South of Broad Living August Issue!

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Summer Tacos

Hola Crockheads,

Recently, I had a Crockpottuesday dinner with Christine, Catherine and Brett. The menu was Cilantro and Basil Mango Mojitos, Fruit Bruschetta, Black Bean Tacos with a Creamy Avocado Dressing, and Grilled Corn. I have been craving grilled corn all summer, but there has always been one problem-I don’t own a grill. I can’t wait til the day that I have an actual yard allowing for a grill. #1-Keeper will finally be in the picture and I’ll be over the moon and #2- a grill will open up so many new cooking doors.corn 2 Indulging in a plate full of foods straight off the grill is such a satisfying summer feeling. Also, eating delicious, colorful foods while wearing cut of shorts and a light weight tank top is why summer is the best season—I could definitely live in summertime 365 days a year. Give me a huge slice of red juicy watermelon with large black seeds, a cold pitcher of tropical juices with cilantro and basil leaves, a fresh avocado, and the hot summer sun and I’ll be set.girls

Good food, good drinks, and good friends.This is such an ideal night off work for me. Enjoy the recipes and get to cooking and grilling before summer is over!

Cilantro and Basil Mojitos

1 oz. simple syrup

1.5 oz. Rum

2-3 lime wedges

2 tablespoons cilantro and basil, chopped

3 mango slices mango, chopped

Soda water

This is the recipe we found for one individual mojito drink. After all of us having comical views on the proper way to go about making the cocktail, we decided to make one large community pitcher. We said to heck with the measurements and just mixed everything together using our taste buds as guidance. There were no complaints. This is a great summer drink to enjoy out on the porch and share with friends. mango drink 2 mango drinkEven Moe was intrigued!

moe and dirnks

 Fruit Bruschetta

1 loaf French Bread

Strawberries

Peaches

Watermelon

2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar

1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves

1 Log blueberry Goat Cheese

Place the fruit and basil leaves on a cutting board and dice everything into small pieces. Combine in a bowl and drizzle on the balsamic vinegar. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice the French bread and bake for 8-10 minutes until toasted. Spread blueberry goat cheese on each slice of French bread and then carefully place fruit mixture on top. Ready to serve immediately and makes for a great appetizer.fruitsalsagoat cheesebruchetta 2bruschetta

Black Bean Tacos with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Flour or Corn Tortillas

2 15oz. Cans Black Beans

1 Cup Salsa

1 tsp. Cumin

Toppings

Shredded Lettuce

Chopped Tomatoes

Chopped Avocado

(for the sauce)

2 Small Avocados

1 Small Jalapeno

¼ Cup Cilantro, stems removed

1 Green Onion-diced

1 Clove Garlic-diced

Juice from 1 Lime

¾ Cup Buttermilk

Salt and Pepper to taste

To make the Avocado Dressing, pour all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside in refrigerator and begin making the tacos.veggieslimebutter milkphoto In a pan over medium heat, add beans, salsa, and cumin. Keep beans on a low heat setting and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, take tortillas and warm them for a few minutes in the oven. Once beans are ready, begin platting the tacos. Place the tortilla down first and then add the beans, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and spoon on the Avocado Dressing. The dressing is my favorite and has been great for additional meals I’ve been making . It certainly has a kick and is a bit on the spicy side. Also-Catherine, thank you for your artistic picture taking skills of the below tacos! taco taco 2 plating

As for the Grilled Corn, we set six ears of white corn on the grill. Once some of the kernels showed beautiful blacked grill marks, within about 7-10 minutes, we transferred them to a plate. The corn was so fresh the only thing it needed was some good ‘ole southern butta!grill cornOverall, this was a very pretty meal and the display of the tacos with the different colors provided a nice summer touch. We sat outside on Christine’s porch and enjoyed a beautiful Charleston night. Thanks for hosting Tine, Brett, and Moe!friends

Thanks for reading Crockheads! Let me know about your recreations!

My Pops in the House!

Ladies and Gentleman, Happy Friday Feature! Coming to you now my number 1 man, my main inspiration, and where all this cooking and crocking derived from. All the way from Columbia, South Carolina my very own poppas John Kassel on Crockpottuesday!!!  (aroooooo the crowd goes wild!)

CrockPot Barbecue Ribs? Yes, Really!the_finished_ribs     The season is changing. It is getting warmer and the days longer. When I got home from work the other day, it was still light out. And it wasn’t raining! This change effects how I like to cook. As we move toward spring and summer, the grill beckons. My charcoal cooker sits on the back deck. The beautiful weather pushes me outside. But before I devote luxurious time and attention to cooking over outdoor fire, it is time for one last crockpot meal to make. My faithful crockpot has kept me warm and nourished all winter long with Susu’s delightful recipes of cranberries and pork, beef chuck roast, and of course, Boston butt. (“What’s in that bad boy!”). I love coming home from work, opening the door, and being greeted by wonderful aromas, as if someone had been cooking all day. That is the beauty of the crockpot. So, it is only fitting to present a crockpot recipe of a southern, summer favorite: BBQ ribs. Yes, ribs can be cooked in a crockpot. It is true that the iconic smoky flavor is missing. But the ease of unattended cooking and the sweet tenderness of the finished meal cannot be beat. So, for this Friday Feature, let’s talk ribs.

Cooking ribs in a crockpot could not be easier. This recipe is a little more elaborate because I am trying strenuously to make it harder than usual…trying to coax out as much flavor as possible. So, for the ingredients:

At least 3lbs to 4lbs of  ribs. The amount is really determined by the size of your crockpot. I have loaded mine up and still got good results. The choice of ribs is a matter of preference. I am using St. Louis style ribs because that was what the Publix had for sale. But you can use any sort of ribs; country-style, spare ribs, baby back ribs. They are all pork ribs but different cuts. Try different ones.                                              uncooked_ribs            Spice mixtures: Have on hand salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, brown sugar. Notice I did not list amounts. Up to you.

spices            Favorite BBQ sauce: 2-3 cups. You can make your own, or use a store bought brand. You can add it to the crockpot or put it on afterward. I tend to do the latter.

Assembly: Lay the ribs out on your counter. You can remove the membrane from back of ribs or leave it. Remove any excess fat with a sharp knife. Don’t gouge the meat. Rub the spice mixture on both sides of the ribs.

patting_on_spices

You can tell if you performed the task perfectly by the telltale darkened spots on your fingertips.                                   dirty_handsPlace the seasoned ribs in the crockpot with the meat side placed up against the inside wall of the crockpot. This will help develop a fine sear on the ribs.                                ribs_in_the_crockSome folks add their BBQ sauce to the ribs before placing the ribs in the crockpot. I wait instead. I think it produces a better caramelized effect to put the sauce on later. Cook for 8-10 hours on low. You want the meat falling off the bone but still have some chew left to the meat. I tend to cook longer times because I put the crockpot up in the morning and do not return till evening after work. If you have a crockpot with a timer, set it for 8-10 hours. At the appointed time, the crockpot will automatically revert to a warming cycle. Remove ribs from the crockpot and place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Smear with BBQ sauce and place in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Pull out and re-lather the ribs. Place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. The layering builds up a gorgeous looking lacquer.                             painting_sauce_on_ribsPull out the ribs and serve as bundles of 3-4 ribs. Have plenty of paper napkins around. I like sides of coleslaw, scalloped potatoes, baked beans, or corn on the cob (wait for summer). A cold beer works well.  Crockpot BBQ St. Louis style ribs. My ode to summer!

the_mama_with_ribs                     the_group_shot            Special thanks to Jim Work, master craftsman, who helped with the preparation of this meal. We enjoyed having Robert and Jane Key, who came by to help eat these beautiful ribs.

Dad you’ve done it again. Looks amazing and the pictures are beautiful. I have to say i’m intimidated to follow that!

Thanks for reading Crockheads! Whose next??