Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More "Blast From The Past"...... This time it's Coca-Cola!

I don't know if you know but cooking with Coca-Cola has long been a popular favorite and there are many recipes you can use that incorporate this ingredient! I'm not talking about just desserts either, not at all, there are great main dishes that any family will love! My family doesn't have Coca-Cola or any other soft drink often, but I have to admit that sometimes a glass of Coke over ice is "just the ticket" (or maybe in a Cuba Libre even!), and we use the rest to cook with.....

Mexico, although know as the #1 consumer of Coca-Cola (yes, it's true- most families couldn't dream of having a meal without it.... weird, but true) isn't the only country that has adapted this beverage into it's culinary scene, there are many countries that have discovered that cooking with Coca-Cola brings some great flavor notes to any party! Did you know that Coca-Cola is also known as the "World's favorite beverage"? Amazing, huh?

Of all the Coke produced around the world, do you know why the one made in Mexico is considered the "best" by connoisseurs? Because we use cane sugar (vs high fructose corn syrup) and the laws in Mexico permit a much higher rate of carbonation than what is permitted elsewhere, that's why! It gives Coke a naturally sweet taste with a strong fizz..... you can tell the difference! So next time you're buying some Coke, check to see if it was made in Mexico and have a taste test for yourself! Costco and other retailers stock it sometimes.....

So, we'll take a look at some dishes using Coca-Cola and I hope that after reading about them they will inspire you to try them. I've sneaked some of these in on people and have managed to change their minds, really.... (I must confess I've never used Diet Coke, but maybe you could). Don't forget the old saying: "Things Go Better With Coke"....lol. As you will be able to tell just from reading these recipes, most are very old and have been favorites for a long, long time.....

Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce.- A tasty sauce that can be your introduction to cooking with Coca-Cola.

1 16 oz can Coca-Cola
1 onion, sliced
3 tbl chopped garlic
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup smoked bacon, cut into small strips
1-2 cup ketchup
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbl Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbl kosher salt
1 tbl black pepper
1/4 cup hot sauce (your choice and optional) (I use red pepper flakes or habanero sauce)
2 cups water

Cook bacon until golden brown over med high heat. Add onions and stir until golden brown. Add garlic (red pepper flakes if using) and pecans and cook for 1 min. Add Coca-Cola and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Cook to a syrupy consistency, stirring. Add vinegar, Worcestershire, ketchup, water, hot sauce (if using instead of flakes) and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 min, stirring every 5 minutes.

Puree in food processor or blender until smooth, pass through a strainer and return to sauce pan. Add black pepper and cook another 5 min. You can put in jar and once cool, keep in the fridge or
use right away over ribs, chicken, pulled pork, shrimp or any BBQ food.

Duck Breasts with Coca-Cola.- If you love Duck (I do!) this is a super easy preparation.

1 can Coca-Cola (Coke must be full strength with sugar and caffine. Mexican Coke the best)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
salt and pepper to taste
peanut oil for frying

Marinate duck breast in Coca-Cola for a minimum of 12 hours in the fridge, overnight is better. Mix the flour and cornmeal and add salt and pepper to taste. Slice breasts crosswise into strips 1/2" wide or leave breasts whole. Dredge duck in flour mix. Saute in hot peanut oil for a few minutes until medium rare or to suit taste.
Serve as an appetizer with tabasco or other sauce or with your favorite jelly.

Coca-Cola Roast.- Here's a little something different for you. Very easy and full of flavor.

2 lbs stew meat, chopped into bite size pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, in pieces
2 celery sticks, in pieces
2 turnips, quartered
1-2 16oz can of Coca-Cola
1 14 oz bottle chili sauce
1-2 tbl Worcestershire sauce to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325F. Put salt and pepper generously over the meat. In a little oil, brown the meat thoroughly. Drain the oil and place the meat into a baking dish. Add the onion & veggies.
Pour a mixture of the Coca-Cola and the sauces over the meat. Cover and bake for 2 hours.
Check roast during cooking and insure it doesn't dry out.

Coca-Cola Chicken.- A quick and easy recipe for you!

2 chicken breasts
1/2 onion, chopped
3-4 bacon slices, in pieces
1-2 potatoes, cut in squares
1 16oz can Coca-Cola
salt and pepper to taste

Put salt and pepper on chicken. Fry the onion and bacon in a pan until golden brown. Add the chicken and sear well. Add the Coca-Cola and potatoes and allow to cook at med heat until the liquid is all but gone.

Coca-Cola Ham.- Super easy and keeps ham very moist.

1 Ham (5-6 lb)
1 cup brown sugar
1 can of Coca-Cola
1 cup crushed pineapple (optional)

Wash ham thoroughly. Rub fat side with brown sugar. Pour Coca-Cola over ham.
Pour crushed pineapple over ham. Bake at 375F for 3 hours.

Studded Pork Loin with Coca-Cola Sauce.- This is a family favorite that we make often, it's truly great!

Whole or half a Pork Loin
1/3 cup jalapeno slices (canned, without seeds, cut in strips)
1/3 cup sliced, peeled almonds cut in strips
1/3 cup sweet bell pepper, without seeds and cut in strips
1/3 cup raisins or prunes, only cut prunes in strips
2-3 cans of Coca-Cola
salt and pepper to taste

Take the pork loin and make holes with a think knife, all over the outside. You are trying to make space to insert the jalapeno, almonds, bell pepper and raisins, vertically, down into the meat. Proceed to insert them into the pork loin with your fingers. You can visualize that these will show up when you slice the meat radiating from the outside into the center of the slice, adding not only flavor but visual appeal as well.

Salt and pepper the outside of the pork loin heavily, patting it down really well. Heat some oil in a large pan and bring up to heat, should be med-high or high heat. You will sear the loin on each side until it's all golden brown and well seared. Heat the oven to 350F.

Place the seared pork loin into a baking pan. Pour the Cola-Cola all over the meat and bake for about 30 min. Remove the pork loin from the baking pan and put the liquid into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a med boil and cook the sauce until it reduces by half.
Allow the pork loin to rest, covered with aluminum foil, for at least 15-20 min before slicing. Serve the sauce over the pork slices.

Southern Style Onions.- A wonderful and easy addition to any meal. For years we've made these delicious onions and they work as a garnish or topping for many dishes (even pasta) and at holiday events. Some ideas: The onions can be eaten by themselves, served on steak, sandwiches or mixed into mashed potatoes. Pour the leftover liquid on rice.

2-3 whole large onions, cut into sections about 3/4" wide
1 liter Coca-Cola classic
2 tsp liquid steak seasoning (or more to taste) or steak sauce

In a 9x13 microwave-safe casserole dish, put the onions. Literally float the cut onions in the
Coca-Cola, adding more if necessary to cover all the onions in your dish. Add the steak seasoning into the liquid. (Liquid steak seasoning is quite potent and 1 capful is usually enough.) Stir once to spread the seasoning.

Place in microwave and cook for 20 min on high or 30 min on med setting, but judge the time according to your particular microwave. This will produce a soft, sweet caramelized onion with a hint of smoky flavor. It’s easy and effortless.

Sweet and Sour Coca-Cola Cabbage.- Unusual yet tasty!

1 1/2 lbs red or green cabbage
2 medium apples
1/2 cup Coca-Cola
2 tbl vinegar
2 tbl brown sugar
2 tbl bacon drippings
1 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 tsp caraway seeds

Coarsely shred or cut cabbage (should measure 3 cups). Core and dice unpeeled apples. In a pan, toss together all ingredients. Cover, simmer until cabbage is tender, about 25 min. Stir occasionally. To reduce foam, use Coca-Cola at room temperature and stir rapidly.

Old-Time Coca-Cola Cake.- Here's a recipe from 1938 Atlanta and has been a county fair staple in the South....

2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups small marshmallows
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tbl cocoa powder
1 cup Coca-Cola
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup butter
3 tbl cocoa powder
6 tbl Coca-Cola
2 cups confectioners sugar (1 box)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F. In a bowl, sift sugar and flour. Add marshmallows. In saucepan, mix butter, oil, cocoa, and Coca-Cola. Bring to a boil and pour over dry ingredients and blend well. Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk just before adding to batter along with eggs and vanilla extract, mixing well. Pour into a well-greased 9x13 pan and bake 35 to 45 min. Remove from oven and frost immediately.

To make frosting, combine butter, cocoa and Coca-Cola in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and pour over confectioners' sugar, blending well. Add vanilla extract and pecans. Spread over hot cake. When cool, cut into squares and serve.

I know these recipes are a little unusual, but they're right in line with the old fashioned style of cooking and most were pretty popular, so why not continue to use them. As you can see they're pretty simple and easy to make and don't require imported or weird ingredients, which is always a good idea budget wise. I hope you will try some and let me know how your family liked them. These are just the tip of the iceberg too, there are many, many more....

Wishing everyone a good rest of the week and a lovely Summer day! Talk soon.....

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