Fourth of July fare: barbequed ribs and potato salad

Gee, what a surprise: For this Fourth of July celebration, we will be preparing potato salad, barbecued ribs and barbecue sauce.

Because I was born under the astrological sign of Cancer, July is always my favorite month. As we celebrate our independence on this Fourth of July holiday, it will be more meaningful than most when we gather with loved ones and friends and reflect upon the events of the years 2002 and 2003.

I have some wonderful food ideas that will help with the celebration. The potato salad, ribs and sauce will be very popular with your family and guests.

As I always say, when choosing the fresh items for the recipes, be very careful and picky. The farmers market will be open the week before this special occasion so you can purchase great food from regional growers.

When choosing the pork spare ribs, attempt to purchase natural products and ask your butcher for the St. Louis cut which is a nicely trimmed rack of ribs. My favorite supplier for natural pork is Salmon Creek Farms from Idaho, although their pigs are raised in Iowa.

Potato Salad

Serves 6

6 Yukon Gold potatoes (approximately 3 inches in diameter), peeled, diced 3U4 inch (about 4 cups)

1 medium-size sweet yellow or red onion (about 1U2 cup), finely diced

1 bunch green onions, finely chopped

3 stalks celery with leaves, finely diced

3 large ears white corn

1U2 cup black olives, finely chopped

2 jalape-o peppers, seeded, finely chopped

1U2 cup jicama, 2-inch diced

2 bunches parsley, finely chopped

3U4 cup mayonnaise

1U4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes until they are tender, being careful not to overcook them. Roast corn on the barbecue for about 10 minutes or until slightly charred; cut kernels off the cob.

In a large salad bowl, combine all of the vegetables. In a separate small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables and toss to combine.

Barbecue Sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil

1U2 cup yellow onion, finely diced

4 large cloves garlic, finely diced

2 haba-ero chilies, seeded and finely diced (Wash hands thoroughly after dicing as these chilies are extremely hot)

3U4 cup ketchup or chili sauce (I use chili sauce)

1U2 cup cider vinegar

3 T. dark molasses

2 T. brown sugar

2 T. Dijon mustard

In a saucepan, cook onion, garlic and chilies in oil until soft and slightly translucent. Add the remaining ingredients; boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until reduced by 50 percent.

Rib Seasoning

1U4 cup chili powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

4 cloves garlic

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Rub the seasoning thoroughly into both sides of the pork spare ribs. Let sit for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Heat the barbecue to medium and place ribs on the grill for 1 hour, turning often so they do not burn. If you see that they are starting to become charred or burned, remove from the grill and turn the grill to a lower temperature and allow to cool before continuing to cook the ribs.

After 1 hour, place ribs in a roasting pan with 2 bottles of dark beer (Guinness is my choice). Cover and cook in oven at 250 F. for two hours. Remove and place on the barbecue grill (medium-low) for 1U2 -1 hour. Brush with sauce.

I like to lightly brush the ribs with sauce and serve the remainder as a condiment so my guests can use it at their own discretion. Karen and I don't like our ribs overly saucy. Since we were raised in the East Bay, we are used to a drier style of ribs.

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My wine recommendation for this meal would be a nice zinfandel. I tried one from Young's Vineyard in Amador County that has a jammy and rich flavor which would go good with the sweet-and-hot barbecue sauce and potato salad.

You can also serve beer. I would suggest a new beer from Windermere called Drop Top Ale, which will be debuting around the Fourth of July weekend. For you Sierra Nevada fans, this beer may "knock your socks off."

Have a great time and cherish the freedom of choice that our veterans have fought so hard for us to have.

Charlie Abowd is the owner and chef at Adele's. He and his wife, Karen, have lived in Carson City for 22 years. Charlie is a fourth-generation restaurateur.


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