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Friday, October 9, 2009

A Fall BBQ in the Mountains

We have been fortunate enough to be invited to stay at the lovely North Carolina mountain home of our friends Richard and Blair on several occasions. Having been there at different times of the year, I can say without reservation that my favorite time to go is in the early Fall when the leaves are just beginning to show their incredible colors and there is a bit of a chill in the air.

There are so many things I love about the area (near West Jefferson) and so many things we love to do when we are there: antiquing (Blair calls it "junking"), going to the Ashe County cheese shop, kayaking, walking, or just sitting around with a good book. Our cell phones don't work there and there is no cable or satellite, so it's a great place to unplug and unwind. You don't realize how stressed you are until you get away from it all, and being there always does us a world of good!

On our most recent trip to "the cabin", we had a BBQ with R & B and some of their friends, David and Virginia. Richard, who is quite a talented cook, made some incredible ribs with a spicy rub that were truly worthy of much finger-licking. Blair, who is also accomplished in the kitchen, made some beautifully caramelised green beans, and (good German girl that she is) some roasted red potatoes that were crispy and golden brown on the outside, and creamy and warm on the inside. They were potato perfection! Virginia, another foodie and fantastic cook, brought some awesome heirloom tomatoes, and an absolutely gorgeous salad with organic greens and edible flowers from her garden. The nasturtium and chive blossoms she used made the salad almost too pretty to eat, but we all gave in to temptation and emptied the bowl!
We ate out on the deck in the cool evening air, with the sounds of vintage James Taylor tunes wafting out from the living room. Between the excellent food, good wine, and great company, we had a wonderful time. I don't think there is a restaurant in the world that can beat a simple meal, expertly prepared, and enjoyed among the company of friends. As always, thanks to Richard and Blair for sharing their mountain retreat with us, and thanks to all the cooks whose hands contributed to another memorable meal!

Here is the rub recipe Richard used for the ribs, which he says was adapted from Cook's Illustrated:
Finger-Licking Spicy Rib Rub
1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Coat each rack of ribs with 1-2 tbsp rub and pat to adhere; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Cooking time is 4 - 6 hours over low (250 F) indirect heat. Notes: Use a mortar and pestle to grind any large spices to a powder, or use a spice grinder. If using kosher salt, increase the measurement by 1 tsp and then grind it fine. Can use more cayenne if desired. Can use dark brown sugar if a little Molasses flavor is desired.

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Chow and Chatter said...

wow great times and good food, love NC mountains would you like to do a guest post for me something on NC food?

Penny said...

Sure Rebecca...that would be fun!

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"In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom."

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