Happy belated 4th of July! What a perfect holiday to gather with friends and family to share a great meal, watch some fireworks and toast the birthday of our country. That’s certainly what I did, enjoying time in the gorgeous Lake Tahoe region of California. We chose the house we rented for two reasons – it’s on the waterfront with easy access to the beach and a great view of the water, and because it has a gourmet kitchen. Considering all 10 of the folks in our group love to cook (and eat!), the kitchen selection was really important, and trust me, we put it to good use!
Throughout the week we were there, we made everything from grilled ribeye steaks with Caesar salad, an Asian-inspired menu, BBQ’d chicken, pulled pork, steak tacos, and Jamaican jerk pork tenderloin with a rice and black bean salad. But of course the highlight meal of the week were the BBQ’d ribs we served on the 4th, along with corn on the cob and my mom’s potato salad. A truly all-American menu.
Both the BBQ sauce and the potato salad are my mom’s recipes (check out her earlierguest blog post!), but she loves to share her great ideas and her great food with others, so I’ll be sharing both recipes here. For the ribs, we started with a dry rub made with a variety of chile powders, salt, pepper, cumin, celery seed and a bit of brown sugar. We slow-cooked the ribs on indirect heat at a low temperature (about 300) for just over 3 hours so that they were tender and the meat practically fell off the bone. During the last 20 minutes or so, we basted with the BBQ sauce, which is dark, rich, spicy and not at all sweet. Here is my mom’s secret recipe:
Mom’s BBQ Sauce
Tobasco or other hot sauce to taste
Simply blend all ingredients and allow to sit for at least one hour before use, to allow the dried onions to rehydrate and for the flavors to meld. Feel free to play with the proportions a bit to get the flavor you like best.
Mom’s Potato Salad
This is a creamy, savory potato salad that our family thinks is the best out there. This makes enough for 4-6 servings.
12 medium red potatoes
2-3 stalks celery, diced
4 radishes, diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup parsley, minced
4 hard boiled eggs, divided
parsley sprigs and paprika for garnish
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
6 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Boil the potatoes (with the skin on) until tender. Meanwhile, hard boil the eggs, chop/dice the vegetables, mince the parsley, make the dressing and set aside.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, but still warm, cut them into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl big enough to hold the completed salad. As you add the potatoes to the bowl, salt & pepper them and add a bit of dressing for each layer so that the potatoes absorb some of the dressing. Allow the potato mixture to cool to room temperature, then add the celery, radishes, scallions and parsley. Peel and chop 3 of the hard boiled eggs, and add to the potatoes. Mix gently. Taste and add more dressing to taste (you may not use all of it), adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Slice the remaining hard boiled egg into thin rounds, and decorate the top of the salad with them. Sprinkle salad with paprika to add color, and garnish with a few parsley sprigs. Cover and chill salad in the refrigerator for at least one hour, then serve.
I hope you enjoy my mom’s fantastic recipes at your own family gathering sometime this summer. Do let me know how it turns out and if you found your own ways to personalize the recipes.
Happy 4th and Bon Appetit!