Fourth of July festivites are just a few days away, so for this roundup, I selected the dishes most suitable for an All-American summertime barbecue. These are tried-and-true recipes that I have made again and again to rave reviews. I hope they will become your faves as well.
Wishing you and yours a safe and blessed holiday filled with love, laughter, and amazing things to eat. Happy 4th of July everyone!
Let me state this unequivocally and for all time: blueberries and lavender are a flavor pairing made in heaven. Seriously! You have to try a pitcher of this delicious concoction before fresh blueberries disappear completely for another year. I promise you will be glad you did.
When it comes to summertime eating, you just can’t have too many terrific pasta salads in your repertoire. Loaded with Calamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions, and capers, this salad is wonderful, with or without the chicken.
Although this is a simple salad–which I expect everyone makes in one variation or another–it is one of my most requested recipes. Folks cannot seem to get enough of it, and if a picnic potluck is in the works, I am invariably corralled into bringing THAT MACARONI SALAD. You just can’t argue with tradition, especially on Independence Day.
These ribs are meltingly tender as a result of the brining and slow poaching processes specified in the recipe. They are also a snap for the host, because they are fully cooked ahead, thus requiring only a brief period on the grill before serving.
Discover a dry salt cure and wet salt brine for chicken. Either will work here, but the wet salt brine seems to carry the spicy heat into the meat a tad better, so that’s what I use for this recipe. Then, you have a choice of three dynamite dredges for the chicken. I prefer the simplest of the three, but the others are good too.
Is there anything better in the summertime than a big, juicy burger, straight off the grill, tucked into a soft, toasted bun, topped with all the fixings? This burger pulls out all the stops. It is wonderfully juicy, tender, and flavorful, thanks to stout, onion, chile, breadcrumbs, fresh herbs, and seasonings. Plus, there is a secret ingredient used here that I discovered recently: unsalted butter. If you have ever dipped a piece of steak into melted butter, you know the combination is dynamite. In a burger, the butter adds not only flavor but also extra lubricant for the juiciest burger ever.
There’s a lot of flavor going on in this burger, but not so much as to overshadow the beef itself. Heat, spice, and smoke, along with poblano and red bell peppers create a lip smacking experience. You can use store-bought mayo on the buns, but Chipotle Aioli really makes the burger sing and takes only minutes to prepare.
Gelato and ice cream are made by combining a basic custard sauce, optional extra cream, and flavorings, and then churning the mixture in an ice cream maker. There is really nothing more to it than that. For this gelato, I used fresh, raw strawberries for the first test. The result was good, but for test two, I cooked the strawberries briefly and the flavor and color intensity were both enhanced. Then I added basil and sour cream, and WOW!
Whatever was George Washington thinking when he cut down a cherry tree? What I would give to have a cherry tree in MY yard! This combination of tart cherries, lime, lemon, orange, and toasted almond, along with caramelized brown sugar, is irresistible. The best vanilla bean ice cream you can get your hands on is practically required as an accompaniment.
More 4th of July Inspiration from Around the Web
A quick jaunt through my RSS feed of over 300 favorite food blogs, yielded the following inspiring ideas for this year’s festivities. I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. Share your own picks in the comments. God bless America and American cooks!
Annie Eats: Firecracker Whoopie Pies
Cute little sandwich cookies with crushed Pop Rocks sprinkles for the kids or the kid in you.
Barbara Bakes: Bacon Wrapped Cheese Hot Dogs
What a great way to fancy up a hot dog for the 4th of July. Add grated cheese, wrap in bacon, and then grill. Everyone is going to want one.
Chocolate chip cookies reign supreme in America and are thus the perfect hand-held dessert for the 4th of July. This version was made famous by Joanne Chang of Boston’s Flour Bakery.
Clockwork Lemon: Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream
Is there anything more all-American than buttered popcorn? What a kick to let the kids hand-churn this novel ice cream at your 4th of July get-together.
Endless Simmer: 4th of July Cooler Popsicles
Not for the kids what with the vodka and triple sec, but could be a perfect reward for the adults after the fireworks craziness is over and all fingers are accounted for. A trio of blueberry, pomegranate, and pear juices/purees create a red, white and blue effect.
Ezra Pound Cake: Frozen Pink Velvet Salad
Pure kitsch! If you are over 30, your mom or aunt probably made something like this retro concoction when you were a kid, and it was probably center-front at the family 4th of July potluck. Imagine, if you will, a crunchy, fruity, icy cold slop of cherry pie filling, crushed pineapple, sweetened condensed milk, whipped topping, miniature marshmallows, and pecans. Now don’t go getting all indignant here. It’s sort of like a poor man’s Semifreddo if you think about it. The kids are going to love it, and I bet it disappears faster than the local fireworks show.
Gastronomer’s Guide: Strawberry Agua Fresca
Puree fresh berries, sugar, and soda, and you have the Mexican cooler known as Agua Fresca. Zippy and refreshing—make a large pitcher to keep your 4th of July revelers cool and happy.
Gingerbread Bagels: Twix Cheesecakes
Individual desert bites are perfect for potluck buffets. You can keep the surplus cold while the first batch disappears from the table, rather than end up with a big melting cheesecake. These miniature cheesecakes are especially fun as they are loaded with chopped Twix candy bars. More retro kitsch for this year’s festivities.
Inspired Bites: Blueberry Pie
This simple, straightforward pie in a pretty plate looks like a winner. Plus, it’s blue and that means you need to add only red and white to make this an all-star attraction. Might I suggest an accompaniment of home-churned vanilla bean ice cream (white) topped with Strawberry Rose Petal Caramel Syrup?
The Go Lightly Gourmet: Roasted Garlic Potato Salad
Now I love American Potato Salad as much as the next girl, but isn’t it due an update? This version features roasted Yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, baby red potatoes, green beans, and garlic with a lemony, herb dressing. Very tasty and beautiful too.
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Copyright 2011 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.