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Show-stopping Independence Day Eats

4th of July is upon us! Hotdogs and hamburgers are good and all, but can get boring enjoyed at summer cookouts year after year. Forget the fireworks, let these impressive and unconventional recipes be the stars of the show this July 4th.


Grilled Corn Salad with Hot Honey–Lime Dressing

Nothing screams summer like a fresh, zesty and bright flavors. This salad featuring avocado, serrano peppers, honey, and charred, grilled corn will be your new go-to side dish. Makes 8 servings.


Photo and recipe by Bon Appetit.


Ingredients:

- 3 ears corn, husked

- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

- 1½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more

- Freshly ground black pepper

- 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice

- 2 tbsp. honey

- 1½ tsp. Sriracha

- 1 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder

- 1½ avocados, cut into ¾ inch pieces

- 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced

- ½ cup cilantro leaves with tender stems


Directions:

1. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Brush ears of corn with butter; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until kernels are very tender and charred in spots, 10–12 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut kernels from cobs.


2. Meanwhile, whisk lime juice, honey, Sriracha, granulated garlic, and 1½ tsp. salt in a large bowl to combine. Add corn, avocados, chile, and cilantro to vinaigrette and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing in direct contact with salad to prevent avocados from turning brown. Chill at least 2 hours.


Salad can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.


 

Grilled Ratatouille Pasta Salad

"Slice up grilled eggplant and zucchini and toss with hot pasta, fresh tomatoes, herbs, and mozzarella for an almost instant ratatouille-inspired pasta dinner with all sorts of nice chargrilled flavors." Makes 4 servings.


Image and recipe by Epicurious.


Ingredients:

- 2 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 lb.), halved lengthwise

- 1 medium or 2 small eggplants (about 1 lb.), cut into 1" wedges

- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

- 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided

- 10 oz. penne or casarecce pasta

- 1 large or 2 medium heirloom or beefsteak tomato (about 1 lb.), cut into 1" pieces

- 8 oz. Ciliegini (mini fresh mozzarella balls), drained, halved

- 2 Tbsp. white balsamic or white wine vinegar

- 1 Tbsp. thyme leaves

- 1 cup basil leaves


Directions:

1. Prepare a grill for medium heat. Toss zucchini, eggplant, and 1/4 cup oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Grill, turning often, until steamy, tender, and charred all over, 8–12 minutes. Return to baking sheet and let cool.


2. Cook pasta according to package directions.


3. Slice grilled vegetables into bite-size pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Add tomato, cheese, vinegar, thyme, and 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1/2 cup oil and mix to combine. Drain pasta and immediately add to bowl with vegetables. Mix well to combine, then top with basil.

 

Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce


Tender and juicy steak doesn't have to be time consuming: this flavor-packed steak only takes 30 minutes from start to finish. Makes 4 servings.


Photo and recipe by Two Peas and Their Pod.


Ingredients:

- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

- 4 ounces shishito peppers

- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves

- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves

- 1 tablespoon lightly packed fresh oregano leaves

- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped shallot

- 3 cloves garlic, peeled

- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

- 2 teaspoons honey

- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning

- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

- 1 (2-pound) flank steak


Directions:

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the peppers and cook, turning occasionally, until blistered on all sides, about 5 minutes.


2. Transfer the peppers to a cutting board. Once they are cool enough to handle, slice off and discard the stems, then transfer the peppers to the bowl of a food processor.


3. Add the parsley, cilantro, oregano, shallot, garlic, vinegar, lime juice, honey, salt, and pepper to the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. With the motor running, stream in the olive oil. Continue blending until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and season the chimichurri with salt and pepper, then set aside.


4. Preheat a grill or heat a stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat. If using a grill, lightly oil the grate.


5. Season the steak generously with salt and pepper. Place the steak on the grill and cook undisturbed for 6 minutes. Flip it once and continue cooking until it reaches your desired level of doneness. For medium-rare, cook the steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees F.


6. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.


7. Slice the steak against the grain into thin strips. Top the steak with chimichurri and serve.


 

Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken


"A simple, easy recipe for the juiciest, most flavorful, Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken with grilled lemons- that turns out perfect every time. Make this with skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs to pair with salads or veggies." Makes 5 servings.


Photo and recipe by Feasting at Home.


Ingredients:

- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4–5 small-ish breasts) or boneless, skinless chicken thighs (6–8 pieces)

- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, rosemary, thyme, or sage, finely chopped (or use a combo)

- zest from one medium lemon (2 tablespoons) and save the lemon for grilling/ juicing.

- 6 garlic cloves, finely minced

- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

- 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper

- 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes- optional (Aleppo or Urfa Biber are good here)

- 1/4 cup olive oil


Directions:

1. Pound thickest part of the chicken breast into uniform thickness aiming for 3/4 inch thick and if very large, cut into uniform sizes roughly 5-6 ounces each.


2. Make the marinade: Mix marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside 2 tablespoons (for garnish). Place chicken and marinade in a bowl, baking dish or large zip lock bag and massage to coat all sides well. Marinate for 30 minutes, a few hours, overnight or even a few days.


3. Grill: Preheat grill to medium-high. (See notes for chicken thighs.) Lift chicken breasts out of the bowl, letting most of the oil drip off -before carefully placing it on the grill. Cut the zested lemons in half, placing open sides down on the grill too. Feel free to add any veggies to the grill- here we added halved tomatoes. Close the grill lid and cook for 5-6 minutes (or until deep golden grill marks appear) before flipping. Cook the other side, 5-7 minutes, and lower heat or move to a cooler spot until the thickest part of the breast registers at 160F and meat is no longer pink, and the meat looks opaque. Let it rest 5-10 minutes before serving.


4. Serve: Place the grilled chicken on a serving platter, squeeze generously with the grilled lemon, and tuck in fresh herbs for garnish. Spoon the reserved 2 tablespoons marinade over the chicken, and serve! (NOTE: DO not use the “used marinade” that the raw chicken was in for this!).


 

Star Spangled Sangria


"Celebrate the Fourth of July like a real patriot with this Star Spangled Sangria, made with raspberries, blackberries and pineapple slices cut into stars. This sweet and tart white wine Sangria gets its edge from dark pineapple rum and berry liqueur instead of the classic brandy, while the pineapple stars keep it fun and festive". Makes 7 servings.


Photo and recipe by Thrillist.


Ingredients:

- 1 bottle pinot grigio

- 1 oz Chambord

- 1.5 oz pineapple rum

- .75 oz lemon juice

- 2 oz simple syrup

- 1 cup raspberries

- 1 cup blackberries

- 1 pineapple


Directions:

1. Break down pineapple into round slices, then cut the slices into stars using a cookie cutter or a stencil and knife with precision. Alternatively, cut the pineapple into chunks.


2. Add wine, rum, Chambord, lemon juice and simple syrup to pitcher and stir.


3. Add berries and pineapple stars and lightly stir.


4. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.


5. Top with club soda, lightly stir and serve with ladle for fruit.


 

Lemon Tiramisu


Lemon desserts are a summer must-have. This no-bake lemon tiramisu is full of bright, zesty flavor. Makes 6 servings.


Photo and recipe by Foodness Gracious.


Ingredients:

- 1 cup sugar

- 8 oz cream cheese softened

- 8 oz mascarpone cheese softened

- 16 oz heavy whipping cream

- 1 tsp vanilla extract

- 1/2 tsp lemon oil or extract

zest of 3 large lemons

- 16 oz pack lady fingers

- 2 1/2 cups lemonade

- lemon cookies for garnishing


Directions:

1. Using a stand mixer or a hand held mixer beat the cream cheese and sugar together until creamy, about 3-4 minutes.


2. Add the mascarpone and beat till creamy again,


3.In a separate clean bowl beat the heavy cream until soft peak stage.


4. Using a spatula gently fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture.


5. Add the vanilla, lemon oil and lemon zest into the cream mixture and set aside.


6. Place the lemonade into a bowl or flat dish.


7. Have your 8 cup serving dish next to the bowl along with the lady fingers.


8. Dip each lady finger one at a time into the lemonade moving it around slightly so it can absorb some of the liquid and then place it into the base of the dish with each one being close to the next one.


9. Repeat this process until the base of the dish is full of lady fingers.


10. Spoon about half of the cream mixture on top of the lady fingers and spread out evenly with a spatula or spoon.


11. Repeat the process of dipping more ladyfingers into the lemonade and place on top of the cream to create a second layer.


12. Ad the remaining cream on top of the second layer of lady fingers and spread out evenly.


13. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.


14. Garnish with lots of crushed lemon cookies sprinkled over the surface.



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