Flights from Corpus to Milwaukee are ridiculously expensive right now, putting a damper on our plans to head home. Instead we’re driving a few short hours to San Antonio for a long Fourth of July weekend.

Which means todays mission was to use up all the leftovers.

DSCF0001-2To start we made a Mediterranean inspired panzanella salad for lunch. Crusty hunks of ciabatta and Italian bread doused in a tart mustard vinaigrette, mixed with capers, artichoke hearts, basil, roma tomatoes and cucumbers, topped with a drizzle of oil, balsamic vinegar and Pecorino cheese. There really is no better use for semi-stale bread and fresh summer produce than panzanella.

Later today we dined on dry-rubbed boneless beef ribs slow-smoked over sweet cherry wood. Positively fantastic. Ice cold beer in frosty mugs, leftover slaw with black beans, and Asian orange asparagus made this one hearty meal.DSCF0001-3

I’m not much of a barbecue sauce person myself, but apparently he is. We had a few cherry tomatoes that were fading fast, so I threw together a small batch of homemade sauce.

Quick Tomato-Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Printable recipe

2 small cloves garlic, smashed

pinch of salt

1/2 c cherry tomatoes

2 T olive oil

2 T canola oil

1 T cherry balsamic vinegar [or plain balsamic]

1 T molasses

1 t dried oregano

1/2 t white pepper

1/2 – 1 t ground chipotle pepper

Preheat oven to 450º F. Line a small baking tray with foil.

Coarsely chop the garlic, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and smash with the back of a knife until a paste forms. In a small bowl mix together the garlic paste, tomatoes and olive oil. Pour coated tomatoes onto the prepared baking tray; roast for 20 minutes. Switch the oven to broil and cook another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

In another small bowl, stir together canola oil, balsamic, molasses, oregano, white and chipotle peppers. Add liquid mixture and roasted tomatoes to a food processor and whir until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm or cold.

This was great – I may have converted myself.

Back on Monday. Happy Fourth!