Category Archives: 4th of July

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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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?

I made Orange Creamsicle Gelato, Caribbean Coleslaw (recipe here) and Key Lime Bars (recipe here). If I get photos of the fireworks, I’ll post later. 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: 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.

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.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Chipotle Macaroni Salad

Photo by JeffreyW

EDIT: Just realized the tomatoes were omitted from the ingredient list. Corrected now.

What a week. The Colorado wildfires became personal again, as my office was smack in the middle of an evacuation zone. The authorities never had to make it mandatory and as I write this, that fire is well contained.  Add to that, one of the guys I work with was in a horrible motorcycle accident at the beginning of the week and that shook us all up. I was ready for the week to be over sometime around Tuesday night, so I’m grateful it’s Thursday and the weekend is within sprinting distance. Even happier that Independence Day is around the corner

Since I love July 4th, I have quite a few recipes that celebrate it with great picnic foods. All 21 of them can be found at this link.  There is quite a variety: fancy appetizers; cold salads; grilling ideas; fun desserts; and even cold drinks. There is also an entire post of potato salad recipes from Balloon-Juicers.

I really like tonight’s featured recipe. It was a huge hit last year at the July 4th picnic. I’m actually making it right now for a going away party, that’s how it became tonight’s recipe.

All right, now it’s your turn, what are your favorite foods on July 4th? Are you all-American with burgers and dogs or something more sophisticated? Share your favorites in the comments and we can all argue about it, good-naturedly of course.

Tonight’s featured recipe:

Chipotle Macaroni Salad

Chipotle Mayonnaise:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1 tbsp limejuice

Mix together ingredients and set aside while macaroni cooks.

Macaroni Salad:

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped (or equivalent)
  • 8 oz cubed sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 thick cut bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (optional)
  • 1 cup chipotle mayonnaise
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring water to a boil, add 1 tsp salt and macaroni. Cook until al dente (firm to tooth). Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Do not drain well, allow macaroni to stay wet, remove to bowl. Immediately add garlic, celery, onion, parsley and lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in cheddar cheese, tomatoes, bacon and chipotle mayonnaise. Salt and pepper to taste. Allow to chill 15 – 30 minutes. Serves 8-10.

Just a note: There will be no recipe exchange next Thursday, we’ll pick up again on July 12th.

Mmm…pasta salad

TaMara’s macaroni salad had me jonesing for my own this fine day.

I didn’t follow a recipe, exactly.  I knew there needed to be pasta of some sort and a half bag of these bowties seemed to fit the bill.  I knew I wanted to use some of the cherry tomatoes our patio plantings are bearing for us.  Half the battle, right there.  Mayo seemed obvious, and that took me to the sour cream right there by it in the fridge.  So far, so good.  OK, celery, diced a few stalks, and that suggested celery seed, in went those things.  Onion, check-red bell pepper, check-dill weed, check-a little minced dill pickle? Why not, check.  Hmm..hard boiled eggs!  Yes, absolutely!  A little touch of sour?  Aah, some rice vinegar is pretty mellow, some sweet to balance the sour?  Splenda-splendid!  Some kosher salt and some black pepper and Ta Da!

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