Chinese Sweet and Sour Ribs


Sweet and sour ribs (tang cu pai gu) is a tasty and straightforward Chinese dish that you can serve as either an entree or an appetizer.  The ribs are cut into segments 1-2 inches long (you can ask your butcher to cut them).  The most important part of the recipe is the ratio of sauce ingredients; you can scale them up and down depending on how salty you like your food.


Chinese Sweet and Sour Ribs

Yield: 2-4 servings, depending how much meat you eat

  • 2.5 lbs pork baby back ribs, cut into 1-2 inch segments
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons water


  1. In a large pot, boil ribs briefly (5-10 minutes) until a bunch of gunk forms on the surface of the water.
  2. Pour out hot water and rinse ribs with cold water.
  3. Transfer ribs to a non-stick pot and add rice wine, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and water.
  4. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon.
  5. With the lid on, bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes.
  6. Turn the heat to high, remove the lid, and let the liquids boil off, stirring from time to time.

Garlic Bread


Garlic bread can be an appetizer to snack on while you cook the entree, or a side dish to enjoy during the meal (if it lasts that long).  Either way, it’s delicious!


Garlic Bread

  • 1-lb loaf of French bread
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (depending on how much you love garlic)


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Split French bread in half lengthwise.
  3. Soften butter in the microwave and stir in minced garlic until you have a spreadable paste.
  4. Spread mixture on the insides of the halves and close the loaf back up.
  5. Wrap loaf in aluminum foil and bake for 5 minutes.
  6. Partially unwrap loaf so that the top is exposed and bake for another 5 minutes.



I’ve tried different guacamole recipes, but this one remains my favorite.  The blend of flavors is perfect.  Just make sure there are plenty of people to help eat it, because guacamole doesn’t keep well and it would be a shame to waste any of it!

Original recipe

Adapted from Alton Brown on the Food Network

Yield: 1 batch (serves 4-5 hungry people)

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded, and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or a little over 1/4 teaspoon regular salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, place scooped avocado pulp and lime juice.  Toss to coat.
  2. Using a potato masher or a large spoon, mash in the salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
  3. Fold in onions, tomatoes, garlic, and cilantro and jalapeno if using.
  4. Eat immediately.

Tomato Mozzarella Appetizer


This is a quick and tasty appetizer that you can either serve to guests or snack on yourself while you cook.

Tomato Mozzarella Appetizer

Fresh mozzarella cheese
About an equal volume of ripe tomatoes

  1. Slice mozzarella into pieces about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Slice tomatoes into pieces about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Arrange the slices on a serving platter, alternating between tomato and mozzarella pieces.