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Families, Food, And Reunions

Family reunions and get-togethers are wonderful opportunities to celebrate our
heritage, share recipes that have been handed down through generations, and affirm
our faith in the future with those we love. Recently we celebrated my grandson
Nick’s first birthday. Our families enjoyed sharing stories as well as our different
culinary traditions. My family is French but Nick also has strong German and Irish
ancestry. 

  The highlight of our meal together was a hot slaw dish created by Nick’s
great-great-grandmother, Irene Brangan, who was born in 1889 and lived in the
Mt. Adams area in Cincinnati. Her daughter, Mildred Wermes, shares her recipe
with us this month. It also works as a spicy topping for the Easy Skillet Pork
Barbecue featured. 

  You don’t have to have a large reunion planned. Call family members
and set aside time to relive old memories, play with the kids, and break bread
together. Future generations will be so glad you did.

EASY SKILLET PORK BARBECUE

6 (4-oz.) boneless center-cut pork chops

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 green pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

2/3 cup mesquite or hickory-style barbecue sauce

1/2 cup orange juice

2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

Small amount of vegetable oil

Use a meat mallet to pound chops between two sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap
until meat is about 1/4-inch thick. Cut meat into thin, small pieces and cook
over medium-high heat 5 to 6 minutes in small amount of vegetable oil. When
brown, remove meat from skillet, drain, and pat dry. Saute onion and green pepper
until tender. Add meat to skillet. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over
meat mixture. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes. Serve
with hot mustard slaw on warm rolls or buns. Serves 6.

IRENE BRANGAN’S HOT MUSTARD SLAW

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

3 teaspoons Coleman’s dry mustard (if not available, use ordinary dry mustard)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup water

Dash of celery seed

1 medium head cabbage, shredded

Combine all ingredients, except shredded cabbage, in a medium saucepan and bring
to a boil. Pour mixture over cabbage and chill overnight. Serve with hot barbecue
sandwiches. Yields 3 to 4 cups.

SPICY BLACK BEAN SALAD

1 cup purple cabbage, shredded

1-1/2 cups green cabbage, shredded

1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped purple onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup mild salsa

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons lime juice

Combine vegetables, beans, and cilantro. Toss well. Combine remaining ingredients
and stir until blended. Pour over cabbage and bean mixture and toss gently.
Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.
Serves 8.

DEEP DISH BLACKBERRY PIE 

PASTRY

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small 

pieces

5 Tablespoons ice water

Place dry ingredients in a food processor. Add butter and process until mixture
has a coarse texture. With machine running, add water a tablespoon at a time
until dough holds together and forms a ball. Take dough out and wrap in waxed
paper. Chill for 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 425°. Roll out half the dough on a lightly floured surface.
Place piecrust in an 8-inch deep-dish pie pan, leaving about 1/2-inch excess
dough all around edge. 

FILLING

5 cups blackberries, gently washed

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place berries in a bowl. Mix 1 cup of the sugar with the flour and sprinkle
over blackberries. Sprinkle chilled butter pieces and lemon juice over all and
toss. Mound into the pastry crust. Roll out the other half of the dough and
place over the top of the pie. Cut to fit and bring excess dough from bottom
layer up over edge of top crust and crimp to seal. Cut several slits in top
of crust for steam to escape. Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle
on top of crust. Bake until crust is dark golden, about 35 to 40 minutes. Serves
6 to 8.

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