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Summer brings a new culture onto the streets of New York City. It lives and breathes the pavement and it waits out the humid days for the cooling nights, begging for a release with rain. People move from their cramped apartments onto stoops, lawn chairs, handball courts, public pools, beaches, parks— even an air conditioned store to roam aimlessly for a cool down.
I walked home the other day and witnessed my neighborhood in a new light. Every winter we tightly latch ourselves into our undersized apartments, bundled under blankets and layers of clothing. I begin to forget the people that live in my neighborhood-- that I pass everyday on the streets-- that I ride the train with into Manhattan while we forget where we are and where we are going. As summer’s heat finally hits hard, the close quarters are too much and private life blends into public.
My neighborhood is a multicultural whirlwind of ethnicities and personalities. A perfect microcosm of New York City, I can walk two blocks in one direction to restock my sheesha; two blocks in the other for the best gyro in the City (or the best frappe according to the New York Times). I can go to the Mexican bodega for $1 tamales on the weekends, the Bangladesh deli for a fresh mango smoothie, or the Indian bakery for fresh gulab jaman. The list continues into the night.
But what emerges in the summer holds more than the variety of stores I relish. It is a look into the lives of others. Purple-haired women drink orange soda as their granddaughters regale their waning days of the school year. A group of kids playing soccer in the streets knock their ball too close to a passerby. A mother sits on the stoop as her son practices handball against their brick building. Young girls seek out the icy man for fresh coconut ices. Neighbors rehash old ties, friendly waves cross intersections, the weight of clothing is reduced, it is summertime and the people are happy.
The heat draws people out of their home physically and mentally. Each day I pass the local bargain shop and spy the cheap charcoal grills, waiting for the perfect time to purchase the one-season specialties. Spending time in the kitchen is cut short as the heat of the oven is viewed as sin. Hamburgers, quick chickens, easy seafood and of course, ribs, are easy on the mind because they lend us the notion of lazy-weekend-outdoor-eating with friends and loved ones.
With that said, I justify yet another round of ribs (pork this time)—perfect for a 4th of July BBQ. This one is dripping tangy citrus flavors off the chin with every bite. It is a thick and chunky sauce, loaded with freshness that screams homemade. It is something to impress friends with and all too easy to make. D believes the sauce recipe is too heavy on tomatoes, but I think it sits perfectly on the ribs— with that said, do what you will with the quantity.
CHORIZO-LIME BBQ RIBS
Serving size= 4 people. Active time= 35 minutes. Inactive time= 1 hour 20 minutes
CHORIZO-LIME BBQ RIBS
* 5 pounds pork ribs, have the butcher crack the bone but do not separate the ribs
* Chorizo-Lime BBQ sauce (recipe below)
1) Preheat oven to 400F. While oven is warming, begin to prep sauce ingredients below. Place rack of ribs on a large oven-proof baking sheet with a rim, cover with tinfoil. When oven is ready, place ribs on center rack for 15 minutes.
2) As ribs are baking, finish up the sauce on the stovetop. The sauce should be ready around the same time as the ribs in the first part of the baking process.
3) Remove the sauce from the heat and the ribs from the oven (once the 15 minutes are up). Lower oven temperature to 350F. Remove tinfoil and generously coat the ribs with the sauce. Cover with tinfoil and return to the oven for 1 hour.
CHORIZO-LIME BBQ SAUCE
Serving size= 4 people. Active time= 30 minutes.
* 7 ounces, about 4 chorizo links, diced small
* ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
* 2- 6 ounce cans tomato paste, no salt added
* juice of 3 limes
* 1 cup cider vinegar
* 2 Tbl molasses
* 2 Tbl spicy mustard
* 1 Tbl favorite hot sauce
* ¼ cup water
salt/ pepper to taste
1) In a sauce pan on medium heat, warm the chorizo and cilantro until the cilantro wilts and aromas escape, about 3 minutes.
2) Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Coat ribs and bake or enjoy as extra dipping sauce on the side.
Head on over to Kalyn's Kitchen to catch this week's WHB roundup!