As yet another national holiday approaches we gear up to do our favorite national pastime, eat! Many are considering what to grill and how to complement that dish with some cool and refreshing side dishes. Here are a few of my recipes that I hope you, your friends, and family will enjoy on the Fourth.
Watermelon & Arugula Salad
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3 cups watermelon seedless watermelon, in 1” cubes
- 1 bag baby arugula (rocket) or arugula
- 2 TBSP toasted walnuts- optional
Separate the shallots in to rings and place in vinegar, whisk in oil, salt and pepper. Gently stir in the cubed watermelon. Place arugula on a platter and top with the fruit and dressing. Garnish with toasted nuts if desired. Also good with strawberries, either substitute them for the watermelon or use them in combination with to equal the same quantity of fruit. For the 4th of July stir in a few blueberries and a little crumbled feta then your salad will really be red, white, and blue.
Boneless-skinless chicken thighs are a wonderful, less expensive, option for the grill. Because they are dark meat they are more moist and less likely to dry out. I also think they have much more flavor than other options. Because this cut tends to be small and thin monitor closely. Start them over medium heat with the lid open but you can cook them more slowly over indirect heat with the lid on your grill. Remove from grill when their internal temperature reaches 175º F, then allow to rest (covered with foil) so their temperature will continue to rise to the recommended 180º F.
- 4 TBSP honey
- 3 TBSP cider vinegar
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 TBSP Dijon mustard (or spicy brown mustard)
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp liquid smoke
- 1 TBSP onion powder
- 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- Hot sauce to taste
Combine all ingredients in small sauce pan and bring to simmer; cook until thickens. 2 LBS boneless chicken thighs Salt and pepper to taste Season chicken with salt and pepper; Cook on hot grill over medium heat about 8 minutes on each side. Brush with prepared barbecue sauce for last 2 minutes of cooking and serve with extra sauce on the side.
Patriotic Fruit Skewers and Dip
- small bamboo skewers
- 1 package fresh, large blueberries
- 2 packages fresh red raspberries
- Fruit options: star fruit, blackberries, strawberries, and red apple slices
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract or almond extract
Assemble skewers by arranging fruit in alternate patterns on skewers- this is an excellent task for your kids! Blend together all dip ingredients; you can adjust the sweetness depending on how sweet your berries are. Serve on a platter surrounding the dip or poke the tip of the skewers into a piece of fruit (half of a cantaloupe works well) to hold them up. Refrigerate until ready to eat.