Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"Picnic & Tailgate Parties" & "The Hungry Man's Outdoor Grill Cookbook" - Mu Shu Burgers and Fiesta Potato Salad

Date I made these recipes: Sunday, May 12, 2007 (Mother’s Day)

Picnics & Tailgate Parties – A Sunset Book by the Editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine
Published by: Lane Publishing Co.
ISBN: 070661802536
© 1982
Recipe: Mu Shu Burgers – p. 66

The Hungry Man’s Outdoor Grill Cookbook by the Staff Home Economists Culinary Arts Institute
Published by: Spencer Press, Inc.
© 1953
Recipe: Fiesta Potato Salad

Well, here in the heartland, we finally got around to getting a new propane tank for our grill and we’re back in business. And that’s a good thing—the temperature started spiking again (today we’re at 90) and yesterday, Mother’s Day, was a perfect day to grill out.

As you might imagine, given that I have over 800 cookbooks, I’d have a few books on grilling and picnics. Finding a recipe, however, wasn’t so easy.

Take The Hungry Man’s Outdoor Grill Cookbook. Clearly, this book is intended for more sophisticated grilling than our little gas grill can undertake. There were recipes for Beef Roast on a Spit, Turkey on a Spit, and my favorite, Duck on a Spit (we are spit-less in this family), as well as Barbecued Bologna Roll, Grilled Lobster and even Griddlecakes. And so I was just a bit challenged.

In the end, I decided to hedge my bets and go with an accompaniment to the Mu Shu Burgers – Fiesta Potato Salad. Sure, it’s a cop out, but it’s not like burgers don’t need potato salad for heaven’s sake!

And so speaking of burgers, these were fantastic. I was rather surprised to see a recipe for Mu Shu Burgers in a cookbook from 1982 but you know, those Sunset people are on top of everything.

Although the recipes don’t really compliment each other, neither did they clash. Both were quite tasty as a Mother’s Day treat even if Mom couldn’t make it. She and my dad had just gotten back from three weeks in Italy (Rough, huh? Actually, the trip was to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary so I suppose...), plus she lives in Michigan so that would have made it hard for us to entertain her. Instead, we “toasted” her with some mighty tasty vittles.

Let the grilling begin!

Mu Shu Bugers – Serves 8
1 pound lean ground pork
1 small onion, chopped
¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 egg
½ cup finely chopped water chestnuts, jicama, or celery (we used celery)
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ to ¾ cup hoisin sauce (topping)
¾ to 1 cup green onion, cut into matchstick-size pieces (topping)
About 1 cup bean sprouts (topping)
Fresh coriander (cilantro or Chinese parsley) sprigs (optional) (topping)
8 flour tortillas, 6 to 8 inches in diameter

In a bowl, combine pork, onion, crumbs, egg, water chestnuts (or jicama or celery), garlic, soy sauce and ginger. Shape into 8 logs, each about 3 inches long.

To cook, place the pork logs on a grill 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of glowing coals. Grill, turning to brown evenly, for 12 to 14 minutes total or until meat in center is no longer pink when slashed. Place foil-wrapped tortillas at edge of grill; turn over often to heat evenly. (Note: the recipe says to lightly moisten both sides of tortillas with water; stack tortillas and wrap in heavy foil but I think we skipped this step since we only grilled a couple of tortillas).

To serve, spread some hoisin sauce on a tortilla. Place a pork log near lower edge and top with some onion, bean sprouts and coriander. Fold edge of tortilla over filling; fold in sides and roll up to enclose meat and vegetables.

Fiesta Potato Salad – serves 4 to 6
3 cups cold, diced, cooked potatoes
1/3 cup finely sliced scallions (include some green tops)
6 slices crisp bacon, crumbled
2 tablespoons well-drained slivered pimiento
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon monosodium glutamate (Note: I didn’t add this, mostly because I don’t stock any!)
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup French dressing with tomato ketchup base – or you can use 1 tablespoon vinegar combined with 3 tablespoons bacon drippings

Toss all ingredients lightly together with a fork. Cover and chill in a mixing bowl for an hour or so. Toss lightly with 3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced and ¾ cup mayonnaise or cooked salad dressing. Turn into serving bowl.

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