I can’t believe that the 4th of July is this weekend already….Wow, the months are just flying by.
Bob and I are having a quiet weekend and a small barbecue just the two of us and then we’ll take a walk on the boardwalk at the beach.
The beach has always been my happy place, the sound of the ocean, the breeze, the tranquility – I just love it.
Today, I wanted to share with you a few recipes that have become standards or traditions for my 4th of July barbecue.
The first recipe is great to have on hand for lunch or if guests are arriving at different times and you want to have a “patriotic snack” on hand. I first saw this recipe on Giada and I loved it.
It’s a flag inspired pizza and also serves as a conversation starter….enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentis
FOR THE SPINACH
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
5 ounces baby spinach, chopped *
1-2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons flour
1-pound pizza dough
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 cup pizza sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon ricotta cheese**
28 slices pepperoni***
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly browned. Add the spinach and the salt and cook, stirring often, until the spinach is wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain the spinach in a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour on a clean work surface. Place the dough on top and sprinkle it with the remaining tablespoon of flour. Roll the dough out to a 15 X 10-inch rectangle. Drizzle the oil on a rimmed baking sheet and spread it evenly using a pastry brush. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.
Spread the sauce over the entire crust. Sprinkle with the mozzarella, creating a 5 X 4-inch rectangle in the upper left corner with slightly less cheese. Squeeze the liquid from the spinach and spread evenly over the upper left corner. Dot small clumps of ricotta cheese over the spinach to form the stars. Arrange the pepperoni over the remaining surface of the pizza in horizontal rows, slightly overlapping the slices to form the stripes.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and cooked through and the cheese is bubbly.
* you can substitute 4 small purple potatoes for the spinach- sliced thin with a mandolin and sautéed in olive oil until crispy- approx. 7 minutes
**- you can substitute mozzarella pearls for the ricotta
*** – you can substitute grape tomatoes cut in half OR strips of bacon for the pepperoni
My next recipe is our all time family favorite recipe for this holiday and 4th of July is traditionally the first day of the summer that my potato salad makes it’s debut. After that, I make it the rest of the summer. I hope you enjoy it….so easy and so delicious!
Diane’s Potato Salad
Whenever I am invited to a barbecue, everyone asks me to bring the same thing- my potato salad.
This has to be the easiest recipe around and it is always a crowd pleaser, so I wanted to share this with all of my members.
I have been making this potato salad over 20 years and I don’t remember where I got the original recipe from. Of course, I have tweaked it a little here and there over the years (I couldn’t help myself).
The recipe calls for 1 dz. hard boiled eggs, so make sure you check your eggs for freshness.
Check your eggs for signs of cracks. Since fresh eggs are harder to peel it is best if you purchase your eggs a week prior to boiling.
You can test the freshness of the eggs by placing them into a glass of water. The freshest eggs will lie on the bottom of the water on its side. As an egg ages the air pocket inside grows so your egg will start to stand up on end. An egg that floats to the top should be discarded.
DIANE’S POTATO SALAD
PREP TIME : approx. 2 hours
5 lb. bag of red potatoes -NOT PEELED -boil whole until fork can pierce skin but not mushy/ DRAIN
2 ½ C Hellmann’s mayo –not light
5 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
3 ¾ tsp Kosher salt
2 ½ tsp Sugar
¾ tsp Pepper
2 ½ C Celery (chopped)
1 ½ C Red onion (diced)
1 dz Hard boiled eggs
Mix mayo and vinegar together—Add salt, pepper, and sugar and mix thoroughly.
Add celery and onions—Next add potatoes WARM (cut into bite size pieces)
Add eggs (sliced) and fold all ingredients together.
(Best when chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours).
My last two recipes are for Lime Chicken (another favorite) and Potato, String Bean and Red Onion Salad…..
The Lime Chicken has a slight hint of lime and nice crispy skin.
Serve this dish with a salad, a few wedges of lime and you are all set.
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice (approx.. 3 small limes) & the lime zest
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (or more to your liking)
- 1 tbsp. oregano
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2-3 tbsp. compound butter – any flavor (OR regular butter can be used).
2 lbs of chicken WITH skin and bones (either 4 chicken breasts or 8 thighs)
In a large bowl whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano and put all ingredients in a Ziploc bag.
Add cleaned chicken (WITH THE SKIN ON), seal the bag and turn to coat all the pieces.
Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator, turning once or twice for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Remove chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
Arrange chicken pieces, skin side up (try not to crowd the pieces), on a broiler pan so the fat drips away from the chicken. If you don’t have a broiler pan a shallow baking pan can be used.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and roast in the upper third of the oven until just cooked through, 30 minutes.
Change the oven setting to broil and broil the chicken about 2 inches from the heat until the skin is crisp- approx. 2-3 minutes – Watch carefully so the chicken doesn’t burn.
In the meantime, melt 2 tbsp. of compound finishing butter and when the chicken comes out of the oven, glaze each piece.
*I buy finishing butter in “chipolte lime” flavor for a little spice but you can buy or make your own finishing butter in whatever flavor you prefer.
Adapted from Epicurious
The next recipe is for a cold Potato, String Bean and Red Onion salad. This is great for outdoor barbecues when you don’t want a salad with mayonnaise. The longer it sits, the better it tastes.
Potato, String Bean and Red Onion Salad
6-8 red bliss potatoes (depending on size)
1 lb. of string beans, trimmed (if the beans are long, halve them crosswise)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
I steam my potatoes instead of boiling for 5 – 7 minutes and then add the string beans to the same steamer- just keep your eye on them and remove from the steamer as soon as they are tender.
(You can also boil the potatoes if you prefer in 2 quarts of salted water for 20 minutes. Add the beans and boil for 7 minutes longer, until the beans and potatoes are tender)
Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the onion, and the warm potatoes and string beans. Toss very gently to dress all the ingredients without breaking the potatoes. Add a squirt of lemon before serving. Adjust all the seasonings to your liking.
Until my next post, make every day a celebration!
And send me your comments, I love hearing from you.