Honoring Our Veterans on Their Special Day

As it happens, Veterans Day and National Ice Cream Sundae Day fall on the same day. Last year I opted to ignore Ice Cream Sundae Day and went with a Yankee Pot Roast Supper with an Apple Pie Dessert. I know, pretty cheesy.

This year I decided to create an All-American Supper backwards, beginning with the Sundae for dessert and building from there. Sundaes for dessert led to the obvious choice of a Bacon Cheese Burger. But not just ordinary Bacon Cheeseburgers would do. This burger is stuffed with cheese, kissed with bacon barbecue sauce and gets a little kick from chopped Jalapenos. What goes better with a burger than fries? But not just any Fries. I discovered Navy Potatoes, and they were too interesting to pass up.

The long and the short of it is that early on the morning of April 5, 1943 the USS O’Bannon picked up a large Japanese submarine on its radar. The sub was cruising along on the surface, oblivious to the oncoming American Ship. Commander Edwin R. Wilkinson ordered the O’Bannon to increase speed and ram the sub, but as they drew closer, he had second thoughts. What if it were a minelayer? Ramming a minelayer would be suicide. By then O’Bannon had built up so much forward momentum that only thing they could do was to turn the rudder hard and pray for the best. The maneuver sent out a wave that bashed against the cruising sub instead. Still, there was no response from the Japanese. And now the O’Bannon was sailing parallel to the sub, so close that the men were able to look over the railing at the sub riding on the surface just below them. That is when they realized that the Japanese had been sleeping topside.

The crashing wave awoke them, and pandemonium broke out as the Japanese stared up at the gawking enemy looming over them. The American Sailors wanted to draw their weapons and open fire, but none were wearing side arms. The sleeping Japanese were also unarmed. Neither side seemed to know what to do next. The O’Bannon had deck guns, but they were too close to the sub and perched too high for their deck guns to do any damage. As for the Japanese, their deck guns were unmanned at the opposite end of the sub. As the Japanese ran toward their deck gun, the Americans ran to their storage bins. No guns or grenades, only potatoes. So the Americans began throwing potatoes at the Japanese. The Japanese began to panic. No one knows for sure, but in the darkness of the predawn morning, they may have mistaken the potatoes for some sort of hand grenades . Instead of manning their guns, the Japanese cleared the deck, and the sub dove down. The O’Bannon surged forward again, dropping a depth charge that destroyed the Japanese vessel.

This may be the only battle that began by tossing potatoes at the enemy. Word got back to the Potato Growers of the State of Maine. They created a plaque commemorating the event and offered up wedge potatoes as a tribute to the Officers and Sailors of the USS O’Bannon.

There is no way I could make this up. And there was no way I could not serve Navy Potato Wedges on Veterans Day. As for the bourbon spiked lemonade – hey, these are service men and woman after all. Cheers!

All-American Veterans Day Celebration
Spiked Ginger Ale Lemonade
Jalapeno Cheddar Bacon Burgers
Navy Potato Wedges
Brownie Bowl Ice Cream Sundaes

Spiked Ginger Ale Lemonade
1-1/2 cups Water
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Lemon Juice (4 large lemons)
1/2 cup Orange Juice (1 large orange)
11/2 cup Bourbon
/2 cup fresh Mint Leaves
4 cups Ginger Ale
Ice cubes
Lemon Slices for garnish
Mint Leaves for garnish

Combine 1-1/2 cups water and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat to make a simple syrup. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Cool the simply syrup completely. This simple syrup can be made 1 week in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

Combine the simple syrup, lemon juice, orange juice, bourbon and mint leaves in a large container such as a pitcher. Mix gently and refrigerate for 1 hour for the flavors to bloom.

Just before serving, strain mixture into a 2-quart pitcher; stir in ginger ale. Serve over ice garnished as desired, lemon slices and additional mint.

Jalapeno Cheddar Bacon Burgers
8 slices Bacon
4 Green Leaf Lettuce Leaves
2 Roma Tomatoes, sliced
2 Jalapeno Peppers
1 lb Ground Chuck
1/4 cup Barbecue Sauce
4 tablespoons additional Barbecue Sauce
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
4 split Hamburger Buns

Fry bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels. Break 4 slices of bacon in half, set aside. Crumble remaining bacon, place in a small bowl and set aside.

While the bacon is frying, break off lettuce leaves, rinse and pat dry. Set leaves aside. Cut stem and end from the tomatoes, then slice remaining tomatoes into rounds for the burgers. Set aside. Stem jalapeno peppers, dice into small pieces. Place jalapenos into a mixing bowl.

Heat broiler. Combine the beef and 1/4 cup barbecue sauce in the mixing bowl with the jalapeno peppers. Shape the mixture into 8 thin patties.

Combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of barbecue sauce in the bowl with the crumbled bacon.. Mix well. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the barbecue-bacon mixture onto the center of each of 4 patties and spread almost to the edge of the patties..

Top the bacon mixture with 1/8 cup of the shredded Cheddar. Place the remaining patties on the bacon-cheese quarters. Press the patties together with the palm of your hand. Pinch the edges well to seal. Place the stuffed patties on the broiler pan.

Broil 5 to 6 inches from heat until browned, about 6 minutes. Turn the patties and broil until browned and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes longer.

Place stuffed burgers on the bottom buns. Top each burger with 2 bacon halves, a few slices of tomato and lettuce. Place top bun in place and serve.

For a dramatic presentation, slice burgers in half before serving to let the cheese ooze out.

Navy Potato Wedges
4 large Baking Potatoes
1 cup Butter, divided
2 cups Flour
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Parsley Flakes for garnish

Scrub, peel and cut potatoes in half down the middle, then half again lengthwise, and finally into wedge-cuts. Place potatoes in cold water and let soak for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 450-degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet baking sheet with cooking spray.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat; pour 1/4 cup of the butter into a shallow dish. Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a second shallow dish. Drain potatoes, pat dry. Roll potato wedges in the seasoned flour, then dip into the butter. Arrange potato wedges on the baking sheet. Add melted butter to the dipping dish as needed to keep the butter fluid.

Bake the wedges in the heated oven until tender and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

Transfer potatoes to a warm serving platter, garnish with parsley flakes and serve hot.

Brownie Bowl Ice Cream Sundaes
1 box Brownie Mix
3 tablespoons Water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs
12 scoops Ice Cream
3 cups Hot Fudge, heated
Sprinkles, as desired
Whipping Cream, as desired
Chopped Nuts, as desired
Maraschino Cherries, as desired

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with cookie spray.

Mix Brownie Mix, water, vegetable oil and eggs together as directed on brownie mix box. Fill each cup 2/3 full (about 3 tablespoons each).

Place in the heated oven and set a timer for 12 minutes. While the brownies bake, spray the bottom of another muffin tin. Set aside on the counter bottom-up until ready to use.

When time is up, remove brownies from oven. Lay the second muffin tin bottom side down on top and lightly press to shape bowls. Continue baking the brownies another 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from oven, remove top muffin tin. Allow the brownies to cool completely in the tin to hold their shape.

When ready to serve, warm hot fudge in a saucepan over low heat. Place brownie cups on a microwave safe plate and warm for about 15 to 20 seconds.

Fill each bowl with a scoop of ice cream, the drizzle each scoop of ice cream with about 1/4 cup of the hot fudge. Serve with toppings to garnish Sundaes as desired.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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