Category Archives: 4th of July

Some Fireworks for You!

In case you couldn’t make the festivities!

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Photo by Dave Masters  – Denver City and County Building – Civic Center Park

I’m out watching this year’s fireworks, but here is last year’s finale.

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It’s July 4th! Happy Independence Day!

Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident…..

For a full-size readable copy of the above photo, click here.

Still a sucker for July 4th.  I’ll be watching 1776 sometime over the holiday.  There will be fireworks. And a picnic.  I love that we are a country of rebels and continue to be a country of rebels.  It’s not always pretty, but really, would we have it any other way?

Last year it was  Orange Creamsicle Gelato, Caribbean Coleslaw (recipe here) and Key Lime Bars (recipe here). This year it was Grilled Bourbon Chicken (recipe here) and Jicama Slaw (recipe here). Have a safe and fun 4th.

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1776: The Musical, The signing of the Declaration

Just a little holiday fun:

If you’ve never seen this movie, put it in your queue.

Friday Recipe Exchange: 4th of July Cookout Ideas

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Since the 4th of July is barreling toward us, I thought I should get some ideas together. This is absolutely my favorite holiday. Food, fireworks and friends, what could be better?  So let’s jump  right into the food portion of our festivities.

These are quick and easy ribs if you don’t want to do the smoke for the whole day style, the citrus glaze is the star of this recipe: Baby Back Ribs with Citrus Glaze (recipe here).

Buttermilk Pie (click here) will get all the ooo’s and aaahhh’s, until the fireworks anyway. As pretty as it is tasty.

JeffreyW makes a Classic Orange/Lemon Shakeup (pictured above and recipe here)

And for a different take on cucumber salad, how about Minted Cucumbers, (recipe here).

Hopefully that will give you some ideas for your own July 4th celebration. What’s on your menu for this weekend and for the holiday? What are your favorite recipes for the celebration? We always have to leave room for the funnel cake at the fireworks. Hit the comments to share your recipes and what you like to do on the 4th.

Tonight’s featured recipe is one I made a few years ago on a whim, inspired by a recipe I didn’t follow for various reasons, and I get requests for it every July 4th now. Because it’s a kabob style, it’s a bit labor intensive, but you can prepare all of it the day before. If you want your chicken even drunker, you can soak it in the extra bourbon overnight.

Drunken Chicken 1

Grilled Bourbon Chicken Appetizers

12  servings

  • 1- 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  •  1/4 cup chopped Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  •  1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Bourbon whisky (how much you use and what you do with the leftover is between you and your bottle)
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks
  • 12 strips of sliced bacon (should be a pound)
  • 12 short wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes before assembling and grilling*

Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch x 2-inch cubes, you should have 36 pieces (you can soak in bourbon if you like)

Mix together Chipotle peppers, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and add enough whisky and pineapple juice to make a thick sauce. Cover chicken cubes on all side with sauce and let marinate for at least 1 hour.

To assemble: Start with a pineapple chunk, add one end of full bacon strip, add chicken cube, then wrap bacon around the top of the cube and skewer, add another cube of chicken, wrap bacon around the bottom of that piece of chicken, then skewer, add a third and repeat with the bacon strip, you’re creating a ribbon with the bacon. Finish with a pineapple chunk.

(And I wish I had a photo of that step for you, but we got so busy doing them, I forgot to get the camera out. When I make them this year, I’ll remember, promise. I barely got a finished picture, had to grab someone’s plate before they started munching).

Grill over medium high heat (if using coals, start over hot coals, then move away from direct heat for the remainder of cooking time), turning frequently. Cook until chicken is 160-165 degrees. Shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes, don’t overcook or you’ll have dry, rubbery appetizers. Serve hot.

*please don’t forget this step or all you’ll have for appetizers is flaming skewers.

That’s it for this week. There won’t be a recipe exchange next week. And if you missed it, this week’s complete dinner menu and shop list is Pork Stir-fry and Tangy Lemon Pie (click here).  Have a safe and happy 4th! – TaMara

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Fireworks2

Buttermilk Pie, A July 4th Favorite

Buttermilk Pie 1

This has become a 4th of July favorite.

Fourth of July Buttermilk Pie Recipe

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (half a stick)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 9-inch graham cracker crust
  • 1 cup cold, heavy whipping cream
  • 8- 15 strawberries, halved
  • A handful of blueberries (opt)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, then beat in the sugar and lemon zest until well combined. Beat in the flour and melted butter. Beat in the vanilla and buttermilk.

Pour filling batter into an graham pie shell. Bake at 325°F for approximately 50 minutes, or until the center of the custard has just set (can still be a little wiggly). Remove from oven and let cool. The custard may puff up a bit in the oven; it will deflate as it cools.

Whip the chilled cream until it holds stiff peaks. Once the pie has cooled to room temperature, spread the whipping cream over the top of the pie. Arrange the raspberries and blueberries in a decorative pattern on top of the whipping cream.
Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Makes 8 serving pieces.

July 4th Finale

Snapshot 2 (7-5-2013 1-24 AM)

As promised, here’s the finale from tonight’s excellent fireworks display. We were so close we were covered with ash and debris when it was over.

 

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Cold Salads, Part Deux

Cucumber Salad FinaIt’s been over 100 degrees most of this week and when that happens, I want only two things: cold fruits and cold vegetables. Okay and maybe some ice cream, but we already did that post.  So it seemed like a good time to revisit cold salads. Coleslaw and pasta were covered here and tonight will be about cucumbers and potato salads. I should think between all of those you’ll have plenty of choices for holiday cookouts this next week. Which reminds me, there will be no recipe exchange next week.

My dad is an avid gardener and until he catches on, I often plan my summer trip home in time to coincide with tomato, cucumber, and corn harvest. I always come home with a big bag of produce. My youngest brother is following in his footsteps, so my bag of goodies overfloweth. I’m not a bad gardener myself, but my current location has not proved productive. So I’ll take advantage where I can.

The abundance of cucumbers inspires my brother and his wife to makes jars and jars of pickles, but I’m not as ambitious. Instead, I like to make a variety of cucumber salads, three of which are tonight’s featured recipes.

To start off, let’s talk potato salads. I suspect there are as many recipes as their are families. My mom makes one I still cannot duplicate, but everyone wants her to bring to family gatherings. It’s got lots of mayo, onions and mustard in it. I make do with a different take on the salad with a lighter touch with my Italian Potato Salad (recipe here).

One of my favorite posts ever was when I asked everyone to send me their favorite Potato Salad Recipes and I received quite a few, those recipes are here. Talk about variety.

Moving into the cucumber section of the garden, JeffreyW makes Cucumber Kimchi (click here), not to be missed.

My family has a favorite (and pretty traditional) Cucumber and Tomato Salad (recipe here)

Now it’s your turn. What’s on your plate (figuratively and literally) for the mid-week holiday celebration? Cook-outs? Fireworks (a must for me)? Waterpark? What do you absolutely crave when the mercury rises to new heights? Hit the comments and share your recipes.

Now the featured recipes, three quick and easy cucumber salads:

Simple Cucumber Salad (pictured above)

I grabbed what looked good at the farmer’s market, you can change up the ingredients to your faves.

  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup wine vinegar
  • 1 English cucumber, washed and sliced thin
  • 2 cucumbers, washed* and sliced thin (I did a little decorative peeling before I sliced it)
  • 1 sweet red pepper, washed, sliced thin (or substitute orange or yellow)
  • 3 tomatoes, washed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • pinch of dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • opt: garlic, basil, rosemary – one or more of this depending on your tastes

Add sliced onion and vinegar to a bowl and marinate onion for at least 30 minutes. Prepare the rest of the vegetables and toss gently with the onion slices (reserve vinegar).  Mix together 3 tbsp (or more if desired) of the vinegar and 1/2 cup olive oil and pour over vegetables. Add salt, pepper, dill and toss gently. Let rest for 5-10 minutes at room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to serve. This one is best if it’s served within an hour – the vegetables are still crisp and that enhances the fresh, light flavors of the dish.

*If it’s been waxed, you’ll probably want to peel it completely before slicing

Chipotle Lime Cucumber Salad

  • 3 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Chipolte Lime Dressing (bottle or recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

Mix together dressing and mayonnaise, add to sliced cucumber, toss and refrigerate. With this dish, the longer it has, the better the flavors blend. So at least an hour or more ahead of time. I made it for a bridal shower and actually made it the night before.

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup or honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, minced finely (start with one, add another as desired)
  • salt to taste

Mix ingredients together well. Goes great on salads, tacos and as a marinade, too.

Minted Cucumbers

Now for something completely different, these have a distinct Mediterranean feel.

  • 2 English cucumbers, sliced or diced, don’t peel (no wax, thin skins)
  • 2 mild red chilies, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried mint, crushed (or 2 oz fresh leaves)
  • 4 oz dates or figs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 to 4 tsp sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • feta cheese as optional garnish

bowl

Mix vinegar with sugar and toss with remaining ingredients, salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with feta

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Cucumber Tomato Salad

Originally published July 2009
cucumber-salad

Cucumber Tomato Salad:

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 large green pepper
  • ¼ cup salad dressing (miracle whip style) or mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Italian salad dressing
  • salt & pepper

large bowl

Thinly slice cucumbers, onions, pepper & dice tomatoes.  Mix together with salad dressing and Italian dressing.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serves 4-6.

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Italian Lentil Salad

From FoodNetwork.com

From FoodNetwork.com

Italian Lentil Salad

Adapted from Food Network

Salad:

  • 1 pound green lentils
  • 2 green onions, chopped (including greens)
  • 1 cup halved seedless green grapes
  • 1 cup halved seedless red grapes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Crumbled feta

Instead of boiling the lentils and getting watery, mushy lentils, baking them preserves their flavor and texture. First, cover lentils with water and 1 tsp salt. Soak for 1 hour, then drain well. In a large covered casserole dish or oven proof saucepan, add lentils, cover with water, 1/2 tsp of salt, cover and bake at 325 degrees for 40-60 minutes until tender.  Drain and toss with remaining ingredients, except feta and toss with vinaigrette. Refrigerate to chill. Sprinkle with feta just before serving.

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Place the lemon juice in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste

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Happy 4th of July

My beautiful niece says “Happy 4th of July!”

You all know how I feel about this holiday, I love it. Food, friends and fireworks, what’s not to love? Have a great day.

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