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Some Like It Hot

Ribs: When the weather outside is frightful, this dish is delightful.

February 01, 1996|BEV BENNETT

In cold weather, we naturally want to eat hot meals, but we might also choose food that's hot in the spicy sense too--and for the same reason that we eat spicy food in summer: Hot chiles make us less sensitive to the temperatures around us.

Even Christopher Columbus observed the effect. In his first letter to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Columbus reported that mountain dwellers in the West Indies endured the cold of winter "with the aid of the meat they eat with very hot spices."

So add a little heat to a bowl of chicken soup, use chili sauce on those fries and, when making a batch of succulent ribs, use chiles and ginger for a winter-warming special.

Sweet and hot beef short ribs are a delicious balance of tomato, fruit and spice. Serve these plain or, if it gets really cold, prepare a side dish of coleslaw with a generous dash of cayenne pepper.

SWEET AND HOT BEEF SHORT RIBS

1 tablespoon oil

1 onion, diced

1/2 cup catsup

1/2 cup apple juice

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 red or green jalapeno chile, minced

1 teaspoon grated ginger root

Salt, pepper

2 pounds beef short ribs, cut into individual ribs

Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion and saute over medium heat until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add catsup, apple juice, lemon juice, hoisin sauce, mustard, chile and ginger root. Simmer 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange ribs in single layer in sauce. Cover and simmer 1 hour. Turn ribs over and simmer until tender, about 1 hour longer.

Makes 2 generous servings.

Each serving contains about:

SWEET AND HOT SLAW

1 cup diced fresh pineapple

2 cups shredded red cabbage

Dash cayenne pepper

4 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon oil

Freshly ground white pepper

Combine pineapple, cabbage, cayenne, vinegar, oil and white pepper to taste in medium serving bowl. Toss gently but well. Set aside 10 minutes for flavors to blend.

Makes 2 servings.

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