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July 04, 2009

iPicnic

iPicnic          

 

by DOT, the Zen Hostess, who's here today to help us celebrate the 4th of July in her most relaxed way.

 

Outdoor parties are among my favorites.  The food is always unpretentious, and the only items on the agenda are relaxation and conversation.  These ingredients combine to create an atmosphere so laid-back that it’s hard to tell the difference between entertaining and vacationing.

 

Is there any party with more built-in camaraderie than a 4th of July BBQ?  Backyard soirees are potluck by nature – perhaps the act of contributing is what forges the sense of togetherness.  Or perhaps it’s the birthday nature of the day, without having to come up with a good gift idea.

 

So for today’s virtual picnic here at TLC, please share your favorite recipe for a fabulous barbeque.  These don’t necessarily have to be food recipes, although those are welcome, too, and there will be bonus points for dishes containing mini-marshmallows.  Personally, I recommend:

 

1)  Bocce [http://bocce.com/] – a game for all ages which doesn’t require any skill at all; and

 

2)  Crowd-Pleasin’ Chocolate Chippers –

 

1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter

2/3 c. light brown sugar

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ¾ c. flour

2/3 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling

2/3 bag bittersweet chocolate chips

 

Cream butter and sugars together until light in color, about 5 minutes.  Add egg and vanilla; stir to combine. 

 

Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until just combined.  Mix in the chocolate chips and refrigerate for a day or two to allow the flavors to develop.

 

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350.  Drop cookies onto lined baking sheets, about 2 Tbsp. of dough per cookie.  Sprinkle a few grains of salt onto the top of each cookie – this really makes the bittersweet chocolate pop.  Bake for 15 -18 minutes.

 

Makes 36 – 48 deeelicious cookies.

 

Once you’ve posted your recipe in the comments section, go grab your beverage of choice and relax in the sunshine!  Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam.

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My mother's Painted Post Punch

2 parts Sautern to 1 part Applejack

You can make it by the glass or use two bottles to one...whatever works for you. Goes down smooooooth but kicks like a mule.

I'm big on fruit salads---preferably served in a hollowed-out watermelon. This is an oldie, but a goodie. I like the pieces of fruit to be in big pieces. Add some blueberries or blackberries for a 4th of July look!

Thanx, Zen Hostess, for helping us celebrate the holiday!
Luv from your mom!

2 lbs. elbow macaroni
3 cans tuna, drained
1 cup relish
1/2 cup chopped onion
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
3 cups mayo

optional:
chopped tomato
chopped olive
onion relish
peas

Cook macaroni and drain. Run cold water over macaroni until cold. Combine with all other ingredients. Chill. Macaroni absorbs mayo, so you might need more mayo.

This works for our family because it is easily multiplied for bigger crowds, and it can be made the day before.

Ingredients:

One glass
Ice
Mango juice or puree (or that smoothie stuff if you have a machine)
Mango Rum

Combine in no particular order. Drink. Make someone else drive. Alternate with about a half gallon of water (it's the dehydration that is responsible for much of that headache).

Repeat as needed.

Happy Independence Day. Or, as I just saw on a friend's twitter, Happy 4OJ!

Thank you Zen Hostess! Have a great day with the bambino!

I knew I could count on this crowd for some good cocktail recipes! I see that Kathy's mango obsession is still going strong.

I am always in search of a good pasta salad recipe, Lynn! Thanks for sharing yours. I might try swapping out the mayo for oil & vinegar, since my crowd isn't big on mayo-based salads (alas!).

Off to make fruit salad -- not because my mother suggested it, but because I was planning it already. Honest. No, really.

Well, even though it is pouring rain here this morning, I'm still hosting my 19th annual 4th of July bash later today--the party might be inside and on the front porch, but we'll still be celebrating. Two dishes I always make:

French Cherry Pie

cool whip
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 T. lemon juice

Blend teh above with an electric mixer. Spread in a graham cracker crust. Top with cherry pie filling.

I often double this and make it in a 9 x 13 pan. For the 4th i use both blueberry and cheery pie filling.


GREEK SALAD

cucumber, diced, peeled and seeded
cherry tomatoes, halved
red onion, chopped
greek olives, halved
banana peppers, finely diced
peppadew peppers, chopped
feta cheese
Greek salad dressing

Mix. Adjust ingredients per your taste. Eat.


Beef and Pasta Salad

Leftover steak, roast beef or pot roast (or thick cut deli roast beef) cut in matchsticks.

Julienned red and yellow peppers, cucumber, red onion, green onion, (crisp steamed broccoli or cauliflower, if you want to push the vegetables).

Cherry tomatoes.

Tube or spiral cooked pasta.

Olive oil -- 3 parts
Balsamic vinegar -- 1 part

Grainy mustard, capers, chopped kalamata olives and mashed roast garlic for extra flavor.

Love these recipes. We're just having grilled chicken and pasta salad before the kid goes to work. Can I come over to anyone's house for leftovers?

Not a recipe, but an awesome celebration of the day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDA9NbPAK8o

Happy 4th everyone!

Here's a quick and easy dip/salsa/side dish/burger topper. It is great scooped up with tortilla chips, especially those little bowl-shaped ones.

The amounts and ingredients are flexible. The original recipe isn't spicy. I've added some thoughts of my own, asterisked.

Mix together in an appropriately sized bowl:

One can black beans
One can kernel corn

To get larger amounts, add additional cans of beans and corn, and adjust following ingredients proportionally (amounts are to taste, some amounts are suggested).

Diced ripe avocado (one)
Diced red onion
Diced tomato (couple smaller, one larger)
Diced green pepper (and/or finely diced green chilies, with or without seeds, if you want a bit of spice) *
Finely chopped cilantro or flat parsley *

All pieces should be no larger than the corn/beans, and the onions and pepper could be chopped more finely.

Dress to taste with Paul Newman's Own Lime Vinaigrette, if you can get it, or any bottled or homemade vinaigrette to which you've added some lime juice. Heck, I've done it with squeezing lime juice over the mix, drizzling on some olive oil, and adding fresh ground pepper and salt. It's nice if you can let everything marinate for awhile. Tastes great the next day, too.

Soooo....Lost power...sorry.
3 pot lucks after living through the parade and a fireworks display today. For the first 2 baked beans w/brown sugar, and onions and what else? Mango Chutney.
For the Lah-de-dah one...Mousaka.

saute thin rounds of potato in butter then put in bottom of lasagna pan
brown ground lamp (or beef) drain fat and add mint - put on top of potato
dip rounds of eggplant in olive oil and sprinkle with salt - bake until soft and try not to eat before you put on top of meat layer
Bechemel sauce is just white sauce with nutmeg - melt butter add flour to make a rue then milk or cream - cook until thick add nutmeg and spread on top of other stuff
bake until bubbly
yum! Or should I say OPAH!!!!!
I always score extra points when I bring this! I used to date a photographer from Tarpon Springs when I was in college.
Just saying.

Sorry again...ground lamB. Butchers will do this for you if they don't have it already.

I always make my famous taco dip. I'm not allowed to attend any gatherings unless I'm bringing this...

My famous taco dip....

2 bricks of cream cheese, softened
1 cup chopped onion
milk
shredded cheese
shredded lettuce
chopped tomato
Ortega taco sauce

1) Blend cream cheese and onion using mixer. Add milk until mixture is a smooth, creamy consistency -- not watery. Spread on serving plate.

2) Pour taco sauce on top of cream cheese. Layer with lettuce and tomato and top with cheese.

YUM!

~ Jennifer
http://thetoyboxyears.blogspot.com/

xena, I want to come to your place!

When asked if the hostess of today's BBQ bash wanted me to bring my famous German potato salad, she said no. What's that about? I've had men propose marriage over that and my shrimp gumbo.

I have most of a blueberry pie from my book club meeting on Wed. (11 people, four desserts, of course there were desserts left-over). I'm taking it to my sister's house in a bit, along with some watermelon -- and I'm going to pretend the blue and red are on purpose for the day . . .

Thanks, Zen Hostess, I needed that Chocolate Chippers recipe, since I got a letter from Costco, recalling their refrigerated cookie door. Oh, the horror!

Marinated mozzarella balls

I don't measure anything, so I don't know how useful this is. Just throw things together 'til it looks right.

Ingredients:

Mozzarella balls, sliced if they're the big ones, otherwise, leave them whole.

Garlic oil

Dried basil

Crushed red pepper

Salt

Toss your balls in the oil and spices and let marinate at least a couple of hours. Overnight is better. Too long, though, and the balls are definitely past their prime and start to fall apart.

Thanks for all these great recipes, all! Can't wait to try them out.

Amy, I love recipes that involve instructions like "add flour until it looks right." Thanks for sharing yours!

Pineapple. It's so delicious here! I added some marochino (wait, how is that spelled?) from the bar for our lanai party. Yummy & easy & festive-looking.

Off for a harbor cruise to watch fireworks tonight!

{sigh} I wish I could eat pineapple, I love it but it seems that I have an allergy to it.

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