Red, White & Barnes!

NBA baller Matt Barnes and his wife, Gloria, throw a Fourth of July barbecue worthy of the stars and stripes

by Amy Elisa Keith, June 11, 2013

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He’s a pro basketball player known for clutch three-point shots and a foul-inducing temper. She’s known for being the former HWIC (i.e., head wifey in charge) on VH1’s Basketball Wives LA, unafraid to start—then end—a fight. But at home in Redondo Beach, Calif., newlyweds Matt Barnes and Gloria Govan clash only when it comes to cooking.  “Matt likes to take charge when he’s in the kitchen,” says Gloria, 27. “He likes to throw down with his barbecue sandwiches and Parmesan-coated tacos. He says, ‘Let me show you how to do it.’ I’m like, ‘Relax.’” The Barneses’ diverse dishes are at the center of a new YouTube series, Cooking With the Barnes, featuring 30-minute dinners and easy appetizers. In fact, the Clippers forward is considering going to culinary school and opening a restaurant after retiring.  Aside from a dash of competition and a pinch of smack talk, Matt is actually the chill, always-ready-to-help guy, especially when it comes to entertaining. “We’ll have the music playing, mess around and dance, watch TV; we do anything to entertain our guests,” says Matt, 33, of hosting family birthdays, couples’ dinners, plus the regular Taboo game night. 

The Barneses represent a modern American family, headed by a Black-Italian dad and Black-Mexican mom. Their rambunctious twin boys, Isaiah and Carter, 4, have already perfected under-the-leg dunks on their kiddie basketball hoops. “Daddy, watch this,” Carter yells out looking to lock eyes with his 6-foot-7-inch idol. Swish. “That’s how we do!” Matt unleashes a beaming grin before giving his little guy a pound and a hug. Next up, Isaiah goes for the pump fake before blowing right past Carter to dunk. “Yeah!” Isaiah screams before running to grab onto Daddy’s tattooed calf. “I really love to see two little me’s,” says Matt, who gets just as excited watching Finding Nemo with his sons as he does seeing them on the court. Surprisingly, he’s the playful parent; Gloria is the “bad cop.” Laughing, she admits, “I’m like, ‘Don’t play me.’”

On this sunny afternoon, however, it’s all fun as the clan prepares for EBONY’s Fourth of July-themed shoot. Matt is fresh from a grueling practice while Gloria effortlessly transitions from the makeup chair to the kitchen, preparing chicken skewers with her sister-in-law Marlena. With about six crew members moving furniture and setting up lighting equipment, the family, including the little guys, doesn’t seem to be phased. Perhaps those seasons on Basketball Wives have something to do with their ease. Gloria insists, however, that this many people in their two-story Spanish-style home is the norm, cameras or not.

“I come from a big family, so I’m used to having people here all the time,” says Gloria, who has nine siblings. Since they have friends and family over at least three times a week, she admits, “I don’t know how to do small. I’m used to doing big.” Matt, on the other hand, is one of three children, so he had to adjust to the chaos and “open-door” policy.

Together, Gloria and Matt are the ultimate dynamic duo when it comes to hosting. “We always have a plan,” says Matt, who handles cleaning, from the cabinets to the carpets. Gloria tackles decorations, admitting that she can sometimes get carried away. “For the boys’ birthday, I’d rent a train and get a Ferris wheel. I want a donkey that does jokes; I want the whole nine,” she says, laughing.  “Matt is just there for the ride.” Each has a to-do list of chores to keep organized. When guests arrive, Matt turns on an R&B playlist—“Donell Jones, Blackstreet, Guy, all the old late ’80s, early ’90s”—and Gloria greets everyone with a hug.

“I try to go for variety,” says the gracious hostess of cooking for a summer bash. “You should always prepare poultry, some type of meat, then a fish or a vegetarian dish.” For her, preparing extra portions is especially important when fellow Clippers Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are on the guest list. All her secrets to feeding pro ballers and growing boys will soon be available to the masses. Gloria and Marlena have teamed up to release a cookbook due this summer titled A Mixed Girl’s Favorite Recipes, with an assortment of recipes, including the ones they’ve whipped up for today’s photo shoot.

Is there a television cooking show in the Barneses’ future? While it’s not the plan, Matt and Gloria are open to doing another TV show, on one condition: “We’d have control.” For the time being, however, they’ll settle for control of the twins, who are showing off their hoop skills for a captivated and cheering audience, aka the EBONY photo crew.

“C’mon, guys! It’s ready,” yells Gloria, carrying a platter of freshly grilled ribs outside to the patio. After Matt pours two glasses of sangria and prepares plates for the boys, Isaiah grabs one of the flags on the table and shoots his arm straight up waving it rapidly. “Let’s eat!”

1|Soy Ginger Chicken
Kabobs

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds chicken breast

12 bamboo skewers (presoaked in water)

1 green bell pepper

1 large onion

1/2 fresh pineapple

1 red bell pepper

Marinade:

1 teaspoon fresh garlic minced

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

Cut up chicken breast into 1-inch chunks, combine with marinade ingredients in a shallow bowl. Toss chicken to ensure all pieces are coated with the marinade. Cover dish or bowl with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Cut up vegetables and the pineapple into 1-inch pieces or chunks. After chicken has marinated, skewer vegetables and chicken in an alternating pattern. There should be at least 3 to 4 pieces of chicken on every skewer. The kabobs can be cooked outside on a charcoal or gas grill, or indoors on an electric grill or in a stovetop grill pan. Cook skewers for about 4 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through.

2|Green Beans with Bacon & Balsamic Glaze

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound bacon

2 pounds green beans, cleaned and trimmed

2½ cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 12-ounce package mixed baby greens

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

 Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook bacon in a pan until crispy and drain by placing on a paper towel, then chop into small pieces and set aside. Wash and trim the ends of the green beans. Bring water to a boil and add salt to water, then boil green beans. Pour vinegar into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower  heat so the boil reduces to a simmer. Stir occasionally and add sugar, then allow to simmer until the vinegar has reduced by at least half. When finished, place baby greens on a large platter, drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place cooked green beans in the center of the bed of greens and drizzle with remaining olive oil and more salt and pepper to taste. Top with bacon and using a large spoon, drizzle entire salad with balsamic reduction.

3|Grandpa John’s Texas Beef Ribs

INGREDIENTS:

1 rack beef back ribs
(about 3 pounds total),
cut in half

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

1 teaspoon black
peppercorns

1 cup beef broth

1 cup orange juice

   Water

2 cups of barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon apple cider
vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Place ribs in a heavy pot. Add seasoning salt, peppercorns, broth and juice, plus enough water to cover ribs; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until meat is tender, about an hour. Using tongs, remove rib racks from pot. Cool slightly. Cut into three-rib pieces. Preheat grill to medium heat. In a medium saucepan on medium-low heat, combine barbecue sauce, vinegar, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic powder. Stir often; cook until all ingredients are combined, about 5 to 10 minutes. Brush ribs with some of the warm sauce. Grill ribs until brown and thickly glazed, occasionally turning for about 10 minutes total. Cut and serve.

4|Veggie-Friendly
Pasta Salad

INGREDIENTS:

1 1-pound box penne pasta

1 pound green beans (cut into 1-inch pieces)

8 ounces Italian dressing

1 jar roasted red peppers, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup basil, chopped

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 whole cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 cup Romano cheese, grated

Directions:

Cook pasta as directed on box. Add green beans during the last 3 minutes of pasta cook time. Drain pasta and green beans and place in large bowl. While still warm, add dressing, roasted peppers, garlic powder, basil and pepper. Gently toss ingredients until dressing coats evenly. After pasta has cooled, add tomatoes, cucumbers and cheese; toss and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

5|Chipotle Mango Salsa

INGREDIENTS:

2 whole mangos, cut into cubes

1 tablespoon chipotle peppers

1 whole lime, juiced

1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup green onion, chopped

   Adobo sauce to  taste

Directions:

Combine ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Gloria’s Tips for Being a
Hostess With the Mostest

1 Don’t just organize, be present. Make sure to greet guests and chat to make them feel comfortable. “I just went to a party at which the host was sitting in the corner on her phone,” recalls Gloria. “I was like, ‘I know there are not that many pictures on Instagram right now.’”

2 Be ready for the unexpected. “Make more of the main dishes, especially when you have to account for men,” she advises. And be sure to have variety, too. “You’ve got to account for people who may not eat pork.”

3 Create activities for the kiddies. “Buy extra balls, bubbles or simple stuff like kites. That’s always fun, and they can do it in your front yard or backyard. You don’t ever want to have just one [toy or game] if you’ve got five kids coming.”

4 Always have a stash of often-forgotten necessities.  From the living room to the bathroom, have all of your party bases covered. “I always make sure there’s extra toilet paper, paper towels and soap.”

5 Just let go and enjoy. “I’m normally OCD about picking up behind people all the time. With entertaining, I’m like, ‘Just woosah.’ There’s stuff that’s going to get broken, and there’s going to be a lot of crying. You just have to relax.”

Patrıotıc Party

Decorate your own holiday barbecue with these festive finds

1 Set of 10 Tissue Pom Poms ($34; etsy.com)

2 An Heirloom’s USA Shaped
Cutting Board ($48; etsy.com)

3 Wrapped Ribbon 4th of July Whimsical
Modern Wreath ($35; etsy.com)

4 Gingham Burger Basket Liners ($6;
surlatable.com)

5 Drink Cooler ($895; potterybarn.com)

6 County Barrel 
Mason Jar ($6; etsy.com)

7 Cabana Geometric Indoor/Outdoor Pillows ($20
each; pier1.com)

8 BBQ Pig Napkin Ring ($5.95; surlatable.com)

9 Rika Dinner Plate ($9.95; crateandbarrel.com)

10 Gingham Lunch Napkins ($7.95; surlatable.com)

11 Everyday Placemat (from $8; westelm.com)

12 Dip-Dyed Serving Set
($26; anthropologie.com)

13 Glass Footed Beverage Dispenser ($69.95;
Williams-sonoma.com)

14 Poppies 3D Dessert Plate ($10.99; pier1.com)

15 Fourth of July Photo Booth Props ($30; etsy.com)

16 Paper Straws ($4; etsy.com)

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