Family Get-Togethers are Always Great Reasons to Cook!

Recently, I was combing through some photos of past family events, and ran across several images that I had taken of food we had prepared for the events.  And I thought I’d go ahead and share some of the dishes with whomever might be out there.  Hopefully somebody is . . . hello?

When my extended family gets together, one of the things we enjoy doing is cooking for the event.  We try to keep things informal for these occasions, otherwise things can go spiraling out of control and nobody will be having any fun.  So we typically go for the more simple, down-home fare — comfort food, in other words — and man-o-man does it taste good.  Usually it’s a mixed fare that celebrates the diversity of the members of our family.  My nephew’s fiance was born in Greece, my niece’s boyfriend is Mexican American, and my wife is Chinese.  The family roots are Scots and German, plus we all live in Southeast Texas, with its traditions of barbecue, as well as German, Czech, and Cajun influences.  So it usually makes for some interesting feasts.

Here’s a pic from a recent Easter get-together.  From the foreground to the back we have a Chinese barbecue pork and scallions dish that my wife, Bai Shin, likes to make. Just above it are a dish of pico de gallo and quacamole plus a couple of bowls of red salsa off to the right of it — all Mexican traditions and good for dipping those tortilla chips into.  That little tub of off-white stuff?  Who cares — somebody wimped out and brought some pre-made dip.  Next is a concoction that Bai Shin ran across — those pastry looking things are actually green olives that have a sharp cheddar cheese pastry surrounding them, baked in the oven until crispy.  And finally, filling three large pans and a big bowl, are the traditional Cajun-style crawfish.  They’re boiled with a spicy seasoning, along with potatoes and corn.

Not shown are the pork ribs and country-style sausages being grilled when this picture was taken.  I didn’t get any pics of them, but I did get pics of the barbecue for a July 4th family get-together we also had.

From left to right, we have barbecued chicken, ribs, and brisket.  All cooked using the low-and-slow method with hardwood to add a nice smoke flavor.  The chicken takes about three hours, the ribs about five to six, and the brisket about twelve hours.

Its about 27 degrees outside right now, and I can’t wait for it to warm up enough for me to fire up the smoker.  Maybe by the weekend. :)

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