Saturday, May 01, 2010

Pocket Topics

I knit today.  I really, really did.  However, it's been so long since I performed anything even remotely resembling the needling arts that I worry about doing anything rash.  I'm afraid to talk about it.  What if I scare it away?  Then I'm having to spend the rest of the evening chasing skittish knitting all over the manse.  It'll be midnight and I'll be hunched in front of the sofa trying to coax out a shivering mass of wool from the depths of the dust bunny world.  It's too risky.  I'm going to leave the knitting alone and let it adjust to being out of the bag for a while.

Today is a good day to bring out a Pocket Topic.  We all have them.  Those are the blogging ideas that come to us at 4:00 in the morning or while we are driving to work and we think, "Gee, that would be a good post."  Then, for reasons that vary, we tuck it away in a back pocket until we can get to it.  Sometimes we think about it, maybe even go so far as to take it out and brush off the lint but we still save it for another day.  Eventually we get to it or we don't.

In my case, the topic was pocketed due to the fact that I spent my Spring Break writhing on the sofa and cursing the Horrific Mystery Illness that hit me just in time to ruin my entire school vacation.  I meant to post more than I did, but most of that week's blogging went into the Pocket along with the extra tissues and cough drops.

Right before the fever and chills hit, I did a post about making barbecue sauce.  Several people asked if I would share the recipe and I honestly meant to do just that.  It never made it to the blog, though.  How about I do it today?

Making sauce is not all that complicated.  You really just need to start with a master recipe and go from there.  In my case, the master sauce looks starts like this:

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup ketchup (or catsup if you are a classier person than I)
1 tablespoon each of the following: yellow mustard (the kind you put on your hot dog), garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, black pepper, dried ginger and liquid smoke.  (can be found with the barbecue sauces in the grocery store)

(Note:  this is a bit spicy so feel free to cut back on the black pepper and chili powder if you like)

Heat the vinegar and molasses on low to medium until the molasses dissolves.  Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining ingredients.  Return to the burner and bring to a very gentle boil.  Let the sauce thicken while stirring frequently.  (I usually only let it go for a few minutes)

This is the "reasonable amount" recipe as opposed to the "ridiculous amount" version that I made a few weeks ago.  I ended up having to can several pints of the stuff since I can't consume fifty bazillion gallons of sauce in any scenario I can envision.  From this master recipe, you can tweak it however you like.  Since I prefer a sweeter sauce, I add about 1/3 cup of maple syrup infused with fresh ginger.  You can use honey, other spices,'s really up to you and your own tastes.  It's sauce, not plutonium. Feel free to experiment!

Let's say you've played with it and got it where you want it.  At this point, you may find yourself with a pot of barbecue sauce and no earthly idea what to do next.  That is understandable.  I'm not a great grill-master by any stretch of the imagination.  That honor goes to Daddy Sheep.  However, I can offer a suggestion for beef short ribs that might work out for you.  Especially if, like me, you live in a small condo and aren't in possession of outdoor cooking paraphernalia.

Take out that broiler pan you always wonder about but rarely use.  Fill the bottom pan about a quarter full with water and toss in some roughly chopped, peeled ginger and onions.  Garlic is nice, too if you happen to have it.  Place the ribs on the top rack and cover with foil.  Pierce the foil to allow the steam to escape.  Preheat the oven to 250 and cook ribs for one hour.  Turn, check the water level and cook for another hour.  Raise heat to 400, remove the foil, sauce the ribs heavily and cook for another twenty to thirty minutes until done.

The sauce will caramelize nicely, the spices will tone down just a bit and the ribs will be as tender as can be.  Very tasty and very easy.  You will curse me for a week while you clean your broiler pan, but you've had a whole bunch of protein from the ribs so you've got the energy to scrub the pan.  It will all be OK.  After a while, you'll forget all about the mess and just remember the ribs.  Maybe you can get your kids to do it for you or something...

There.  I feel better.  I cleaned out a Pocket Topic and the line of my jeans is ever so much smoother now.  There are a few barbecued rib lumps, but I don't think those will go away quite as easily.

I also managed to blog without causing the knitting to scamper away in horror and fear.  I'll keep plugging away at it and, pretty soon, I'm sure it will feel better about being in the light again.  It isn't like I promised I'd get this done by Christmas or anything, right?

Except that I did, but we won't dwell on that.  We'll just enjoy some nice barbecued ribs and pretend that I meant next Christmas.  It's sort of like a Pocket Topic except for the part where you don't bring it out quite so proudly...



Lynne said...

Hmm, delicious!

And I see you have a source of apple cider vinegar should that sore throat ever try for a re-run!

Good luck with the Christmas knitting! ;-)

Anonymous said...

My mouth started watering when I read the barbecue sauce recipe. I was drooling onto my keyboard by the time I got to the actual ribs. Fiend.

Kath said...

I never want barbecue until one of my neighbors fires up the grill and then ohmigawdmusthavebbqmeatnow! It's never been practical for me to have a barbecue of any sort where I live now (old wood building, old wood balcony, you get the idea) but in my next life? I think there should be grilling! In the meanwhile, I just might try your recipe! It sounds darn tasty!

p.s. I do use my broiler pan. For cooking bacon. :)

catsmum said...


Karen said...

That sounds really good. Now I'm craving ribs, before I've even had breakfast.

Donna Lee said...

I always keep a bottle of store bought sauce on hand because my family uses bbq sauce instead of ketchup. But, they always prefer it if I make my own.

I like that phrase, 'pocket topics'. It fits so well.

Mia said...

I love the term "pocket topic" hehehe

and wow! sounds like good sauce, i'm gonna have to try that. Who knew sheepie was such a good cook too!!

I gotta remember to print that post out tomorrow at work hehehe (i have no printer :)

Knitting Linguist said...

Curse you. I was just sitting at a soccer game yesterday morning (at an unspeakable hour) while some neighbor was firing up the barbecue and saying how much I want ribs, even though my jeans already have enough lumps in them. And now here is this recipe, like a little deus ex machina, appearing out of nowhere for me to crave.

Denise said...

Lining the pan with aluminum foil might help with clean up, just a thought.

Julia G said...

Mmmm, thanks for the recipe! I had to do a doubletake, though, on the title -- thought it was "Hot Pocket Topics" --the perfect Blumfy accompaniment!