Contrary to my last post, where I was extolling the virtues of planning meals to save money, I have to admit that I also love that last-minute rush of creating something spontaneously.
We got really lucky this year as West Stockbridge, the small Berkshire town where I live, decided to host a weekly farmer’s market. This means that every Thursday, I get to walk down the street and see what can be made for dinner from only farmer’s market offerings. This past week, since the market and the summer season are new, there still weren’t that many vendors, and the pickings were light. Since my refrigerator was bare from my new commitment to eating everything I have before buying more food, this week’s Thursday dinner would be interesting.
Shopping at farmer’s markets are fun, and my partner Jim and I enjoyed talking to the farmers and producers. We came home with some beautiful ribs (something we rarely make but the local farmer who was selling it was so sweet that we couldn’t resist). We also discovered a local woman who was making fresh tempeh, so we bought some of that so there would be a vegetarian choice on the table as well. Some fresh broccolini, bread, and strawberries later and we were whistling our way home. Now what to do with this stuff?
I’m not a big meat eater and thus not much of a meat cook at all. However, I know enough to understand that barbeque sauce goes great on everything, so that became my plan. Now, if only I had some barbeque sauce…. A quick rummage through the refrigerator door and my cabinets magically revealed something much better than bottled barbeque sauce: It revealed all the ingredients necessary to make fresh sauce!
I’ll admit that I like my cooking most of the time, but every once and a while, I get giddy when I whip something up from scratch that I don’t usually make and it turns out fantastic. My barbeque sauce this week was just that. Both the ribs and the tempeh … we LOVED it!
Of course, it was after the fact that I realized I should have written down the recipe. But as I didn’t measure, that unfortunately didn’t happen. As a reminder to myself, and as a jumping off point for you, here’s my best recollection of the kick-butt barbeque sauce that I prepared from the condiments in my refrigerator. Just don’t hold me to the exact quantities! Instead, use it as a guide and play around with the balance of tomato, molasses, vinegar, and some heat. I love smoked paprika, but perhaps you like chili powder and cayenne or Tabasco sauce.
Once your sauce is made, use it first to marinate the meat or tempeh, keeping a bit for basting. Use an outdoor grill or even a sauté pan (which will need a touch of oil in it). Grill on one side, flip, and grill on the other, adding more sauce as you see fit. Yum!
I’d love to hear about the special ingredients for your favorite summertime barbeque.
Deb’s “wow-this-turned-out-great!” barbeque sauce
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup blackstrap molasses
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1–2 tablespoons organic sugar
1 tablespoon grape-seed oil
Some smoked paprika
Salt to taste