Choosing the meat is the first chore. I picked up a rack of grass-fed beef ribs from a CSA in Long Island City where the meat is provided by Lewis Waite Farms. http://www.lewiswaitefarm.com/csa.html
Nick and Joe picked up another rack of pork ribs from Topps Supermarket in Williamsburg along with a six pack of Stella. They start with a homemade rub made by grinding mustard seed, brown sugar, peppercorns and salt in our molcajete.
Then they slow smoked the meat starting at around noon for about 4 hours at 200 degrees. This is a long day of labor that entails checking the meat, talking about the meat, playing music and drinking beer. That leaves me to come up with some complimentary sides.
Buttermilk Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Chives
This is a nice fall variation on our regular mashed potatoes. Sweet potatoes can be a little intense for a mashed potato dish so I like to mix them with a white or gold potato. In this case, I used three small, red russian potatoes to one large sweet potato. If you have never had or seen a red russian potato it looks like your standard red potato but has golden flesh like a yukon gold.
You want to cook the potatoes until they are soft, not just cooked through. Then you will get a nice creamy consistency. Add a pat of butter, salt, pepper, buttermilk and chives, then blend with a hand mixer.
Roasted Eggplant and Yellow Tomatoes
If there is any thing that tastes like the end of summer (although I know it is early fall) it is this dish). The tomatoes and eggplant paired with basil are bright and fresh tasting. They pair nicely with the richness of the meat and potatoes.
First I drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of the a baking dish. Then I start layering slices of eggplant and tomatoes, giving a little drizzle of olive oil again on top and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Then I top that with basil leaves and sprinkle with parmesan cheese (mozzarella would also work nicely). Repeat three times lasagna style. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.
Our friends Kevin and Kate made an incredible bagna cauda. Bagna cauda is an Italian crudite with a dipping sauce made from garlic, olive oil and anchovy.
Eggs and veggies for the bagna cauda.
Before the meat was brought out we had to admire the sides. From top left, buttermilk mashed sweet potatoes, spicy quinoa salad (made by Joe who is sitting on the left.), the covered dish is the eggplant and tomatoes, and the bagna cauda is in the saucepan surrounded by goodies to dip in it.
The main course is bought to the table!
Sometimes eating at home is better than eating out.