Friday, July 2, 2010

Hurray for Summer, and Happy 4th of July Potluck!

Welcome, and I hope everyone's having a lovely weekend, filled with love, good food, family, and fun. Here's hoping the weekend finds everyone well and happy! Welcome to our first ever blog potluck, and thanks so much for sharing your favorite summer celebration recipes and memories of loved ones.

We have another dish to share, this one from Haggis, over on What do you mean, I should start a blog? Haggis brings us a recipe for 1-2-3 Lemon Sherbet:
Strictly speaking, this should be called Momma and Poppa Haggis' Homemade 3-2-1 Lemon Sherbet because my sainted mother always got the ingredients ready, while my father always took care of freezing the mixture using the old hand-cranked ice cream maker. He'd pack it with ice, rock salt and a little water, then he'd burn off about a bizillion calories cranking away until it became sherbet.
Haggis says to enjoy his recipe for homemade sherbet with relish, but with people relish not pickle relish. I'm pretty sure he doesn't intend you should actually make relish out of people, because he didn't include a recipe for that part . . . But he does write horror, and with Haggis, it never pays to take these things for granted.

I got a very funny link to add, from Jamie Mason: Picnic: Or Why The Hell Are We Eating Outside?
There are a number of sturdy and standard plans we entertain that don’t hold up nearly as well once they’re launched into reality.  It’s one of the amusing things about being human.  And summer is particularly prone to showing up our big ideas for being wobbly-at-best.  For instance, the belly-flop.  Drenching the coals with lighter fluid just to get things going.  The Slip n’ Slide.  The keg stand.  The Slip n’ Slide after a keg stand.  The Speedo. 

Maria Zannini shares memories and techniques for Mexican barbacoa, over on her blog, Tales of Otherworlds:
Mexican barbeque is called barbacoa, and it's not your typical Texan fare.
Barbacoa is basically slow cooked beef. Traditionally, it is cooked in a pit, wrapped in maguey or banana leaves where the smoke and steam seal in the juices and imbue it with a flavor that's out of this world.

Marguerite Butler shares a wonderful recipe and memories of her grandmother, Fresh From the Garden, on Marguerite Says:
My grandmother was a fantastic gardener, but she didn't eat fresh vegetables.  Nana was a product of the great depression and all things were to be hoarded, even food.  Some of my earliest memories are of summer harvests and the inevitable canning process.  With only a tiny icebox, she didn't freeze things.  She canned them.  For days on end, the pressure canner and pots of boiling water roiled nonstop.  I'm talking about a Texas summer with only a little swamp cooler unit to take the sting out of the heat.

My own mom posted about Summers and Picnics, celebrating Independence Day, watermelon-rind pickles, and growing up in Texas in the 1940s:
Mom would pack up a scrumptious lunch with Southern fried chicken, roasting ears of corn to cook on the grill, potato salad, coconut cake (my Dad's favorite), and a huge watermelon. Usually we'd head for the Brazos river to spend the day, or sometimes two. Dad and the boys would fish or put out set lines for catfish. When we stayed for a couple of days, Mom would cook up the catfish and fry potatoes on the campfire. It just didn't get any better than that.
Lisa Spangenberg shares memories of her father, and the recipe for his coleslaw, on A Digital Medievalist's Commonplace Blog. I cannot help but observe again the joy and sweetness we carry around the associations we all have between food, memory, and the people beloved to us:
I loved his coleslaw. There were two things that made his coleslaw different; one, he didn't overuse mayonnaise, and two, he added nuts. At first, it was slivered almonds, or pecans, but later, after he retired, he started using macadamia nuts. I can remember him standing over the cutting board with half a head of green cabbage, and shredding it with a knife. He didn't like to use the food processor. He'd add grated carrots, a little high quality mayo, salt and pepper to taste, and last of all, the nuts.

From Trish Stewart, back from a shared camping vacation with a bunch of friends:
Jamie asked for my green bean recipe. I sent this to her, but I figured I'd forward it/share it with you guys too, and Mac, since you thought it sounded evilly delicious, I'm copying you. (try it out and feel free to share it on your cooking blog if you approve of it) (minus the extra jibberish, of course)

The runamuck version.
Get fresh green beans. I don't know how many you're feeding so all of this is going to be guessing on my end.
snip the ends (drinking all the while). soak them for a bit. (continue drinking). 
wash your hands, damn it!
put some chicken broth in the water you're boiling the beans in. I used 3 cups with way too much water at Runamuck. you could probably go half water half broth for the best result. you don't need to salt the water.
get a good boil before you put them in. while you're waiting for the water to boil fry some bacon (in a really big skillet because all the beans are going in there). 

For the amount I made at Runamuck I used 6 or 8 slices of thick-cut bacon. (drink while the bacon is cooking and you're waiting for your water to boil)
wash your hands!
Take the bacon out, and set it aside, leave the grease. 
Chop an onion put it in the bacon grease on low about 5 minutes before your half-cooked beans are ready to go in. 
wash your hands again, and take another drink. (be sure you wash your hands before you take a drink because you don't want onion bacon beverage, do you?)
Chop your cashews while you wait. ( many? many look like enough? And really, is there ever enough?)
Use tongs to get the beans outta the water. Put the beans in the pan with the bacon drippings and onion.
add about a cup (depending on how many, maybe 2) of broth/water, salt and pepper.
Again, depending on how many beans, add a couple tablespoons of butter. (at runamuck I probably added 3 tablespoons of butter, and I took another drink) 
let them cook until they are tender.
When they are done and the broth/butter/bacon drippings has reduced to a thick sauce add chopped cashews. I usually just throw in a few handfuls maybe 1/4 cup? ah....probably more than that. how's it look?
they'll get coated and toasty.
drink for the toasty cashews!
crumble up the cooked bacon.
wash your hands!
take a drink.
add the crumbled bacon (it stays crispy if you wait until the end to put it in) -->and truly this genius requires you to drink again.
top it with crumbled bleu cheese.(however much you want)
the longer it stays in the pan the gooey-er (is that a word? drink!) it'll be. 
and it does reheat well but the bleu cheese will melt entirely when you reheat it.
if you're taking it somewhere for a cookout maybe get it all done except for the bacon, bleu cheese and cashews.
if you do it that way, take the cooked beans and saucy-ness put it back in the skillet, get it hot, add the crumbled bacon, cashews and bleu cheese while you're there so you don't have to try to keep it warm and let the bacon get soggy).
drink su'more!
let me know if you have any questions about it. I just do it by taste and visual. (does that look like enough?) :)

The "extra gibberish" is far too much fun to leave off, Trish. It sounds like you all had an indecent amount of fun and amazing food at Camp Runumuck.

I'll continue posting links for everyone to enjoy as they continue trickling in. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and thank you so much for sharing your memories and recipes with us.