Last night Steph and Pete were both sleeping at friends' houses, so Andy and I were free as birds! Oh wait, no we weren't, we still had Julie home. Dang. But it did give us a glimpse into the future when there is a possibility that all three children will be away at sleepovers and Andy and I can, um, do whatever we used to do before we had kids. If we can remember what any of those things are. At the very least, we could go out without having to spring for a babysitter.
In any event, the good news is that Julie goes to bed at 8:00, so we fed her early and revisited our old habit of having "date night" in the living room. Long-time Verbatim readers will recall that when our kids were little, we used to put them to bed, cook ourselves something far too sophisticated for their palates, spread out a picnic blanket on the rug, open a bottle of wine, and insert the latest Netflix offering into the DVD. It's been a long time since we could do that, so last night was really nice.
We watched "Milk," which I'd been dying to see. It fully lived up to all the raves I'd heard and read. Sean Penn was outstanding. As soon as I saw his face on the screen, I could no longer even picture the real Milk in my brain. He just took over. Even though I of course knew how the story would end, it was fascinating to watch it play out. I think this was the first time I'd seen James Franco, Emile Hirsch, and Diego Luna, who were all terrific, as was Josh Brolin. I thought that the era was recreated very convincingly, what with all the bad moustaches and faux-grainy news footage.
We made a really delicious new recipe:
Beef Ribs with Orange and Smoked Paprika Sauce
⅔ cup sweet orange marmalade
¼ cup Sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp smoked paprika* (plus more for sprinkling)
1¼ tsp ground cumin (plus more for sprinkling)
6 meaty beef back ribs (not short ribs, which require long, slow cooking)
*Not to be confused with regular paprika! This stuff is awesome. You might find it labeled Pimentón Dulce or Pimentón de La Vera Dulce.
Heat grill on medium-low. Combine all ingredients besides ribs in small bowl. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Transfer half of sauce to small pitcher and reserve.
Sprinkle ribs on all sides with extra paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Grill 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Brush ribs with some sauce from bowl. Grill until slightly charred and cooked to medium-rare, brushing with remaining sauce in bowl, about 15 more minutes. Transfer ribs to platter. Drizzle with some of reserved sauce in pitcher and sprinkle with salt and pepper; pass remaining sauce.
I made 7 ribs, but next time I think I'll get 8; we were both looking for a few more bites. Alongside I served roasted asparagus and one of my favorite quick side dishes, Trader Joe's Harvest Grains blend, which contains Israeli couscous, red and green orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa. I make it with low-sodium chicken broth instead of water.