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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

July 4th BBQ Menu

It's that time of year again...and isn't it amazing just how fast time flies? Lazy summer days are already here and it feels like just yesterday that we were sipping lemonade in the backyard with friends.

As it's just a few days till the biggest BBQ day of the year, I thought it appropriate to pay tribute to the kinds of food that we all love and to recognize the constraints of the day...lots of people, no real interest in spending time in the kitchen away from entertaining, and the heat. Ahhhh, the heat. What's a cook to do with potato salad in this heat? Easy! No mayo! So here is an easy menu that I've used before and I offer up a few time saving tips.

Be careful with any fireworks - leave them to experts!

July 4th Menu

Hors D'Ouevres
* Chips, Salsa, and Guacamole (see:
* Sliced Prosciutto, Figs and Melon (see:
* Cold Shrimp Cocktail (purchase the frozen bags in the grocery store and thaw running under cold water; drain well)
* Purchased Assorted Grilled Vegetables
* Potato Chips and Pretzels

Main Course
* Grilled Hot Dogs with all the fixings (buns, sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard)
* Baked Beans (yes, of course, use the canned ones!)
* Pickles (see the BEST pickles I've eaten!!!
* Cold Cucumber Salad
* French Potato Salad
* Grilled Pinwheel Sausage such as Pork, Parsley and Cheese or Lamb with Cheese and Broccoli Rab
* Roman Salad
* Pasta with Sundried Tomato Sauce, Olives and Mozzarella
* Corn on the Cob

* Ice Cream
* Caramel Squares (see:
* Watermelon
* Chocolate Chip Cookies (oh go on...use Toll House!)
* 'Smores (graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow...toasted. Or use Fluff!)


Cold Cucumber Salad
6 Sliced Cucumbers
Kosher Salt
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
5 Tbsp. sugar
@ 1/2 - 3/4 cup of water
1/2 red onion, sliced and chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh mint
1 1/2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Wash cucumbers well. Peel them leaving a ribbon of skin every 1/4 inch. Slice into paper thin rounds. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle heavily with salt. Let stand in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove from fridge and drain out all accumulated liquid. Add to the bowl the mint and red onion. In a liquid measuring cup, combine vinegar and in whisk sugar and then add enough water to bring liquid up to 1 cup. Mix well. Pour over cucumbers and add the olive oil. Toss well and refrigerate 1 hour. Mix well and serve.

French Potato Salad
2 Lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes, sliced thin
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
4 large scallions, sliced - all the white and some of the green parts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
4 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped

In a very large pot, boil potato slices about 15 - 18 minutes or until very soft. Drain well and put into a large mixing bowl. While still hot, pour chicken broth over potatoes and gently mix. Allow potatoes to cool a bit - about 15 minutes, gently stirring them to allow them all to cool.

In a small bowl, mix together mustard, vinegar, and salt - stir well. Pour over the potatoes. Add scallions and parsley and finally pour oil over the top. Mix well. Can be served room temperature or refrigerate until ready to use. Mix before serving.

Roman Salad
1 head Romaine lettuce, picked through and chopped well
1 can white cannelloni beans, washed and drained
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped in half
1/4 red onion, chopped fine
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1/4 lb. fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved with veggie peeler

In a medium saucepan, boil water and add green beans. Allow them to cook about 5 minutes. Drain immediately and submerge in cold water. Drain well.

Wash the lettuce well and dry leaves. Place in a large bowl. Add both beans and onion. Toss. Use veggie peeler to "peel" slices of cheese off the block. Shave off about 6-8 5" ribbons. Squeeze lemon juice over salad and serve.

Pasta with Sundried Tomato Sauce, Olives and Mozzarella (taken from Epicurious. com. see:
this is an awesome recipe and one I use over and over again.

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