I’ll be honest. You’re gonna want to make out with these ribs. And they almost didn’t even happen.
Ever since we had the most incredibly delicious ginger beer pork chops in Jamaica, I’ve been wanting to make some version of ginger beer pork. I had my heart all set on slow cooked pulled pork, but the recipe I made just didn’t work out. And it didn’t look appetizing at all in photos. I was bummed. Then we went to our local Farmer’s Market this past Saturday and spotted some yummy looking pork spare ribs. I still had ginger beer left, so my mind got to spinning. I promptly came home and looked through all sorts of ginger beer and spare rib recipes. And came up with THE BEST and insanely simple ginger beer spare ribs. Seriously, people. Get. On. This.
Ginger Beer Spare Ribs
– 2 lbs pork spare ribs*
– 1/8 cup jerk seasoning
– 1 1/2 bottles ginger beer
– 1/2 bottle ketchup
– olive oil for brushing grill
1. Preheat oven to 325 F and fire up your grill. Carefully brush grill with olive oil. Generously coat spare ribs with jerk seasoning. Grill ribs 3-4 minutes each side, until they’ve got a good sear.
2. Place seared ribs in a large roasting pan. Whisk ginger beer and ketchup together in a large bowl. Pour mixture over ribs. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
3. Place covered ribs into oven for 3 1/2 – 4 hours (I checked mine at 3 1/2 hours and the meat was already falling off the bone).
4. Remove pan from oven and transfer ribs to a large platter. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Pour sauce into a medium saucepan and bring to rolling boil. Boil for 5 – 10 minutes, reduce heat and simmer for another 20 minutes.
5. Serve ribs warm with sauce.
*I did roughly 1 lb/person, but keep in mind that spare ribs typically don’t have a ton of meat on them. So if you’ve got lots of people or just a small number of hungry people, I’d go up on that number.
I usually keep my soup eating to the fall and winter — there’s an obvious exception like gazpacho, which is served cold — but a warm soup on a warm day? Yes, I have one soup that will make me cross this culinary divide: this fresh summer corn chowder. The original recipe calls for frozen corn (which is what I use when I make this soup in the fall or winter) but with all of the fresh corn piling up at the farmer’s market and grocery store, I substitute some fresh raw corn for the frozen stuff. Another summer modification is the addition of some fresh peppery arugula when I serve the soup. It’s definitely an optional step but it’s one that I love (I might have an arugula addiction, so take this advice with a grain of salt). The arugula wilts a bit when mixed with the warm soup and adds such a burst of freshness to the soup. Give it a try, I promise you won’t regret it!
Chicken & Cheddar Corn Chowder (adapted from Cooking Light)
2-4 slices of bacon
1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 3/4 cup yukon gold potatoes, skinned & diced
2 cups fresh corn, shucked & kernels removed (about 6 ears of corn)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 – 2 cups of arugula (optional)
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Crumble; set aside. Add chicken, onion, bell pepper, and garlic to bacon fat in pan; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth and potatoes; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add corn; stir well.
Place flour in a bowl. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended; add to soup. Cook over medium heat 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper. Top with crumbled bacon and arugula (optional).
We live in the middle of the city without a yard to spare (thank god for the parking spot that lives in our former backyard!), but we have a tiny outdoor space on our roof deck that we make serious use of in the warmer months. It could use some sprucing up — at the moment it’s a mix of grilling area/nice outdoor sectional/a formerly nice steel table covered in “washable window crayons”/24,000 army men, insect toys, tiny water cups — but once I do a few things, I’m really looking forward to having a date night in at our own rooftop bistro. Over the years, my husband and I have realized that the key to a good date night (at home or out on the town) is: (1) good, but not overly filling, food; (2) a few drinks, but not too many that I fall asleep at 10; and (3) the ability to have actual conversation, which hopefully isn’t all about our kids. And I think my idea of a rooftop bistro date covers all three. Here’s how:
1. When we first decorated our roof deck, I had bistro string lights (like these) all around the perimeter. They hit the road when the kids showed up, but I think it’s time to bring them back. It’s like instant romance.
2. A new intimate dining table is definitely in order and I love this marble and chrome Wayfair table paired with IKEA’s URBAN chair.
3. Date night in at our house doesn’t start until after the kids have gone to bed, so I really like the idea of working cooking time into the date by grilling pizza together. The Kitchn has a great cooking lesson on getting it right and I’m dying to try The Bitten Word’s carmelized-onion and gorgonzola grilled pizza.
4. While the pizza is grilling, I’d love to sip these Italian Sangria Floats.
5. I imagine that the patterns cast about by these mercury tea light holders from WestElm would look so pretty at night.
6. While we’ve never been to Italy together, we spent a great mini-vacation last summer in Boston and had a fabulous time exploring the city’s South End — particularly testing out the pastries from several Italian bakeries to find our favorite treats. Modern Pastry won and when he can, my husband sweetly brings back rainbow cookies and cannoli from there when he travels on business. I’ll have to figure out how to ship these in for date night.
7. A little Italian Love Songs from Dino can’t hurt (find it here or on Spotify too)
On a paleo cheat
between holidays month, weekend, errr, day not too long ago, I had a super yummy carrot ginger soup at brunch that was out of this world. But I knew it was cream-based and, while techncally still chock full of vegetables, was most certainly not healthy. I went in search of a version that would work for paleo foodies and found this. This soup is so incredibly easy, so warming, so versatile, and so not bad for you. It’s kind of crazy. I made a huge pot one afternoon and ate it all week long, in a different way each time. Get yourself some carrots and get this done. You’ll thank me.
Carrot Ginger Soup (slightly adapted from What This Foodie Eats)
3 lbs carrots
1 large sweet onion
1 medium-sized chunk of raw ginger (you can use more or less according to your taste)
1 1/2 tbls ground coriander
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
Peel onion, ginger and carrots. Chop onion and ginger in a food processor. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and cook onions and ginger to soften. Grate carrots with a food processor. Add carrots, broth, and coriander to pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer partially covered for 30 – 40 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Add salt and pepper mid-way to taste. Puree mixture with an immersion blender (or blend in a food processor or blender).You can add an endless variety of toppings to the basic soup. My three favorites (I eat some dairy) were:
- goat cheese + green onions + balsamic vinegar drizzle (photo above)
- bacon + walnuts
- kalamata olives + feta cheese