Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrations on the Fourth of July

Having grown up in a military family and then marrying someone who made the military the career, when it's time to celebrate a holiday related to our freedom I'm up for it!  I know that the word patriot has been batted around by politicians accusing each other of not having enough, but being a patriot doesn't necessarily mean that you follow the party line, whatever it may be; the founding fathers certainly didn't do that if you read anything about that period in our history. These men argued, they fought over words, and ideas and in the end, they constructed one of the most incredible documents that has stood the test of time.  That's what happens when you respect the people you work with.
As Dr. C. and I celebrate this fourth of July, of course, there is food here at Chez Phillips....we are a small crowd this year, and it feels just fine....the food will be Mediterranean in flavor, with a few all-American nods to this holiday.

Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables
Serves 6
Grilled vegetables are easy, and they can be made ahead; I did these in the morning, and kept them at room temperature for serving.  Any leftovers will go into pasta with leftover pesto shrimp.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One medium purple eggplant, cut into rounds 1/2-inch thick
One medium yellow bell pepper, cut into quarters
One medium orange bell pepper, cut into quarters
2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, sliced 1/2-inch thick

Preheat the gas grill for 10 minutes.  If you have  veggie rack for the your grill this is the time to use it.
combine the oil, oregano, basil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Brush the vegetables on one side with the mixture and lay them brushed side down on the grill.  Brush the vegetables with the oil rub, and cook until the vegetables are softened, turning frequently.  Remove from the grill and arrange on a platter.  Before serving, drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
I took the onions, and tossed them with a simple vinaigrette, and they were delish over the chicken!

Grilled Lemon Oregano Chicken
Serves 6
Simple and you can do it ahead so you can serve it at room temperature or cold. 
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 chicken breast halves, skin and bones removed

 In a bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, oregano, peppers and salt.  Place the chicken in a zipper-top plastic bag and pour the marinade over the chicken.  Seal the bag and refrigerate at least 4 hours or over night.  Remove the chicken from the marinade, preheat the grill for 10 minutes, and grill the chicken over indirect heat, 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.  Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 4 minutes, before cutting on the diagonal.  The chicken can be served warm, or cold, and leftovers can be frozen for another use. 

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Shrimp
Serves 6
Sun dried tomato pesto is full of flavor and perks up otherwise bland shrimp in this great dish. 
1/2 cup sun dried tomato pesto
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
Heat the pesto in a large skillet, and add the shrimp, turning when the shrimp begin to turn pink.  Cook until all the shrimp are pink.  Remove from the skillet and serve immediately.

Mom's Potato Salad

Serves 8 to 10
It wouldn't be a summer meal around here, without this old father-in-law was known to horde jars of this in the fridge when I would bring it to a barbecue.  
 6 pounds red potatoes
6 ribs celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion, or 6 scallions (white and tender green parts), finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped European cucumber
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon sweet pickle juice
1 to 2 tablespoons milk, as needed, to thin the dressing
1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1.      Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water to cover until just tender, about 25 minutes.  Drain, let cool a bit, and refrigerate until cold. 
2.      Peel the potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces, and transfer them to a large salad bowl. Add the celery, onion, pickles, about 2/3 of the eggs, the parsley, and cucumber.  Sprinkle with the oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and toss to blend.
3.      Do-Ahead: At this point, you can cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
4.      In a medium-size bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, pickle juice, and milk, whisking to blend until smooth.  Pour half the dressing over the potatoes and stir gently to coat.
5.      Do-Ahead: At this point, cover and refrigerate the salad, the remaining dressing, and eggs for at least 4 hours or overnight.
6.      One hour before serving, taste the salad and add additional dressing, tossing gently to coat. 
7.      Cover the top of the salad with the remaining sliced eggs, sprinkle with the paprika, and refrigerate until just before serving.  

Cucumber, grape tomato and onion salad
Serves 4
Simple, and a great contrast to the bland grilled veggies, this salad is a taste of summer. 
4 Persian or Kirby cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 spring onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, tomatoes and onion.  In another bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar, and taste, adding salt and pepper.  Pour over the vegetables, and toss to coat.  the salad can stand at room temperature for up to 4 hours.

White Peach and Blackberry Crisp with Homemade Vanilla Gelato
 Serves 6
White peaches from Fitzgerald farms, paired with organic blackberries in this delicious crisp.  
Home made gelato puts it over the top. 
1 cup blackberries
8 medium white peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into wedges
1/4 cup sugar (or more if needed)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Combine the black berries, peaches, sugar and cornstarch, and stir to blend.  Pour into a 9-inch square pan, or a 10-inch round pie plate.  

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch bits
1/3 cup chopped pecans
In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Work in the butter with a pastry blender, or your fingertips until it begins to form a crumble.  Stir in the pecans, and crumble over the fruit in the baking dish.  

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.  
Serve with vanilla ice cream.  

Wishing you a great week from San Diego; it has to be great, there are only 4 work days!

  I decided to bore you all with a few of my shots of the fireworks; the best news, THE FAIR IS OVER!!AMEN!!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the potato salad recipe. I had to modify it slightly, leaving out the things I couldn't find on my island, but otherwise turned out great and wasn't a bite left over!