Everyday Divas Celebrations
with Mimi and Sue
Jeff's Birthday Celebration

Preparation the Day before the Celebration
Hoisin and honey spare ribs

In a pasta pot or a roasting pan that is 3-4 inches deep bring enough salted water to a boil to cover the ribs.  

Cut the slabs of ribs in half (between the bones, not across them).  Place the ribs in the boiling water, meaty side down.  Boil for 20 minutes.  While the ribs are boiling make the marinade

  • 4 - 6 garlic cloves
Peel and smash with the side of a knife on a cutting board.  Sprinkle with salt and continue to press on cloves with the side of a knife or a spoon, until you make a paste. 
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 jar hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 3/4 cup distilled white wine vinegar
Whisk in a bowl with the garlic paste.

Lift the ribs from the water​ and place in a collander to drain.  When they are cool enough to handle, place 2 half slabs into each of 3 one gallon zip-loc freezer bags.  Divide the marinade between the three bags carefully pouring it into each.  Make sure if there are chunks of garlic you get some in each bag.  Seal the bags, turn them over a couple of times to cover the ribs, place them on a tray with a lip in case they leak and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. 

Ten years of  commuting to Kansas City for work taught me a thing or two.  It's a great town, with great food and great people who take their barbecue very seriously.  One of the first questions to ask a KC native is:  "What's the best barbecue?"  Everyone has their favorite -- even me, Oklahoma Joe's (the original, in the gas station).

When one of my co-workers, who won barbecue contests, heard that I parboiled my ribs he was appalled.  Although I took his observations to heart this is the way my family likes them so I didn't change the recipe.  When it came to smoking ribs, however, I followed the barbecue master's directions to the letter.  That's for another day.

This recipe came from Gourmet Magazine June 1992.  I have adjusted it a little to suit our tastes.  I use a lot more garlic and dry mustard than the recipe calls for because we like bold flavor.  I always marinate the ribs over night.  I make full size ribs because this is a meal, not just an appetizer.  

You can also use this marinade on pork chops.  It's delicious.
Black Magic Cake

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
Combine with an electric mixer.
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 heaping tsp instant coffee
  • 2 tsp baking soda
Sift together and add 1 cup boiling water.  Mixture will be frothy. ​
  • 1 cup whole milk plus 1 tbsp to vinegar to sour (or 1 cup whole buttermilk).

Alternating cocoa mixture and milk, add to batter.  Mix until thoroughly combined.  The batter will be very thin.

Pour into two 9 inch round layer cake pans, one 9 x 13 inch cake pan or cupcake tins.  Grease and flour the pans. You can also line the bottom with a piece of waxed paper trimmed to fit the pan.  Use paper cupcake liners for cupcake tins.  The layer cake should take 35 minutes, the 9 x 13 cake 35-40 minutes and the cupcakes no more than 15 minutes.  

All ovens are different.  You can test the cakes at 30 minutes by inserting a toothpick into the center.  If it comes out clean the cake is done.  Don't be alarmed if the top of this cake cracks.

This is the cake my mother baked for our birthdays.  We have a photo of me with chocolate batter all over my face from licking the bowl.  (This was way before people worried about eating raw eggs!)

This cake tastes good the day you bake it but great the next day.