Summer cooking

While I do live in the frozen north, it does get hot up here (and humid, and sometimes both). Because it happens so seldom, few people have air conditioning in their houses. Because it does happen, and few people have AC, it's a pain when it does. I can't stand hot weather. I can hardly get out of bed, I feel slothful, and I hate cooking when it's hot. Actually, forget cooking -- all of my production goes down. When you work at home, you can take that 15 minutes to sit in front of a fan to cool off, but even then, I'm not jumping up to get things done. And as far as supper is concerned, my inclination is to give everyone a tub of yogurt or something equally cooling and then go lie down. Or, of course, go to an air-conditioned restaurant.

Enter the crock-pot. The wha-wha? Seriously? Hallowed tool of fall and winter, guardian of soups, stews and roasts? I finally got wise this year and started looking up summer recipes to be made in the crock-pot, and I'm pretty excited about it. Everything you love about crock-pot cooking in the winter (one-pot meal, easy cleanup or storage of leftovers, makes the house smell fantastic, total nom no matter what you're making) applies to summer, with the added bonus of cooking without turning the kitchen into your own personal sauna.

This is my new favorite recipe. The family loves it and it's so easy it's almost embarrassing. I pick up some potato salad from the deli, add a tossed salad, and you're set. Working at home, I love crock-pot cooking. You can take 20 minutes in the morning to prepare whatever-it-is, and then forget about it the rest of the day. Provided, of course, that you remember to turn the crock-pot on. That isn't always a given with me. Recipe from Diana's Kitchen.

Crockpot Country Style Ribs

2 to 3 lb. country style pork ribs, boneless
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, quartered and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
1 tbsp. prepared mustard
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Dash black pepper
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed

Trim excess fat from ribs. In a large skillet, brown ribs in oil. Cover the country style ribs with sliced onion. In a bowl combine all sauce ingredients; pour evenly over ribs and onions. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 8 to 10 hours, or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.
Country style ribs recipe serves 4 to 6.

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