Happy after the 4th Weekend
I hope you had a safe and fun weekend celebrating our country’s 239th birthday. Sweet Shark and I had a great time preparing for and cooking for our Saturday evening party. I wanted to show your our 4th of July party with the recipes.
On Friday, we divided up the grocery store lists. Then I finished setting the tables (2 each set for 6), adding decorations (from my stash that you might have seen here and arranging flowers. We already had this red and white plaid tablecloth.
I found this blue-check fabric last week on the remnant table at Childress Fabrics; two yards for $10. All I did was pink the selvages.
I added some hanging pin-will fans in the breakfast room and in Sweet Shark’s bar.
And, of course, you always need fresh flowers for a party. And American flags.
And, we had to have a banner. I hung it from the second floor landing. We put flags in the front yard beds and in the backyard hay racks.
Now for the food.
Since it was so hot and mucky, we decided not to fire up the grill (Is that un-American? I hope not.), but do all the cooking inside. Three friends volunteered to bring appetizers (I’ll share those a bit later.)
Here was our menu:
Sweet Shark’s Dad’s Brisket
Super Summer Slaw
Medley of Grilled Vegetables
Best Ever Lemon Ice Box Pie
I was in charge of the slaw, the grilled vegetables and the dessert. On Friday night, I made our dessert, Lemon Ice Box Pie. I wanted something cool and refreshing and thoroughly American. You can get the recipe and see the story behind it here. Covered and into the fridge and dessert DONE!
Sweet Shark was in charge of the brisket and the beans; he decided his father’s brisket recipe would be perfect; not only is it a delicious dish, but it is totally cooked in the oven. It first has to marinate overnight.
Saturday, Sweet Shark let the brisket sit out for 1 hour and then it went into a 275°F. oven for 5 hours. Low and slow makes it so tender. It was smelling so good, I had to take a peek.
After 5 hours, he adds barbecue sauce and back in it goes for another hour.
Then he took it out of the oven, covered it with foil, and let it rest until time for dinner. Brisket DONE!
Meanwhile, I was busy, too. First, for me was the slaw. I’m not a big Trader Joe’s customer since I am not into prepared or pre-packaged food. Except for this:
This stuff is really good. I use it as the basis for a great slaw.
Sweet Shark made his baked beans while the brisket was cooking. He uses a combination of baked beans and ranch beans, adds diced red bell pepper and onion, seasonings, and tops with bacon. Cover with foil and set in the fridge until time to put in the oven – which was about the same time our guests arrived. Beans DONE!
Last to be prepared were the grilled vegetables: eggplant, zucchini, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, portobello mushrooms, the last of the spring onions from our garden, corn on the cob, and campari tomatoes. I used my stove-top grill. I lightly oiled the grill and tossed the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. As I finished each type of vegetable, I put them on a foil-lined sheet pan. As this was the last dish to prepare, I just covered lightly and set aside on the kitchen counter. The vegetables don’t have to be hot; room temperature tastes great. Vegetables DONE!
Our party started at 6:00. By 4:30 all our dishes were done, That left me an 1 1/2 hour to shower and get dressed! What a treat to be completely relaxed before your own party. Sweet Shark filled a cooler with ice for beer and water, filled our large silver punch bowl with ice for wine, selected his CD’s (Elvis, Jimmy Buffet, Willy Nelson, Toby Keith and the Beach Boys – an All-American playlist.), and then it was his turn to get ready.
When our guests started arriving, Sweet Shark offered the drink of the day – a White Summer Sangria with limes, lemons, oranges, and mango. So sorry that I didn’t get a picture. It was so pretty, but I must have had my hands full (with a glass of sangria!) The music was playing, the toasts were made, and our friends’ appetizers were shared. My friend Jane brought these absolutely delicious chicken and bacon skewers.
Amy brought a wonderful Boursin cheese (garlic & herb flavor) topped with Dalmatia Fig spread and garnished with cranberries and cashews.
Lindeen brought a luscious artichoke dip, which unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of. It went too fast.
Dinner was buffet style. After we said the blessing, everyone got a plate, found a seat and started chowing down.
Since everyone declared the food was awesome, my night was made. It was a great evening with great friends celebrating a great occasion. Although we couldn’t see the fireworks from a country club about 5 miles away, we could hear them. Ba-boom!
I hope you’ll try our recipes. Everything was so good. Fortunately, we have enough for leftovers! Want more recipes? Sign up for The Bulletin, my weekly newsletter.