Let’s Get Cooking

I’ve learned a lot about cooking from my mother, Aurora, who is somewhat of a legendary pizza maker in Sault Ste. Marie. This recipe for oven baked spare ribs, among others in my repertoire, comes from her. She is a great improviser who likes to spend a lot of time caring for whatever it is she cooks. Her care invariably results in a fine meal. Now, let’s get cooking!

Oven-Baked Spare Ribs

2 racks (3 to 4 pounds) back ribs

For the Sauce:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tsp. salt

1 medium onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

juice of one lemon

1 cup water

Mix above ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Remove membrane from underside of ribs. Place in a roasting pan and cook at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Drain fat from roast pan. Cut racks into pieces of two or three ribs each. Return to the roasting pan, and pour the sweet and sour mixture over the ribs. Turn ribs so that all are coated with the mixture. Bake in oven at 325 degrees, uncovered, 2-1/2 to 3 hours, turning frequently, until sauce caramelizes and ribs are sticky to the touch.

Lobster Soup

Here’s a recipe that I came up with recently, on a cool, wet Sunday afternoon when I couldn’t do much else but cook. I decided to improvise with some mascarpone and lobster that I had left over, to make a lobster soup. It turned out just fine, and definitely good enough for me to include in “Let’s Get Cooking.”

1 10-12 oz. cooked lobster, meat removed and chopped

1/4 cup butter

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1/2 cup clam juice

2 dollops mascarpone

1/4 cup 18% cream

pinch ground black pepper

3 cups chicken broth

2 green onions, with stalks, chopped fine

1/2 small carrot, grated

1/2 small sweet potato, grated

2 tablespoons grated parmesan or romano cheese

3 sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped

Melt butter in a medium soup pot, over medium heat. Add garlic and simmer until golden. Add clam juice, whisk in mascarpone and cream, bring to a simmer. Add pepper, onion, carrot and sweet potato; simmer a few minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Add lobster meat, and simmer five to 10 minutes. Stir in parmesan or romano; add cilantro leaves and simmer a few more minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit 10 minutes before serving. Serves two to three people.

Polenta Lasagna

Here’s a great way to have polenta (corn meal). Cook one cup polenta in four cups water (1 tsp. salt). Pour into an 8×14 (approximately) pan. Let cool. Cover with a layer of spaghetti sauce. Layer of ricotta. Layer of mozzarella. Another layer of sauce. Cover with tin foil. Bake at 350°F for about 1/2 hour. Remove tin foil. Bake another 15-20 minutes, till sauce bubbles, but do not let it burn or dry up. Remove from oven; cool slightly to let set; cut into squares and serve. Sprinkle romano or parmesan on top.

Now, let’s get cooking!


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