Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 4th Specials. Recipes For a Cookout

   As I sit here planning my July 4th menu, trying to figure out what will make my life a little bit easier, and the holiday a lot more enjoyable, I started flipping through my recipes looking for the ones have been crowd pleasers and also either make-ahead, or fairly easy to do. A few really stood out and so I'm sharing those for your weekend holiday celebrating .

   First up, 15 Minute Sweet Pickles. These are simple bread and butter pickles that can be made in 15 minutes in the microwave, for real. They're always on my table for July 4th and will make anyone look like the pickle Queen or King. Astound your family and friends.

   Of course what would the 4th be without Strawberry Shortcake

I usually make these shortcakes ahead and take them to our friend Mr. X's house for fireworks viewing. I assemble them there in just a few minutes. These travel well.

   If you're serving vanilla ice cream or perhaps want a different sort of topping for shortcakes, check out  Pickled Strawberries a twist on the usual strawberries in balsamic vinegar. Serve them on ice cream, or over whipped ricotta.

Speaking of strawberries, there's always good old fashioned Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Serve it in a bowl, or make a chocolate ice cream sandwich.

And while on the subject of strawberries and cheesecake, one could go all the way and just make a Strawberry Cheesecake

This one is light and made with eggs and ricotta cheese, and 1/3 of a cup of flour, or if you're gluten free just use gluten free flour.

On the savory side, instead of baked beans my favorite side dish, or even main dish for vegetarian friends are these Indian Black Eyed Peas.

I'll be making these ahead today (they cook up very quickly if using frozen black eyed peas) and letting the flavors mellow overnight.

In the side dish salad department I'm always looking for coleslaw alternatives, so here are a few.
Tomato,Cucumber, and Coconut Salad all raw and easy to do.

Since I'm going raw here, a couple more salads for the Paleo crew.
An absolutely uncooked Carrot, Beet, and Pistachio Salad

Here's a Beet Salad that can be made a ahead and served cold or at room temperature. Tasty.

Make a pot of rice tonight and whip this  Cold Rice Salad up tomorrow.

Or you might try this "No Cook" Carrot Slaw

For the traditionalist who wants a change, here's an Indian Style Potato Salad

Another fast and easy different side dish is this Radish and Peanut Salad

I'm already planning to serve this  Indian Spiced Corn to my guests tomorrow.

If you like your corn in a cool salad here's a make ahead one of Corn and Coconut

Swinging back to the sweet side here are some ice creams.
For the vegans Fast Vegan Chocolate

And 5 Minute Chcolate Cherry Ice Cream that can be made vegan by swapping out the dairy yogurt for soy or some other non dairy.

For regular traditional ice cream there's Vanilla Chelan Cherry Ice Cream with Valrhona Chocolate Pearls

Blueberry Buttermillk Ice Cream

If you don't have an Ice Cream Machine try Indian Kulfi

There's also Orange Blossom and Pistachio

For those who might be looking for a Non-Alcoholic Celebration a Virgin Cocktail that won't get anyone in trouble. The Virgin G & T

And finally, what would the 4th be without Watermelon? You try it in a Watermelon Mousse

   So there they are some thing you might like to try for your weekend celebrations or anytime during the Summer Cookout season. Have a safe and sane (but of course not too sane) 4th, catch you on the flipside.  Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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