It was a low-key weekend, but considering that the next few are going to be all kinds of crazy, I’m OK with that. Friday night, while starting to get ready for a weekend of family gatherings, I was keeping an eye and an ear on the Thomecoming. Jim Thome’s return to the Indians has energized the Tribe fan base in a much-needed way. Friday night’s game was sold-out and I’m sure the fans that packed Progressive Field were reminiscing about 1995 as much as I was. The excitement and enthusiasm pulsing through the crowd is a great thing for CLE.
Our Saturday started with a neighborhood block party. CLEguy has lived in this neighborhood for seven years, but as the (relatively) new kid on the block, I was looking forward to the chance to meet everyone.
There were hot dogs and hamburgers, side dishes and desserts to share, and plenty of neighborhood gossip. I tried out great new recipe #1 of the weekend: strawberry lemonade bars. These treats were refreshing and summery: shortbread crust and lemon custard with pureed strawberries. Just make sure you keep them refrigerated! Oh, and I used more strawberries than the recipe called for too!
At the block party, I also got to play my first round of frisbee golf. There are no pictures of it. I was that bad.
After that, we hustled home to get ready for dinner with the CLEparents. On the menu: barbecued ribs, corn, potato salad, and watermelon margaritas.
We had both Carolina (spicy, with a lot of vinegar) and Kansas City (smoky and sweet) ribs. Having never made ribs before, we were a little apprehensive. We marinated the ribs all day in vinegar, honey (from the Emerging Chefs’ ReHival dinner), cayenne pepper, and olive oil. Then we slow-baked them in the oven for a couple of hours with some BBQ sauce on them. Last, we threw the ribs on the grill for a quick crisping. They turned out great! We all dove right in and completely forgot to take pictures until 2 of the 3 racks were gone.
Also, I don’t recommend white shirts and ribs…
Dessert was blueberry pie, made with blueberries we picked ourselves. Overall, a delicious, summery, fresh meal!
On Sunday, CLEguy and I had “Entertaining the Family: Part 2” as we had his family over to celebrate summer birthdays.
Since we were going to have kids in attendance, not to mention lots of different palates, we decided to create a taco bar.
Chipotle’s got nothin’ on us! We had seasoned ground beef and chicken, along with homemade guacamole, homegrown peppers and tomatoes, black beans with jalapeno, and all the traditional taco toppings.
It was another great, fresh meal, with a communal pass-the-cheese-and-salsa feel. Absolutely a winner for a big group with diverse tastes.
After dinner, the kids decided to head outside and liven up our driveway with sidewalk chalk…
It looks a bit like crime scene outlines, but with a cheery “Happy Birthday” above.
Then came dessert. I had been plotting a kid-friendly dessert, but little did I know how much the adults would love it too. I made cake ball lollipops.
I chose dark chocolate cake, combined with cream cheese frosting. The cake balls were dipped in either white or milk chocolate and decorated with sprinkles. A couple notes if you check out the recipe above:
1. I simply hand-rolled the cake balls, rather than using a melon baller. I found it easier, although messier.
2. I left the cake balls in the freezer about a half hour longer than the recipe called for, to let them set up enough to be dipped in chocolate.
Everyone loved these fun and tasty treats. They were bright and cute and they actually tasted good, too! Definitely a must-make for parties!
So, that was my weekend. A lot of good family time, which is always one of my biggest reasons Why CLE! What new answers to “Why CLE?” did you discover this weekend?