Our community is often on the look out for great fund-raising ideas for our little island for different social assistance programs, the school, and maintaining & improving our community hall. The essentials are that it be interesting enough to attract at least 30% of our population, be something that we can pull off with the expertise we have at hand, and an event that makes the most money possible given the first two requirements.
One year we decided to do a walk-a-thon to raise funds. We don’t have a circuitous route on Thetis, so we had boats move us from one road end point to another. Already we had a built in infrastructure consideration that made the walk more interesting! The walk was planned for a Saturday morning, so some of us realized that most people would already be here the night before, so why not feed them?
I led the group, and we served big servings of lasagne and Caesar salad. This was the event that I created my Roasted Vegetable Lasagne for. We sold 80 tickets for $15 within the first three days, and as there were only 350 residents on the island that was pretty good!
Then my head started tumbling over ideas… If we already had a captive audience, how about doing some sort of auction?
Our house is full of art. We have many pieces waiting to get hung if another piece gets moved. What if others are in the same boat? What if some of that art isn’t ever going to get hung? What if we had an auction where folks could put the art up for auction whether it’s a print or an original; acquired or created by themselves? What about artisans? Before I knew it, the idea had created itself!
By the time of the event, we had a beautiful quilt, original sketches, acrylics, funny little thrift shop finds, and some amazing current and antique prints offered for sale.
I can’t remember how much money we made that night, but I do remember the quilt being sold for $1,500. Many people took home new art, as well as selling one of their own pieces.
The weekend was a huge success, and although we didn’t offer the art auction again the next year, the walk-a-thon continued on for several years raising money for our little one room schoolhouse.
A decade or so later, in 2011, the community dusted off the idea of an art auction. Instead of being a last minute idea, we would take the time to figure out logistics, and try to make it a “huge” event. This year will be our 4th in a row, and each year has done substantially better than the past.
The main draw, besides an awesome evening out, is the dinner. We have decided to go with a Moroccan inspired meal this year, so from an appetizer tent to the main meal served on linen clad tables on the tennis court, every item draws from the southern shores of the Mediterranean.
I spent most of a day figuring out this recipe for this year’s event. Braising the ribs in harissa spiced orange juice, and incorporating roasted oranges to the final glaze, which elevated a basic rib recipe into something exotic. The ribs can be glazed either on the barbeque (as we’ll be doing for the event) or simply glazed in the oven, as I’ve done with them here.
6 – 7# pork side ribs (I would suggest using full length ribs – as you would for rack of BBQ ribs – if using the BBQ to finish them. If you’re using the oven, then a 2” cut can be used as well, as shown here.)
1 head of peeled garlic cloves
1 295ml frozen Orange Juice, reconstituted
1½ T harissa dry spice mix
1 t salt
2 medium onions – ¼” dice
4 cloves garlic – minced
750 ml ketchup
150 ml white wine vinegar
100 ml frozen orange juice concentrate (do not reconstitute)
175 ml honey (230 gr)
100 ml molasses (135 gr)
2 t harissa dry spice mix
1 t salt
oil for roasting oranges
Preheat the oven to 300°
Prepare the pork ribs, by removing the skin or membrane from the back of the ribs. Just slide a butterknife under it, and pull it off with your fingers. This is much easier to do with full length ribs than short cut, but it does make for a better trim of meat if you do it! Remove any excess fat.
Heat the orange juice in the microwave until warm.
Cover tightly with foil.
Braise the ribs for 3 hours.
While they’re simmering away, prepare the sauce.
Heat the oil in a large pot, over medium heat.
Add in the onions and garlic, slowly cooking them, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. If they start to brown, reduce the heat to medium-low.
Stir in the zest of 1 orange, and continue cooking for another couple of minutes.
Add in the ketchup, white wine vinegar, orange juice concentrate, honey, molasses, harissa spice and salt. Stir thoroughly.
Reduce heat to as low as possible, and simmer uncovered for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Drizzle with some oil, a tablespoon or two. Toss them a bit to spread the oil.
Roast in the center of the oven for 20 minutes. Turning once.
Arrange the ribs back in the roasting pan.
Spoon about ½ of the sauce over the ribs. Turn the ribs so they are all covered in the sauce. Let rest.
Oven-glazed: If you are glazing the ribs in the oven, turn the heat to 375°
Put the sauce covered ribs back into the oven.
Cook for 30 minutes.
Finished on the grill: If you are finishing them on the grill, cook over medium heat until nicely seared on both sides. About 8-10 minutes per side.
Arrange the cooked ribs on a platter, top with a couple of spoonfuls of sauce, and serve with the remainoing orange laden sauce on the side.
Sprinkle with cilantro or chopped parsley.