Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day: First we remember and then we eat!

5/25/11 Cook’s Corner
Betty Kaiser

First we remember then we eat dinner

This weekend is Memorial Day, a federal holiday designated to honor those who have died while serving in the U.S. Military. Every year for well over a decade, I have been reminding readers of the solemnity of this day that began as a day of mourning and remembrance after the Civil War.

In fact, if you’ve been reading my columns for a while, you know that every year I whine about the changes that the years have wrought in respect for our military casualties. Over the decades, the Memorial Day atmosphere has changed into a mindless party spirit instead of a memorial to the veterans who fought and died for our country.

We can change that. This coming Monday at 3 p.m. is a National Moment of Remembrance. We are invited to stop whatever we are doing to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all — you and me. A moment of reverence and remembering that ‘freedom is not free,’ will set the tone for the day and be an example for those around us. Please join me in doing so.

Then we can eat! Although technically, Memorial Day falls in the spring calendar, it also starts off the summer barbecue season. All around the nation, grillers are dusting cobwebs off barbecues and getting them ready for burgers and dogs.

Every family has their favorite outdoor meal menu but just in case it rains (we do live in Oregon!) — I’m offering a menu that you can cook in the house and still get that great barbecue taste.

I got my barbecue brisket recipe from a friend in the early 1970s. It’s always a hit when I serve it. Add some corn on the cob with herb butter, a colorful green salad with creamy cilantro dressing plus your other favorite side dishes and you’ve got a great meal. Enjoy!

Barbecue Beef Brisket

6-pound beef brisket
3 tablespoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
¼-cup Worcestershire sauce
Black pepper to taste

Place brisket in a large glass bowl or baking pan. Sprinkle brisket with liquid smoke, garlic powder, onion and celery salt. Cover with plastic wrap and then foil; place in refrigerator and allow to stand overnight.

The next day sprinkle meat with Worcestershire sauce and pepper; place in baking pan or slow cooker. If cooking in the oven, cover with foil (or lid) and bake 5 hours at 275-degrees F. Uncover and bake 1-hour longer with barbecue sauce (recipe follows).

If cooking in a crock-pot, cook all day and finish off in the oven or brown on a barbecue grill. May also be cooked in a covered barbecue grill on low heat for 5 hours.

Brisket Barbecue Sauce

1 cup catsup or tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
1 onion, finely minced
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup margarine

Combine ingredients in saucepan and simmer 15 minutes. Use for basting meat and serve on the side.

This makes a large amount of sauce. Put leftovers in a glass container and refrigerate. It will keep several days.

Italian Bread Salad

1 loaf crusty bread, day-old
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup cucumber, peeled, sliced and seeded
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 cups salads greens, torn
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

Pull apart or chop the bread into bite-size pieces. Try using a really crusty, even day old, artisan or Italian- type bread. They come in great flavors-basil, garlic, etc, and sometimes are marked down the next day.

Combine the bread, cucumbers, red onions and garlic in a large salad bowl. Add the tomatoes at the table. This is nice with a simple Italian dressing or vinaigrette. You can also throw in sprigs of fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme or basil.

Colorful Mixed Salad

3 to 5 cups assorted salad greens
1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, julienne thinly
2 large carrots, shredded
1 can black olives, drained

Mix together the torn lettuce, peppers and cucumber. Distribute the mixture among salad plates. Top with shredded carrots and olives. Serve the dressing on the side. Serves 4-6

Note: Try the Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing recipe that follows or your favorite Ranch or Thousand Island.

Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing
Recipe by

1 pack (1oz) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (regular or buttermilk, and ignore directions on the packet)
1 cup mayo
1/2 C milk (or buttermilk depending on which packet you buy)
1 lime, juiced
1 — 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 C green salsa
Dash hot sauce

Place milk, mayonnaise and ranch mix in a blender with lime juice. Add garlic, cilantro and green salsa. Blend well. Taste and add hot sauce if you like. Refrigerate several hours to allow flavors to blend.

Corn on Cob with herb butter

1 cup butter
1/4 cup fresh basil, dill, parsley, rosemary or tarragon
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Soften unsalted butter to room temperature and blend all ingredients together in electric mixer, 1-2 minutes. Roll the butter into logs with wax paper or press into molds to create other shapes. Refrigerate.

Corn of Cob with lemon chive butter

1 cup butter
2 tablespoons fresh minced chives or more to taste
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Prepare as above.

Note: Butter can be made in advance or frozen up to three weeks. Wrap tightly in double layers of plastic wrap and freezer bags because butter absorbs other flavors and odors.

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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