Original Summer Recipes From Dinner: A Love Story's Jenny Rosenstrach

Easy, delicious recipes for BBQ spare ribs, kale & cabbage slaw, and all-purpose summer cobbler.

In our August issue , we fell in love Jenny Rosenstrach, mom of two middle-school girls (among lots of other demanding titles), and her lighting-in-a-bottle blog, Dinner: A Love Story, a lifesaving—and thoroughly entertaining—resource for “quick weeknight recipes, dinner prep strategies, picky eater solutions, and pep talks,” for parents and estranged or would-be home-cooking enthusiasts.

The site also hosts features like Rosenstrach’s annual Best of Summer Awards, with past categories like Best Way to Use Up Straggling CSA Veggies and Best Seasonal Sundae Topping. This summer, in between traveling to Alaska and “a bunch of weekend road trips in search of perfect swimming holes,” the author/editor/blogger says, her family will, of course, be cooking at home in Dobbs Ferry.

“We entertain all the time,” she says. “We’ll start with something like Little Necks from the Pura Vida Fisheries vendor at the farmers’ market—best seafood ever, from Hampton Bays—and sauté them in olive oil, shallots, a little wine ’til they open up. So simple, and it’s absolutely imperative to serve with crusty bread to soak up the briny winy broth.”

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Then, onto the main course: “For dinner, we throw something on the Weber—yogurt-marinated chicken, grilled mahi-mahi for tacos, or BBQ ribs [the kids’ favorite] and serve with whatever is fresh at the market—corn, tomatoes, greens, kale. Our market has Tuscan [Lacinato] kale, which is tender, ideal for shredding into slaw.”

Hungry yet? Here, Rosenstrach shares her original recipes for the perfect summer cookout, featuring BBQ spare ribs, kale and avocado slaw, and summer cobbler. 

BBQ Spare Ribs

Says Rosenstrach: “Always a crowd-pleaser and comes with the crucial summer instruction: Must Eat With Hands.” Serves 4.

  • 1 rack spare ribs, St. Louis Style (about 3 lbs)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup barbecue sauce (homemade or store-bought)

For the rub:

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  • 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 4 grinds of freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together all rub spices. Smear the rub on the meaty side of your rib rack until coated. Place on cookie sheet, cover with foil, and bake at 300°F for three hours. Remove and set aside.

Prep your grill. When your fire’s ready (you don’t want to put them over a raging fire; let it die down a little until it’s about medium heat), grill ribs for 2 minutes per side to get a little char going. Then brush meaty side generously with barbecue sauce. Keep flipping, a minute or so a side, being careful not to burn, but getting the sauce nice and caramelized. Cover and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat, and slice ribs along the bones on a cutting board.

Kale & Cabbage Slaw with Avocado

“If you think the kids will balk at kale,” Rosenstrach advises, “just buy a few extra avocados and serve those next to the slaw, sliced up and tossed with scallions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. Or just let them gorge themselves on the ribs this time.” Serves 4.

  • 1/2 head cabbage (red or Napa), shredded
  • 1 bunch Tuscan (or lacinato) kale, de-stemmed and shredded with a sharp knife
  • 1 bunch scallions (white and light green parts only), chopped
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino, grated
  • 1 avocado, cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

Toss ingredients together in a large bowl.

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All-Purpose Summer Cobbler

“This is my mother-in-law’s recipe, which I love because it doesn’t ask you to mush together the flour-sugar-butter topping with your hands—a deal-breaker if there ever was one for a neat freak like me,” Rosenstrach explains. “Instead, you just drizzle the melted butter on top of the whole thing and watch in amazement as it results in perfection every. single. time.” Serves 6-8

  • 3 to 5 cups of fruit (any combo: peeled, sliced peaches or nectarines, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries; enough to mostly fill a 13” x 9” baking dish)
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 cup flour, whisked
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 5 Tbsp butter, melted

Place fruit in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle on lemon juice and toss. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add egg, tossing with fork until mixture is crumbly. (It should not be mushy.) Sprinkle flour-egg mixture over fruit, then drizzle as evenly as possible with melted butter.

Bake at 375°F for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

*For a classic, comforting side, head to www.dinneralovestory.com for Rosenstrach’s recent potato-salads roundup.

Credit: Recipes and photos by Jenny Rosenstrach

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