Served as a chip dip or an accompaniment for grilled meat, you’ll love the bright flavor of this red bell pepper salsa recipe.

3 cloves garlic
1 cup ripe tomatoes
1 cup red bell peppers
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro
1/3 cup green onions
1-1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
Salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Alternately, you can cook on a medium-low heat spot of your grill.

Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Wash the tomatoes and bell peppers. Remove the seeds from the peppers; coarsely chop the tomatoes and peppers. Wash the cilantro: pick 10 – 15 leaves and reserve for garnish. Clean the green onions and coarsely chop.

Place the garlic, tomatoes, peppers and olive oil in an 8″ square pan, cover tightly with foil. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until the tomatoes are easy to mash.

Allow the tomato mixture to cool briefly; pour into a blender or food processor fitted with a blade. Add the cilantro, green onions, vinegar and sugar. Pulse process until coarsely pureed. Season with salt to taste. Garnish with reserved cilantro leaves.

Yield: 1 cup

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The smoky grilled flavor perfectly compliments the light lemony marinade paste used for this rib recipe. Enjoy these ribs year round by adding a touch of liquid smoke to the marinade and oven roasting.

The Ribs:
4 large stalks fresh lemon grass
5 pounds baby-back pork ribs, in slabs
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 shallots, minced
3 small fresh green chili peppers, seeded*
1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 – 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke for oven cooked; omit for grill cooking

Basil Dipping Sauce:
2/3 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons water
6 cloves garlic
2 large chili peppers, seeded*

The Ribs
Wash the lemon grass and pound to lightly split the white bulb area. Mince the white bulb and tender part of the stalk; discard the green tops.

With a sharp knife, score the membrane on the bony side of the ribs to create a crosshatch pattern.

In a food processor fitted with a blade combine the lemon grass, garlic, shallots, chilies, vinegar, fish sauce, sesame oil, sugar and salt. Process until to the consistency of a fine paste.

Place the ribs in a large glass, enamel or other non-reactive dish and spread the paste evenly over both sides of the ribs. Add any remaining paste to the ribs and cover with plastic wrap. Use heavy cans on top of the plastic wrap to flatten the ribs as they marinade. You can marinate overnight in the refrigerator or 4 – 6 hours at room temperature. If you marinate the ribs overnight, bring them back to room temperature before cooking.

Cook on a hot grill for approximately 45 minutes, turning often and basting with any remaining marinade.

Alternately, you can cook these in the oven. Preheat the oven to 500° and place the ribs on a rack over a roasting pan. Adding water to cover the bottom of the pan will prevent the initial juice and marinade drips from burning and smoking up your home. Turn the ribs occasionally and baste with any remaining paste. Cook for 40 – 50 minutes, until the ribs are cooked through and lightly charred.

To serve, cut the ribs apart and serve with the dipping sauce.

Basil Dipping Sauce:
Whisk together vinegar, corn syrup, fish sauce and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil; remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Place the garlic, chilies and sugar in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and process to create a paste. Add the cooled syrup to the paste and pulse to blend. Add the basil leaves and pulse until the leaves are minced.

*Peppers recommendations: For chile pepper flavor with very little heat try Ancho, Pasilla or Anaheim peppers. For a touch of heat try Jalapeno, Mirasol or Poblano. I like and recommend Seranno for this recipe, though children and those who don’t like spicy food may not find the results appealing.

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This flavor loaded bourbon, maple and molasses sauce is a wonderful compliment to your bbq spread. This sauce tastes better the following day and keeps well in the refrigerator for approximately 2 weeks.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup oil
2 medium sweet onions
3/4 cup bourbon
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 – 2 oranges for 1/2 cup juice
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup dark molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly cracked and ground
1/2 teaspoon salt

Peel and grate the onions. Squeeze the oranges for 1/2 cup of juice. Gather the remaining ingredients, along with appropriate measuring utensils.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil gets pretty hot, add the onions and sauté for 3 – 5 minutes, until they begin to caramelize and brown a bit.

Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to blend well. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 – 60 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Alternately, you can sauté the onions and transfer to a pan that you can place in your smoker. Add the remaining ingredients, whisk to blend well. Place in your smoker and cook for 3 – 6 hours. The authentic smoky flavor is fabulous!

Serve this sauce warm at the table or ‘on the side.’

Yield: approximately 3 cups.

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This pit bbq sauce recipe simmers for just 5 minutes and will keep in the refrigerator almost indefinitely. Great for summer grilling, and even oven barbecued spare ribs on the coldest winter evening.

3/4 cup catsup
3/4 cup water
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly cracked and ground
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Peel and grate the onions. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Place in a jar with a tight fitting lid to store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 2-1/2 to 3 cups.

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Dress up a ham sandwich or burger with this lively Cilantro and Jalapeno Mayonnaise recipe. Another excellent use is with recipes that call for chicken to be coated with mayonnaise and baked.

1-3/4 cups good quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 fresh jalapeno chili
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly cracked and ground

Rinse and stem the jalapeno chili, removing the seeds if you want to reduce the heat. Peel the garlic clove. Rinse and shake the cilantro dry.

Place the jalapeno chili, garlic clove, mayonnaise, water, vinegar, cilantro and pepper into your blender or food processor. Process until the dressing becomes smooth. Season with salt to taste.

Store mayonnaise in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed jar.

Yield: 2-1/4 cups

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