Something smells good in Bob and Shay Griese’s sunlit kitchen, where the counter is laden with quite a Super Bowl-worthy spread.
There’s a batch of Shay’s famous baby back ribs, slathered in barbecue sauce and gorgeously tender. There’s a neat stack of fresh-pressed Cuban sandwiches, proclaimed “the world’s best” by the famed Super Bowl-winning Miami Dolphins quarterback. They’re properly stuffed with ham, spiced pork, Swiss and pickles, and ready to be devoured by a visiting TV crew from Miami.
The TV folks have been streaming through the Grieses’ Tequesta home for two reasons in recent days: One, to interview the NFL Hall of Famer who helped lead Miami to consecutive Super Bowl wins in 1973 and 1974. Two, to interview the Hall of Famer’s wife. You see, Shay, an equestrian aficionado and philanthropist, is a terrific cook.
She’s not a fru-fru cook or food modernist driven by rarefied ingredients or foodie trend du jour. She’s a passionately pragmatic cook. What’s in your pantry, or abandoned in the veggie crisper drawer in your fridge? Hand it over to Shay – she can make those ingredients sing, and sing quickly.
Those baby back ribs? They require three ingredients – and one of those ingredients is water. “They’re fool proof,” she says. (And, by the way, they’re delicious, fork-tender rib meat infused with barbecue flavors.)
On this recent day, Shay has cooked up the spread mostly based on recipes from the 2012 cookbook she co-wrote with her husband. The “Griese Spoon Cookbook,” they titled the collection of their favorite dishes as well as dishes shared by fellow athletes and celebrity friends.
In it, you’ll find everything from Mike Ditka’s Pork Chops with Grilled Honey-Glazed Cinnamon Apples to John Madden’s Lamb Stew to Dan Marino’s Bolognese Sauce to Don Shula’s Steak Soup.
But on this day, the menu is inspired by Griese family favorites. These are favorites mostly composed by Shay in the Grieses’ blonde-wood kitchen with the deep green-blue trim and great glass-front pantry.
This open space, overlooking the 8th hole of the golf course upon which their home is perched, is Shay Whitney Griese’s domain. The Canadian-born home cook says she inherited her love of the kitchen from her mom – well, sort of.
“My mom was British and she wasn’t a very good cook. Everything she cooked was overdone and over-boiled. But she could bake. I’m the opposite – I love to cook, but not bake,” says Shay, who is active in the equestrian scene in Wellington, where she and Bob co-own a champion horse she calls “a phenom,” a Dutch warmblood jumper named Indigo.
She’s in this kitchen early each day, roasting, braising, stir-frying, or plotting that night’s dinner. She’ll rattle the menu off to her husband with her trademark enthusiasm.
It’s torture sometimes, he says with a laugh.
“I tell her, ‘I’m on a diet… I work out just to stay even. I don’t need to eat all of that,’” he says.
But when the talk turns to Super Bowl Sunday, there is one particular “all of that” dish he endorses for half-time noshing everywhere: Shay’s Signature Ribs.
“They just fall off the bone. They’re delicious,” says Bob.
The runner up dish: his famous Cuban sandwiches. He learned to make these decades ago from a Cuban golf buddy of his. The trick, he says, is to cut the bread lengthwise and scoop out the doughy middle. That allows more room for the stacks of meats and cheese, and yields a sandwich that’s nicely crisped.
“I would make them on a baking sheet, then put a brick covered in aluminum foil on top,” says Bob. “I kept that brick in the garage and only used it for the sandwiches.”
That was before they bought a panini press. That press now sits on the counter of their busy kitchen. The couple, which has called Tequesta home for 11 years, prefers to eat simple, healthy meals at home on most nights.
Super Bowl Sunday won’t be one of those nights, though. Bob will be watching the game live in New Orleans.
Who are they rooting for?
“The Ravens,” says Bob. “The owner (part-time Jupiter Island resident Stephen Bisciotti) is a neighbor and friend.”
ABOUT THE COOKBOOK:
The Griese Spoon was published in 2012 by Wimmer Cookbooks. For copies and information, call 800-548-2537 or visit www.WimmerCo.com
ABOUT THE RECIPES:
Many of the ingedients used in the “Griese Spoon Cookbook” recipes are listed without measurements. This reflects Shay and Bob Griese’s cooking “to taste” style. How much mustard to you use in the Cuban sandwich? As much as you want. Ditto for the barbecue sauce on the baby back ribs, the greens in the Kitchen Sink Salad, and the mayo in the shrimp appetizer.
SHAY’S SIGNATURE RIB RECIPE
These ribs are cooked twice in the oven using a slow steam method.
Serves 4 to 6 as entree, 8 to 10 as appetizer
2 slabs baby back ribs
Water, to steam
Barbecue sauce, to taste (Shay uses Publix original barbecue sauce, but your favorite sauce will work)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut 2 slabs of ribs in half. Place in large aluminum pan, bone down, and rub meat side with the sauce generously.
Add water to pan to cover only the bone part of the ribs (just enough to steam the ribs), about 1/4 inch.
Seal pan tightly with aluminum foil. Place in oven and cook for 2 hours.
Remove from oven; remove ribs and drain the liquids. Repeat entire process: slather ribs with sauce, place in pan and add. Cover and return to oven for 2 hours at 275 degrees.
Remove ribs from pan to serving dish. Top them with a little more sauce, and serve.
BOB GRIESE’S CUBAN SANDWICH
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 loaf Cuban bread
Spiced pork, sliced
Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
In a bowl, mix onion with equal amount of green relish; set aside.
Slice lengthwise bread and remove the soft (doughy) part inside, leaving a trough.
Slather one side with mustard and the other with mayonnaise. Layer spiced pork and any good ham until the sandwich is fairly thick, about ½ inch.
Sprinkle the onion and relish mixture the length of the bread, then cover with Swiss cheese.
All of the amounts are to your liking.
Cut the sandwich in half, butter or spray lightly with vegetable oil and place in a panini press or a hot, shallow frying pan.
Cut the sandwich in 2-inch diagonal pieces and serve.
KITCHEN SINK SALAD
For the salad:
Whole kernel corn, cut off the cob is best
1 can hearts of palm
1 can artichoke hearts
Sliced sandwich ham, cubed
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
5 hardboiled eggs, chopped
Pickled beet, sliced
Roasted red pepper
1 can mandarin oranges
Crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola
For the dressing:
Marzetti dressing such as Sweet and Sour, or dressing of your choice
Make the salad:
In a large salad bowl, chop radicchio, endive, onion, cabbage, and spinach in bite-size pieces.
Add corn, hearts of palm, and artichoke hearts. Add sliced ham, then toss.
Arrange tomatoes around the rim of the bowl on top of lettuce. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese and chopped eggs. Add beets, red pepper, and then oranges. Top with blue cheese or gorgonzola. Toss with dressing and serve.
SHRIMP IN BEER WITH RED ONIONS APPETIZER
3 bottles regular beer
Seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
Fresh or frozen shrimp, cooked and peeled
Juice of ½ lemon
Red onion, finely chopped
Green onions, finely chopped
In a medium stockpot, add beer and add lots of seafood seasoning; bring to boil.
Add cooked and peeled shrimp and bring back to boil for about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and let cool; remove the tails.
Pour into a mixing bowl and add seafood seasoning, mayonnaise to lightly cover, and lemon juice into the mixture.
Add red onion and combine. Refrigerate.
Cut the end of the other half of lemon and place in the center of a platter. Using large lettuce leaves, make a bed for the shrimp. Take toothpicks and stick them in the lemon.
Arrange chilled shrimp, then sprinkle with green onions.
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