Fourth of July
A friend of mine from NYC called the other day to ask which pie bakery I preferred. He had guests from Norway stopping by that afternoon for coffee and wanted to offer them a slice of “American pie”.
When he told me a whole pie from a bakeshop would cost anywhere from $35-$65, I suggested he take a quick lesson in pie making and bake one himself. He had 3 hours before they arrived and I was convinced I could help him get a pie, prepped, baked, and on a cooling rack before they rang his buzzer.
I quickly emailed this recipe for Best Ever Blueberry pie and he raced to his local grocery store to pick up everything we needed, (including a pie plate). With the help of Skype, I coached him through the basic steps (he saved time with a ready-made pie crust) and the pie was in the oven in no time.
There's nothing better than the smell of a freshly baked pie and this one is certain to please any guest.
Generally I'm not one for "themed" food. But a girl's gotta have some fun. So for the 4th of July, I'd like to share a patriotic potato salad made with three kinds of spuds: old fashioned white russet, delicate red-skinned taters, and sassy All-Blue potatoes (which are sometimes labeled purple Peruvian).
This potato salad is just kitschy enough without being tacky. Though I recommend using red-white-and-blue checkered cloths, I don't think sticking sparklers or miniature American flags in the potatoes is necessary.
The potatoes you see here are called All-Blues. They are slightly starchier but the same color as purple Peruvians, which are technically fingerling potatoes -- smaller, thinner potatoes. Apparently, both get their brilliant color from iron. The color will fade when cooked, but try this trick to minimize the fading: add a couple of splashes of white vinegar to the cooking water.
3 parts Three Olives S'mores Vodka
Dip the rim of martini glass in chocolate syrup and coat with crushed graham crackers.
Pour Three Olives S'mores into martini shaker filled with ice.
Shake and strain into martini glass.
Garnish with a skewer of three toasted marshmallows!
3 oz. Three Olives Berry Vodka
Shake vodka, cranberry juice and grenadine in a shaker with ice.
Strain into a chilled martini glass.
Pour blue curacao gently down the side of the glass so it settles on the bottom.
Garnish with a lemon twist.
- Recipes courtesy of Three Olives Vodka and Maestro Dobel Tequila
This recipe is actually Ina Garten's recipe for her 4th of July Flag cake. It is one of the BEST tasting cakes and frostings out there.
It was my intention to make this into a flag cake but at the last minute could not find my large star tip for my pastry bag to make the stripes and stars so I improvised and just decorated the cake as is. It turned out beautiful.
If you are having a large gathering this summer make this amazing cake, you can decorate it with anything you like and it feeds an army.
All my fruit came from local farm stands so it was extra delicious. Happy summer entertaining!
Sorry, brisket fanatics from Texas. My apologies, pulled pork addicts from North Carolina. If I had to pick my last meal on Planet Barbecue (I sure hope I never do), I’d order ribs. Perfect for July 4th celebrations, ribs offer it all: gnawable bones that provide structure and flavor, presenting a broad surface to the smoke and fire. Well-marbled, rich-tasting meat at with a price that remains relatively affordable -- especially when compared to steak.
Ribs possess other advantages. Versatility is one: all the major meats types come in rib form, from the ubiquitous pork and beef to the more rarified lamb, veal, and bison. Ribs can be cooked using a myriad of methods, from direct and indirect grilling to smoking and even spit-roasting. (You’ll find the latter at Brazilian-American rotisserie restaurants, like Fogo de Chao.) Many pit masters use multiple methods -- smoking the ribs for several hours first, for example, then flash-searing the sauce onto the meat directly over a hot fire.
Even rib portion sizes vary widely, from the paper-thin strips of kalbi-kui (beef short ribs) direct grilled on charcoal braziers at Korea town restaurants to the plate-burying slabs we’ve come to expect from barbecue joints in Memphis and Kansas City.
But most of all, ribs are just plain fun to eat, evoking a primal memory of when our cave-dwelling ancestors roasted huge hunks of meats over campfires, ripping them apart with their bare hands. Admit it, part of the pleasure of ribs is that you get to eat them with your fingers.
People who love barbecue really love barbecue, and will go to great lengths to find the perfect ribs. I’m one of those, so I was thrilled to be invited to judge The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off in Sparks, Nevada.
For die-hard barbecue lovers and novices alike, this kind of cook-off is a slice of pork heaven.
Instead of driving around the country to sample regional styles of
barbecue, all I had to do was take a three-block stroll down Victorian
Avenue in front of the Nugget for some of the best ribs in the country.
Pit masters competed from all over the country, cooking up slab after slab of pork ribs in pick up-sized smokers and finishing them off on 10-foot-long wood-fired grills. Some hailed from legendary barbecue states like Texas, South Carolina, and Kansas. But many, many others came from states that folks rarely associate with this style of cooking—we’re talking all the way from California to Minnesota, Pennsylvania and, yes, even New Jersey.
Why doesn’t somebody make a hamburger bun that also fits a hot dog? It would be hinged. That way, if you had a small family, you would only have to buy one package of buns. Here’s what it would look like...
The Fourth of July—or Independence Day as it is more officially known—has always been a celebratory day in my family. It's partly because my birthday is on the 2nd and the local Barnum Parade always takes place around that date. As a kid I remember getting up early and excitedly readying myself for the party and parade. My cousins would come over and we would spread a blanket on the sidewalk to watch the parade. My mother would stay home to prepare fried chicken and potato salad. My dad would grill hamburgers and hot dogs once we got back. And of course the celebration always ended with a great big birthday cake.
For me any celebration, party, or simple gathering cannot end properly without dessert. Dessert may come last in the succession of a meal, but it should never be considered the least important. Even after filling our bellies to the brim with wonderful food, there's always room for dessert. A sweet concoction like cake or ice cream is the ideal ending to an old-fashioned backyard barbecue. You don't want something heavy, but also not something too light. Still it should be rich yet refreshing.
I always take the opportunity to make a special dessert for a special occasion, such as this flag cake. This recipe is a twist on trifle, the classic British no-bake dessert, but assembled like an Italian tiramisu. What could be funnier on a day that celebrates independence from Britain? I can't help but think about all the different cakes I ate every single birthday. This one is probably the most festive.
This summer marks my thirty-first year as an attorney. But when I think back to the summer of 1978 it is not a courtroom that I see; rather I recall a brilliant sunny July day barbecuing at the base of the Seattle Space Needle on a Weber grill. About twenty of us from the country’s largest pork producing states were vying for first place in National Pork Cook-Out Contest. Truth be told though the southern states, principally North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee are known for barbecue the big boys of pork are Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska and Kansas. They were the guys to beat.
For me the event was the culmination of a 2-year grilling odyssey that began in 1976 when I entered the North Carolina State Pork Cooking Championship and came away with a respectable but disappointing third place for Orange Flavored Pork. Despite the loss (and despite my New York Jewish heritage), I knew I had it in me to bring home the bacon so to speak. Though I had always loved pork – mostly in the form of ribs slathered in ‘duck sauce’ from the local Chinese take out joint – I really never really embraced the true pig in me until I had come to Chapel Hill, North Carolina two years earlier to attend law school.