Ginger Beer Spare Ribs

A Feteful Life: Ginger Beer Spare Ribs

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

Ingredients
– 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

Directions
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.

A Feteful Life: Ginger Beer Spare Ribs

A Feteful Life: Ginger Beer Spare Ribs

A Feteful Life: Ginger Beer Spare Ribs

A Feteful Life: Ginger Beer Spare Ribs

Cocktail Hour: Carmelized Lemonade

A Feteful Life: Carmelized Lemonade

So, my intent was to actually make grilled lemonade. We’ve started to have some really beautiful weather in DC and I couldn’t wait to get the grilling going (neither could Suz — did you SEE that grilled flank steak yesterday? YUM). I’ve also really been loving Meyer lemons lately and decided to try those for the drink. I prepped everything and went up to turn on the grill … only to find that we had no propane — ack! No worries, I pulled out my trusty grill pan and decided to try it stovetop. And it worked. Except that instead of grilling them, the shallow pan filled up with the sugary lemon juice and caramelized them. I’m actually not a huge fan of sweet drinks and this was SWEET. I tried cutting it a variety of ways and liked best when I used half caramelized lemons and half regular lemons to make the drink. And even though I intended to make a mocktail, adding an ounce of vodka to my glass on one occasion also helped (in more ways than one). I think one time I’ll try regular lemons and see how it works out. Grilled or Carmelized. Sweet or Balanced. It was pretty delicious all ways.

Carmelized Lemonade (based off of Food Network’s Grilled Lemonade)

Ingredients
16 Meyer (or regular) lemons, halved
1 1/2 cups sugar (1/4 cup for dipping lemons)
1 3/4 cups water
pinch of salt

Directions

To make a pitcher, dip the cut sides of 8 halved lemons in sugar and grill on pan until marked, about 5 minutes; let cool. Simmer 1 1/4 cups sugar with 1 3/4 cups water and a pinch of salt until dissolved; let cool. Squeeze the grilled and regular lemons through a strainer into a pitcher; stir in the sugar syrup, some ice and a few of the grilled lemons.

For another twist, try using rosemary simple syrup or to turn your lemonade into a delicious cocktail, add 1-2 ounces of vodka to each serving glass.

A Feteful Life: Carmelized Lemonade

A Feteful Life: Carmelized Lemonade

A Feteful Life: Carmelized Lemonade

Grilled Flank Steak

A Feteful Life: Faye's Flank Steak

I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and some of my fondest memories as a kid are playing in our backyard with my sister as my Dad and Mom sat on our back porch grilling dinner. There was something about the wonderfully fresh smell of summer in western Pennsylvania combined with the savory smell of a steak cooking on the grill.

A Feteful Life: Three Rivers Cookbook

One of our family favorites was a grilled flank steak from The Three Rivers cookbook: Faye’s Flank Steak.┬áThis cookbook was first published in 1973 and my mom still has her original copy – it is all torn and tattered and lovely. There are three other books in the series and they all hold a recipe or two by which I can define my childhood.

A Feteful Life: Faye's Flank SteakThis marinade is so easy and is made up of ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. I always make my marinades in a plastic bag resting in a bowl or pyrex measuring cup to keep cleanup easy. Once the marinade ingredients are added to the bag, I zip it up and give it a good shake to make sure everything is well combined before adding the steak. I let the steak lay flat in the marinade and keep the bag in a baking pan to catch any liquid that might leak out of the bag.

A Feteful Life: Faye's Flank Steak

Waiting… it’s the hardest part with recipes like this but it is critical. Let the steak rest a minimum of 5 minutes after coming off the grill before slicing. Then slice the steak into fairly think cuts (1/4″ max) against the grain. I like to serve this flank steak with a salad or those yummy rosemary potatoes I posted a few months ago. Now get outside and get grilling.

A Feteful Life: Faye's Flank Steak

Faye’s Flank Steak (from Three Rivers Cookbook I)

Ingredients

1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons vinegar (I use cider vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 chopped onion
1 flank steak

Directions

Combine all ingredients, except steak. Add the steak to the marinade and marinate the steak a minimum of 8-12 hours. Cook 3 to 5 minutes on each side, depending on whether you want your meat rare or medium-well.

Date Night In: Rooftop Bistro

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:

A Feteful Life: Date Night In - Rooftop Bistro

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)