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.
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.
Grilled Bourbon Chicken Appetizers
- 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
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.
These noodles won’t be for everyone, but I wanted to highlight them because if you’re avoiding gluten or on a low carb diet, these are a great addition to a meal. They can satisfy that pesky carb craving. They’re unusual in the fact that they are made from white yam flour (non-GMO), packed in water and refrigerated.
When you open the package, you’re struck with a strong fishy aroma – think end of the day at a fish market. There is nothing pleasant about it, in my opinion, but it does not flavor the noodles. To prepare them, you drain the water (holding your nose if you’re me) and rinse them for a full minute (I set a timer) with cold water. Then you boil them for 15 minutes. I rinse them for another full minute in cool water after cooking.
I like their texture, but it may not be for everyone. Regardless of how long you cook them, they have an al dente (to the tooth) texture and are chewy. They can be used in any dish you would use rice or rice noodles, I especially like them in soups because they don’t get mushy. They don’t have any real flavor of their own, but take on the flavor of whatever added to. I’ve never tried them in dishes that would normally use a pasta or macaroni. For those dishes, I stick with brown rice pasta if I need the dish to be gluten free.
I usually cook up two bags at a time, since they’re a bit labor intensive to prepare. They store well in the refrigerator for a week. I add them to sauce or soup and let them heat back up.
So if you need to satisfy your carb craving when you’re counting carbs, these just might do the trick. Gluten free, no soy and only 1g of carbs per serving.
They’re available at most Natural Food type grocers.
Baked Beans photo by JeffreyW
I was thinking of backyard cookouts when trying to pick a topic for tonight’s recipe exchange. Running through favorite side dishes, baked beans jumped to the top of the list. It is one of those dishes I equate with summer. I usually only put a pot of baked beans together for large cookouts or picnics and I love them. I like that you can mix up a variety of beans and sauces to get entirely different flavors: sweet or savory, spicy or full of smoky goodness. Difficult to choose a favorite.
Here’s a quick recipe that spices up a simple can of baked beans and adds a touch of sweet, too. Nita’s Baked Beans, recipe here.
If baked beans aren’t your thing, how about Butter Beans and Greens (recipe here), since in many backyard gardens, the collards, mustard greens and spinach could be flourishing.
What’s on your plate this weekend? Do you have any secret family recipes for baked beans? Go ahead, share in the comments, your secrets safe with us.
The featured recipe tonight is savory, sweet. smoky and oven baked. Who knew molasses could be so good?
Boston Baked Beans
This serves 8, but you can easily double it for large gatherings. The slow cooking, white beans and molasses are what give these baked beans their signature flavor.
- 1 pound (2 cups) dried white beans (Great Northern or navy beans)
- 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup ketchup (or 2 tbsp tomato paste)
- 1 tbsp dry mustard
- 1/4 pound thick sliced bacon, cut into pieces
- 4 cups water, or more if necessary
- 1/4 tsp salt (more may be needed, but start here)
- 1/4 tsp pepper
large dutch oven, bean pot or heavy duty oven proof pot
Soak the beans overnight, drain, and rinse them. (Here at high altitude, soaking doesn’t do much, so I pressure cook them for 20 minutes instead, then let them soak for an hour)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Drain and rinse the beans.
Put the beans in a large, ovenproof pot.. Add the onions, brown sugar, molasses, tomato paste, mustard, and bacon. Add water, salt, and pepper. Return the beans to a boil. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven.
Cook the beans for 4 hours, checking them every hour to see if the pan seems dry. Add more water as needed, ½ cup at a time.
Add more salt and pepper, if you like, and let the beans sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Note: To reheat leftovers, add more water and cook over low heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until hot.
That’s it for this week. If you missed it, this week’s menu was Grilled Rosemary Steak with Grilled Sweet Peppers and Potatoes. Have a great weekend! – TaMara
I have a four day weekend and most of it is supposed to be wild and windy weather, so grilling will most likely have to wait. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have grilling recipes. These all seem to be favorites based on comments, views and requests.
First up, the basics of grilling a good steak are here.
Next is one of my most requested recipes in the summer, Steak with Coffee Rub (click here). There is an entire dinner menu and shopping list at the link.
There are nine different hamburger recipes here, including Stuffed Burgers (pictured above) and veggie Black Bean Cheddar Burgers.
And finally, a few grilled chicken recipes, including Sunrise Chicken and Fruit Juice Marinated Chicken are at this link.
What’s on your menu for the weekend? Staying home or hitting the road? What are some of your favorite grilling recipes? Hit the comments and share. Be safe this holiday weekend, and don’t forget to thank a vet.
Tonight’s featured recipe is one of my favorites, because, well, blueberries!
Grilled Sirloin with Spicy Blueberry Sauce
- 2 cups frozen wild blueberries (unsweetened)
- 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want it)
- pinch of chili powder
- 1 lb Sirloin, cut into 4 pieces
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Saucepan and small bowl
Run still frozen blueberries through a food processor until finely chopped. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan on low heat until the blueberries melt and give you enough water to bring to a boil without scorching. Boil for 1 minute or so, stirring constantly until liquid is reduced by half. Let simmer on low, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of dinner.
Broil or grill sirloin until cooked according to your preference, if you can, sear the outside so it’s really crispy on the outside. It works well if you coat the steak with lots of ground pepper on the outside as well. Once the sirloin is done, place two tablespoons of blueberry sauce on the plate, place steak on the sauce then top with more sauce. Place remaining sauce in a small bowl and serve with meal. Goes great with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed zucchini.
That’s it for this week. If you missed it, I did post the Blueberry Upside Down Cake photos and recipe here. Later this weekend, I will finally have my gadget review for my robot “butler”. Have a great holiday weekend – TaMara