September 1, 2011

Irene Aftermath & Slow Cooked Baby-Back Ribs

We're still reeling from the fact we actually have power back, not to mention it already being the first of September! Even though we went what seemed like 4 long days without electricity, a significant portion of Richmond is still in the dark. As we'd hoped to do at the beginning of the week, today we'd like to bring a more robust update on the events of our weekend with Hurricane Irene.

Throughout the day Saturday, we were slow cooking a rack of baby-back pork ribs. Tim is the food expert in our relationship, but every so often I get away with dabbling in the kitchen. This is one of my favorite recipes, mainly because it couldn't be simpler and the results never seem to fail. When living in our small NYC apartment, my best friend and talented singer/songwriter, Emily, taught me how to cook these ribs. The delicious smells would fill up the whole space in anticipation.

Slow cooked baby-back ribs recipe:
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  • Rub a small amount of olive oil all over ribs, just eyeball it.
  • Generously add sea salt and fresh cracked pepper all over ribs.
  • Place rack of ribs on cookie sheet or baking pan. I like to place them on top of foil to catch drippings and make for easier cleanup.
  • Place in middle rack of oven and let cook for around 2 hours. I like to check them every 45 minutes or so — once ribs are browned and cooked through to your desired liking, take them out and let them rest 5 minutes before cutting into.
  • While ribs rest, mix together a couple tablespoons kosher salt with a couple teaspoons cinnamon & sugar — doesn't have to be precise.
  • Cut ribs, and sprinkle salt mixture on each as you eat them.
Trust me. This recipe is even Tim approved.

When our power finally gave way around 6:30pm ET, we were in good shape to pull the ribs out of the oven, pair them with some sauteed collard greens and light a few candles as we hunkered down in the basement bracing ourselves for the brunt of the storm. We'd fully charged up our 3 laptops and other gadgets so we could use them in the dark, then popped in a Netflix dvd — No Strings Attached if anyone's curious (a cheesy but cute movie).

We'd heard the storm was supposed to die down around midnight so we cautiously waited while periodic blasts of wind and rain would whip through — cracking branches and quite literally knocking over trees all over our neighborhood, including our next door neighbor's backyard. As mentioned earlier in the week, the two trees we were most worried about in our own yard survived, only losing a few key branches and debris. While we spent a solid 2 hours cleaning up our own yard from the aftermath, we are so thankful it wasn't worse.

We got up early to assess the damage, here are some snaps of the damage from around our immediate neighborhood:

I guess the images make it easier to imagine why we've been out of power for so long. Pretty incredible and the photos we took weren't even the tip of the iceberg as far as trees we saw down, on houses, and ripping apart power lines.

A view of our own finished cleanup (my arms and legs are still sore from lugging these limbs to the front ditch with Tim):

The saddest part of our cleanup was finding this displaced squirrels' nest sprawled out in our front yard. It didn't have any squirrels in it, but I could only imagine what they must have gone through out in the elements — literally losing their refuge. I'm pretty sure squirrels are fairly resilient creatures but this still tugged at our heart strings.

As you can see, it's been a long few days and we are glad to finally be getting back to normal around here. We feel for our friends and families still without power and those dealing with down trees and/or structural damage. It really is incredible the power of Mother Nature and how she can remind us not to take what seem like the simplest of things for granted.

On a related and lighter note, has put together a contest and prize pack of astronomical proportions for the last person standing without power here in good old RVA. While this is a contest we were happy to "lose," it's been fun to follow along as local businesses donate to the cause. Among the prizes include a seasonal home cooked meal prepared and delivered by Tim — fancy that!


  1. As a side note the movie mentioned above "No strings Attached" was total cheese but hey we had no power what was I going to do?

    Tim - 17 Apart

  2. Was planning to slow cook baby back ribs unfrozen by Irene in crockpot until your post of Emily's recipe - think we will try it tomorrow or Sunday - perhaps another positive from the aftermath!

  3. Mom! Definitely make these and let me know how they turn out - "small" Virginia might even like trying one.

  4. So glad to hear that all is okay! What an experience...


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