Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook








Spicy Sliders with Curry Ketchup

Barbecue Beans with Bacon

Sweet Cherry Almond Shortcakes's a tasty Fourth plus the sliders are from my cookbook, The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up! (now at Homestead Gardens) as are the smoky Barbecue Beans. For the sliders, I created a 'feed many at once' version which consists of making larger burgers to fit a loaf of ciabatta bread and then slicing the entire slider loaf into finger size portions. I used our local Gumpowder Bison meat-knowing how incredibly healthy it is. The sliders just tasted "clean"; even my mom said so. Originally the scrumptious beans had bits of shredded goat meat. That may not figure into your Fourth so the beans are perfectly yummy without.

Cherries are here! Make use of those fresh sweet orbs in what else-a shortcake!


Spicy Bison Sliders with Talbot Reserve Cheese and Curry Ketchup

Serves 8


Each of these sliders weighs about 1 ounce so the bison goes a long and tasty way as small bites or hors d’oeuvres. I have served these at my River Dinners and at a local cooking class because everyone loves a great burger. I topped each slider with a rich, cave-aged cheddar from Chapel Country Creamery in Easton, Maryland. You can garnish and build these sliders as you wish . . . adding to the bread or letting your guests add their own toppings, such as sliced onions, pickles, and lettuce or arugula. It’s a good idea to make the curry ketchup in advance and keep it refrigerated.

for the sliders:

  • 12 ounces ground beef or bison
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 ciabatta loaf of bread, sliced horizontally, but not through, to open like a
  • book
  • Freshly grated Talbot Reserve or other full-flavor, aged cheddar cheese, room temperature

Heat the grill to medium-high.

Place the beef or bison in a bowl and add salt and pepper. Form the meat into 2 rectangular burgers, ¾-inch thick, so they fit neatly onto the bread.

Grease the grill rack and add the burgers without crowding. Grill on one side until nicely browned, then turn and brown the other side, making sure that the burgers remain rare and juicy. While the second side browns, top the burgers with the cheese to allow it to melt. Place the opened ciabatta bread on the grill until just golden and warm. Then, while still warm, spread one side liberally with curry ketchup.

Remove the burgers to a cutting board and let rest for a moment. Lay the open ciabatta on the cutting board. Place each burger on the bottom half of the bread. Close the bread firmly and cut crosswise into 2-inch thick slices. A toothpick in each slice holds it all together and makes it easy to pick up.

for the curry ketchup:

  • 1 12-ounce bottle chile sauce
  • 1 /3 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Combine all.

Barbecue Beans with Bacon

Serves 6



Of course we are going to tell you that large, freshly cooked lima beans (sometimes known as butter beans) will yield some mighty fine beans, but if time or temperament doesn’t allow, go for the canned variety. Fresh poblano chile peppers are fine to get to know because even when freshly cooked, they add a sweet smokiness. Many supermarkets now carry a good selection of chile peppers. The dish can be baked in a conventional oven or on the grill.

  • 8 ounces thick, nitrate-free sliced bacon, diced
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • ½ cup fresh poblano chile peppers, diced
  • (2 cups goat meat, grilled and shredded)
  • 4 cups cooked, large limas or 2 16-ounce cans butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup dark molasses
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Few dashes hot sauce such as Tabasco, if desired
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high. When hot, add the bacon and sauté for 2 minutes to release some of the fat. Add the onion and poblano, and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Drain any extra fat from the sautéed mixture. If using goat: In a large bowl, combine the shredded goat meat with the remaining ingredients.

Finally, stir in the sautéed mixture and pour into a baking dish.

Bake uncovered at 350°F for 1 hour, stirring once after 30 minutes. Serve immediately or, equally as good, at room temperature.



Sweet Cherry Almond Shortcakes

Serves 8


These are smaller portions and that's a good thing. The smaller biscuits give you just enough to satisfy without feeling overloaded.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds, chopped


Cherry mixture

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pound fresh sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 cup Amaretto, if desired

Whipped cream

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar, to taste
  • Cinnamon for dusting

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

For the biscuits: Put the dry ingredients in a bowl and cut in the butter by hand or with a food processor.

Place 1/3 cup buttermilk with the egg yolk, vanilla and almond extracts in a glass measuring cup and stir. Add this to the dry ingredients and pinch the dough together to form a slightly sticky but manageable mass.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough  on a parchment-lined baking sheet and press down very slightly. Gather the scraps of dough, pat out again, and repeat. Brush the biscuits with the milk, then sprinkle sugar on top.

Bake the biscuits until pale golden, 11 to 14 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

For the cherries: Mix granulated sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Add cherries and Amaretto (if using) and cook, stirring, over medium heat until mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat; stir in lemon rind. Set mixture aside to cool.

Whip the cream with the vanilla until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, to taste.

After cooling, cut the biscuits in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Place the bottom halves on dessert plates, cover with some cherries in sauce along with a dollop of cream. Finish with the remaining biscuits, more cream, and a dash of cinnamon.


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