Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fourth of July Recipes to Make Your Party Sparkle

It's time to break out the grill and dress the picnic table because it is the Fourth of July! Let's have some fun planning some yummys to make to make your guests ooooo and ahhhh over more than just the fireworks.

Today we are do cover the following treats for your dining delight:
  • Apple-Spiced BBQ Pork Ribs
  • A Broccoli and Carrot Cole Slaw
  • Fourth of Jello Parfaits
  • Fourth of July Cocktail for the grown folks.

Apple-Spiced BBQ Pork Ribs
  • Rack of pork ribs
  • Your favorite dry rub seasoning
  • 1 bottle of apple juice
  • 3-4 apples, sliced
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil

At any 4th of July Party, everyone's going to have burgers and hotdogs. How about we make some grown up food? I'm talking fall-off-the-bone mouthwatering BBQ pork ribs! This dish is fairly straight forward, and it's a great braising recipe! That means you can start it early and work on other dishes while it does its own thing, low and slow on the grill.

First things first, heat your grill up to 300 degrees. Break your ribs out on a tray and give them a good rub down with your favorite store bought dry rub. Grill them on each side for 30 minutes. After that time is up, pull the ribs off the grill and take out a piece of foil large enough to cover the ribs (but don't cover them yet). Put the ribs on the foil, meat side down, and top with the apples. Make a little trough out of the foil and put about a cup of apple juice in the bottom.

Adding juice to the packet.

 Seal the packet up very tightly so the apple juice won't leak out, and slap it back on the grill for 3-4 hours. Make sure the grill does not get above 350 degrees. Between 300 and 325 is best. Walk away and let's work on some other stuff.

These are fun treats that can be made the night before if you don't think you will be up early enough to get these done.

Fourth of Jello Parfaits
  • 1 box of blue jello
  • 1 box of red jello
  • 1 QT Heavy Whipping Cream (or a tub of Cool Whip)
  • Sugar (approx. 1/4 cup)
  • Strawberries or Raspberries (optional)
  • Small, disposable cocktail cups
If you are going to make whipped cream (not using Cool Whip) put a large bowl in the freezer to start chilling. It will make the whip cream set up faster. So much tastier than Cool Whip.

Next, make the red jello per the boxes instructions. Chop the fruit and mix it in with the red jello if you are going to use it. Pour the red jello in each cup until it is about 1/3 of the way fool and set on a tray. Put the tray in the fridge to set up.

Let's make the whipped cream next. If you are going to use Cool Whip, go clean the house for 10-15 minutes while the red jello firms up. For the rest of us, Pour the quart of whipping cream into your chilled bowl. Add the sugar. Using a mixer with a whisk attachment (or by hand you pour soul) and whip the heck out of it until it is nice and fluffy. Taste it as it fluffs. If it isn't sweet enough, add a little more sugar until you get your desired sweetness. Once it is all nice and fluffed, put it in the fridge to chill.

Check and see if your red jello cups have started to firm. They need to be pretty set before adding the next layer of blue jello. If the red ones have set, make the blue jello according to the directions. Add the blue jello on top until the cup is 2/3 full. Back in the fridge to set up.

When both layers are chilled. Add your whipped cream to fill the cup the rest of the way. You can slap a berry on top or serve them like they are. Keep chilled until ready to serve. Below are a couple of variations on the recipe. Do the one that appeals to you the most.

No fruit, jello made in bowls, then transferred to cups. Whip cream between layers

Blue jello only, made in cups, whipped cream then berries and more cream.
Now let's talk about a bright and fresh side that is going to taste great and summery: A Broccoli and Carrot Cole Slaw.

Broccoli and Carrot Cole Slaw-a variation on Chef Anne Burrell's recipe.
**This recipe calls for cutting broccoli stems and carrots into a really fine match stick size. This is referred to as a julienne. You can find a broccoli slaw mix in the bagged salad area in many supermarkets. If you want to practice your knife skills, by all means, julienne yourself.

  • 6 broccoli stems (save the tops for something else)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 3 celery ribs, julienned
  • 1 small red onion, julienned
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, skin on, julienned
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
Simply combine all the ingredients, toss them thoroughly in a large bowl. Season with salt to make sure it is delicious, and let sit for at least 1 hour before serving so the veg can really take on the flavoring of the dressing.

How about closing with a nice cocktail for the grown-ups. This is a drink that comes out a nice pretty blue and is brightened up with a fresh garnish of watermelon. What's not to love? 

Fourth of July Cocktail
  • 1 ounce watermelon schnapps
  • 1 big splash cranberry juice
  • 1 slice lemon
  • 1 slice lime
  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila
  • 1/4 ounce blue curacao
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup (to make a batch, dissolve sugar in equal parts hot water and chill)
  • Watermelon wedge, for garnish.
Mix the schnapps and cranberry juice in a shaker; pour into an ice-filled glass.
Muddle lemon and lime slices, tequila, blue curacao and simple syrup in the shaker. Slowly strain into the glass over the red layer. Garnish with watermelon, if desired.

Have a Happy July 4th! Be safe and enjoy good food, friends, and fireworks!

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