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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fireworks, Mustard B-B-Q, Moon Pies and Banana Pudding


Happy 4th of July!!!!!!!  Even if you are in a country where July 4th is nothing more than day 4 of the 7th month, well Happy day 4 to you !  If you don't even acknowledge the month of July then Happy Day 185 of the earths orbit around the sun.  And if you don't use the Gregorian calendar at all then Happy "The Sun Is The Farthest From The Earth Day"!  And if you use some ancient calendar then I just hope your day was pleasant because anything moreinvolves way too much math and/or science for me!   Whew!  I hope I covered everyone.

If you live in the States then you know today is a holiday when no one works. ( Yeah right!  Tell that to medical, police, fire and retail workers!)  If you live in many parts of the States today also means overloading on really good food, and if you live in the Deep South like I do it means just one thing. Barbecue!  I am not talking about a steak or burgers cooked on the grill, but am talking about that honest to goodness slow cooked hunk of pig that is rubbed, seared, smoked then sauced into a fall off the bone state of goodness.

We just bought a new toy, The Big Green Egg, which is a combination grill/smoker.  Last night at about 11 we ( By we I mean Son2) started smoking a pork butt and this morning at about 8 we ( Son2) started smoking 2 slabs of ribs.  At about 2 this afternoon we  ( By "we" here I mean the family including Son2 who cooked all night) were ready to do some serious eating.  

As a neophyte to this smoking thing I found tons of instructions for rubs to be applied generously to all surfaces before putting the meat in the fire.  We used sugar, salt, cayenne, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, black pepepr and a hint of thyme for our rub.  I would tell you it is a very technical process but it is mix, taste, mix taste, mix taste until you have what you like.

For the sauces, I just can't make it better than the bottled Ollie's and Dreamland sauces.  I always have them in the fridge so it is easy to pull them out for a quick warm up before serving them.  Of course barbecue sauce is a personal taste thing so any sauce that tastes good to you would do just as well.  My dad is no longer able to eat tomatoes or foods made from them, so I made him a quick mustard sauce.

Mustard B-B-Q Sauce

I cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons butter

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve over pork or chicken.  Dad is going to start using this as a replacement for ketchup, which he is missing dearly.  I see it in his hamburger and french fry future.

We had minimal side dishes with this sumptuous pork, but did manage to save room for desserts.  Mom brought a tray of brownies and I made a dessert that has been making the Pinterest rounds.  At least it has been all over the boards of the mostly Southern people I follow.  It is a variation of traditional banana pudding that originated as a Southern Living recipe. 

                                                  Moon Pie Banana Pudding



8 1 layer chocolate Moon Pies cut into 8ths
3 bananas sliced in quarter sized rounds
1 large package of cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
whipped topping
1 additional  chocolate Moon Pie cut into 8ths

In a deep bowl place a layer of Moon Pie wedges then a layer of banana slices.  Repeat with Moon Pie wedges and banana slices.  Set aside.  Cook the pudding mix with 3 cups of milk according to the package directions. ( If you prefer make 1 1/2 recipes of 4 serving vanilla pudding from scratch)
When the pudding mixture cools it thickens quite a bit.  Stir the sour cream into the thickened pudding then pour it over the Moon Pie and banana layers.  Top with whatever whipped topping you prefer.  I am a whipped cream purist, but offer no judgement if you prefer the stuff from an aerosol can or a plastic bowl.  It is purely a personal decision.  Cover and chill for about an hour.  Before serving garnish by sticking the remaining Moon Pie slices in the top of the whipped topping.  Serve and enjoy.

I know I am not a great one to offer unbiased reviews of banana pudding since I do not eat bananas at all.  I do like all the other things in banana pudding though, and skillfully remove all the bits of banana before tasting it.  At least most of the time I do.  Today the first bite in my mouth had a full banana slice.  It was one of those moments I regret having been brought up to never spit food back on my plate.  I was forced by self imposed rules for life to chew and actually swallow the offending fruit.  At first I was going to just push my dish to the side and forget about this review entirely, but I carried on and ate 4 more bites. (examining each almost microscopically for signs of a nefarious banana bit)

I thought is was perfectly fine.  The chocolate graham and marshmallow flavor was a nice change from vanilla wafers. I was not a big fan of the sour cream in the pudding though.  Yes, it made the pudding creamier, but the slight sour taste did not enhance the flavor.  If I make it again I will use 2 standard packages of pudding mix and forego the sour cream entirely.

Both The Hub and The Dad are banana pudding freaks and both had 1 large serving, followed by a second large serving.  I would call it successful though unusual.  Both of them said they would not mind having it served the same way again,  but both prefer a traditional banana pudding best.  

So now it is on to the second part of the night...listening to fireworks all around us.  We saw them last night so we are staying in and watching John Adams tonight ( Thanks HBO)

Wishing everyone a great 4th!  

p.s.  I understand Moon Pies are a regional treat so I am including a link to them here.  I am sure there is some type of confection that is regional which could be a good substitute.  You can check them out to see the construction of the cookie? cake? pie?

pp.ss  Instead of Where's Waldo in this picture can you find: The Mom's red shirt, Son3's iced tea glass, a Tupperware pie carrier circa 1964,  and The Mom's dessert plate.  Sorry for the picture mess but this was literally taken at the dinner table right before serving desserts.


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