First, a mini update on the kitchen reno adventure … a couple of old walls are out and a few new ones are in. In addition, some of the drywall was replaced. As you can imagine, it’s been a bit dusty around here. Coming next, I’m about to wield my paintbrush and roller. I’m not worried about the walls but I’m a bit intimidated by the ceiling. Intimidated but not thwarted, I’m ready to roll away. Getting rid of the popcorn ceiling was so worth it. By the time you read this, Bruce and Co. will be installing the new counters.
For those of you who are not in the middle of a kitchen renovation, now is an excellent time for a harvest celebration. At least in New Hampshire, the fields are at their most abundant. The local farmstand is overflowing with tomatoes, corn, beans, beets, summer squash and more, lots more. Plus, you can enjoy some or all of the party outside. (Be sure to tell your friends to bring a sweater.)
Do your sun dance. With any luck, it will be warm enough and dry enough to enjoy cocktails on the deck. If you like, invent a signature cocktail for the party. Create a Harvest Bellini with Prosecco and plum purée. Or think grog and whip up an adventurous cocktail of rum and apple cider with a dash of maple syrup. For nibbles, you can go to town on a favorite appetizer or two. Alternatively, take it easy and set out a few nuts and some olives. Add a wedge of cheese, thinly sliced dried sausage and some fruit.
The sun dips behind the hill early these days and the evenings are growing cool. You might want to take dinner inside. After a summer of grilling, perhaps you’ll be delighted to turn on the oven and roast a chicken, some salmon or a tenderloin of pork or beef. Do roast up some of those beautiful beets, carrots and cute little potatoes that are filling the farmstand. If you’re not ready to give up the grill, that’s okay too. I don’t really blame you. A rack of ribs sounds pretty darn good. Don’t forget to throw a few ears of corn on too. Since the fire is already going, you must grill up some romaine for a terrific salad.
By the way, even if you cook outside, you might want to eat inside. Keep your decorations simple. There is no need to go all Martha Stewart with a bunch of hay bales and dozens of pumpkins. It’s a little early for pumpkins. They’re an October thing. No, for September, I’d go with sunflowers, lots of sunflowers. They are both cheery and in season.
Since the sun goes down at about seven, you can bring out the candles. As we all know women look best by candlelight. As for those floodlights in the backyard, skip them; they’re for bears and burglars. String up some of those little Christmas lights that have been sitting in a tangle in your garage since January. Or was it February or March when you finally took them down? Believe me, I’m not judging. Last Christmas, I wound a few strings around the tree and that was all I could manage. Anyway, this summer I put a couple of strings outside above the terrace. They are lovely.
While it’s a good idea to eat dinner inside, a campfire will make a perfect ending to an already fabulous harvest celebration. After all, what could be better (and easier) than s’mores for dessert? Give a look around the house and collect all those old blankets you’ve been meaning to take to the Salvation Army. Light the fire pit, cozy up with a blanket in an Adirondack or beach chair and star gaze with good friends and a gooey s’more.
Happy harvest and bon appétit!
1 cup hoisin sauce
4 cloves garlic
1/4 onion, roughly chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon or to taste Sriracha
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 lime
8 pounds baby back ribs
Hoisin Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)
Make the marinade: put the hoisin sauce, garlic, onion, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar and Sriracha in a small food processor or blender and pulse to finely chop and combine. Add the white wine and lime juice and process until well combined.
Cut each slab of ribs in half or three pieces. Put the ribs and marinade into a large re-sealable plastic bag (you may need more than 1 bag) and marinade for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the ribs from the re-sealable bag and, slathering with marinade, wrap the pieces in a double thickness of aluminum foil. Place the ribs meaty side up in a single layer on rimmed baking sheets and slide into the oven.
Reduce the heat to 250 degrees and roast for 3-3 1/2 hours. Carefully remove the ribs from the foil, save the juices and cool completely.
Can be baked ahead, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Heat the grill to medium-high. Brush the ribs with the reserved juices and Hoisin Barbecue Sauce and grill, turning once, until heated through and nicely charred, about 5 minutes per side.
Cut into individual ribs, pile them on a platter or individual plates and serve with more Hoisin Barbecue Sauce.
Hoisin Barbecue Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon or to taste Sriracha
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
Lightly coat a saucepan with oil and heat on medium. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 2-3 minutes more.
Add the hoisin sauce, ketchup, sherry, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and Sriracha and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes.
Cool to room temperature, transfer to a blender or small food processor and process until smooth. Add the sesame oil and lime juice and pulse to combine.
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One Year Ago – Curried Carrot Soup
Two Years Ago – Warm Gorgonzola with Caramelized Onions & Walnuts
Three Years Ago – Baked Haddock with Fresh Tomatoes & Herbs
Four Years Ago – Pumpkin-Ginger Muffins
Five Years Ago – Roast Pork with Apples & Onions
Six Years Ago – Lemon Roasted Salmon with Beurre Blanc
Seven Years Ago – Wild Mushroom Soup
Eight Years Ago – Rustic Apple Tart
Nine Years Ago – Oktoberfest Sausages & Sauerkraut
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
Do you have any Harvest Party advice to add? Feel free to share!
Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2017