We don’t have an ocean here in Phoenix, so pool parties are all the rage. Your first step is making sure your pool is ready. Contact a pool cleaning and maintenance service to make sure your swimming pool is sparkling clean and functioning properly.
Next, let’s pick a theme. Hawaiian themes are very popular. Encourage your guests to wear bright, flowered shirts and dresses, then present them with a lei at the door. The hostess might wear a grass skirt and skimpy top, the host a Hawaiian shirt and shorts with a straw hat. Decorate with tropical flowers, tiki torches and bamboo. Add tropical fruits to your menu and perhaps a pig roast. Here is a great punch recipe:
Puree 4 cups watermelon chunks; strain. Stir in 4 ounces Alize Red Passion or other fruit-flavored liqueur, 8 ounces gin and 2 cups sour mix; chill. Add sparkling rose before serving. Garnish with lime. Makes 10 to 12 drinks.
Beach party themes are fun. Attire is casual beach ware, flip-flops and swimsuits. Decorate with seashells and fish net. Have Frisbees and beach towels around the pool. Below are two great recipes, one for BBQ ribs and the other for potato salad.
Ingredients for ribs:
• 2 racks of baby back pork ribs
• 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
• 1/2 cup smoked paprika
• 1/4 cup cayenne pepper
• 1/4 cup garlic powder
• 1/4 cup onion powder
• 2 tbs. ginger powder
• 1/4 cup kosher salt
• 2 tbs. ground black pepper
Ingredients for bourbon BBQ sauce:
• 2 cups bourbon
• 1 cup ketchup
• 1/2 packed brown sugar
• 2 tbs. molasses
• 2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tbs. malt vinegar
1 tsp. liquid smoke
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your ribs by removing the filmy membrane on the bone side of the rack. This tough material blocks flavor reaching the meat and will make the ribs tough. With a paring knife, start at one end of the rack and carefully peel the membrane away from the surface of the last bone. Use a paper towel to grip and remove it with one easy motion. Combine all the dry ingredients together in a bowl – this is your dry rub. Spring 2-3 tablespoons on each rack and rub the spices into the ribs. Wrap each rack in foil and put them in the oven for 2.5 hours. Save the rest of the rub in an airlock container for future use.
While the ribs are baking, combine the wet ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the sauce has reduced to about half. After the ribs have finished baking, let them cool to room temperature or leave them in the fridge overnight. They are fall of the bone tender at this point so you want them to hold shape before putting them on the grill. Turn your gas grill to medium high, or create a medium-hot fire in your charcoal grill. Brush both sides of both racks of ribs before placing them on the grill. Baste and turn frequently until the sauce is caramelized and charred. Cut and serve with the remainder of the sauce for dipping.
6-7 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-1 inch pieces
1 cup mayonnaise
1.5 Tbsp. brown mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar
3/4 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1-2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
3/4 cup onion, diced
4 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
freshly chopped chives, garnish (optional)
• Place potato chunks in medium saucepan and cover with cold water.
• Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
• Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 8-10 more minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes and set aside.
• In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, celery, onion, eggs, and bacon. Mix until well combined. Add potatoes and stir until coated.
• Chill for 2 hours or overnight. Garnish with chives.