Barbecue in the Old Neighborhood

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Medical problems are going to keep me from going on my normal vacation trip this fall, but I wanted to do something special and decided to take one day a week during the month of September to go some place a little different for lunch and then browse in an antique store.  This week, we went to a restaurant called Eli’s Barbecue .  It’s located in the East End section of Cincinnati where I grew up on what is now called Riverside Drive (in my day, it was Eastern Avenue).

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The decoration is funky and fun ….

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…with old LP records being played on a turntable inside.

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There’s a big tent for outdoor dining, but my daughter and I prefer to eat inside and see the traffic going by the front windows on busy Eastern Avenue (oops – I mean Riverside Drive).

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Barbecue is the specialty and the heady smell of the outside smoker fills the entire neighborhood.  We like the pork barbecue and baked beans – and an Orange Crush goes well with this meal.

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The restaurant sets one block from the Ohio River bank.

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The back view of the building shows the changes that have come to Eastern Avenue and the things that have stayed the same.
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After lunch we went to a small town called Milford and I found this pretty plate at an antique shop.

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It was a perfect vacation day.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Banana Mocha Snack Cake

topperOver 20 years ago, I copied the recipe for this cake from a 1986 Dole Banana flyer.  Today, I just got around to making it with a few of my own touches.  This is a very good, not too-rich, satisfying snack cake with a strong coffee flavor.  It’s an easy cake to mix – everything is put together in a baking dish.

BANANA MOCHA SNACK CAKE

  • 2 ripe bananas (1 cup mashed)
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 Tblsp. cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tblsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a small bowl, blend mashed banana and instant espresso coffee powder.

In an ungreased 9″ baking pan, combine flour, sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Blend well with a fork.  Make a well in the center.

In a cup or shaker, mix together the egg, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract.  Pour this into the well in the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until well blended.

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Smooth out the batter in the baking pan and bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

When completely cool, frost the top with Mocha Cream Cheese Frosting:

MOCHA CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 3 Tblsp. butter, softened
  • 2 Tblsp. cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup toasted almond slivers

Beat the butter and cream cheese together, add confectioners’ sugar, instant espresso coffee powder and vanilla extract.  Beat until well blended.  Frost top of cooled cake.

Sprinkle with toasted almond slivers.

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This would be a nice cake to take on a picnic or to a barbecue – or just enjoy at the kitchen table with a big glass of ice cold milk.

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Pork BBQ and Strawberry Glaze Pie

menusignToday’s lunch menu included an easy Pork Barbecue and an equally easy Strawberry Glaze Pie. I like to buy about 2 lbs. of lean boneless pork ribs (called Pork Loin Gourmet Ribs in my store).  The ribs are cooked overnight in a slow cooker, then the next day the meat is pulled, combined with a sauce and baked in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours.  I like the slow cooker for cooking the pork but prefer the flavor and consistency of the barbecue when it’s baked after the sauce is added.

MOM'S PULLED PORK BARBECUE

  • Servings: Approx. 10)
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  • 2 lbs. boneless country style ribs

Trim any fat from meat and place in slow cooker.  Let cook 8-10 hours on low. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F Remove meat from slow cooker, drain and allow to cool until it can be pulled apart.  Place the pulled pork in a 9×9 baking pan. Make the sauce:

  • One 24 oz. bottle of catsup
  • 2 Tblsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tblsp. dried minced onions
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

Pour the above sauce  ingredients directly on top of the pork in the baking dish. withsauce Mix well and place in preheated 300 degree F oven.  Bake uncovered for two hours, stirring occasionally.  Barbecue is ready at this point but can be covered and kept in a 170 degree F oven until ready to serve. Serve on buns with coleslaw on top or on the side.

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STRAWBERRY GLAZE PIE

Preheat oven to 410 degrees F. Roll out pastry for a single crust, 9″ pie (see my Sure-Fire Crust recipe).  Prick the crust with a fork on the bottom and sides. piercingPut a piece of aluminum foil loosely on top of the crust and fill with dry beans.  I keep a jar filled with a pound of dry beans which I use over and over again. beansBake crust @ 410 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and lift out foil with beans.   Place the pie plate back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Strawberry Filling and Glaze

  • 5 cups of fresh strawberries, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tblsp. cornstarch

Hull strawberries and if they are small they can be left whole.  Otherwise, cut in half to make fairly uniform pieces.   Place one cup of strawberries in a small saucepan. Crush berries with a big spoon or potato masher.  Add water.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue simmering for 2 minutes.  Pour the berry mixture through a sieve into another small saucepan. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch – slowly whisk this mixture into the berry/water mixture and place on medium heat.  Cook and whisk constantly until mixture is thick and clear – about 2 minutes. In the baked pie shell, place one-half of the strawberries and top with one-half of the glaze. Repeat with remaining berries and glaze. glaze2 Chill for at least an hour – an inverted pie plate makes a good cover.

coverServe with whipped cream or topping. slice A really tasty lunch – and the leftovers are good, too!

Sweet and Sour Pickle Sticks

In the 20 years we lived in the country and had a huge vegetable garden, I made every type of pickle, many of them prizewinners at the county fair, but this is my personal favorite and the only pickles that we ran out of before canning season came around each year.  The cucumbers can be cut in any shape – slices, spears, or small ones could be left whole – but fairly thin sticks were always cut for these pickles.

I used to put up 20 or 25 jars during the summer, but since I’m alone now, I make up a small batch to last through the summer barbecue season.  This recipe makes 3 one-pint jars.

SWEET AND SOUR PICKLE STICKS

  • 6 medium sized pickling cucumbers (not the waxed type found at the supermarket), enough to fill 3 pint-sized Mason canning jars
  • 1-1/4  cup plus 2 Tblsp. white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tblsp. pickling salt
  • 1 Tblsp. celery seed
  • 1 Tblsp. plus 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. mustard seed
  • 2-1/4 cups granulated sugar

Cut cucumbers into strips and pack into sterilized jars.  No need to peel, but trim off the ends.  The freshest cucumbers make the crunchiest pickles.

In a large saucepan, combine vinegar, water, pickling salt, celery seed, turmeric, mustard seed and sugar.  Bring to a boil – then boil 5 minutes longer.  Pour over the cucumbers in the jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.

Wipe jars clean, put lids on jars and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack before storing.  I’ve found an asparagus steamer is good for processing just a few jars.  Let cure for 2 weeks before using.  

This is a good web site for information on canning and preserving foods.