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Cooking With(out) Ayesha Curry

GSOM tries the Sticky Honey-Garlic Baby Back Ribs recipe from Ayesha Curry’s cookbook

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WARNING: This is an article about food, only vaguely, tangentially related to Stephen Curry

I recently got a copy of Ayesha Curry’s cookbook, A Seasoned Life, with the idea that I could try out a few of the recipes and let everyone know how it turns out. Watching the Currys at home, it’s clear that the kitchen is a centerpiece of their life so this was a fun way for me to share a little bit of their experience and something that maybe my fellow Warriors fans would enjoy seeing.

If the reception is okay, I’ll pick another recipe to try out for another article later. For this first one though, I kept it relatively safe and chose the Sticky Honey-Garlic Baby Back Ribs. The great thing about ribs is they take a while, so even though you don’t actually do much work, they seem like a big deal.

Also, I’ll post the recipe in an easy format to read as a comment, so don’t worry about following along the recipe too closely.

Step one: Get the ribs ready for the oven

The recipe calls for a two-and-a-half to three-pound rack of baby back ribs. Mrs. Dubs picked this lovely three pound beauty up at Berkeley Bowl:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and prepare your tray. Using a cookie sheet, layer a good long amount of aluminum foil meat side down - I went double layer and it proved warranted. You’ll be flipping the ribs over, and the the sauce will make a huge mess if it burns onto your pan, so don’t be skimpy. Finally, put just a dollop of vegetable oil and smear it around so the ribs won’t stick.

Now, while the oven preheats, make yourself some seasoning rub to put on the ribs prior to cooking.

The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon each of garlic powder and salt, plus one-and-a-half teaspoons of pepper. That sounded a little boring to me so in addition to that, I added chili powder, some citrus peel and caraway seed blend and granulated onion - about 2 teaspoons of each.

Just so you can get a sense of the scale, here is everything before I mixed it all up - starting from the top right and going clockwise we have: salt, garlic powder, black pepper, chili powder and citrus/caraway.

So mix that all up, and season your ribs liberally. Just sprinkle from relatively high up in the air and move your hand in little circles to ensure good coverage. Don’t be shy with the flavors here, this is all going to cook in, so be sure that you add enough to cover every inch - don’t forget the sides too. Also, because I added so many extra ingredients, I actually ended up reserving some of the seasoning mix for finishing once the ribs were cut and served (the out of focus plate in the background).

Now, your oven should be preheated so fold the foil up close to the ribs and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. You just want to tuck the foil in close to keep it tidy, but leave the meat totally uncovered for this first 30 minute stint.

Go grab a drink or whatever, and let the oven work. You’ve got twenty free minutes here (since you’ll want to come back a little early to make the sugar and honey sauce).

Step two: Sauce the ribs, and close it all up

Remove the ribs from oven after 30 minutes, and increase the oven temperature to 450.

The ribs at this point will have a nice toast on the exterior layer of seasoning.

Ok, this is where is gets a little bit silly. Ayesha wants us to take the ribs out and add a bunch of sugary goodnes. The recipe calls for one-and-a-half cups of packed brown sugar with a half cup of honey. It looks surreal when you pile it all into a bowl. I heated up the one cup of water and used that to help mix it all together.

[Author’s edit: Do NOT use a full cup of water!! At most a quarter of a cup of water. In the initial attempt we ended up with a very watery final product. Really what you want is more of a slurry, like a thin paste or thick mud.]

Chop a quarter cup of onion and eight garlic gloves (I wussed out and just did four) and prepare to get crazy. Lift the ribs up, put the onions and garlic underneath, and then put the ribs meat side down on top of the onions and garlic and cover with your sugary goodness slurry. I actually basted the meat side first, then flipped the rack and poured a bit more on top.

Now, as you can see, there’s a lot of sugar sauce in there. It is incredibly important that you seal your foil packet to ensure that this doesn’t leak everywhere. If this stuff burns into your pan, you’re going to be scrubbing for a long time. I went for another layer underneath just to be safe. But for real, make it like a burrito.

That’s going to bake for an hour at 450. Just check it early to make sure you don’t have a containment breach. Otherwise, you got nothing to do.

Step Three: Sides and finish

I branched out a little from Ayesha’s recipe here and made some sides. Well, to be honest, I bought two and made one. Just from the deli, we got two different kinds of pre-made potato salad. On top of that, I made a little coleslaw just to provide some roughage.

Here’s what you’ll need for the slaw, if you choose to make it: one jalepeno, one small cucumber, a large handful of brussel sprouts and half a green apple.

Cut everything as thin as you can. This is what makes a good slaw. No one wants a big hunk of hard Brussels sprout (or cabbage) and it keeps the jalepeno from being too intense in any one bite.

For the dressing, just take about two tablespoons of mayonnaise and add about two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, plus a dollop of stone ground mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste, but don’t dress the greens until just prior to serving. Scale to as much sauce as you need, trying to maintain the ratio of tablespoon to teaspoon of mayo and cider vinegar.

Ok, has it been an hour yet?

Let’s say it has.

The final step is to pull the ribs out, uncover them and flip them meat side up - then back into the oven for five minutes to develop a nice crust.

And here, ladies and gentlemen, are the results of our endeavor:

And that’s pretty much it. These ribs came out perfect. Fall off the ribs tender, and with a nice firm sugary crust. As I mentioned before, you may want to reserve some of the seasoning rub from step one to sprinkle on the final product.

This was a pretty big hit at my house, so I’ll be trying more of Ayesha Curry’s recipes in the future. Let me know if you liked or hated this article so I know if this is the sort of thing GSOM is interested in. But regardless, help me pick the next one to try using the poll below.


Which recipe should I try next

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Balsamic Lamb Chops (Steph’s favorite)
    (79 votes)
  • 28%
    Steph Curry’s Five Ingredient Pasta (Steph’s one recipe in the book)
    (88 votes)
  • 17%
    Jamaican Curry Chicken and Fried Dumplings
    (55 votes)
  • 9%
    Mama Alexander’s Brown Sugar Chicken
    (30 votes)
  • 8%
    Apricot Glazed Salmon
    (25 votes)
  • 9%
    I don’t care. What the heck is this? Where’s the basketball?
    (29 votes)
306 votes total Vote Now

Thanks for reading, and Ayesha, if you’re out there, you’re welcome to come over any time and cook with us!

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