Independence Eve: Because Everyone’s Off On The Fourth
Christmas carries a pre-requisite night-before celebration. This is wonderful, it spreads out festivity and time with loved ones. In contrast I am annoyed there are 10,000 things to do on the Fourth of July but not the night prior. After all, almost everybody is off. Also, as it’s a night event, you can forbid child guest. Ah, just like the proper manners of 1776...minus of course the slavery.
To truly enjoy the holiday host an intimate evening for a few friends. Ideally those whose paths you might not cross on the actual holiday, or busy summer. Since you’ll overeat the next day - serve light fare.
Roasted Red Peppers are an easy, elegant, healthy dish. Start them the night before. Slice six red bell peppers in half. Remove core, green stem, then rinse out cavity of each pepper for remaining seeds. Place on grill, skin side down, close grill lid for three minutes. The dish is easy - but you must still watch the peppers. One distraction can turn them to ash. After three minutes the paper-thin red exterior skin should be black and shiny. If not, close lid and check every two minutes.
Place roasted peppers in pot, close with heavy lid, let cool from an hour to overnight. Slide off charred skin, slice skinned peppers into horizontal strips of about three. Layer in a deep glass dish. After every two layers of peppers drizzle about two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, grated pepper, a light dash of sea salt, and one teaspoon chopped fresh Italian Parsley. Season top layer the same way, but add a few extra whole parsley leaves. Chill until serving.
Brus-ket-ta Salad yes, the spelling is incorrect. No one here pronounces bruschetta correctly. Take three, firm, preferably organic, yellow tomatoes, and three red tomatoes. Cut into large chunks, roughly an eighth of a tomato. Have one cup of fresh, whole, washed basil leaves, stems removed and one cup extra virgin olive oil on hand. Into a turkey platter place all the tomatoes. Add half of the olive oil, then half of the basil and mix. Then, gently drizzle the remaining oil and handfuls of basil in at a time and mix until happy with consistency. Next move into center of platter leaving room for slices of grilled, whole-wheat baguette with which you have rubbed a halved garlic clove over the toasted side. Per baguette about three cloves of garlic - peeled, with skins removed.
Turkey Basil Burgers these light, Mediterranean inspired burgers break the obsequiousness of beef. In large bowl combine,
1 cup plain yogurt with,
2 garlic cloves well-incorporated grated garlic
½ cup fresh basil cut into slivers
1 medium purple onion, diced
3 tablespoon dry, plain breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
Freshly grated black pepper to taste
Form into patties. If you wish to - make all eight or keep raw extras in the fridge in case a gust gets the munchies later. When party ends freeze extras instantly! To cook simply toss on the grill for three minutes on each side, place on toasted, whole-wheat buns. Serve with Caesar Salad, using chopped Romaine or large bag of spinach. If you don’t have a favorite Caesar Salad dressing recipe simply purchase a higher-end one. Doctor up with some more pepper, perhaps hot sauce, and/or a touch of lemon juice.
Grilled Pineapple Hawaii is an American State. It’s also the only state boasting a royal palace. You know why? The Americans decided to basically invade and take the islands away from its native Hawaiian queen. Celebrate this occupation by skinning and slicing up a pineapple, grill both sides of each slice. While warm present on a large platter accompanied by a gallon of vanilla ice cream with one empty bowl per guest, spoons, an ice cream scoop, and toppings such as slivered almonds, your favorite local honey, mint leaves and of course chocolate syrup. Let guests serve themselves...after all, America is a very self-serving country.
Since this is our nation’s birthday I recommend serving American wines or beer from a local brewery. American Bourbon or Whisky with a lemon peel, served neat or with club soda, will make for a U.S.A. all the way nightcap.
Happy Independence Day, hope you enjoy!