Monday, May 2, 2016

Cut Footloose with a Country Barbecue

Carson stepped outside his comfort zone recently to two-step his way through Oak Mountain High School's spring musical, Footloose. He had a blast and is already planning to perform on stage again. Much of the production is set in Texas, so before the Saturday night show we invited family to join us for a country-style barbecue inspired by the Lone Star State. Here is a peek at our menu of summertime favorites, along with a couple of delicious recipes from the evening.

I made this Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork for the party. Starting the meat the night before and cooking it on low all day yielded a succulent and flavorful main dish.

Vases of daisies topped a red-and-white checkered tablecloth for our festive gathering.

My blue-and-white Spode transferware took on a country look with burlap place mats and lace-edged linen napkins. I made the napkin rings 20 years ago, so it was fun to pull those out for this occasion.

Votives in jelly jars cast a soft glow on our table.

Texas Caviar

Enjoy this garden-fresh dip with tortilla chips.

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped green onion
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can corn
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup zesty Italian dressing
Fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, stir together yellow onion, bell pepper, green onion, jalapeno pepper, garlic, tomatoes, corn, black-eyed peas, and coriander. Pour dressing over vegetables, and stir gently to mix. Add fresh cilantro to taste, and stir gently. Refrigerate to chill. Before serving, add more cilantro, if desired.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

My talented friend Loren, a chef and test-kitchen professional, shared this delicious recipe with me. One taste, and Christian said, "Mom, we never need to buy bottled ranch again."

1 cup mayonnaise
1 pint cultured nonfat buttermilk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Whisk together mayonnaise and buttermilk. Whisk in chives, parsley, dill, garlic, salt and pepper. Refrigerate to chill.

We invited friends from church who came to the show to join us at home afterward for sundaes. Along with vanilla ice cream, we served chocolate chip cookies, chocolate and caramel syrups, sweetened strawberries, whipped cream, candies, and star-shaped sprinkles.

Well, enough with the opening act and on to the main event!

Carson, third from the left, played Garvin. These guys did a great job singing "Mama Says." When my firstborn delivered the line "Who cares what Mama says?" before the music began, I knew he was a gifted actor. (Smile)  

From first scene to curtain call, the show was a great success. We already can't wait for next year's production!

"Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music." ~Ronald Reagan

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