Bulldog Cuisine: Pump the Slaw and Pimp the Beans

If a man cannot or will not cook, he is not a man. All REAL men – manly men, if you will – know how to cook, and by cook I don’t mean scurry around a studio kitchen yelling “BAM!” and cooking stuff most ordinary chefs don’t cook, like that wretched little Emeril does on his stupid Food Network show. Honestly…what kind of serious chef has his own studio band, complete with an African-American Doc Severinsen? I learned to cook because my mother – God rest her soul – was a superb cook. When I moved out and lived on my own, I had no choice but to teach myself the arcane ways of the kitchen. And now I happily pass what I have learned along to you, gentle reader.

I can think of nobody today who actually goes to the trouble of soaking dried beans and then slow baking them for a couple of hours to get pretty much the same flavor and texture you’d get from popping open a tin of Bush’s Baked Beans and pimping it the right way. On the other hand, I can think of nothing that tastes more hideous and artificial than store-bought cole slaw. Fortunately, it’s far easier to prepare home-made cole slaw than it is to whip up a batch of baked beans. Here are two fast and easy recipes that are guaranteed to impress your friends and frustrate your enemies at tomorrow’s barbecue or cookout.

Bulldog’s Pumped Up Cole Slaw

Ingredients

1 head green cabbage
2 large carrots
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup creme fraiche or sour cream
2 tbsp grated yellow or  Vidalia onion
3 tbsp orange blossom honey
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tbsp juice from jar of prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Prepare the dressing first by placing all ingredients except cabbage and carrots in a small bowl and whisking together. Cover and reserve on the side.

Remove the core and a layer or outer leaves and then quarter the cabbage head lengthwise. Slowly and carefully shred each cabbage quarter by slicing at no greater than 1/8″ intervals. Place shredded cabbage in a large salad bowl. Grate the carrots using a hand grater and toss with the shredded cabbage. Add all of the dressing and toss to mix well. Transfer to a serving container, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours to permit the flavors to wed and permeate the cabbage.

Bulldog’s Pimped Out Baked Beans

Ingredients

3 cans (28 oz ea) Bush’s Baked Beans – Original Recipe
½ lb. lean bacon, diced
2 cups yellow or Vidalia onion, finely diced
3 tbsp plain tomato paste
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp liquid hickory smoke
1 tbsp dry mustard
1 cup Kentucky Bourbon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 300° F. Heat up a large, deep oven-tolerant skillet or Dutch oven on medium flame and slowly cook the bacon until it just starts to get crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat and add onions. Stir occasionally on low heat to cook through but do not let the onions brown. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the beans and mix well. Add bourbon and stir with ingredients, using a spatula to scrape up brown bits from bottom of pan. Add the beans and stir thoroughly to incorporate ingredients. Put a lid on skillet or Dutch oven and bake in preheated oven for one hour. Serve directly from the skillet or Dutch oven.

Enjoy your Labor Day eats!

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