Sunday, November 17, 2013

Back in Hilo and Time for Some Pork!

We had quite the summer. Robin and I returned to California from Hilo in June, expecting to spend five months catching up with our friends, taking leisurely walks with Ziggy along West Cliff Drive, working on our respective blogs, and generally enjoying the beauties of Santa Cruz.

It was not to be. By the end of October, we had instead accomplished the following: moving my parents and a bunch of their furniture from Santa Monica to an assisted care facility in Santa Cruz; dealing with 50 years of accumulated possessions in their old home; contracting and overseeing the refurbishing of the house so it could be rented (this fell mostly to Robin); and then, to cap it off, helping my mom recover from a fractured hip. (For those who know my folks, they seem quite happy in their new digs.)

example of stuff at my parents’ house
(don’t worry—I kept Paul and Ringo)

Everything has settled down again, thank goodness, and we are once again in Hilo. It took about a week to get this house back in order. We had had to move lots of things upstairs which had been stored in the basement while there were tenants in the house, and the garden required massive whacking back, as is always the case after a time away.

I was thrilled to see that my new Sexy Pink heleconia
was blooming for the first time

But once that was all done we were able to move on to fun activities. Like buying a new barbeque, to replace the old one whose guts were almost completely rusted away:

my new baby

To christen it, I chose one of my favorite foods: barbequed pork ribs. These were pork rib tips, a popular item in these parts, which were on sale for $1.99/lb. I’m now going to let you in on a really easy way to make fall-off-the-bone tender BBQ ribs.

Start by giving your meat a dry-rub of spices. I like to use cumin, garlic powder, chile powder, black pepper, and salt:

Wrap the ribs tightly in foil (you may have to crimp two strips together to make it wide enough), put the meat in a baking pan, and slow-roast it at 250 degrees F for 3 hours.

Take the pan out of the oven and let the foil packet of meat cool. It will looks something like this:

Remove the meat to a new pan, and pour the juices into a bowl or small pitcher. Once chilled, the fat will rise to the top, and you can save this for frying, and use the juices for something else. (I used my pork juice last night in a Thai curry sauce.)

After our traditional round of cocktails on the front lanai—no cruise ship to watch that night, alas—we retired to the back yard and I fired up my new baby. You can see little Ziggy, on her perpetual hunt for geckos (though she was also quite interested in what I was doing).

Because the ribs are already cooked through and tender as all get-out (you have to be careful handling them, so they don’t fall apart and down through the grates), they don’t take long to finish on the BBQ. All you want to do is brown them, and then brush them with BBQ sauce and let this cook long enough to caramelize—just a couple of minutes.

While they were browning I sipped my beer and enjoyed the view of our garden.

Then, voilĂ , the ribs were ready! I brought them into the kitchen,

and then plated them up with a Romaine and avocado salad, tossed with a dressing of mayonnaise, milk, sesame oil, shoyu, sugar, and black pepper:

It’s good to be back.


  1. At first glance, I thought the heleconia was a pink flamingo. Nice to see your blog up and running again, mouthwateringly envious though it makes me.

  2. Yes, I said to Robin the other night that they remind me of flamingos. Amazing plants, they are...