Saturday, June 30, 2007

Red, White & Blue

Ever since I had kids, and even before, I've enjoyed making special meals for holidays. July 4 lends itself especially well to a festive meal, forcing a little creativity. Fortunately, in-season produce is appropriately colorful, as well as nutritious.

This year, we're celebrating twice, since Memphis's big fireworks display happened June 30 (much to the confusion of my children). We'll host another family on the Fourth. They're new to Memphis, transplanted from New York, and the husband was a professional chef until they moved here, with 20 years' restaurant experience.

I had only intended to make one Red, White & Blue meal, but the kids balked. To them, watching fireworks, no matter what the date, means eating that special meal. And, for little advance planning, it turned out pretty well.

Before we left for the park to watch the largest fireworks display in Mid-South history, we dined on:

Blue corn chips and salsa
Red-skin potato salad
Cole slaw (not quite white, but close enough)
Strawberries, bing cherries, blueberries, and blackberries

And, as we watched the fireworks, we enjoyed these very colorful, and ostensibly healthy(ish) chips.

Tomorrow I need to step up my game a little (remember? one of our dinner guests is a chef!) and because I'm a born Southerner, I feel the need to make barbecue pork. I have a tenderloin thawing right now, which I'll cook tomorrow morning in the crock pot for pulled pork sandwiches. For the vegetarians among us, I'm making grilled eggplant and tomato sandwiches(probably just tomato for the kids). I'll also make red, white, and blue cole slaw.

We'll keep the blue chips and salsa, and we'll get more of the Terra chips. We've also got a watermelon, and more blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and strawberries. I always enjoy making trifles, and a blueberry and strawberry trifle would be perfect with angel food cake (plus, all three colors in one dish!).

So, recipes?

Slow-Cooked Pork Tenderloin for sandwiches

Put a pork tenderloin into the crock-pot. You might need to cut it into two pieces, depending on the size and shape of your crockpot.

Add the following:
  • Half a beer (Pabst Blue Ribbon is my favorite)
  • Cumin (about a tablespoon, adjust to your taste)
  • Chili Powder (same as above)
  • Cinnamon (less than above, about a teaspoon)
  • A little apple cider or red wine vinegar (1/4 cup)
  • A little bit of cocoa powder (1/2 teaspoon)
  • A pureed tomato

Cook on low until it falls apart when poked with a fork. Serve on buns or rolls.

Red, White & Blue Cole Slaw

Buy the bagged slaw already cut up, or cut up a white cabbage. Dress with cole slaw dressing (I'm far too lazy to make my own, though I often mix the slaw dressing with ranch, since kids love ranch dressing). Mix as normal. (Note: you can just purchase pre-made cole slaw, too, but I don't like how soggy it can be.)

Place the slaw in a rectangular dish and smooth the top with a spatula to make it flat.

Halve some cherry or grape tomatoes.

Arrange bleu cheese and the tomatoes into a flag design, with the bleu cheese being the blue section of the flag and the tomatoes being the stripes.

Bacon, of course, would be a lovely addition to this dish, but the vegetarians in my house don't allow that.

New Potatoes with Horseradish

Boil a bunch of redskinned new potatoes. Drain and cool to room temperature.
Mix plain yogurt (or sour cream, if you're feeling decadent) with fresh horseradish and a little mayonnaise. Toss the potatoes in it. A little fresh rosemary makes it fancy. This one is good served warm, room temperature, or cold.

Red, White & Blue Trifle

  • Make and cool, or purchase an angel food cake. Rip it up into bite-sized chunks.
  • In a glass bowl (the fancier the better!), layer 1/3 of the cake chunks. Cover the layer with whipped cream (about 1 1/2 cups). You can make your own whipped cream and flavor it with vanilla or a little liquor (cream sherry, Tia Maria, etc.). If you're trying to be virtuous, you can also use lowfat vanilla yogurt. Or cool-whip. Then a layer of strawberry slices and blueberries. Blackberries and raspberries are also great.
  • Repeat each layer.
  • Repeat again.
  • Chill and serve.


Lizard Eater said...

Oh, hunnnny, Ah've always thought that you and I could hang out together and have a good time -- and now I know it for sure!

Noodle said...

Yum!! I'll have the eggplant and tomato. :)

uuMomma said...

ooooh. I'm going to try your pulled pork recipe. Mine hasn't been working so well. Don't know if i like the beer or the cocoa ingredients better on this! Thanks

Izzy said...

Dude! I'm eating at YOUR house tomorrow. How do you find time to cook like this? I work from home and still can't find any.