Late last year, my best friend and I cooked up an amazing meal which I promised to blog about. But somehow I never got around to it, and it seems like in the blink of an eye almost a year has passed. Well, for my nephew and I’s combined birthday party this year, his mom (my best friend) and I decided to have another BBQ which gives me the perfect opportunity now to finally tell you about these super tasty dishes.
The idea for this BBQ originally came from a fabulous cookbook I’d been reading at the time: What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davies. Her recipes sound so delicious and are so beautifully photographed that my friend and I thought we should do a whole dinner of them. That was the original idea, but then we couldn’t find the right time to have the BBQ. We’d decided on and bought the ribs already, and we’d planned several other dishes as well. But then it was nearly November without the BBQ happening, so we ended up making the ribs for just ourselves when our hubbies went to Man Camp.
As it turned out, the ribs were the only recipe we made from that book (though I’d still love to make many more of the other recipes). The rest of the menu we tweaked to fit our tastes (as opposed to serving husbands as well) and the season. (We didn’t want ice cream in November.) Still, the ribs were our initial inspiration, and they were certainly a success. Though they’re time-consuming, they don’t actually take a lot of work. And you’re certainly rewarded with some tender, wonderfully flavored meat.
Barbecued Ginger Ale Pork Ribs (from What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davies)
2 lb. pork baby back ribs (Both times, we’ve bought St. Louis ribs because they were on sale. They worked out just as well.)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. bbq sauce
1 seeded, thinly sliced red chile
3 c. ginger ale
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the ribs and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming off the fat occasionally.
- Preheat the oven to 315 degrees. With a sturdy pair of tong, remove the ribs from the water and place them on a large roasting pan. Season them with salt and pepper.
- In a bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients. Pour the mix over the ribs, then bake them for 2 hours, turning them over halfway, basting with the glaze every 15 minutes. (They really won’t look right until the last couple of times, but just trust the process.)
- Serve the ribs sprinkled with extra chile slices, sea salt, and sesame seeds.
Because the ribs use ginger ale, we decided to make a nice drink that would use up the rest of it. I found this simple and easy mocktail recipe which turned out to be very refreshing.
Mango-Ginger Mocktails (from the June 2007 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray)
4 c. chilled ginger ale
4 c. chilled mango nectar
1/3 c. lemon juice
- Just before serving, mix together all the ingredients in a large pitcher. Serve over ice.
For the original get-together, my best friend and I made this delicious quinoa salad inspired by Mexican street corn. It was very easy to make and quite tasty.
Summer Grilled Mexican Street Corn Quinoa Salad (from Half Baked Harvest)
1 c. rinsed quinoa
4 ears husked corn
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. softened butter
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 red bell peppers
2-4 chopped green onions
1 c. halved grape or cherry tomatoes
1/4 c. sliced basil leaves
4 slices cooked, chopped bacon
1/2 c. crumbled cotija
- Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions. Preheat the grill to its highest setting. Brush the corn with the oil and season it with salt and pepper. Wrap the corn in foil and grill it 5 minutes per side. Also grill the bell peppers and jalapenos.
- In a small bowl, combine the 2 tbsp. cilantro, paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper. In another small bowl, mix together the butter and half the seasoning mix.
- Once the corn is grilled, bush it all over with the butter, let cool, and slice off the cob. Slice the peppers and place the in a large bowl with the corn. Add in the quinoa, remaining spice mix, 1/4 c. cilantro, basil, green onions, tomatoes, and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Toss well and add in the bacon and cotija.
(We didn’t realize til after dinner that we forgot to add in the tomatoes.)
Now my husband’s not too fond of quinoa, so when we had our BBQ this past weekend, we decided to try a different salad. This one focuses just on the corn and the Mexican flavors. While the quinoa salad is tasty, this one is incredible. It just had so much flavor. Like the previous salad, this is a cinch to whip up. We actually doubled the recipe, but there were hardly any leftovers. If you do decide to double it, I would suggest not doubling the jalapeno, cilantro, onion, or garlic. We didn’t double those, and the flavor level was perfect.
Mexican Street Corn Salad (from Six Sisters Stuff)
1 16 oz. bag frozen corn
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. mayo
3-4 oz. crumbled cotija (All the cotija I’ve tried here is lacking in flavor. For this salad, we used grated Parmesan, which was perfect!)
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno
1/3 c. finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp. finely chopped red onion (You know I left this out.)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp. chili powder
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the corn and let it cook, stirring occasionally, til it chars.
- In a large bowl, stir together all the remaining ingredients. Once it’s done, fold in the corn.
And of course, you can’t have a party without dessert. After we scrapped the ice cream idea, we decided to make an apple fritter cake I’d been eyeing for a while. This was really an easy recipe that used basic ingredients to turn out a super tasty cake that really did taste almost exactly like an apple fritter (without any hassle or frying!). The only change I made was to make 1 1/2 times the glaze recipe, so that there would be plenty of it (I left the original quantity in the recipe.). :)
Apple Fritter Cake (from Macaroni & Cheesecake)
For the cake:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch allspice
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. melted butter
3 peeled, cored, diced apples
For the topping:
1/2 c. softened butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
For the glaze:
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
2 1/2 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; grease and set aside a 9×9 pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour (1 1/2 c.), baking powder, cinnamon (1/8 tsp.), nutmeg, allspice, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Add in the sugar, milk (3/4 c.), egg, and vanilla (1 tsp.) til incorporated. Stir in the melted butter til incorporated; spread evenly in the pan and top with the apples.
- In a small bowl, stir together the softened butter, brown sugar, flour (1 tbsp.), and cinnamon (1 1/2 tsp.). Drop by spoonfuls over the apples, then spread out with a spatula.
- Bake 40 minutes or til golden brown with the topping set and the center no longer jiggly. Let cool on a wire rack.
- In another small bowl, stir together the confectioner’s sugar, milk (2 1/2 tbsp.), and vanilla (1/2 tsp.) into a glaze consistency. Pour on the cake after it’s cooled for 20 minutes.
There it is! I’ve finally caught up on the oldest recipes I needed to share with you. What have you been procrastinating on? ;)