Monday, June 29, 2009

Make-Ahead Picnic

Monday: Barbecue Baked Beans; Grandma's Coleslaw; Cherry Brown Butter Bars

I've been on a mission to use up the, let's say, older items in my freezer. We had a 10+ hour power outage last weekend, for one thing (thankfully, we had almost nothing in the refrigerator just then), but I need to clear the space for some fresher items. And so that I can have more room for ice cream!

To that end, I made baked beans on Saturday, using my favorite lentil recipe (Barbecue Baked Lentils). I had a whole bunch of white northern beans I cooked in February, froze, and then basically forgot. So I used them instead of the lentils, and put in a bunch of bacon (8 slices or so) that needed to be used after the power outage. (It had been in the freezer, so it didn't get very warm - I just didn't want to re-freeze it after it had partially defrosted.) I baked the bacon in a 400F oven for about 20 minutes, then drained it, chopped it up, and added it when I mixed the sauce for the beans.

I also had a cabbage (an impulse purchase from the previous week's visit to the farmer's market), so I shredded it up for coleslaw. I used my grandmother's cabbage preparation method: layer the shredded cabbage with a small amount of salt in a colander; let sit in the sink for about an hour; squeeze out all the water. The key is using your hands to individually squeeze small amounts of cabbage. My grandma says this method is similar to partially cooking the cabbage - it gets out some of the "raw" taste and texture.

To the drained cabbage, add:
  • a shredded carrot
  • 1/4 C. vinegar diluted with about a Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 C. mayo
  • pepper to taste (and salt if the salt you added to drain the cabbage isn't enough for your palate)
Finally, because we have some tart cherries, too (ah, the bounty that is the PNW!), I made smitten kitchen's Cherry Brown Butter Bars.

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