Monday, May 27, 2013

26 May 2013 – Memorial Day Weekend












It is Memorial Day weekend, so I am dedicating today's Sunday Supper to my father who served in WWII and the Korean War. During WWII he actually served in both the Navy and Air Force. For the Korean War, he was a Chef in the Army, so I come by my love of cooking honestly. Growing up, we were always excited when my father cooked because it was always something exotic and special. My mother was a great Southern cook, but my father had a fondness for gourmet food. I was a very finicky eater as a child, but I would always eat whatever my father cooked out of respect and admiration. His meals were usually accompanied by stories about his time in service. All five kids and my mom would gather around the dining room table and listen intently. He told some amazing stories and had some great experiences. I actually have his Army cookbook, and most of tonight's Sunday Supper was taken from those recipes. As I flipped through the cookbook, I recognized many of his special dishes, including Oyster Stew, Hamburger Gravy, BBQ sauce and more. A few years ago when I first started cooking with ramps, I recalled going out with my father to hunt for them. He called them spring onions, and he was always excited about finding them and cooking with them. As I was planning this meal a couple of weeks ago, I remembered some great photos of my dad when he was an Army Chef in Korea. One in particular was a photograph of a cake he made and presented to the General to commemorate the 160th anniversary of the Army. I contacted my niece, Kacey Charles, and ask her to look in my late sister's photo collection to see if they were still around. Much to my delight, she located that photo and two others to send to me. I've included that photo and one more in the serving line. He was such a handsome devil, and I cherish my childhood memories of him in the kitchen.

So for tonight's Sunday Supper, we grilled out grass fed beef burgers and hot dogs to celebrate the beginning of summer and Memorial Day. To go along with the burgers and hot dogs, I prepared side dishes from dad's Army cookbook, including Boston Baked Beans and Scalloped Asparagus. While we were out and about on Saturday, we found some beautiful bing cherries at the Cherokee Market, so I made homemade cherry ice cream from the cookbook as well. It was delicious, and the scalloped asparagus was wonderful too. One of the funniest thing about Dad's Army cookbook is the ingredient portions which usually were designed to serve 100 - 200 servings! My iPhone measuring converter really came in handy for this meal! I've included the original Army recipe for scalloped asparagus so you can see for yourself.

With a huge portion of respect and gratitude to my dad, Manuel Eugene Grant and all of the other fallen heros, servicemen and women.

The Menu:

- Georgia Grass Fed Beef Burgers and Hot Dogs

- Scalloped Asparagus

- Boston Baked Beans

- Hand Churned Bing Cherry Ice Cream



The Recipe – Scalloped Asparagus for 100

Ingredients:

35 pounds asparagus spears
Salted Boiling Water
2 pounds coarse bread crumbs
8 ounces chopped onion
4 ounces butter
4 - 14.5 ounce cans of evaporated milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Remove and discard tough lower ends of asparagus and wash thoroughly.
2. Stand spears upright in deep kettle and add small amount of salted, boiling water. Cover and heat until boiling; reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.
3. Combine bread crumbs, butter, onions, salt and pepper.
4. Spread half of crumb mixture on bottom of well greased baking pans.
5. Place asparagus on crumbs.
6. Mix milk and one quart asparagus liquid; pour over asparagus.
7. Cover with remaining crumbs.
8. Bake in moderate oven, 375 degrees, until thoroughly heated and crumbs are brown.



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