Fourth of July is the perfect summer holiday to bring everyone together. While celebrating our nation's independence, red, white and blue, are a must on for your summer spread. Here are some ways to show off your patriotic cooking skills to those loved ones.
These drinks are for Adults Only!
4 cups cubed watermelon
2 tablespoons sugar
3 limes, 2 juiced and 1 cut into wedges for garnish
8 ounces tequilaDIRECTIONS
In a blender, puree the watermelon and sugar until smooth. Pour the puree through a fine mesh strainer. Transfer the liquid to a pitcher and add the lime juice, tequila and 4 ounces of the Triple Sec. Stir to combine.
In a shallow dish, combine the kosher salt with the chili powder. In a second small plate, add the remaining 1-ounce of Triple Sec. Dip the rims of 4 margarita glasses in the Triple Sec, then coat them in the salt and chili mixture. Divide the margarita between the 4 glasses and garnish each with a lime wedge.
3 bottles pinot grigio
1 1/2 cups brandy
3/4 cup orange liqueur
1/2 cup sugar
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 blood orange, thinly sliced
3 kumquats, sliced
1 lime, thinly slicedDIRECTIONS
In a large pitcher, combine the wine, brandy, and orange liqueur. Pour in the sugar, stir or shake the pitcher thoroughly to mix. Add all citrus slices at once. Allow the mixture to sit for 1 hour before serving to allow the citrus flavor to come through.
These rolls are great for small or large get-togethers alike. They're easy to make and will impress your guests.
FOR THE SUMMER ROLLS:
2 ounces Vietnamese or Thai rice noodles
6 rice paper rounds
1/4 cup, or 12 fresh Thai basil leaves (or regular basil leaves), rinsed and dried
6 medium shrimp, cooked and halved
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup, or 12 whole large fresh mint leaves, rinsed and dried
3 red-leaf lettuce leaves, leaves, spines removed, leaving 6 halves
VINEGAR DIPPING SAUCE:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons warm water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chili sauce (recommended: Sriracha)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon fish sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon finely shredded carrot
1 scallion, thinly slicedDIRECTIONS
Bring water to a boil and cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and cool (makes about 2 cups).
Line up ingredients in small bowls before beginning to make rolls. Fill a large bowl or saucepan with very warm water. Place a rice paper round in the hot water. Soak for between 30 seconds and 1 minute, or until rice round is pliable and pattern on the round is barely visible. Remove and place on a clean, slightly damp kitchen towel.
Place 2 basil leaves on the inner edge of the rice round, about 1-inch from the edge and leaving about 1-inch on each side. Top with approximately 1/4 cup cooked rice noodles. Place 2 shrimp halves on top. Top with about 2 tablespoons carrots, then 2 leaves of mint. Fold 1 piece of lettuce leaf and place on top of pile. Bring the edge over filling and tuck underneath. As you continue to roll, fold in the sides. Finish rolling, repeat with the other rolls, and reserve under a damp cloth or paper towel. When ready to serve, slice in half and serve, cut ends up, with dipping sauce.
Dissolve sugar in warm water, combine with other ingredients, and chill until ready to use.
Desserts are always a must during holiday parties. This red, white, and blue themed treat is sure to get everyone feeling patriotic.
1/4 cup almond meal
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 1/2 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
Confectioners' sugar for dusting the topDIRECTIONS
To make the tart dough: In a food processor combine the almond meal, flour, confectioners' sugar and salt. Pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and egg yolk, process just until the dough comes together. Distribute the dough into the 13-by-4-inch tart pan(or 10-inch round).
Lay plastic wrap over the dough and press it into the pan so that it is an even thickness. Remove the plastic and freeze the dough until it is firm, about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the dough with foil and fill with pie weights or beans. This will keep the dough from slouching in the pan. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and beans, bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the crust is a light golden color. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Prepare the pastry cream: Whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of sugar. Add the egg yolks to the cornstarch and mix into a smooth paste. Set aside.
Bring the milk, remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar, vanilla bean, and salt to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan. Slowly, and in small amounts, whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture. Once the egg mixture is warm to the touch, pour it back into the milk in the pan.
Bring the custard to a gentle boil, whisking continuously for 2 to 3 minutes. The pastry cream will thicken almost immediately, but it is important to cook the starch until it isn't grainy. When the pastry cream is done it will be smooth and glossy.
Remove from the heat and add the butter and white chocolate to the pastry cream. Allow to sit for 3 minutes, then gently whisk them together. Pour the pastry cream into a shallow container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressed directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Set the container in the freezer for 15 minutes (this cools down the eggs quickly) and then refrigerate for up to a few days.
Fill the cooled tart shell with the pastry cream. Decorate the top with the berries and refrigerate until ready to serve. Dust with confectioners' sugar right before slicing and serving.
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