It is hard to wrap my head around the fact that this weekend is Memorial Day. I have such ‘fond’, yes, I said ‘fond’, recollections of this weekend. Our family would make trips to various cemeteries putting out flowers for deceased loved ones. Sometimes we would pause and visit, other times it was just a quiet moment. It’s indeed a weekend to sit down with younger children and explain what this weekend represents. Of course, it’s very significant to recognize the men and women who have protected this sovereign ground. Those who have sacrificed their lives for our country.
This weekend is a time for family; filled with bbq’s, picnics and potlucks. We always try to do something special on this weekend. Usually I ask the family what their preferences are, just to please all the palates, in the food department. I’m more than positive that a coleslaw of some sort and a large pan of baked beans will make their way to our table.
As far as beans go I usually say: ‘Recipe for beans?” I don’t ever use one. I’ve needed to write quite a few because of the BBQ festival at work. However, at home I never use a recipe. I do know that the consistency is one of my top requirements for good baked beans. Remember to cook them down so they’re nice and thick. Nothing worse than deviled eggs making a home plate slide as they shimmy through the bean juice, on your plate!
Coleslaw is totally a personal preference. In fact as I paused to read the Hawaiian coleslaw, before writing the column. I reminded myself I need to make this again. Coleslaws can contain anything these days. Fruits, nuts, vegetables even meats are quite kosher. The dressing is where we begin to see more particulars expressed. I will eat a vinegar and oil dressing on cabbage salads, but my favorite remains cream dressings.
Here’s a super simple and somewhat inexpensive coleslaw I made this past week. This was based upon pre-shredded cabbage in a bag. I used thinly sliced radishes, green onions and grape tomatoes quartered. Time was short so I used bottled poppy seed dressing. Get outside your comfort zone and create something unique this weekend, or use the Hawaiian recipe.
Everyone always wants to know what I’m up to. Well…..this week we hosted a garage party, at our home. This entails a very layed back atmosphere, and a few strategic decorating ideas to cover up garage ‘stuff’. Our guests were some ‘fellas’ that my husband, Ervin, eats breakfast with, during the week. They decided we needed to have a shrimp boil. Everyone brought their spouses/friends, Ervin hired a ‘story teller’, and the party was a success. What’s served at a boil? Well, this time we had to modify because we had so many guests. The potatoes were baked potatoes, the corn was done in the oven with a mayonnaise coating (first cookbook). A giant green salad, cornbread, kielbasa grilled, and of course fresh boiled shrimp. For dessert it was a giant pineapple upside down cake, a peach pie and chocolate brownies. Folks volunteered to bring items making it easier on me too.
Phillip wanted to have another gathering the very next night, for his friends. Ervin and I begged off for at least another week. Two nights in a row….hm..guess I’m showing my age.
When I sit down to pen my words to you each week I often have several pictures within my fast-paced mind. This week I saw my hometown of Lewistown, Missouri and the involvement there with the American Legion. Gathering with our family. Then I saw my next home, Platte City, Missouri, and the wonderful services that were held at the cemetery. Olin frequently played ‘Taps’ and the speakers were often very moving. Each year they would read the list of those that had passed during the past year. It makes a person reach into corners that can be the very hard to visit. Then there’s this swelling like feeling inside your chest, as you realize how wonderful it is to live in the United States.
Here’s a good tip: If you have a friend or family member that’s lost someone in the last 12 months it’s time to take action. They don’t need a sympathy card, they need a ‘friend’ note/card. Time to reassure those left behind that you’re there for them.
Let’s pause to reflect, but remember to live in the moment. Happy Memorial Day weekend! Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Southwest Baked Beans
2 (15 ounce) cans Ranch Style Beans
1 (28 ounce) Bush Maple Cured Beans, lightly drained
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 cup diced sweet peppers
1/2 cup Hickory BBQ Sauce
1 cup of barbecued meat i.e.: pulled pork, burnt ends, rib meat
Combine all ingredients in a sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish and bake for at least 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Recipe should bake down and not be too runny. Remember to allow beans to set and firm up a bit before taking to the table.
*For this class I smoked 1.77 pounds (3 ribs) of pork ribs for one hour and 15 minutes. 3 tablespoons of hickory chips were used in the smoking. The ribs were brushed with Hickory BBQ Sauce. (The smoker used was a dry smoker by the Cameron Company.)
Optional: Green chilies, jalapenos, prepared mustard and different types of meat.
P.S. Sometimes it’s the right mixture of beans that makes the dish!
Hawaiian Cole Slaw
2 bags (14 ounce each) classic shredded cabbage
OR 2 pounds freshly chopped
2 red gala apples, skins on, diced
1 large can pineapple tidbits, juice drained & reserved
12 small green onions, finely minced
1 1/2 cups cashew halves or macadamia nut slices
3-4 stalks celery, diced, optional
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground celery seed
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from the burner and allow to cool. Rinse the chopped apple in the pineapple or lemon juice to slow the browning process. Mix all the salad ingredients together and when the dressing is cool pour over the salad and toss. This makes a refreshing summer coleslaw. You could use sunflower seeds instead of nuts. One week I made this coleslaw and forgot about the leftovers until about five days later. Surprise, nothing had browned and it was still edible!