Peonies and red leaf lettuce make a lovely centerpiece.
My son, Zan, married Lucy last week. Last week my first novel, SIMMER AND SMOKE, was attached a firm publication date: two weeks from today. (The paperback is now available on Amazon; the ebook will be soon.) Events surrounding the book’s massive to-do list were swept beneath wedding hoop-la without a glance. Big glorious times.
This week the balloon has deflated, the to-do list resurrected. My brain feels cracked, like some errant mule kicked my head into nonsense and all I can report are that ribbons of young, uncooked chard are delicious in tossed salads (as reflected in today’s recipe) and wood chunks (rather than chips) make a long smoke easier.
But you probably knew this anyway.
Greta wrapped the tent legs with burlap, tied them with gingham bows, then inserted fresh daisies into the bows.
Backing up, my self-catered, pre-wedding party (menu found in the previous blog) for 65 guests was a success. A lesson learned decades ago: when entertaining, do as much as you possibly can in advance.
For instance, pop-up tents were ordered to fit our backyard several months ago. (It was less expensive to buy then rent them.) Pinterest is an invaluable tool in storing decorating ideas. And who knew Joanne’s Fabrics is a Godsend for tent leg inspiration?
After a week of non-stop rain, the son shone down on my boy and his bride, the fiddler fiddled, and our guests dined on heritage recipes that relatives long passed away had penned. Zan’s deceased grandmothers, amongst others, were celebrating this union with their recipes for potato salad and pimento cheese. How wonderful is that!
Back to today’s recipe. Lucy once made me a tossed salad using ribbons of fresh, young, locally-grown chard; I loved the element of texture it lended to the salad and recreated something similar last night. It’s a riff on a Caesar Salad but I eliminated the egg in the dressing and substituted grated Gruyere for Parmesan. I also added some beets, avocado and pumpkin seeds I had on hand. I fear my riff has strayed quite a bit from the original tune, but your salad will be delicious, whichever chord you play.
Happy Memorial Day! Perhaps the long weekend will offer you more time to relax and fire up the grill, and the following recipe for Hot Slaw and Shoulder Sliders has been a family favorite for generations. My millennial son, Zan, is getting married to Lucy in 4 weeks, I’m hosting a party the night before the wedding, the boy wants mama’s down-home barbecue, and it better be good. Damn good.
Frozen smoked, pulled and sauced pork.
Serving pork, fresh from the smoke, is BQ done right, but that special evening I want to be apart of the revelry–not an ember-scented mama, eyes watering from smoke, fingers sticky with sauce.
So I quadrupled the barbecue portion of the recipe below to feed sixty, and for the past two days, I’ve smoked 4 shoulders in my Big Green Egg; the large Egg accommodates 2 shoulders but it takes 6-7 hours to smoke them. Then, I froze the pulled, sauced pork, which I plan to thaw the night before the party. I’ll serve it from a sterno-lit chafing dish next to the slaw and buns. Heresy, perhaps, but I’ve frozen freshly smoked pork before with excellent results.
And they’ve only been open 10 months. I’ve license to brag, right? Dang.
Family recipes are what will lend sentiment to the occasion; food from Zan’s side of the family honoring family present and those who’ve
Pork should smoke at a constant temperature.
“moved on”: my Alabama mother’s recipe be for smoked pulled pork shoulder (a.k.a. Boston butt); his uncle Allen’s recipe for Hot Slaw; his German grandmother’s recipe for potato salad; his stepmother’s recipe for carrot cake, which she (praise God) will be making. Strategically placed bowls of my own riff on Pimento Cheese, gussied up with bacon and creme fraiche, will be served with pumpernickel bread and celery sticks. Peanuts in the shell at the bar–easy-peasie. Deviled Eggs may make a showing, if I’ve the time. For libation I’m making a whiskey punch, and for fun I’ve hired a fiddler to work the crowd.
Barbecue is, more than likely, the oldest form of cooking in our part of the world; whether its genesis be African slaves, Pilgrims or native Hawaiians; whoever had the great idea of devising that first pit of burning embers, and placing a pig within it to roast. The art of the pit is in it’s golden age with nationwide beloved pit masters and their BQ joints enjoying more local notoriety than their representatives at the White House.
For me, the key to making the best smoked pork is keeping my fire at a constant temperature (250-300 degrees), selecting my favorites woods for smoking pork (hickory and a fruity wood such as apple or cherry) and removing the pork when it temps at 190-200 degrees.
The following recipe is for the typical, popular kettle grill. A couple of years ago, I sprung for a Big Green Egg, which has made smoking infinitely easier, once you get the hang of it. I’m able to skip the drip pan step in the recipe below, regulating heat and keeping a constant heat is a breeze, and one kettle filled with their organic charcoal is enough fuel for 7 hours+ of smoking time.
Still. I could never capture Ansel Adam‘s American West no matter how many strings of cameras I roped around my neck.
I suspect you may have similar experiences when traveling; put that camera phone to good use and lighten the load.
Aside from Thai Sapa, a restaurant in Springdale (the gateway to Zion) that served the most amazing fusion Asian, this was no culinary adventure–I doubt backpack sandwiches and cut-up veggies are your thing.
And now I’m sitting in my kitchen, in the throes of re-entry blues, poring over recipes that I can carve into a dinner party this weekend.
Spring is loaded with celebrations; celebrations mean food. This past weekend Ann Arbor was inundated with graduation parties. Next weekend is Mother’s Day; Richard and I are spending it in Chicago with daughter Greta and her partner, Tom.
Flank Steak Success: Cook over high heat and serve medium rare to rare.
We’re hosting a dinner party for a close friend Saturday night and I’ve been perusing the site for inspiration. We want to grill, closing the doors on winter, and we want to utilize the wild leeks Greta recently picked.
A Spring Green Risotto , to utilize the leeks, paired with Balsamic Flank Steak (recipe follows) that we’ll throw on the grill, and we’re in business.
A pic I took of Greta on the telly.
For dessert Greta is making a Creme Brûlée, using a blow torch from her workshop to caramelize the top. On Mother’s Day we’ll all be watching her put the blow torch to its intended use on Discovery Channels, Epic Bar Builds that airs Sundays at 3:00 (EST).
Taste buds prickle; wanderlust triggered. An Argentine barbecue (asado)
enticed me to Patagonia. A friend gave me a vial of ground sumac berries--4 months later I was
waking at dawn to the "Call To Prayer" in Turkey. Porcini to Tuscany, and so on. Read more about my chronicles of
trips and favorite associated recipes. Browse my travel recipes...
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where I highlight projects that bring friends, neighborhoods, and communities together. For me,
complimentary food makes the project and event more fun. Browse my projects and related recipes...