Getting the Party Started!

A recent backyard barbecue started with an accidental splatter and an unexpected explosion… Ed Mortka sure knows how to get the party started!

Within minutes of serving everyone their choice of libations, Ed accidentally knocked over Karen’s wine glass — luckily it was white and the spill mostly contained to the island countertop. But not more than a few more minutes went by and as Karen started unpacking her appetizer of a goat cheese spread, salsa and baguette rounds, an ear-shattering explosion pierced the air and glass went flying everywhere! The culprit? Ed simply removed the Misto spritzer and “BOOM” it exploded in his hand and glass shards littered the island and the floors, but luckily, no one was hit with any shrapnel… it was time to move the party outdoors…

Our backyard patio.
Our backyard patio.
Karen and Russ discussing the merits of grilling the baguette rounds.
Karen and Russ discussing the merits of grilling the baguette rounds.
Karen Mortkas appetizer of a goat cheese spread, salsa and grilled baguette rounds.
Karen Mortkas appetizer of a goat cheese spread, salsa and grilled baguette rounds.

It had been nearly a year since Karen and Ed visited and we cooked a paella outside on our new paella grill. This time Russ chose to make homemade baked beans (where he cobbled together two different recipes) and his infamous BBQd baby back ribs. The Mortkas contributed (other than the earlier unplanned audio/visual effects) the hors d’oeuvres and a homemade cole slaw.

Raw, spice-rubbed baby back ribs awaiting the oven.
Raw, spice-rubbed baby back ribs awaiting the oven.
Baby Back Ribs after coming out of the oven, before grilling.
Baby Back Ribs after coming out of the oven, before grilling.

Since the beans are time-intensive, he actually started the process the weekend prior. The ribs are also a several-step process, so while Russ was caught in his usual Friday nightmare-of-a-commute home, I put his famous spice rub over the rib racks, wrapped them well in tinfoil and refrigerated them overnight. On Saturday morning, on racks in rimmed cooking sheets, the ribs were placed in a 250-degree oven for two hours. Once cooled, the juices are defatted and saved to mix with Stubbs BBQ sauce for basting purposes while grilling. The wrapped ribs go back into the refrigerator until about an hour before grilling.

Basting the ribs as they grill with a mix of rib drippings and Stubb's BBQ sauce.
Basting the ribs as they grill with a mix of rib drippings and Stubb’s BBQ sauce.
Platter of grilled baby back ribs.
Platter of grilled baby back ribs.
Heirloom tomato from Shady Brook Farms with fresh purple basil from our garden.
Heirloom tomato from Shady Brook Farms with fresh purple basil from our garden.

As the sun was setting and candles were lit, we feasted on a fabulous dinner with good friends. And being primo strawberry season, Russ concocted his often-asked for homemade strawberry ice cream, served on slabs of pound cake with sliced fresh strawberries from Shady Brook Farms — which would sure give their “Dave’s” ice cream a run for the money!

Russ' homemade strawberry ice cream.
Russ’ homemade strawberry ice cream.

I guess we’ll have to think of an encore next time we visit the Mortka’s, but it might be hard to top Ed’s attention-getting display 😉

 

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