Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fourth of July favorites

6/30/10 Cook’s Corner
Betty Kaiser

Time really does fly. It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the bicentennial of these United States of America and this year we will celebrate birthday number 234! The object of our fireworks celebrations, of course, is to celebrate freedom and as Thomas Jefferson said, “to contemplate the meaning of democracy.”

Food and drink also play a big part in our Fourth of July celebrations. So here’s a little bit of trivia for you: Early descriptions of Independence Day parties indicate that drink played a larger part than food! Historians often mention that Early Americans drank frequently and sometimes to excess. The Fourth provided them with a convenient and patriotic reason to party hearty — sometimes toasting our young country’s military heroes until July 5.

Many of the menu items from the late 1770s and the early 1800s seem a little foreign to us. For-instance, bowls of stiff eggnog were fixtures at parties along with a coveted turtle soup that is now probably on the endangered species list. And here’s another bit of trivia: Although it was a luxury, ice cream became more readily available in the mid-1800s thanks to a Florida doctor who invented an ice maker to fight yellow fever!

Menus of course, were largely dictated by regional availability. Midwesterners enjoyed fried chicken and potato salad. Salmon was popular in New England. And I have it on good authority that Southerners ate Brunswick stew in addition to barbecue! Hamburgers and hot dogs came along much later.

Today’s menu suggestion is for pulled pork sandwiches done in the Crockpot and served on nice soft, Kaiser rolls; topped with tangy coleslaw. Because I love dill pickles with coleslaw, I’m throwing in a recipe for fried dill pickles — a southern delicacy. And finally, I’d like to remind you to use your ice cream maker. So whip up a batch of homemade strawberry ice cream to complete your meal. After all, it’s tradition. Happy 4th everyone!

Carolina Barbequed Pork
Adapted from Rival Crockpot cookbook

Crockpot meat
1 (4-6 pounds) boneless pork butt or shoulder
2 onions, separated into rings
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (cayenne if desired)

The night before cooking, remove excess fat from roast and place in a bowl. Pat vinegar onto meat; rub with dry ingredients, cover and refrigerate.

Barbecue Sauce
3/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup catsup
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne or crushed red pepper

Prepare BBQ Sauce the night before. Combine in saucepan: vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt and cayenne. Stir to mix well, bring to a boil and cook 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and refrigerate to let flavors meld.

The next morning, place onions in crockpot. Place roast over onion. Drizzle about one-third sauce over roast. Refrigerate remaining sauce. Cover crockpot and cook on LOW 10-12 hours or HIGH 4-6 hours.

During last half hour of cooking, drizzle one-third reserved sauce over roast. Remove meat and onions, drain. Chop meat and onions together into small pieces or shred with fork. Return to crockpot to re-heat and stir to coat with sauce as desired.

Lightly butter Kaiser rolls and toast on grill, buttered side down. Serve meat on buns, topped with coleslaw. Pass remaining sauce to drizzle on sandwiches. Serves 8 generously.

Cole Slaw

In a large bowl, combine the following ingredients:
3 cups shredded green cabbage (about 1/2 head cabbage)
3 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1/2 head cabbage)
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup grated yellow onion
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2-3 teaspoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, vinegar, buttermilk, celery seeds, salt and pepper and whisk well to dissolve the sugar. Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing until evenly coated. Adjust seasoning, to taste. Place in the refrigerator, covered, to chill slightly before serving. Yield: 8 servings

Fried Dill Pickles

1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup cornmeal
1-1/4 cup flour
1 (16 ounce jar) pickle slices

1 cup vegetable oil for deep frying
In a large bowl, combine eggs, 1/4 cup of the flour, buttermilk, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, seasoning salt and garlic powder.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine cornmeal and remaining flour.
Preheat oil in a deep fryer or pot to 365° F.
Dip drained pickles into milk mixture and then dredge them in the flour mixture. Deep fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.

Simple Strawberry Ice Cream

3 egg yolks, beaten
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 cups strawberries
1 cup heavy cream
teaspoon vanilla
Drop red food coloring

Mash the strawberries with half the sugar in a bowl. Refrigerate.

In a saucepan, mix the egg yolks with the milk, salt and remaining sugar. Place over medium heat, stirring constantly to boiling point. Do not boil! Transfer the mixture to a chilled bowl to cool. When cool, place in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. When cool, stir in cream and vanilla; then blend in strawberry sugar mixture and food coloring. Process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes 1-1/2 quarts.

Note: recipe may be doubled. Eat immediately!

Keep it simple and keep it seasonal! 
Betty Kaiser’s Cook’s Corner is dedicated to sharing a variety of recipes
that are delicious, family oriented and easy to prepare.

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