July 4th Festive Food Ideas

4th

A truly memorable summer just isn’t complete without a good old-fashioned Fourth of July cookout. The ultimate American summertime tradition is the perfect way to get your neighbors and friends together to celebrate. However, an Independence Day bash can often seem much more daunting than a regular backyard barbeque. Between the decorations, the sparklers, the festive food ideas and the possibility that your whole neighborhood might show up–it can be a doozy.

If you’re having Fourth of July hosting anxiety, fear not! L’Ecole Culinaire has rounded up some ideas and recipes to help make your Fourth of July celebration less stressful and more fun.

Try ‘Cooler Corn’

If you’re expecting a large crowd (or even just a sizable one), ‘Cooler Corn’ will become your best friend. To make this you’ll first need to grab a large cooler and make sure it’s been wiped down clean. Then place several ears of shucked corn on the cob inside the cooler. Boil 2 kettles full of water and then pour the boiling water over the corn. Immediately put the lid back on the cooler, then let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Once that’s done, you’ll have loads of perfectly cooked corn to serve your guests!

Make a Super Easy and Festive Fruit Punch

This punch is not only tasty and refreshing, but also adds another element of red, white and blue to your party. Find a large, clear glass pitcher or drink dispenser and fill it with 1/3 red fruit punch, 1/3 blue Gatorade and 1/3 lemon-lime soda. If your guests are also 21 and over you can add an extra 1/3 of your favorite vodka!

Delight Guests with a Patriotic Dessert

Jazz up fruit kebabs by mixing in sugary confections with the fruit. A great idea for 4th of July is threading strawberries, blueberries and fluffy marshmallows onto a stick for a red, white and blue treat.

Don’t Forget the Potato Salad

Potato Salad is the quintessential BBQ side dish. Here’s an easy recipe from allrecipes.com for Classic American-Style Potato Salad:

Ingredients:

2 lbs red boiling potatoes, scrubbed

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/ tsp black pepper

3 hard-cooked eggs

1 small celery stalk

1/4 chopped sweet pickle (not relish)

3 scallions

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup mayo

2 tbsp dijon mustard

Directions:

Place potatoes in a pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer, stirring to ensure even cooking, until a thin-bladed paring knife or a metal skewer inserted into a potato can be removed with no resistance, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Cool slightly.

Cut warm potatoes into 3/4-inch dices with a serrated knife. Layer them in a bowl, seasoning with vinegar, salt and pepper as you go. Cut eggs, celery and pickle in 1/4-inch dice and thinly slice scallions. Add to potatoes, along with parsley. Stir in mayonnaise and mustard until everything is combined. Chill, covered, before serving.

Vegan Versus Vegetarian

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Veganism, and its close cousin Vegetarianism, are terms that you’ve probably encountered before as dietary choices that are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S.  Although these terms get thrown around a lot, it’s important to understand exactly what they mean and where they come from before knowing whether one of these lifestyles is right for you.

Both being vegan and vegetarian involve the absence of meat and animal products in a person’s diet, but to varying degrees. Vegetarian is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat. Any kind of meat including poultry and seafood are not eaten but animal by-products such as eggs and dairy can be eaten. Vegan is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of all animal products. This includes all forms of meat, dairy and eggs but also other animal made products such as honey.

According to the website The Vegetarian Times there are currently 7.3 million Americans that are vegetarian and another 22.8 million that have a diet which is vegetarian-inclined. There are many reasons as to why people choose to go this route. For some it is about the ethical treatment of animals while for others it’s about improving health as a vegan/vegetarian diet has been known to aid in disease prevention and weight loss.  Whatever your reasons are, if you want to lead a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, it is now easier than ever. To help you get started we’ve included a vegan recipe below!

Peas, Carrots and Tempeh with Miso-Almond Sauce

(Courtesy of The Vegetarian Times)

Serves 4 — 30 minutes or fewer

The sauce here is the sort of fusion you might expect if a Southeast Asian peanut sauce met a Middle Eastern tahini in Japan.

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3 Tbs. almond butter
  • 2 Tbs. lemon or lime juice
  • 1 Tbs. yellow miso
  • 1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
  • 1 Tbs. peanut or canola oil
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. plain tempeh, cubed
  • 4 carrots, halved and sliced into half-moons (1¾ cups)
  • 1 lb. sugar snap peas (2½ cups)
  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.
  1. Whisk together almond butter, lemon juice, miso, ginger, and garlic. Whisk in 1/3 cup water. Set aside.
  1. Heat wok over high heat, until water droplets evaporate within 1 second. Add oil, and swirl to coat wok. Add tempeh, and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add carrots, and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add sugar snap peas, and stir-fry 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  1. Fluff quinoa with fork, top with vegetables, and drizzle with miso-almond mixture.