Summer time barbecue, finally…

I am not sure how the weather has been elsewhere, but on the west coast, it has been chilly. I remember last July it was the same thing. I had no complaints, though. I was overdue with 3 and uncomfortable to the max. This week has been a great week of sunshine. Summer is finally here. We had friends come over for dinner the other night and we were able to use our new BBQ. My sister would mock me, for I have no idea how to BBQ. Marriage, did it truly have an impact on me in a stereotypical way? Man’s work, I call it. I tend to the kitchen and he tends to the BBQ. I am not complaining, I am just saying.
Here are a couple of photos of the BBQ dinner we had. Unfortunately, the photos of the meat we barbecued have been lost. With the homemade BBQ sauce, we used it on marinated steaks and on chicken. It was delish.

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Homemade BBQ Sauce


What do you do when you are going to have a BBQ and realize you have no sauce in the fridge or cupboards? Why, you make your own, of course. I have made this before, so it is kind of like cheating to some degrees, I had all the ingredients. It is a bit of a process, but it beats the preservatives and fake things that go in most BBQ sauces.

Homemade BBQ Sauce:

(From Rebar)

Ingredients:
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp whole cloves
4 all spice berries
4 cardamom pods
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chipotle puree (I don’t like smokey flavor, so I didn’t add this)
1 196ml can of tomato paste
1 bottle of dark beer

How To Play:
Combine vinegar and whole spices in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half (15 minutes). Strain out the solids and cool.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet and saute the onion until golden, adding garlic halfway through.  Sprinkle sugar into the pan and when it melts, add all of the remaining ingredients, including the vinegar.  Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and glossy.  Season to taste.  Cool and puree the sauce until smooth. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.


Enjoy.

Chapter 2


Yesterday and today I have been in my head of constant memories.  I guess it is because of the weather and the spring is resembling more of summer and it seems my brain was somehow able to consume and store more summer memories than spring ones or fall.  182.  That was an important number for me and my childhood friends.  It was ingrained into our very existence, it was our world and our safety.  Our adventures and our growth.  It embraced me as well as nurtured me into a being of calm, hyper, happy and sad.  Memories. The memory of hearing of death and cancer for the first time when my close friend lost her grandmother at a shocking young age, and seeing her 20 something year old mom crying to my mother in her kitchen.  It was hard to understand at 7 or 8 what was happening and to not understand death only brought more confusion and questions. I remember the urgency of putting on my shoes, but never fast enough with the emotions that came with playing outside with my childhood friends, Jen and Chris.  It was pure adrenaline.  Then to run up the hill a mere 2 houses away which felt like years to get there.  It was exciting. It was fun. The lemonade stands, with the occasional popcorn stand, the dressing in clown costumes and doing cartwheels as the cars drove by, screaming with determination, pleading with strangers to pull over and buy the bestest beverage in the world. The countless nights of scrubbing pitch and sap off our hands and feet.  The innumerable amounts of band-aids our moms would go through for skinned knees and elbows, or the painful sprained ankles from falling out of trees, falling off bikes, falling off homemade ramps, or falling off the blow up water bed mattresses their dad randomly would bring home from job sites.  The neighborhood parties, barbecues, and pizza nights, slip and slides, water fights, and filling burning barrels with water and remembering myself panicking I could get blood poisoning with all the rust in them. The summer never seemed to end, and probably could have continued for years more if not for transfers, divorce, death, construction, destruction, development and change.  The memories are my reminders of the delicacies of the neighborhood, the childhood, and now the parenthood in which I see a repeat in nature as well as with nurture. I understand as I watch my own kids screaming as they scramble to find their own shoes and race outside into the heated sunlight, a canvas waiting, to birth new memories in this new place in time.  I feel it, too.  The urgency to live.  The urgency to play.  The urgency to be.