Thursday, July 05, 2012

Happy Belated Independence Day, or Barbecuing without Barbecuing

We didn't go anywhere or do anything special for the Fourth of July, because Cyd wasn't feeling very well, but that didn't stop me from making a kick-ass, pork-tacular holiday feast without taking one step outside. (I am an indoor dweller if I have my druthers--nocturnal and sparkly, like a Cullen.) However, we didn't eat this fine meal until today when my roomie had more of an appetite. And it was definitely a celebration worth waiting for!

Bacon Ranch Macaroni Salad

1 lb. small shells, cooked according to package, drained and cooled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chipotle ranch dressing
1 tablespoon sweet and spicy mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar, optional (I like things tangy!)
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground celery
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon zucchini relish
1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapenos
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons finely-chopped cooked bacon (smoky!)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
salt, to taste

Combine all of the above ingredients and chill overnight.

Baked Beans Fit for the Fourth (or the Fifth!)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 medium sweet pepper (any color you prefer), seeded and diced
2 (smallish) links chorizo
1 can baked beans (I prefer Bush's)
1 can chili beans (in sauce)
1 can butter beans, drained
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 slices bacon, cut into sixths

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, then sautee the onion, pepper, and chorizo until the veggies are tender. Stir in everything else (except the bacon), and pour into a sprayed 9x13 baking dish. Top with the bacon pieces and bake for about two hours at 325F or until the bacon is suitably browned and the bean sauce has thickened considerably.

Jalapeño-Beer Brined Pork Roast
(Source: adapted from Cooks' Recipes)

2 1/2 cups water
1 (12-ounce) can beer (I used a dark beer for more flavor)
1 (4-ounce) can diced jalapeños (I used pickled nacho slices)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher (coarse) salt
6 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, crushed (or...a whole head!)
3-4 lb, pork roast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced black pepper

Combine water, beer, jalapeños, sugar, salt, ginger and garlic in medium bowl. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add pork and cover. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, turning pork occasionally.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Brown the roast on all sides. Deglaze the pan with about a cup of the marinade. Add the sliced onion, and fish out the pepper rings and garlic cloves and throw those in there, too. Sprinkle the roast with black pepper. Cover and braise in a 300F oven for about three hours until tender, flipping and basting every so often.

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