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Daily Archives: July 22, 2011

My take on a southern bar-b-q picnic (but indoors in Pittsburgh)

This week for dinner I wanted to do a take on a southern bar-b-q.  I served pulled pork, to help fulfill my friend Leigh Ann’s birthday wish that this year be full of pork.  This meal did the trick!  I know crock pots are often reserved for chilly winter nights and coming home to a warm and comforting roast and veggies.  I had to snap out of that thinking because it’s a perfect way to come home to a delicious meal without having to turn on the hot beast that is your oven added unnecessary degrees to your kitchen.  The great thing about this menu is that if you can suffer through having the beast (or in my case the mini beast) having the stove on long enough to boil the potatoes and eggs, you can entertain while keeping your cool!

As side dishes I made Momma G’s potato salad, which cross my fingers hope to die, stick a needle in my eye, is the best potato salad that you will EVER have!  I also made a carrot, chili and coriander coleslaw that I found in my recent Bon Appetit magazine.

To make the picnic feel authentic (even though it was indoors) I got some red and white checkered fabric for a table cloth and put blue bandanas down the center.  I also saved up tin cans for a couple of weeks to make cute little candle holders after I got them squeaky clean post enjoyable tin can meals.  I drilled different size holes into the cans and painted them different shades of blue.  I then put tea light candles in the tin cans which made a rustic-ish easy candle holders.  Beverages included iced tea, lemonade (or Arnold Palmers’ for the fancy ladies!) and water and was enjoyed out of mason jars!

And, dinner was concluded with an out of this world salted caramel ice cream with chocolate covered pretzels made by my friend Leigh Ann.  Sooo amazing!

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Sparkling Mint Lemonade Deliciousness

This recipe also came from my Williams Sonoma “Dinner Parties” cookbook and it is AMAZING!!  This lemonade recipe is the perfect balance of tart and sweet and is extra refreshing because of the mint.

I found these really cute resealable glass bottles at Ikea for only $3.99 each!  http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50108908  They were really perfect for this lemonade, because they served as part of the centerpiece as well as helping to keep the carbonation contained.  If the bottles are filled and sealed for a bit, they pop like a champagne bottle!!  It adds a great amount of fun to the meal.

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

1, 3 inch section lemon peel

3 sprigs of fresh mint

8-12 lemons

3 bottles sparkling water

Combine 2 cups water and 2 cups in a heavy sauce pan.  Peel a long strip of fresh lemon peel and place in the pan.  Heat the mixture over medium heat and bring to a boil for 1 minute to make a simple syrup.  Remove from the heat and add the sprigs of mint to steep for about 30 minutes.  In the mean time, squeeze 8-12 lemons to get 1 and 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice.  Strain the simple syrup into a pitcher (so you can catch the peel and mint, make sure you squeeze your spoon against the mint to get every last drop of that syrupy goodness!).  Then strain the lemon juice so you can catch any pulp and seeds.  Stir to combine.  Right before serving add the 3 bottles of sparkling water and stir gently to combine.  Either serve from the pitcher or pour into individual bottles (the full recipes fills 3 resealable bottles).  Also, if you do the resealable bottles, be sure to leave a little room for the carbonation to expand.

I would suggest offering a funnel to help your guests guzzle this sweet and tart goodness as quickly as possible!

String a thin slice of lemon and a mint leaf on a wooden or bamboo skewer for a super cute garnish for this lemonade!!

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