What’s your favorite summer cover-up? It’s summer & time for the beach. You may have a beach cover-up, but what about your food? Sometimes it can use a good cover-up too!
As we approach the 4th of July, I’m dreaming of slow cooked ribs, smoked pork butt, burgers blackened on the grill, salmon and corn covered in grill marks, and because it’s hot, ice cream for dessert! All of these are delicious simply seasoned with herbs and spices, but this year I think I’d rather slather them until they’re covered in sticky goodness.
The question is, what cover-up will I choose for a rack of tender ribs? Actually, I may cheat on this one. My lawn care man has promised to deliver a sample of his newly created BBQ sauce. He describes it as tangy & spicy. Those are the qualities I prefer in BBQ sauce and his is getting rave reviews from friends.
Purists may prefer only Memphis-style dry rub on their ribs. I like them rubbed and then basted with a thick sauce that caramelizes on the edges. This only applies to ribs. I want my pork butt covered up after it’s put on my plate if I cover it at all.
For variety, I like mango salsa or sauce, you might prefer apple, apricot, peach, plum, or strawberry. I want to try a cherry based sauce or possibly a mixture of sweet cherries and raspberry. In my head, pineapple sounds like a good compliment to cherries and raspberry, but I’ll have to do a taste test to see if it works like I think it will. Orange might work better.
Moving on to the pork butt, I think I’ll shred the meat and cover it with slaw. Mayonnaise and vinegar cabbage coleslaw is probably the most common version served with pulled pork. I’m going to use my mom’s vinegar coleslaw recipe.
Mom’s Cabbage Slaw
2 large heads of cabbage, shredded
6 or 7 white or red onions, grated or finely minced
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 3/4 cups salad oil
1 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons celery seed
Fresh ground black pepper
In large bowl, combine cabbage onion, sugar, and salt. Toss and set aside.
In saucepan, combine oil, vinegar, dry mustard, and celery seed and bring to boil.
Once cabbage has produced juice (about 5 minutes), drain it through a colander, then place in large bowl. Pour the boiling dressing mixture over drained cabbage. Add fresh ground black pepper and toss with a fork.
Allow to sit until cool. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours prior to serving.
I’m going to keep the burgers homestyle as well by mixing Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning into the meat. Homestyle? Well, not for everybody, but this blend of 13 spices and seasonings originated in my hometown and was always in our pantry. When I was a kid, a glass jar of Cavender’s was a standard Christmas gift for relatives who lived far away and could not purchase it in their local stores. I don’t think they have the glass jars anymore, but the seasoning is still tasty. For a light touch, I’ll serve the burgers with thinly sliced seedless cucumbers and tzatziki.
Honey glazed salmon sounds appealing. Salmon can handle some strong flavors. I often feel like what I’m served in restaurants is under seasoned. A good dose of salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon or lime along with the honey should give me moist, full-flavored salmon.
I really can’t think of a better cover-up for corn than butter. If the corn is sweet & fresh, I’ll skip the salt and just use salted butter. Anything else seems to detract rather than enhance.
Now, for dessert! Obviously, there are hundreds of ice cream topping choices. I prefer fresh fruit or chocolate or a combination of the two, but rather than limit my friends to my choices, it’s easy to set out small dishes of shredded coconut, a variety of chopped nuts, cookie pieces, cereal, fruit and chocolate sauce. I make them all gluten-free so I can enjoy any leftovers.
Truthfully, most of this is long-term planning. This 4th comes on the heels of too many months of family caregiving to make the actual execution sound appealing. I think I’ll choose a mindless float in the pool. Nonetheless, I’m excited about the ideas!
The 4th of July will come around again next year. Maybe that will be a good time to invite a few friends over to enjoy a favorite summer cover-up!
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