinners via cultural holidays. Cinco de Mayo? I live in Canada, Mexican liberation has not been on the forefront of my most pressing concerns but I love the idea of celebration with food. So from this Canadian Gringa, I give you my recipe for pork ribs with pineapple mango chipotle glaze and pineapple salsa.
2 racks pork ribs, silver skin removed, cut in half
Glaze
1 chopped mango
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
1 cup chopped pineapple
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 habanero pepper, de-seeded
Combine all glaze ingredients in a blender.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a large piece of heavy duty foil on a large cookie sheet and spray with cooking oil. Place ribs on foil in a single layer and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Pat to adhere. Brush on 2/3 of the glaze, both sides, and wrap tightly in the foil. Bake for 1 hour and fifteen minutes, ribs will be soft. Pull out of the oven and fire up the BBQ. Grill until nicely crisped up, applying the rest of the glaze. Be careful not to burn the ribs. Serve topped with salsa.
While the ribs are in the oven, you can make the salsa.
Pineapple Salsa
1/2 jalapeno or 1/4 habanero pepper, minced
1/4 cup chopped purple onion
1/2 cup pineapple, chunked
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime
pinch of salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Toss in a bowl and serve on top of or beside ribs.