If you could…

July 7, 2012

Side Dishes, Vegetables

…what would you consider the perfect Dinner party?  Would you do all the cooking yourself trying out new recipes pushing the bounds of your cooking skills or are you the tried and true using your old stand-by recipes? Is it your time to shine or do you feel like it makes you want to hide under the blankets?  Are you a social butterfly at gatherings or do you find a comfy chair and people watch? Do you find it enjoyable mixing friends of polar opposites to see the interesting interaction or do you enjoy the “comfortable old slippers” kind of friends who tend to entertain themselves more your speed?

By now you are most likely wondering why I am asking these questions…right?  Well there is a yearly gathering at the WikiJan household for all the members (and some select former members) of the Big Green Machine.  It has become almost the epic eating event of the summer.  Chatter starts long before the first tulips break though the cold ground…what will I be cooking?  How many pounds of BBQ will The Boss eat this year?  Do we really need to bother with sides since it is all about the BBQ, Big Bertha the Grill and what she produces? Are we really having Wild Boar? Kangaroo what?!?

You see this annual event started as a social experiment by me with a hand picked selection of people whom I thought would be interesting as a group to observe.  See I am a people watcher…I love blending into the background seeing how people and their personalities change as they forget they have someone in the room.  So I pulled together this amazing group of people I work, my KY BFF and his lovely wife. I lured them to the WikiJan household with some of the best Brisket, steaks and various other proteins I had on hand.   From those dozen or so people this gathering of carnivores grew into what is now known as The P.E.T.A  BBQ at the WikiJan Meat Emporium. Yes that is People Eating Tasty Animals.

This is a time where we can all get away from work and interact more as a family with all our warts and foibles razzing each other throwing down challenges on who can pound down the most brisket (The Boss is still the KING when it comes to this) a time to just sit and chat, meet new family additions  (3 babies this year!), offers of riches and first born children for my BBQ Sauce recipe. The sniping of tasty bits of meat hot and sizzling right off the grill.  The chasing of toddlers and swilling of glass after glass of tea as we await the sun going down past the house to cool things off.

Other than the Christmas cookie box that appears like magic at a number of offices I frequent this is one of the biggest food focused things I do.  I LOVE the prep…the days of brining and basting, turning and smoking, chopping and boiling.  I find the feeding of all those who at various times though the year have noshed on WikiJan food a great joy!  To sit and watch as plate after plate disappears…for me there are few things I love more.  To be so busy I don’t know if I am coming or going at times..I live for that!  But on the down side just like when I get finished with that marathon baking session in winter by the time everyone is descending upon the eats all I want to do is grab a little helping of Green Pea Salad, pickled beats (THANKS BETH!!) and a deviled egg or two.  The work Peeps usually seem  surprised that I am not pounding down the meats but after dealing with them for a few days BBQed meats are the last thing I want to eat.

So because there were a few in attendance this year who are either moving away (BOO!!) or not returning to The Big Green Machine I am posting my Green Pea Salad as they keep asking, its nothing fancy and is super easy.  So Eat-A-Pretzle & family, and Beth & Family you will be missed at C.C. but you will always be welcome to P.E.T.A.!

Green Pea Salad

2 12oz bags frozen Peas (thawed & uncooked)

5-6 slices of  Bacon (or more if you like)

1 c Hellman’s lt. Mayo

1 Onion (Shallot, sweet, Yellow your choice)

1/2 of a 3/4 oz pkg Fresh Dill

4 Hard boiled Eggs (rough chop)

1/4 ts Salt

1 ts. Pepper

1ts Garlic powder

Dice bacon and fry until crispy and nicely browned. Finely dice onions, remove the fronds from the dill and finely chop.

Rinse thawed peas and toss into a large mixing bowl add in the bacon, onions, dill, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic and mayo, stir well and chill for a few hours.

Just dump every body in the bowl and give it a good stir…

Just don’t blame me if you sit down with the bowl and a spoon and eat it all by yourself!

Now go play with your food!



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8 Comments on “If you could…”

  1. Janet Lee Says:

    Love your writing style! Plus, new recipes shared!



    • Wikijancooks Says:

      Hi Ohio Mama!
      Thanks so much I really appreciate it. Funny thing is this entry has been sitting in my draft box for almost two weeks because every time I would go grocery shopping I would forget the frozen peas…if it were not for The Husband being at the store while I was tweaking this entry and me texting him to bring them home there is no telling how many times I would have forgotten…



  2. Allison Justice Says:

    Jan, this looks so yummy!
    I was wondering of you could tell me how you make green beans?! Mine never turn out very good! As I was stringing beans this morning, I had a thought, “What would Jan do?!” haha! Seriously, I did! Can you hook me up with some suggestions?!



    • Wikijancooks Says:

      Sure my one of my favorite things to do is to toss a tablespoon or so of sesame oil in a hot frying pan toss in the green beans and slightly brown them off. Just keep tossing them around in the pan, then the last 30 seconds or so add in a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a dash of soy sauce.

      You can also toss them in a pan with a pealed cubed potatoes finely diced onions, garlic powder, pepper and a few stripes of diced bacon no salt the bacon will salt it. Give it a good boil.

      Set your oven at 400, toss your beans in a large bowl drizzle with a good olive oil, salt, pepper, a bit of garlic, a few tablespoons full of bread crumbs. Toss well in the bowl to coat then turn out on a cookie sheet and roast for about 30-45 minutes you want them to start to brown on the ends but be careful to not burn them. You want them to be soft but not mushy.

      Hope that gives you a few ideas.



      • Allison Justice Says:

        Thanks so much, Jan! These ideas sound delicious! I think I’m going to try the one with the potatoes and bacon for dinner tonight! I’ll let you know how it goes!


      • Wikijancooks Says:

        That is my favorite one…I usually end up eating almost all of it myself. It’s comfort food for me 🙂


      • Allison Justice Says:

        They were delicious! Hands down the best green beans I’ve ever made! Thank you, Jan! My hubby thanks you, also. Lol


      • Wikijancooks Says:

        Yay! I’m so glad you had a great success with the green beans Allison! I love doing them because they are SO easy and you get a big flavor bang for your buck. Now you will have to branch out and try some of the baking stuff like the blueberry lemon scones or one of the pies. The scones though they look intimidating are as easy as the green beans to make, just follow the photos and you will have no problem. Hearing about newer cooks successes make me excited!



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