Boomers, Let’s Enjoy Our Freedoms and Have Some Fun
Handy and Easy Recipes for Your 4th
What does July 4th really mean? From 1776 to the present-day July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of America’s independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, to parades, concerts, and to more casual family and friend gatherings and barbeques galore. Let’s enjoy the freedom we have.
Like the parades and those fantastic firework’s displays, cookouts and cook-ins are a favorite and have become a holiday tradition. But cooking for a crowd can get pricey. Trust me, everyone knows what’s going on at the grocery stores, so to help defray some of the expense, have your guests bring a favorite dish, and if they don’t cook have them donate the chips and cold drinks.
This week’s blog will focus on how I plan to celebrate the 4th by firing up the grille and adding several new recipes to the mix. Here are several tips for your cookout and your cook-in.
- Try a BYOB theme with a food item attached.
- The mainstay is still burgers, ribs and good ol’ hot dogs, all accompanied with corn on the cob and baked beans.
RECIPE FOR BILLY’S BURGERS
- I like to use 2 lbs ground beef that is at least 85% fat free and grass fed
- One pack of crumbled blue cheese
- One packet of McCormick’s Taco Seasoning
- One sweet onion diced
- A sprinkle of red pepper flakes for a bit of zest
- 2 tbs minced garlic
- Garlic powder and butter mixture
- Sesame seed hamburger buns
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl
- Separate out enough mixture for a medium sized burger, roll and flatten
- Fire up the grille to medium heat and use a griddle for best results
- Cook your burgers to the desired “doneness,” the onions will cook inside the burger and the blue cheese will melt throughout
- While your burgers are cooking apply the garlic/butter mixture to the buns and grille on an elevated grate so the butter is absorbed thoroughly and a few grille marks are present on the buns
- Combine the burgers with the buns and serve alongside accoutrements such as ketchup, mustard, pickles, scallions, and anything else you and your guests choose
RECIPE FOR CORN ON THE COB
- As many ears of white corn as you can fit on your grille
- Lots of soft butter
- A slight amount of garlic powder, salt and pepper
- Aluminum foil
- Slather each shucked ear of corn with butter
- Lightly salt and pepper with an even smaller amount of garlic powder
- Tightly wrap each ear in aluminum foil and pinch off the ends sealing the entire ear of corn
- On a medium grille place the foil wrapped corn and rotate several times over a 15-20 minute period, until you see slight charring on the foil
- Remove the corn and unwrap when cool
- Serve either on the ear with corn thongs in each end, or slice off the corn and serve in a bowl with melted butter
- Don’t skip the veggies, some people don’t eat meat and a lot of my gal friends love the veggies. Here’s a helpful hint: hit the store for your veggies the day before or visit a local famer’s market. Chances are you will find the best deals because they are wanting to move their product before the big day.
RECIPE FOR BRUSSEL SPROUTS
- One pound of Brussels, then slice in half
- Combine with two packages of Pancetta from Trader Joe’s
- Three shallots thinly sliced
- One package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
- A handful of honey roasted sliced almonds
- 2 tbs lemon pepper
- 2 tbs minced garlic
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Heavy duty aluminum foil
- Combine all the above in a large mixing bowl
- Tear off two large sheets of aluminum foil, place one the counter and apply cooking spray
- Layer the mixture onto the single foil sheet so that it does not come within 1 inch of each edge
- Place the second sheet (cooking spray applied) on top of the mixture and crimp all the edges several times so that the foil bag is as tight as it can be
- Fire the grille to medium heat
- Place the large foil package with the Brussels mixture directly over the grille and cook for 20-25 minutes
- The foil bag will expand if sealed correctly and rotate several times using insulated gloves
- Once the mixture is ready to serve, remove from the grille and allow to cool down before piercing the foil due to superheated gas which will burn you if you are not careful
- Scoop out the Brussels and the mixture and serve with a dash of Vermont Maple Syrup
- Grilled fruit, oh so yummy. My BoomerGuy started grilling pineapple this way. Grilling brings out the natural sugars. Another choice is grilled peaches.
RECIPE FOR GRILLED PINEAPPLE
- One ripe pineapple
- 3 tbs brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Enough natural honey or Agave honey to make a slurry with the sugar and cinnamon
- Chop off the top and bottom and slice off the surrounding portions of the pineapple, then core it or slice the meat lengthwise if you don’t have a corer
- Marinate the pineapple in the slurry for a minimum of 30 minutes
- Place the pineapple on a medium grille and cook until grate marks appear on the pineapple
- Your final product should be juicy when plated and serve along with your favorite main dish, or separately as a dessert
- Keep your side dishes simple—who wants to drive themselves crazy making elaborate dishes. Try the KISS method—keep it simple stupid. Enjoy the party. A simple salad with spinach and mandarin oranges with your favorite dressing is always a hit.
- Don’t forget the desserts.
- Here’s a really easy one. Vanilla ice cream with blueberries and raspberries or strawberries. The red, white and blue theme. Make the fruit ahead with a little sugar or honey, and keep in the refrigerator and when it’s time for dessert serve the fruit over the ice cream. You can pick up cookies and cupcakes with that same decoration theme already done.
This year it’s a quiet 4th for us. As you’ve read my BoomerGuy is finishing his WATCHMAN procedure. So we are taking it easy and chilling. But it doesn’t mean we won’t have our own little cookout and cook-in.
I’m trying a couple of recipes that I wanted to play around with for sometime. Saw rhubarb in the store. So why not strawberry rhubarb pie.
RECIPE FOR STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE
- I cheated on this since I didn’t have time to make a crust so I used a Pillsbury Pie Crust
- 3 cups strawberries
- 3 cups rhubarb
- 8 tbs tapioca for thickening
- 1 can strawberry pie filling (it makes the pie much thicker)
- 1 cup sugar
- Cold butter
- The day before baking I blanched the rhubarb to soften it up, then placed in the refrigerator along with the cut of strawberries
- Toss everything into a large bowl except for the pie crust, of course
- Allow the mixture for 30 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 425o then layout your crust
- You can either do a lattice for the top or a full solid—be sure to cut vents if it is a solid
- Pour the filling mixture into the pie dish on top of the crust
- Dot the top of the filling with butter squares then add your top crust
- Bake at 425o for 15 minutes then turn down the heat to 375o for 50-65 minutes
- If your edges start to brown and burn, make a foil wrap to cover
- Serve with Tillamook Strawberry Ice Cream—normally one might use vanilla but there are no rules in my kitchen. Ha
- Left over rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb scones with rhubarb jam.
RECIPE FOR STRAWBERRY RHUBARB SCONES (this is a big one!)
- 2 cups coconut flour (I always try to use either coconut or almond flour)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tbs baking powder
- 12 tbs butter (I froze the butter then grated it)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- ½ cup strawberries chopped (you can do the strawberries and rhubarb the day before)
- ½ cup rhubarb chopped (blanched)
- ½ cup honey roasted sliced almonds from Trader Joe’s
- Place your coconut flour and baking powder in a large bowl
- Grate your butter from the freezer and use either a fork or pastry blender to achieve pen size crumbles
- In a separate bowl add the eggs, heavy cream, vanilla and almond extract and whisk
- Gently fold in the strawberries and rhubarb
- Transfer your liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold in several times until thoroughly mixed
- Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and flatten down to about ½ inch then cut the dough into triangles
- Place the scones on your baking sheet, and don’t forget to use a baking flour spray
- To keep them together you can freeze them for 20-30 minutes so they are not so crumbly
- Before the bake cycle place either a glaze or an egg wash
- I used a mixture of heavy cream, sugar and the sliced almonds and brushed it lightly over the scones (often I use what I have on hand and use it as I go along)
- Finally sprinkled lightly with sugar and a few more toasted almonds on top
- Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350o
- I took half the dough, flattened it to approx. ½ inch, cut it into 8 triangles, and wrapped each with a piece of parchment paper, then wrapped each with foil and placed in the freezer bag and labeled and placed them in the freezer—fresh scones to pull out later
Enjoy the 4th of July no matter what you do…
And finally, here’s a quote from Abraham Lincoln—November 1863.
“that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom
and that government of the people, by the people, for the people,
shall not perish from the earth.”
Let freedom ring for all. Stay relevant, have a wonderful 4th of July and be safe and stay healthy.
Your BoomerGal, Connie