Connestee Cooks: Fourth of July Menu

Connestee Falls Cookbook Cover ArtCONNESTEE COOKS! is a cookbook compiled of classic recipes from the myriad of chefs in residence at Connestee Falls. The book covers a wide range of meals, styles and ingredients. The culinary diversity is shared in recipes from the book posted regularly here on the Blog.


Holiday Fireworks Brevard, NCSummer is truly a special time at Connestee Falls. The days are long and the evenings crisp.  And nothing says summer like sharing meals with family and friends outdoors.

A Connestee Falls summer would not be complete without a proper Fourth of July celebration. There are many ways to enjoy our nation’s birthday in Brevard. For many people here at Connestee Falls, as well as across the nation, the day will likely include a cookout no matter what else is on the agenda.

This installment of the Connestee Cooks series offers a complete July 4th menu. It’s anchored in the traditional, but there are also a few items that put a spin on the typical fare and celebrate the diversity that makes this such a special community.

Baked Beans Connestee FallsThe idea was triggered from a new recipe submitted by resident John Peil. A fan of the Connestee Cooks posts, John was nice enough to share his delicious recipe for these “real deal” baked beans.  From there, it was easy to round out this Connestee Falls July 4th menu.  Try one or all of the recipes and post a review below to let us know about your holiday meal!

John Peil’s Summer Baked Beans
Combine the following ingredients in a large crock pot or kettle:
1.) 2/3 cup white sugar
2.) 2/3 cup brown sugar
3.) 4 tbsp. molasses
4.) 1/2 cup ketchup
5.) 1/2 cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
6.) 2 tsp Prepared mustard
7.) 3 tsp Chili powder
8.) 2 tsp Sea salt
9.) 2 tsp pepper
10.) 2 tsp Lawry’s Seasoning salt

Mix the above ingredients under low heat until mixed well.

Then in a separate pan:
• Brown 1lb of ground chuck with 1 small chopped onion. Remove from pan & set aside.
• In same pan Cook 1lb bacon until crisp
• Drain all fat and add Meat, Onion, and Bacon to the above sauce

Add one 303 can each of the following beans to sauce mixture…do not drain beans!
1.) Butter Beans
2.) Light Kidney Beans
3.) Dark Kidney Beans
4.) Pork and Beans
5.) Black-eyed Peas or chickpeas
6.) Pinto beans
7.) Northern beans
8.) Black beans

Add beans and cook at 350º for about an hour, or under low heat setting on the crock pot for 3-4 hours

Next up is a recipe for Eggplant Napoli from Lorraine Dunn. This lighter take on eggplant parmesan will make for a lovely vegetable side or even a main course for any vegetarians.

Eggplant Napoli
1⁄2 c. chopped onion 1
(10 1⁄2 oz.) can tomato puree
2⁄3 c. water
1 1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. oregano
1⁄2 tsp. marjoram
1 dash pepper
2 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 medium peeled eggplant, sliced thin
1 3⁄4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄4 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese

In a skillet, sauté chopped onions in oil. Add tomato puree, water, salt, oregano, and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. In a greased baking dish, alternate thin layers of sliced eggplant, tomato sauce and half of the grated cheese, starting with a layer of eggplant and ending with a layer of tomato sauce. Bake in moderate oven (350°) for 1 hour. Minutes before removing from oven, sprinkle remaining grated cheese over top and continue heating until cheese melts. Peanut oil may be substituted for canola oil and Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses may be substituted for Romano cheese. Yields 6 servings.

Another great side dish with a strong connection to heritage is resident Arlen Weier’s German Potato Salad. This is not your typical potato salad, and will surely wow at a picnic.

German Potato Salad
(Serve Warm)
3 lb. small red potatoes
1 bunch green onions, chopped (tops included)
6 slices bacon, diced
3 Tbsp. flour
1⁄2 c. granulated sugar
1 1⁄2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1⁄4 tsp. pepper
1 c. cider vinegar
1 c. water
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Wash potatoes but do not peel. Cover and boil over medium heat just until tender (do not over cook). Drain and cool slightly. Peel potatoes and cut in thin slices. Place in a large bowl. Add onions to potatoes. Cover and set aside. Fry diced bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove from heat. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Add bacon to potatoes. Combine flour, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add to bacon drippings in skillet and stir over medium heat to form a smooth paste. Stir in vinegar and water. Bring to a boil and boil 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour hot sauce over potatoes, onions and bacon. Mix gently. If desired, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Although often overlooked, a cool salad can be a big hit on a hot summer afternoon. It may be the most underrated course at a July 4th celebration. This Nappa Cabbage Salad from resident Addie Blake adds a refreshing twist with its Asian flavors.

Nappa Cabbage Salad
1 stalk nappa cabbage
1 bunch green onions
1 pkg. Ramen Oriental noodles

For the Dressing:
1⁄2 c. salad oil
1⁄4 c.vinegar
1⁄2 c. sugar
3⁄4 c. pine nuts or sunflower seeds
1⁄2 c. sliced almonds
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp dry mustard

Cut cabbage in small pieces. Combine with sliced green onion. Set aside. In about 2 to 3 tablespoons oil, saute noodles that have been broken into small pieces. Sprinkle with package of Oriental flavoring. When the noodles begin to turn color, add nuts (nuts burn easily, so stir constantly). When toasted, add to cabbage and onions.
Mix dressing in blender and add dressing when ready to serve

Selecting a main course was challenging.  There are many options. However, it’s hard to beat Ribs!  This recipe for Outdoor Barbecue Ribs from resident Eleanor Kirlin has everything one would want from some good old fashioned BBQ.
Outdoor BBQ Ribs Connestee Falls
Outdoor Barbecued Ribs

1 Tbsp. celery seed
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1⁄4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. salt (less if desired)
1 tsp. paprika
2 1⁄2 loin back or country style ribs
1 (8oz.) can tomato sauce
1⁄4 c. vinegar

Combine five dry ingredients.
Rub 1⁄2 mixture on ribs; add remaining mixture to tomato sauce and vinegar.
Heat Sauce and use to baste ribs.
Cook over glowing coals until tender, about an hour. Baste and turn frequently.
(Note: I parcook the seasoned ribs in the microwave on Medium-high about 10 minutes per side. This reduces the time on the grill and avoids charring before the pork is done. Yields 4 servings.)

No Independence Day celebration is complete without dessert. This scratch made Red Velvet Cake recipe from resident Toots Foth is a great way to round this holiday smorgasbord menu.  (Editor’s note: Serve with some fresh North Carolina Blueberries for a red, white and blue holiday flair.)

Red Velvet Cake
1 c. butter
1 1⁄2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1⁄4 c. red food coloring
2 tsp. cocoa
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1⁄2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. soda

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs, one at a time. In a small bowl, mix food color and cocoa. Add to sugar mixture. Add buttermilk and vanilla alternately with four and salt. Mix vinegar and soda; add to batter. Bake in two 9-inch greased pans for 35 minutes at 350°.

Red Velvet Icing:
3 Tbsp. flour
1 c. milk
1 c. butter or margarine
1 c. sugar 1 tsp. vanilla

Combine flour and milk. Cook until thickened. Cool. Do not refrigerate. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add to milk
mixture. Mix well. Store in refrigerator, covered.
Ice cake and serve.


Connestee Cooks: Fourth of July Menu — 1 Comment

  1. We just served these beans at our Artsi Glass Grand Opening party, and they were a real hit….the bowl was clean as a whistle by the time the party was finished!

    Enjoy your Holiday weekend!

    John Peil

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