When family comes together, we embrace traditions, especially food. Those signature dishes by aunts, uncles and cousins have stories and evoke memories that satisfy as deeply as the flavors.
Spicy Barbecue Ribs
This recipe, adapted from grilling expert and TV chef Robert Rainford, has layers of flavor.
Makes 8 servings.
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 racks pork baby back ribs
2 cups pineapple juice
2 tablespoons hot-pepper sauce
1 tablespoon minced ginger
½ cup ketchup
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
To make rub: In bowl, combine rub ingredients; mix well. Rub mixture all over ribs; place in large sealable food storage bags. Marinate in refrigerator 4 hours.
To make barbecue sauce: In saucepan, combine juice, hot-pepper sauce and ginger. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium. Add remaining ingredients; continue cooking until slightly thick. Remove ribs from storage bag; bring to room temperature. Prepare grill for indirect grilling; heat to high on one side. If using charcoal, wait until coals have turned to white ash. Place ribs over high heat and sear. Reduce heat to 200°F; close lid. Cook about 2 hours, turning ribs after 1 hour. Cook and baste with sauce for additional 45 minutes. Ribs are done when meat has pulled back from bones. Remove ribs from grill; let rest 15 minutes before cutting.
Lemon-Garlic Grilled Vegetables
Makes 10 side-dish servings.
½ cup olive oil
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 to 4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
10 baby carrots, with tops trimmed
2 large zucchini, cut diagonally crosswise or quartered lengthwise
2 small yellow crookneck squash, cut crosswise or lengthwise
1 large red onion, sliced crosswise
1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into chunks
3 ears corn, husks and silk removed, cut into 1-to-2-inch rounds
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed
In medium-size bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Place vegetables in baking dish; brush all sides with marinade. Refrigerate 2 hours. Prepare grill (medium-high heat). Grill veggies about 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Transfer them to a platter; garnish with herbs. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Coconut Layer Cake With Lemon Filling
Makes about 16 servings.
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup prepared lemon curd
1 to 2 containers butter cream frosting or favorite recipe
3 cups sweetened flaked dried coconut
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-by-2½-inch round cake pans. In bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and baking soda, mixing well. In large mixer bowl, at medium speed, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in extracts. One at a time, beat in eggs. Alternately beat in flour and buttermilk, ending with flour. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down bowl.
Pour batter into prepared cake pans; smooth tops with spatula. Bake until wooden pick inserted into centers of layers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely on racks. Meanwhile, prepare frosting or use ready-made. On cake plate or stand, place first layer top side down. Spread with half of lemon curd. Add second layer top side down; spread with remaining lemon curd. Add third layer top side up. Frost sides and top of cake with frosting; sprinkle sides and top with coconut.