A Love Affair

4 08 2011

On Monday, Chloe made you all drool with our pictures from this month’s Eating Club. Yes, it’s ok to be jealous. Maybe one day there will be an eating club near you! (Um, that means YOU need to start one!) 🙂

Anyhow, Chloe mentioned that I made ribs for our berry-themed meal. Who associates ribs with berries? Me apparently. I was worried that we’d have a lack of main entrees for our Berry BBQ, so I did some searching on Tastespotting, and came up with a recipe from The Feral Kitchen for Strawberry Chipotle Beef Ribs. We’re not going to talk about that blog’s name right now, but I decided that THIS would be my recipe.

I was being pretty ambitious selecting this recipe because A) it required me to make my own barbeque sauce, which I’ve never done and B) it required me to make ribs, which I’ve never done either.

But, as soon as I saw that the recipe included Dr. Pepper, I knew I had to make it.

Confession: I have always had a thing for Dr. Pepper. I don’t drink a lot of soda, but if I need a caffeine boost and coffee won’t cut it, Diet Dr. Pepper is my beverage of choice. However, one time while visiting my cousin in North Carolina, I discovered Cheerwine.


If you have never tried Cheerwine, drive (or fly) yourself to the closest quickie mart in North Carolina and grab a 6-pack. It’s like Dr. Pepper…but, dare I say, better? (Side note: Cheerwine is a soda, or pop, or cola, or coke or whatever you call a carbonated beverage. It has no alcohol in it.)

I’ve had this one bottle of Cheerwine in my fridge that I’ve been saving since my last NC visit, and normally I would partake in the best way to enjoy Cheerwine, that is, to drink it. But I didn’t have any Dr. Pepper on hand for my recipe and I didn’t feel like leaving my air conditioned home to go to the store to buy some soda, so I figured Cheerwine would make a fine replacement. Sorry Dr. Pepper, but I’m cheating on you with Cheerwine. 😉

So, I gathered my ingredients for the sauce:

Strawberries, chipotle peppers, brown sugar, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Cheerwine, soy sauce, sweet brown rice syrup, seasoned salt

The original recipe calls for “Indonesian soy sauce” which I didn’t have or want to go find, so I just used regular soy sauce and stirred in a few tablespoons of brown rice syrup.  Google suggests a combo of molasses and chicken stock as a replacement for Indonesian soy sauce.

I put all of them into a pot, and let them cook on medium low heat.

The recipe said this takes 45 minutes. I, however, think I kept my heat too low, and so it took a lot longer (basically, when you make it, just keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally, and let it thicken). In fact, while everything was cooking, I did a Jillian Michaels workout DVD. Yes, I am the master of multitasking.

While the sauce was simmering, I prepped the ribs. I tossed them with some of my homemade “Indonesian soy sauce,” some Cheerwine, and some salt and pepper, and let them marinate in the fridge until I was ready to put them in the oven.

2.5 hours before  I needed to leave for Eating Club, I put the ribs in a foil-lined baking pan. I baked them at 350° for about 1.5 hours, and then pulled them out and glazed them with the finally-the-right-thickness Strawberry Chipotle BBQ sauce. I popped ’em back in the oven under the broiler (on low) for another 3o minutes (15 on each side), until the sauce was caramelizing on top of the ribs.


When I arrive at Eating Club, I tossed them on the grill for a few minutes, just to heat them through again. Then, we could all dig in.

Let me tell you, these ribs were all about the sauce. Best. BBQ sauce. EVER! It has the slight sweetness from the strawberries and hint of smoky heat from the chipotle. The flavor was really complex, and we definitely decided it would taste good on everything. We tested that theory, even putting the BBQ sauce on Allie’s cranberry walnut bread. Yup, we were right.

But don’t take my word for it. Go make some yourself. You won’t regret it. I think Dr. Pepper will be okay with it.

Strawberry-Chipotle BBQ Ribs

adapted from Feral Kitchen


  • 2 large racks beef ribs (about 7 pounds)
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown rice syrup or molasses
  • 4oz Cheerwine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce (see recipe below)

How to:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash, trim and cut into individual beef ribs.  Toss ribs in a large bowl and drizzle on  soy sauce, brown rice syrup,  and rub with salt and pepper.  On a foil lined pan (or large cookie sheet) place ribs.  Cover with more foil and put in the oven.  Bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender.  Remove foil and brush with sauce.  Turn on the broiler and broil until sauce is slightly caramelized.  Turn ribs over and brush with more sauce.  Broil again until caramelized.

BBQ Sauce

  • 1 lb. strawberries (cleaned, hulled and quartered)
  • 1 can (12 oz) Cheerwine
  • 1 c. tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3 Tbls. soy sauce + 1/2 Tbls. sweet rice syrup
  • 2 Tbls. chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp. seasoning salt

Toss all the ingredients into a medium sauce pan. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Remove from heat and cool. Eat it on everything.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite kind of BBQ sauce?

May Eating Club: Go Nuts!

18 05 2011

After Chloe and I rocked the Kinetic Triathlon, our fun wasn’t over for the weekend! On Sunday night, we had May’s Eating Club at Chloe’s new apartment! Yes, we did schedule Eating Club for the same night as our first triathlon. Yes, we like to fill every minute of our schedule with as much fun stuff as we can 🙂

This month’s theme was “Go Nuts!” and every dish had to have some kind of nut or seed in it. This month’s turnout was small (only 5 of us), but the ladies brought some rockin’ dishes! My (first) plate:

Starting at 12 o’clock, Chloe’s Ginger Honey Cashew Shrimp (recipe at the end), Goat Cheese/Ricotta Crostinis with Pear and Pistachios, Green beans with caramelized shallots and pistacios, and I made Kristin’s (Iowa Girl Eats) Thai Peanut Noodles.

Now for their closeups:

Ginger Honey Cashew Shrimp


Thai Peanut Noodles

And of course, we had dessert! We had two AMAZING desserts. First, Turtles! SOOOO rich, but SOOOOOO good!

And, banana bread (fresh out of the oven!) with glazed walnuts:


The lovely ladies of Eat Club:

Now, as promised, the recipe for Chloe’s Ginger Honey Cashew Shrimp (adapted from Eat Live Run)


1 bag of frozen shrimp

2 tsp flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 T canola oil

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 T honey

2 green onions, chopped

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (just a sprinkle)

1/3 cup roughly chopped roasted cashews

How to:

Lay the shrimp in a pie pan or large plate. Sprinkle with flour, salt and ginger. Toss so all the shrimp are coated well.  Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

While the shrimp is in the fridge, whisk together the chicken broth, honey, green onions and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Drop the shrimp in and cook until heated through and shrimp is pink. When it’s done, remove and place on a plate to keep warm.

Deglaze the pan with the sauce and whisk well to get up any little bits of shrimp stuck to the bottom of the pan. Simmer for a couple minutes and then add the shrimp, as well as the cashews, back to the pan. Cook for another five minutes so that the sauce can thicken and the shrimp can warm back up if cool.

Question of the day: What is your favorite kind of nut?

The Weekend In Pictures

16 05 2011

Hello Blog friends! I hope you had a fantabulous weekend! First things first, please check out Tina’s Blog Bake Sale to raise money for Team for Kids. She’s raffling off some blogger-made sweets, including a 321 delish loaf of  Peanut Butter Date Bread! Check out all the delicious things she is raffling off, and drop a bid for our bread 🙂 (it’s on page two!)

Now, onto the weekend! Chloe and I kept busy packed our weekend full of fun stuff, including a pre-race sleepover, our first triathlon of the season, and Eating Club! We decided each of those things definitely deserve their own posts, so, we’ll give ya a little teaser in pics. Here’s some highlights from the weekend. Stay tuned for a post-race recap and all the pics from Eating Club!

Asparagus is in season!

So are local strawberries!

These doughnuts looked amazing! I opted for an apple cider one instead!

Pizza at Rustico! Mushroom cream, portabellos, spinach, and goat cheese, on a gluten free crust made with chick pea flour!

Pre race sleepover with Chloe!

Pasta dinner!

We are ready to ROCK IT!

Stopping at DQ post-race. DUH!


Question of the day: What was the best thing you did this weekend??