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Monday, May 16, 2011

Nothing to brag about (recipes included)

I've always enjoyed throwing a dinner party. For a sit-down affair, I like to keep the group below 8. Despite enjoying the end results, I used to get anxious during the prep, until I finally started taking advice from the all those Food Network shows I've watched over the years.

Lesson 1 - Prep as much in advance as you can.
Lesson 2 - Have one star of the show, and keep the others as supporting characters. (Translation: just one dish that's somewhat complicated; keep the others simple.)
I feel like I should think of a lesson three, but that's really it!

So, I put this in practice yesterday.
The menu: slow-cooked/grilled pork ribs (the star), arugula salad, grilled corn; drinks - Sierra Nevada Summerfest; Penfold's Koonunga Hills Shiraz - both paired very well.

Saturday, I picked up all my ingredients. (While hubby sat with a sleeping baby in the car!) Sunday - during morning nap, I made my homemade BBQ sauce and dry rub, trimmed the fat & connective tissues from the ribs and covered them in the dry rub. During the second nap, I peeled & chopped 2 mangoes; cleaned the corn, placed each ear on a square of foil & seasoned it with EVOO/salt/pepper.


Arugula & Mango Salad
1 bag baby arugula (or full size)
2 mangoes, peeled and chopped.
* prep mangoes ahead of time, toss at last minute; with juice of one lime. That's IT; for real.

Corn - I can't even pretend there's a recipe. I already wrote what I did above!

Dry Rub
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP paprika
1 TBSP onion powder
3/4 tsp celery salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
* Confession: I did not buy celery salt. I used a little kosher salt, a little garlic powder, and a pinch of dillweed.)

BBQ Sauce
3 tsp minced garlic
2 1/4 cups ketchup
3/4 cups low salt chicken broth
3 TBSP soy sauce
6 TBSP packed brown sugar
4 1/2 TBSP molasses
3 TBSP red wine vinegar.
* Warm EVOO over medium heat; add garlic for a few minutes, then add everything else. Stir together, bring to a boil, then reduce heat & simmer. A couple hours will do the trick, but more doesn't hurt. You can do this in advance (I've done a week even) and then just reheat before your shindig.

Reasons I have nothing to brag about:
1. "Homemade" BBQ sauce is essentially dressed-up ketchup.
2. It is not even my recipe.
3. Dry rub is easy to mix and fun to put on the meat!
4. It is not even my recipe.
5. Mixing arugula & mango together & calling it a salad was Christine Fullerton's idea; though I did add the lime juice. But really, you just have to try it!!!
6. I will brag anyway. :)





  1. Oh, my husband did the actual grilling btw. It was lowest setting on our Charbroil RED for about 2 hrs. He put the corn on maybe 30 minutes.

  2. Angie this looks great! I was just looking for a homemade BBQ sauce this past weekend (using my slow cooker for the first time). How long did you cook your pork for? And on low or high?

  3. Heather - My hub grilled. I know it was on low. It was 2.5-3 hrs. We actually like them better in the oven. Imagine our surprise! After years, of making these in the oven & wishing we had a grill --- we move to a real house, get a grill & find we like them the old way. --- Our oven method is: foil packets on 2 cookie sheets - 1 hr 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Rotate cookie sheets about 45 minutes in. Put a little lemon & soy & stock in the foil packs.
    I'd like to try the grill again though. It may just have been a newness - they tasted more smoked than grilled. Maybe I need to try on high.