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Summer Side Dishes to please any palate

Barbecue is now!
By Paul Kirk CWC, Ph.B., B.S.A.S.
Kansas City Baron of BBQ
Barbecue Guru
Order of the Magic Mop
Ambassador of BBQ
Certified Master BBQ Judge

It’s the middle of summer and time to work on side dishes for family, fun, and the American Royal.

Our first recipe is or can be a little spicy but really hits the spot at a barbecue.  Better said, slightly sweet with just the right blend of spices.

Sweet and Sassy Vanilla Slaw
5 c. Napa or Chinese cabbage; shredded
16 oz. broccoli slaw mix
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. white wine vinegar
1/3 c. olive oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. red pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix cabbage and broccoli slaw mix in a large bowl. Set aside.  Whisk together remaining ingredients until well blended. Toss with cabbage mixture just before serving. Serves 8.
This Georgia-style recipe for lemonade comes from the cookbook, Savannah Seasons, by Elizabeth Terry.  Elizabeth is chef owner of Elizabeth on 37th Restaurant in Savannah.
Summer Gingered Lemonade
The Lemonade
6 c. cold water
1-1/4 c. fresh lemon juice (12 lemons)
1/4 c. grenadine

The Ginger Syrup       
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
2 Tbsp. peeled & minced fresh ginger
Mint Sprigs
To make lemonade: Whisk all the ingredients together in a pitcher.  To make the syrup: Stir together all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Strain.  Cool and add to the lemonade.   Serve the lemonade over ice.  Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

Beans with barbecue are different all over the world.  Beans means Pinto, black-Eyed Peas to Boston Baked beans and so on.  The nice thing about beans can be done on a campfire or stove top, your oven or smoker.

Black-eyed Peas, South Texas Style
1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
4 c. water
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
1/4 c. bacon drippings
1 large onion, chopped
14 oz. can of diced tomatoes, such as Rotel, drained
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 jalapenos (pickled or fresh), chopped
2 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and pick over peas.  In a large pot, mix peas with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  Add all other ingredients and simmer, covered, 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until peas are tender.

Here is another good dish.

Butter Bean Pork Stew
1-1/2 lbs. baby lima beans
1 large yellow onion, diced.
1/2 lb. bacon, fried to tender not crisp
2 to 4 Tbsp. bacon grease
2 lbs. pulled pork
1/2 lb. smoked ham
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 fresh jalapeno peppers, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight.  Rinse soaked lamas, and pour into a large stew pot with 9 cups water.  Add all other ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer for and let cook for 2 to 3 hours.

Recipe is best served reheated after the first day! Serves 10 to 12.

Here’s a Kansas City special.

Gates BBQ Baked Beans
2 - 55 oz. cans Showboat Pork and Beans (drain in colander)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. molasses
3 Tbsp. Gates Rib Seasoning or your own
3/4 c. Gates Barbeque Sauce or your own
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 lb. bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled, chopped burnt ends or pulled pork
1 onion, chopped & cooked in bacon grease
1 bell pepper, chopped and cooked in bacon grease (optional)

Cook bacon in large skillet let cool and crumble. In same skillet cook onions and bell pepper. In a large pot combine all ingredients and cook on top of stove using a low to medium low carefully so they won’t burn. Cook until a ‘skin’ forms on top (approx. 20-30 minutes) and they are done. An electric skillet works great for this. Serves 10 to 12.

West Virginia Icebox Pickles

By Kent “The Deck Chef” & Ally Whitaker

I’m finishing up the next book in my Hometown Cookbook series that I co-author with Sheila Simmons. Every book is based on cooking, stories, people, places, and good food from real people in each state we visit. It’s a great way to celebrate, and preserve, regional and local cooking.
The newest addition to the series is The West Virginia Hometown Cookbook and it’s shaping up to be as good as or better than the six titles that preceded it.  So far the series includes The Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and the South Carolina Hometown Cookbook. Every title has a great combination of recipes but I always have a few that stick in my brain.

One such recipe is for pickles that you don’t have to use a canning method. Well, actually you do use a simple version of canning but it’s almost idiot-proof. Which is perfect for me!

They’re called Icebox Pickles and are almost too easy to make. Just whip up the ingredients, heat them up, place in a jar, and stick in the fridge for about a day or two. The result is a tasty and crunchy pickle that would make a great addition to a grilled burger or served up on the side of a barbecue pulled pork platter.

Here’s the recipe for Icebox Pickles that is included in my upcoming book The West Virginia Hometown Cookbook. As you can tell by the picture my wife Ally got a bit creative and served the finished pickles up in jars. She then placed one on each table during a recent family cookout.

5-6 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
1-1/4 c. chopped sweet onions
1-1/2 c. sugar
1-1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Place the sliced cucumbers and onions in a large bowl that can be covered tightly. Combine all of the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and let it come to a boil. Cook and stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved then quickly remove from heat. Pour the liquid over the cucumber mixture and allow to cool for about thirty minutes while being lightly covered. Then cover tightly and refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours before serving. One note: If you slice thick pickles or cut the cucumbers into larger wedge pieces the soaking time in the mixture may take a few hours longer.

Kent Whitaker is the author of eight cookbooks, ranging from hometown cooking with a culinary history twist to titles for NASCAR tailgating and barbecue. He has also written and illustrated two books for children, is a trained USCG AUXCHEF, and is the winner of the Emeril Live / Food Network Barbecue Contest. His latest book, Bullets and Bread,  is in bookstores nationally and is also available online at, as well as at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon.

Photo by Kent “The Deck Chef” Whitaker
West Virginia Icebox Pickles

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Thai Curry Paste Grilled Chicken

Fire Up The Grill
By Steve Collins
The Home Chef

One of my favorite condiments is Thai green curry paste. You can buy it in a jar at most Asian markets or you can make if at home. If you do, you’ll know it’s fresh and you can decide how spicy hot you want to make it. I’ve included the recipe at the bottom. Make a batch and refrigerate or freeze it to use as needed. Green curry paste is an excellent ingredient in a marinade for grilled chicken. I prefer boneless thighs for this, but if you are a fan of boneless breasts, that works, too. It’s a quick and easy dinner and a change from the ordinary.

3 Tbsp. green curry paste (recipe below)
15 oz. can coconut milk
3 scallions, chopped 1/4”
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Prepare a hot fire. Mix the green curry paste with the coconut milk, sesame oil, and lime juice. Put the chicken in a reclosable plastic bag and cover with the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for from 30 minutes up to two hours. Remove the chicken from the marinade and save the liquid. When the grill is ready, put the chicken on and cook for four minutes. Turn and cook for four more minutes on the other side.  While the chicken is cooking put the reserved marinade in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Serve the chicken with the sauce.

Green Curry Paste
2 Tbsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. cumin seed
2 poblano chiles, stemmed & seeded
4 jalapeno chiles, stemmed & seeded
4 medium sticks lemongrass, bottom 4 inches removed & coarsely chopped
1 head of garlic, peeled & coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Fresh cilantro
1/4 cup Fresh basil
2 Tbsp. Fresh ginger, peeled & coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lime
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Nuc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)

Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the coriander and cumin seeds and toast them until they begin to release their fragrance. Set aside to cool. Put all the paste ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a coarse paste is formed. Refrigerate the paste until ready to use. It will keep up to a week, refrigerated or for several months frozen. Serves 4.

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