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Family cook off, need advice!

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In a nutshell...our family is getting together in July, and for kicks we are having a "Top Chef" between my two sisters and myself. We will be cooking for 15 people, 8 adults, 7 kids (above 15). I am a mediocre cook. My protein will be ribs in the oven, finished up on a Green Egg. The base of the ribs will be a Hoisin sauce with a habanero kick at the end. My theme, believe it or not, will be Southern. I need some side dishes! This includes summer drinks (for adults) and a veggie or starch. I have potato salad recipes, but would really like other ideas. Looking for some off-the-wall ideas and recipes. Thank you much.
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  1. For the adult drink I'd try a Mint Julep (spiked version) or a Sweet Tea (spiked too). For the side dishes make some baked cornbread or fried corn fritters (non-traditional version of your corn dish). My corn fritters disappears pretty fast. Also, use kale for your greens but instead of stewing, put it quickly under a broiler for a crunchy, flaky texture...drizzle with EVOO, salt and pepper.

    3 Replies
    1. re: trvlcrzy

      Love those kale chips! I'v sprinkled them with chipotle powder and like the kick, but also love them just salted.

      1. re: trvlcrzy

        Yeah, kale chips would work! I find they turn out better with dino (AKA black) kale, if you can get it.

        1. re: trvlcrzy

          Oops, wrong place. :D

        2. I see a recipe for vegetable slaw with creamy asian dressing in Virginia Willis' "Bon Appetit, Y'all." I haven't made it so I can't vouch for the recipe - but it gives a nod toward the south and the flavors may go well. There's also a vegetable succotash recipe that I WILL be trying soon, now that I saw it again as I looked through that cookbook! And the tangled greens (just greens chiffonade wilted with garlic & salt in oil) also look good and would go well with ribs.

          For dessert (if you're doing that), chess pie is wonderful! It's pretty easy and unexpected, at least where I live in idaho. And you can't go wrong with peach pie.

          I wish I could help with the drink recipes - I'll be checking back to see what others suggest! And maybe post on the spirits page for help with that specifically.

          1. How about celery juleps or porch swings?
            http://www.thebittenword.com/thebitte...
            http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/07/por...

            Typical sides: coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, and bread for sauce sopping

            If you want to stick with slightly Asian twists on Southern classics, that would be interesting!
            Asian Pickled Cabbage: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-asian...
            Sichuan Green Beans: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/...
            Miso Potato Salad: http://www.thekitchn.com/harvest-reci...

            1. You did say this is a "cook off". Well, let's move out of the box ....
              Chile Rellenos - Poblano peppers stuffed with chopped (cooked) chicken, raisins, pecans and Monterey Jack cheese. Dip them in an egg batter and either deep fry or pan fry.
              (hint) chop the chicken and brown it in butter for better flavor
              Adult beverages - summer calls for cool rum drinks.
              Here's a nice selection to choose from:
              http://suite101.com/article/tropical-...

              1. The adult drink:
                Southern-able
                •1.5 oz Firefly Sweet Tea Flavored Bourbon
                • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
                • 2 to 3 dashes of bitters
                • Wedge of orange
                •Put 2 to 3 dashes of bitters in a large rocks glass with ice, add Firefly Sweet Tea Flavored Bourbon and Triple Sec. Garnish with orange

                kid drink: Arnold Palmer's ( ½ iced tea and ½ lemonade )

                mac and cheese goes great with ribs and will win the kid vote.
                spicy cornbread
                corn pudding
                heirloom tomato salad
                smothered okra

                1. Our twist on Southern drinks is the Marthibodeaux...five to one Hendricks and Vya, shaken or stirred, garnished with pickled okra.

                  As for sides, we love fried okra with ribs. Love all of the slaw recommendations. Be sure to toss in some julienned jicama.

                  I'd sub black beans for the traditional BBQ beans. I'd do them Jamaican, with some garlic and allspice. If you want to add a wow factor to almost anything, top it with an egg...fried over easy or boiled but left with the yolk still a little soft.