sweet & spicy ribs with potato wedges

ribs & potatoes

I know, I know — I did it again.  This time it wasn’t just a few months since I’ve posted, but almost a year! It’s not that I didn’t want to, but this past year has been crazy! If you remember this post, you remember that I made some big life changes last spring.  I can now say that I successfully completed my first year of my Ph.D. at Stony Brook, I celebrated one year with both my kitty and my new car (still so in love with both), AND some more big news — I got engaged in January! Most of you who read this blog probably know this already since I totally took over Facebook with pictures and posts about the big day. But, basically, Mike proposed in the city on my birthday weekend and everything was as perfect as could be. I have to share one picture (that most of you have seen) just because this was the best moment of my life so far…

the best moment of my life

Anyway, with all the craziness of school and starting to wedding plan, I unfortunately have barely had time to cook anything exciting.  This led me to realize that not cooking  = stress levels through the roof.  Spending half a day on the weekends preparing a fantastic dinner for my fiancé (still so fun/weird to say!), my family, or some friends is just one of the most fun and relaxing things in the world.  This year has forced me to see that I really need to make time for myself despite how busy life can get. Starting now, I am doing my best to be more committed to cooking (and I guess exercise since a girl’s gotta fit into her wedding dress!)

This past weekend it finally felt like summer, so I took Saturday to enjoy myself and do all my favorite summery things .  I spent the morning at the farmer’s market, where my best find was bottled cold brew coffee from Gentle Brew Coffee Roasters. As you can see, I re-used the bottle to hold some fresh flowers and I just find it to be adorable.  I then spent the afternoon preparing this recipe for sweet and spicy ribs that I found in June’s Bon Appetit. What says summer more than BBQ ribs!?  We enjoyed this with roasted potato wedges and my Oma’s famous cucumber salad (recipe not included here because it deserves its own post). Pair this with your favorite summer cocktail (mine is gin & tonic) and surround yourself with your favorite people and chow down outside and relax — that is what my family and I did!

Ingredients

sweet & spicy ribs

  • 2 St. Louis style ribs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper (cut this in half if you’re not a huge fan of spice!)
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

roasted potato wedges 

  • large potatoes (I used 5 which generously served 3 people)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

sugar & spiceribs are rubbed

Method

For the ribs:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine brown sugar, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt in small bowl and set aside 1/4 cup of the spice mixture.  Rub the ribs with the remaining spice mixture.  Wrap the ribs tightly in two sheets of aluminum foil and place on baking sheet.  Bake 2-3 hours, until tender. Let cool. Remove ribs from foil and save the juices by pouring into a heat proof measuring cup/bowl.

Melt butter in medium sauce pan until foaming and just starts to brown (do not burn).  Add 1/4-cup reserved spices and juices from baking the ribs. Simmer until reduced by a third.  Remove from heat and stir in apple cider vinegar.

Prepare the grill on medium high heat and oil the grate. Grill ribs, basting with sauce and turning occasionally, until charred in spots (about 5-10 minutes).  Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice between ribs and serve with remaining sauce.

Ribs can be baked one day ahead and stored in the fridge.  They should be brought to room temperature and grilled before serving.

For the potatoes:

Slice the potatoes into thin wedges. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast at 425 for 30-45 minutes, until golden brown. (After the ribs came out of the oven, I upped the temperature and tossed these babies in — the timing was perfect!)  Serve right out of the oven topped with parmesan and chopped parsley.

taters   ribs on the grilllll

Rib recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

How I eat it: with a Tanqueray and tonic outside on the porch

Enjoy! And I promise to be back soon with more recipes 🙂

the meal

sausage, fig, & spinach pizza

Grilling pizza dough = best idea ever.  Actually, grilling anything seems to make it better.  I love that smoky flavor and those charred edges that you get when you prepare a meal on the grill.  Surprisingly, everyone in my family, even my picky dad and brother, loves this sausage and fig pizza so it has become a common summer dinner.

This recipe was inspired by one that I found in Food & Wine last summer.  My mom and I made quite a few changes to the original recipe and last night I think we really perfected it. Sorry for the lack of measurements, but really you can put as much or as little of each ingredient on your pizza as you want. Take away the sausage and it makes for a yummy vegetarian pizza too!

Ingredients

Fresh pizza dough, regular or whole wheat — we use 2 store-bought packages to make 4 large “personal” pizzas

Italian hot sausage — a 1 lb. package is more than enough for 4 pizzas

Shredded mozzerella cheese 

Red onion, sliced

Olive oil

Fig preserves

Fresh spinach

Fresh basil


Method

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Boil sausages for 15-20 minutes — I learned from my mom that this assures that the sausages are thoroughly cooked, they are not something you want to eat rare!  It also reduces fat content in the sausages. Meanwhile, prepare barbeque on medium-high heat. Grill sausages until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove sausages from grill, slice, and set aside.

Heat about 1 teaspoon olive oil (enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan) in a small saute pan.  Add onions and let cook until soft, stirring often.

On a well-floured board, roll out the pizza dough to your desired shape and thickness (we like our dough pretty thick, so we roll it out to about a half inch in thickness).  Brush top with olive oil.

Grill pizza dough (side brushed with olive oil down) until golden brown, about 4 minutes.  Brush the other side with olive oil and turn over.

Top pizzas with cheese, sausage, and onions.  Cover and grill for about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and bottom is golden brown.  Remove pizzas from grill and top with fig preserves, spinach, and basil.

Recipe inspired by Food & Wine’s Grilled Sausage and Fig Pizza

How I eat it: LOTS of cheese, light on the fig preserves, & with some freshly cracked pepper on top.

For some reason our pizzas always end up in this odd, oblong shape – but hey, it doesn’t change the taste!