To honour Canada Day and this great country of ours I am a proud participant of Taste Canada, the brainchild of Canadian Food Bloggers Jennifer The Domestic Goddess and Lynnette of Lex Culinaria.
For me Canada represents barbecues, fast food and getting your meal ready-made from the supermarket, all concepts that were utterly foreign to me when I arrived some 20 years ago.
I came from a culture and a time that still had maids, where food was prepared daily, where shops and businesses closed at noon and re-opened at 3:00 pm so that everybody could go home have a leisurely meal and rest a little before going back to work.
Canada was very different: it was fast-paced, you had half-an-hour for lunch and you ate supper at 6:00 p.m. And then on Thursday and Friday shops stayed open until 9:00 p.m. so that you could shop some more...on the other hand, on the other days of the week, you could not find a café open past 6:00 p.m., if your life depended on it. It was so different from what I was used to...
The rushed life that greeted me in Canada was a little daunting at first, but I immediately discovered that Canadians had ways to cope that I was eager to try, for instance...Minute Rice. I had never seen Minute Rice before and could not believe that you could add broth to rice and have it come out flavourful and fluffy 5 or 10 minutes later. In those first years in Canada I used Minute Rice with the abandon of the newly converted. Other staples like mashed potato flakes and frozen food for a while dominated my culinary horizon.
One day, in those early times, a friend invited us for supper. It was summer and we were to dine in her backyard. The menu featured barbecued pork ribs, Ziggy's potato salad and Ziggy's coleslaw, beer and fresh strawberries and vanilla ice-cream. I never forgot that supper. The newness of it all, the wonderful new flavours, the contentment of slowly fitting in and starting to feel at home.
So this Sunday past I recreated that supper even to the detail of the Ziggy's potato salad and coleslaw. And the beer was my very favourite Sleeman's Cream Ale.
For the "barbecued" ribs I loosely followed a recipe in my brand new "The Pressure Cooker Cookbook - 100 Contemporary Recipes for the Time-Pressured Cook", by Gina Steer. I know it sounds like cheating, but with a temperature of 32ºC (89.6F) I was not able to stand in front of my barbecue in the full sun. So I made my ribs in the pressure cooker and then finished them off under the broiler. I have to admit that, tender and moist, they tasted like the real McCoy (sorry but I had to use another expression I learned in Canada!). And for dessert, some strawberries bought at the farmer's market Saturday morning, fresh from the fridge, with just some sugar.
Barbecued Pork Ribs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
2 pounds pork ribs
1 large onion
6 garlic cloves, smashed
4 celery stalks, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Watkins Mesquite Barbecue Sauce Concentrate
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup vegetable broth
2 medium vine tomatoes
Put half of the oil in the pressure cooker and brown the ribs on all sides. Remove the ribs and set aside. Add the remaining oil and the add the celery, onion, and garlic to the cooker. Sauté for about 5 minutes and them return the ribs to the cooker.
Mix well the tomato paste, mustard, barbecue sauce, sugar and broth and pour over the ribs. Quarter the tomatoes and add them to the cooker. Close the lid.
Bring the cooker to full pressure, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Depressurize under cold running water and open the cooker. Take out the ribs put then in a foil-lined broiler pan and keep them warm.
Strain the contents left in the cooker to remove the solids and return the liquid to high heat and reduce for about 5 minutes. Put the ribs under the broiler basting with the reduced sauce and broil on each side until the ribs are crisp.