Three cheers for the red, white, and blue! And for freedom, food, fun and fireworks. In that order. Yes, it’s an election year, and despite the misgivings we all have about where that is headed (you can take that any way you want) we are still citizens of the good old United States of America…and we haven’t given up on liberty or justice for all. If you get discouraged, just consider how far we have come in a few very short (comparatively) years. Think about it; just 150 years ago we were in a civil war over slavery; women have been voting for less than 100 years; around 55 years ago we still had segregated water fountains. There have been a few (considerable) bumps in the road, but we are still heading in the right direction – and that is something to celebrate.
And speaking of celebrating…how are you going to celebrate this fabulous 4th? Back away from that package of hot dogs! There are tons of fun…and easy…and delicious ways to give this July 4th the respect is deserves.
Let’s start with a patriotic cocktail (prohibition was repealed just 83 years ago). And what could be more American than a red, white and blue popsicle…with vodka!
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c water
1 1/3 c strawberries
1 1/2 t vodka
4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1 T vodka
1 1/3 c blueberries
1 1/2 T vodka
Stir together sugar and water in a small pan over med heat until sugar is dissolved; about 3 mins. Cool to room temperature. This syrup will be divided and used in each layer.
RED LAYER: Blend strawberries, 1 1/2 t syrup, and 1 1/2 T vodka together. Pour into 6 ice pop molds (you can also use paper cups and popsicle sticks); freeze until firm, about an hour.
WHITE LAYER: Whisk cream cheese and 1 1/2 tablespoons syrup together until smooth; add 1 tablespoon vodka. Pour white mixture into ice pop molds on top of red layer; freeze until white layer is firm, about an hour.
BLUE LAYER: Blend blueberries, 1 1/2 tablespoons syrup, and 1 1/2 tablespoons vodka together. Pour blue mixture on top of white layer; freeze at least 8 hours.
Add an appetizer or two…
Doubly Devilish Eggs
You will need:
A dozen eggs, hard-boiled and cooled
1/2 c mayonnaise
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
2 tablespoons finely shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon mustard
Peel the hard-eggs, and halve. Remove the yolks and put in a small bowl. Mash the yolks together with the mayo, bacon and cheese. Stir in the mustard. Fill egg white halves with this mixture and refrigerate until serving.
3 peeled, pitted, and mashed avocados
Juice from one lime
1 t salt
1/2 c diced onion
2-3 T chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 diced roma tomatoes
1 t minced garlic
Mash avocados, lime juice, and salt together. Add onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne. Refrigerate 1 hour and serve with tortilla chips.
An interesting entrée…
2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
1 T coarse sea salt
1 t paprika
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Lemon slices for garnish
Lightly oil grill grate and preheat to medium.
Crush the clove of garlic with the salt in a small bowl. Add cayenne pepper and paprika. Stir in olive oil and lemon juice to form a paste. Toss shrimp with garlic paste. Cook shrimp until opaque, for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Garnish with lemon slices.
And last, but never least – dessert.
Pastry for a 9” deep dish pie
1/2 c. semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
2 qts fresh hulled strawberries
1 c sugar
2 t lemon juice
3/4 c ginger ale
3 1/2 T cornstarch
Whipped cream as desired
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Press pie crust pastry into a deep dish pie pan and prick the bottom and sides with a fork.
Bake the crust until lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Melt the chocolate chips over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Paint the cooled pie crust with the melted chips, covering bottom and sides. Put it in the freezer to harden the chocolate.
Place strawberries, cut-side down, in the crust; start in the middle and arrange in concentric circles around the center strawberry. Mash up the remaining strawberries and add the sugar and lemon juice; bring to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring frequently.
Whisk the ginger ale and cornstarch together until smooth and gradually stir into boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
Spoon the strawberry sauce over the strawberries in the pie shell. Chill in refrigerator at least 8 hours.
Top with whipped cream and serve!
"May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!" — Daniel Webster
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