Two Very Different July 4th Celebrations — Both Fun!

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God Bless the USA!

I’ll start this post by saying — I LOVE hot dogs with sauerkraut and mustard.  Every holiday cookout we have them — on paper plates while sitting on the front porch.  This year, we invited friends over for dinner on the 4th and I decided to “class it up” a little for them so, no hot dogs.

Menu
Shrimp Cocktail (sorry no picture — I forgot to take it!)
Veggies and Dip
“Drunken” Chicken
Caesar Salad
Tomato and Watermelon Salad
Garlic Bread
Betty’s Lemon Cake
Wine
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio
Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône
Saint Cosme Little James Basket Press Red

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I even accepted help on the dinner … Joan brought veggies and 2 kinds of dip.

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Betty brought my favorite lemon cake and whipped cream!

Cocktail Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp horseradish
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash tabasco sauce

Combine ingredients, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

“Drunken” Chicken

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Trim excess fat and set chicken breasts aside.  ( I do this first because raw chicken grosses me out.)

  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite gin
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

Thoroughly combine ingredients for marinade.  Place chicken in 1 gallon zip-lock freezer bag.  Carefully pour marinade in with chicken.  Squeeze excess air out of bag, seal and turn over a few times.  Allow to marinate no more than 1 hour.  Cook on a medium hot grill until internal temperature of chicken is 165°.  Chicken can be cooked ahead of time and served at room temperature or cold.

Caesar Salad

  • 3 heads romaine lettuce

Rinse, thoroughly spin dry and tear into bite size pieces.  Place in colander and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  • 6 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 flat anchovies and a dash of anchovy oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or miracle whip)

Process in a blender on high-speed.  Lower speed and slowly pour in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil until emulsified.  Add two tbsp water, if necessary, to thin the consistency.  Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, toss dressing, romaine lettuce and 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in a large bowl.  Transfer to serving bowl.

Tomato and Watermelon salad

  • 1  1/2 pints tri-colored tomatoes

Rinse, drain and cut in half lengthwise.

  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Whisk thoroughly and toss with tomatoes.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.

  • 6 cups watermelon balls
  • 4 oz Valbreso Feta
  • 1/2 cup basil, rinsed, spun dry and cut into chiffonade

When ready to serve.  Gently fold together tomatoes, watermelon balls and Valbreso Feta.  Spoon onto serving dish.  Sprinkle with additional feta and basil chiffonade.

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The Divas  “dish” on their dishes.  The Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is our friend Betty’s favorite so I make sure to have it on hand whenever she visits.  The Saint Cosme Little James Press Red is from an historical vineyard in Provence that we visited with our friends and family (see Do Provence posting).  They have been making wine for centuries and this is their table wine.  It is an excellent value.

Don’t marinate your chicken for longer than 1 hour.  After a while the citrus will “poach” the chicken like when you make a ceviche.  It’s not good.

For caesar salad — I use Miracle Whip because I love it.  Sue says:  “It must be a Pennsylvania thing.”  She hates MW.  Sue also taught me, for flavorful tomatoes, never refrigerate them.

Wegman’s has the Valbreso feta (of course they do, Wegman’s has everything!!!) It is mild and creamier than other feta cheeses I’ve used — so I drive 39 miles to buy it.  My friends think I’m crazy — but they devoured the salad!  Also, those blue plates on the table … Wegman’s … on sale … $1.92!  I love a bargain.

And NOW for Sue’s Frenzied Celebration!

Sue:  I was so crazed with unpredictable weather, grand children running around … you get the picture … I forgot to take pictures.  We had Italian sweet sausage from Lewis’ supermarket, which are the best you will ever have.  They ran out and made a special order for us in an hour.  We cooked them on the grill at Metzgar’s farm, a July 4th Buck Hill Falls tradition.  I sautéed peppers and onions and made confetti rice.  Here’s the only two pictures I took.  Click here for a version of  confetti rice:  Confetti Rice.  When I make it,  I add 1 tsp dijon mustard for zing,  a yellow and red bell pepper for color, 1 can of kernel corn drained and 1 pint of cherry tomatoes halved.  Add what you like for your own flavor creation.

 

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