Get the barbecue fired up!

Ralph Marrone carves tri-tip at a barbecue at the Carson City Community Center.  BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal

Ralph Marrone carves tri-tip at a barbecue at the Carson City Community Center. BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal

Just when you think that you'll be outside barbecuing for the rest of the summer, we have a chilly weekend like this past week, and before you know it, you're making chicken soup and baking cookies.

I mentioned to Ralph that maybe we could turn on the heat, and after all his coughing and choking, I knew that wasn't going to happen so the next best thing was cranking up the stove.

With warmer weather on the horizon, any meat cooked outside on the barbecue makes for an easy couple of dinners. Plan ahead while you've got the coals or gas going and cook enough for two dinners. Chicken, tri-tip, steak or grilled fish can be served cold on a sandwich or in a salad for a quick supper.

Add a trip to Wednesday's farmers market at the Pony Express Pavilion in Mills Park for any of the fresh produce and vegetables that are available right now, and you're all set for some easy meals.

This marinade recipe that I'm going to share with you comes from my dad. He really wasn't much of a cook, but he liked to barbecue a seven-bone chuck steak, and this is the recipe he always used.

Ralph uses this recipe every year for the 500 pounds of tri-tip he and Roger Sayre cook for the Hospital Auxiliary Cowboy Poetry dinner. It's easy to make, and you can use it in 15 minutes or let the meat marinate two hours or overnight.

It starts with a package of McCormick Meat Marinade, and I follow the directions on the back of the package with a few additions.


1/4 cup oil

2 T. red wine vinegar

1 T. water

2 T. red wine

1 T. soy sauce (I use light)

This is a very versatile marinade; you can add more or less of anything. Just a reminder, when you are slicing tri-tip, be sure and slice your meat against the grain.

This recipe has been around for ages and is known by several names: Texas Brownies, Buttermilk Brownies and Diana's Chocolate Sheet Cake.

Whatever you call them, they are delicious and easy to make. They can serve however many people you want by cutting them bigger or smaller. They travel well, and you can dress them up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some fresh assorted berries.

Texas Brownies

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Droste, Dutch Processed)

1 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1 cup butter or margarine

1 cup water

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour a 15-by-10 inch cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with sides.

In large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, soda and salt. In small pot, bring butter and water to a boil. Stir into sugar mixture. Whisk in buttermilk, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan (batter will be thin).

Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Frost while warm, let cool, and cut into desired pieces.

Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 cups powdered sugar or more if needed

Chopped walnuts for sprinkling on top of cake

Heat butter and buttermilk, add cocoa and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth consistency. Spread on warm cake. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

n Linda Marrone has lived in Carson City since 1973, and with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone's Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin's Cookin' Catering.


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