Collecting old recipes has connected me to hundreds of towns, churches, schools and civic organizations that have created cookbooks as a favorite method of fund-raising.They are bound and forgotten recipes often tossed in a box and sold for a dime at yard sales. That’s where I rescued the Willowbrook’s Favorite Recipes Cookbook. The book had been compiled by the Cookbook Committee for Willowbrook Estates, a retirement community in Garden City, Idaho. Inside was a tasty recipe for Homemade Baked Beans that couldn’t be more perfect for football watching, tailgating and backyard grilling. It was in the same section as Golumki Casserole which I was tempted to make just because the name made me giggle, but opted for the baked beans recipe because of one particular ingredient—a cup of strong brewed coffee. The rest of the ingredients are fairly common to homemade baked beans; molasses, bbq sauce, mustard and brown sugar. But I was curious to know what the strong brewed coffee brought to the flavor profile. It was delicious! I also used hickory smoked thick style bacon, Dijon mustard and for the hot sauce I opted for a teaspoon of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. This recipe makes up a nice sized batch so it’s perfect for a party, and a fantastic accompaniment to a hotdog, hamburger or grilled steak. I’m no bean counter, but my ten cent investment in the Willowbrook cookbook has paid big dividends just with this recipe alone for Homemade Baked Beans.
It’s not too late to grab some ground beef and make Dad a Big Daddy Burger for Father’s Day! I have some tips and tricks that make the burger better than ever and a special 4-ingredient sauce that could rival any of your favorite fast food burger stops. We always like to think Dad wants to grill something on Father’s Day. So beat him to it, fire up the grill (or an indoor grill pan) and let him dive into deliciousness! The first tip is to buy ground beef that has a little fat because fat equals flavor. An 80-20 blend is great; that’s 80 percent lean beef to 20 percent fat. Also, you can cook up some nice, crispy bacon and chop it up into bacon bits. Then, dice a sweet yellow onion, sauté it in a little of the bacon fat and when the bacon and onion are cooled, add it to the ground beef. It adds flavor and moisture. The only other ingredients you need for a tasty burger is salt, pepper and maybe some garlic powder. Now, you may have heard of the ice method of cooking up a burger to keep it moist. It actually works! Form your beef patty, make a shallow indentation with your fingers in the middle of the burger and place an ice cube in the divot. (The ice cube should only be about an inch in diameter. Place the patty on the grill, and as the burger heats up, the ice cube will melt into the ground beef. The divot helps keep the burger flat and the ice adds moisture. Don’t keep flipping the burger. Once on each side should do it. Then there’s the sauce. It’s a simple, 4-ingredient sauce that’ll make this Big Daddy Burger a Father’s Day favorite!
Call it Cowboy Caviar, Texas Caviar, even Redneck Caviar. You can bellow about Beluga all you want, but here in the Southwest, we love our caviar made with black beans, black eyed peas, roasted corn on the cob and a bunch of colorful and crunchy diced vegetables that make up the perfect salad, appetizer, dip or side dish! Cowboy Caviar is the perfect picnic or potluck recipe and you can spice it up as much as you want with more jalapenos and hot sauce! You can make it up the night before and let the tangy dressing settle into the veggies and spices! There are two additions to this Cowboy Caviar that give is a smooth, unique twist; diced avocado and sliced red seedless grapes. That burst of sweetness does a happy dance in the bowl with the spicy ingredients and vinaigrette dressing so your taste buds just want more and more. Grab a big bag of your favorite tortilla chips for dipping and dive right in!