Nothing Like a Taste of Summer in the Winter!

spare ribs potato salad deviled eggs coleslaw baked beans Piece of Pie Creme Brûlée
If you ask me, nothing makes a summertime meal taste better than having it in the middle of winter.  Last night we had our dear friends Billie & Terry over for dinner and I decided to surprise them with a little taste of summer, which for me worked out well, because once again here in South Jersey we’re looking ‘forward’ to another Nor’Easter in a couple days which is promising this time to pack a punch with a good deal of snow….. uggggg….. I will stay in and look at it sitting by the fire and will stay there until its safe to walk outside. (I tend to fall, so its better that I just stay put)

Anyway, back to my Taste of Summer meal.  The menu: BBQ Spareribs, Coleslaw (I’ve blogged this before so click here for the recipe), Potato Salad, Deviled Eggs, Baked Beans, German Chocolate Pie (recipe & photos below) & Creme Brûlée (recipe & photos below).

spare ribs coleslaw

Okay, the recipes for the desserts are below, the recipe for the coleslaw I’ve blogged before for Memorial Day so click here.  My BBQ RIBS, I tend to make different every time, but, that being said, wouldn’t give out the recipe if I had one (some things just have to be kept secret).  I will tell you when it comes to making ribs, I personally believe that baking them in the oven, low and slow, is the way to go.  I will also tell you, I do a dry rub, turn them from time to time while baking, and I do add bbq sauce near the end.  You can use a basic bbq sauce if you like, but why not try to make it your own.  Possibly add some brown sugar, try different vinegars, etc.  Look at your bbq sauce in the bottle see the ingredients are, go from there.

potato salad

My POTATO SALAD, comes out different every time.  Why?? because there’s no recipe! LOL!  The recipe that my family loved, was my mom’s and she took it with her when she passed.  Was it written down anywhere??? NO!!!!  So, if there’s a family recipe in your family that everyone loves make sure someone writes down the recipe, another suggestion, do it before they get to old. My daughter-in-law Val tried to get my mom to teach it to her before she passed, it can’t be replicated.  It’s just possible we’re just not adding the right amount of love.  That being said, when I make my potato salad, (which my hubby prefers to eat right after I make it before it hits the fridge), I use either Red Skin or Golden potatoes I think these have the best flavor for potato salad my favorite being the golden.  My general ingredients are: boiled potatoes, hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise (a good quality mayo), salt, pepper, onion powder, a little brown mustard.  I mix the mayo with the rest of the ingredients making a dressing of sorts, taste, add flavors you like in a potato salad, I sometime add fresh chives, which I did in this one, if you have fresh herbs use them, fresh is always good.  My mom use to add celery and onion, I’m not big on either of those 2 (its a texture thing) so I don’t add them, but by all means add them if you like them!  For a treat you can always crisp up some bacon and add it in.  Don’t just use mayonnaise and leave it at that, be creative.

deviled eggs

DEVILED EGGS, okay, what I generally do, and this time I didn’t.  But generally, my deviled egg recipe is:  Egg yolks, mayonnaise, a good tasting brown mustard, pickle relish & dill.  Use your hand mixer.  Make sure they are smooth & creamy not dry and no lumps!  People won’t tell you, but no one likes dry deviled eggs.  The ones I made this time, personally were just a little too creamy  but my company seemed to love them.  Okay, amounts…. I have no idea.  It takes practice.  A couple big spoonfuls of mayo, a good squirt of mustard, not too much, you don’t want the mustard flavor to take over, about a good tablespoon of relish.  If you don’t want to use allot of mayo, use some sour cream.  Make sure your mayo is a good quality mayonnaise. ALWAYS no matter what, use a good quality mayonnaise, it makes the world of difference.  Oh, I usually use 9 hard boiled eggs which make 18 deviled eggs, most deviled egg platters hold 18.  (If you use fresh free range eggs like I do, theres a little secret for hard boiling really fresh eggs, use baking soda in the water when your boiling them, then, refrigerate them over night.  They will come out of the shell no problem). One more quick tip, if you have the time and the equipment, you can use your icing bag and tips pipe your filling into the eggs.  This is always nice for a party.

baked beans

BAKED BEANS …..okay….when I go to a picnic and there are baked beans there, I sometimes cringe.  Why?? you ask… Because they’re out of the can!  And I don’t have a problem with canned baked beans, but straight out of the can!!! NOOOOOOOO!  First of all, some canned baked beans, especially the no name brand baked beans have allot of liquid in them.  DRAIN THEM! Not all the liquid but what is swimming around on the top, yeah, get rid of it.  Now, if your using a quality baked bean, you won’t have that, if your using a quality flavored baked bean, you won’t have that.  Some juice is necessary, why?? cause your going to BAKE the baked beans.  NO STOVETOP, NO MICROWAVE!  So an hour before you need to serve these beans or take them with you, your going to put them in the oven and here’s what your going to do:
1st, preheat oven to 400°, put your beans in a baking dish or foil pan, if your taking them to a picnic, foil pan is a good way to go. If your serving them at home, use a nice baking dish, spray it with a non stick spray 1st because these are going to leave a little residue but its worth it.  Also, if you know in advance your going to make bake beans, buy a pound of bacon and depending on how much baked beans you make, will show how much of the pound you’ll need.  The bacon is the last step before baking, read on.
2nd. If you use flavored bake beans its nice to mix a couple different flavors together to complement the meal.  Now once you have 1 can or several cans in the baking dish, mixed together, taste the sauce (its still cold but taste it)  Is this the flavor your looking for?? If these are unflavored regular baked bean the answer should be NO, if their flavored I think you can still step them up a bit. Could it use possible some brown sugar?  Most likely, go ahead add some, stir it, taste it….ummmmm somethings starting to happen isn’t it??? Yup, now your not done, how ’bout adding some catsup??  I hope you have a good quality catsup, there is a difference.  Yes, add some catsup, ESPECIALLY if your using unflavored baked bean, add some catsup!  Mix, taste.  See, now, adjust your flavors, most of the time thats all I add, but you can add more, you can add some mustard, NOT MUCH, never add much, add more when needed after tasting.  You can also add a LITTLE molasses, molasses is a very strong taste so add very little.  Okay??  Flavors okay?? Next..
3rd. Cut some bacon up in 1/2″ – 1″ pieces and place on top of the bake beans.  Don’t be stingy folks love bacon.
4th Pop in the oven and bake.  Depending on your oven and the amount of liquid in your beans they could take 45 – 60 minutes to bake so allow yourself time.  Check on them at the 45 minute mark, if their bubbly and the bacon is browned they’re done.
Baked beans aren’t hard, and the little bit of extra time you put into them is well worth it.  Practice makes perfect.  So before you take them to a party, make them for your family first, they’ll be honest with you on their taste and where you might need to work on your ingredients.  You can never go wrong with extra brown sugar, you can over do with catsup, mustard & molasses so take your time and add ingredients sparingly and add more as needed.

Okay, here’s what you’ve been waiting for the dessert recipes:

4 creme brulee 12 piece of pie

CREME BRULEE (adapted from the Irish Creme Brûlée which you can find here)

1 mixture 2 ready for oven 3 brown sugar top 4 creme brulee Coffemate Natural Bliss

1 cup Coffee Mate Natural Bliss Vanilla liquid coffee creamer (you can use any flavor you want, so depending on your theme or holiday, change it up)
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks (I freeze my egg whites and use them to for recipes later on)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 tablespoons light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place creamer, cream, granulated sugar and salt in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Beat egg yolks in medium bowl; gradually whisk cream mixture into egg yolks. Stir in vanilla extract.

Pour mixture into five 6-ounce custard cups. Place cups in 13-by-9-inch baking pan; fill pan with hot water to 1-inch depth. Loosely cover with foil.

Bake for 70 minutes or until gently set in center. Remove to wire rack to cool slightly. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Preheat broiler. Sprinkle each creme brulee evenly with brown sugar. Broil for 2 minutes or until sugar is melted and caramelized. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until topping hardens.

Makes 5 servings.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE PIE WITH COCONUT CRUST (gluten free) (slightly adapted from the original recipe which you can find here)

Coconut crust Coconut Crust  Coconut Crust Baked Chocolate Filling Hersheys Cocoa Chocolate Filling Boiling Chocolate filling in pie Topping boiling Topping ready Completed German Chocolate Pie Cutting the pie Piece of Pie

Ingredients:

Crust Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/8 cup (I used a 1/4 then filled it half way for the 1/8) coconut oil room temperature (what happened was my pie dish was 9 1/2″ and the regular amounts didn’t work so I cut it in half and added another 1/2 batch thats why the 3/8 cup)

German Chocolate Pie Filling Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s cocoa powder it’s 100% Cacao)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk

Topping Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extact
  • 2/3 cup Coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Pie Crust Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 inch pie dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine coconut and coconut oil.
  3. Press coconut mixture into a pie shell until evenly distributed.
  4. Bake at 350 degree for 10 – 12 minutes or until the edge begins to turn a golden brown.

Pie Filling Directions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine cocoa powder, coconut oil, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, and Coconut milk.
  2. Place over medium heat and use a whisk to thoroughly combine the ingredients as the coconut oil melts.
  3. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for 2 more minutes while constantly whisking.
  4. Remove from heat and pour into crust.

German Chocolate Topping Directions:

  1. Combine the egg yolks, sugar, coconut oil, vanilla and Coconut milk in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Cook over a medium flame for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is thick and bubbly.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the coconut and pecans.
  4. Let the topping cool and thicken for about 30 minutes. Then spread it over the top of the cooled pie filling.

Place the pie in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let it finish cooling.

Well, thats it for this time.  Any questions feel free to ask.  If you see a mistake let me know.  If you have a comment would love to hear from you.

Have a blessed day!

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