July 3, 2003 at 10:32 a.m.
It is the 4th of July tomorrow, which always calls for a lot of celebrations, whether it be in the backyard, front yard, at the lake (that’s a controversial subject for some). Some say facing the lake is the front and some say facing the road is the front. It’s sorta like the chicken and the egg––which came first?
Anyway, today’s recipes are a celebration of some all-American favorites, which for today, doesn’t include hamburgers, brats or hot dogs. Some of the recipes are prepared or partially prepared ahead of time which leaves the cook time to relax, fish, swim or play yard games with the family or friends.
How about some barbecue ribs in a sweet sour sauce. Plan ahead and bake these early in the day while it’s cool.
SWEET ‘N’ SOUR PORK RIBS
6 lbs. pork spareribs, cut into 2-rib pieces, excess fat removed
1 c. lemon juice
1 c. 1/4-inch sliced green onions
1-12 oz. can frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed (not diluted)
2/3 c. dark corn syrup
1/4 c. soy sauce (I use “lite”)
Combine juices and onion in a heavy plastic zip bag; add ribs, coating well with sauce. Squeeze bag to get as much air out as possible. Close bag tightly and refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight.
Remove ribs from bag and place in large shallow baking pans (two 9x13 pans work well). Pour marinade over ribs; cover with foil and bake in 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until tender.
Remove from oven and take off foil. Cool, draining off any liquid. Discard liquid, refrigerate until ready to grill.
Grill over medium heat (gas or coals) 15-20 minutes, brushing with mixture of syrup and soy sauce two or three times. Serves 6-8.
This salad is a bit different for the standard three-bean salad. Try it.
VINAIGRETTE BEAN SALAD
1-20 oz. can white kidney beans (red beans work, too) drained well
1-15 oz. can cut green beans, drained well
1 c. very thinly sliced celery
1/2 c. sliced green onion
1/2 c. thinly sliced sweet red pepper
1/3 c. white vinegar
3 t. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. tarragon leaves
1 medium clove, garlic, minced
2 T. vegetable oil (olive oil is great)
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
Combine first five ingredients in bowl. Combine next five ingredients in one cup glass measure and microwave on high for 2 minutes or until mixture boils. You can also bring to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat on your range. Whisk oil into hot mixture; pour over bean mixture, toss gently until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate several hours. Add parsley when ready to serve. Serves 8-10. Keeps in the fridge 2-3 weeks.
Do you serve potato salad at your summer gatherings? Try this recipe for a delicious change of pace.
ITALIAN-STYLE POTATO SALAD
5-6 medium red potatoes, cooked with jackets on, cooled and cut into one-inch pieces
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. diced red onion
3-4 plum tomatoes, quartered or 1 large tomato, cubed
1/3 c. olive oil
3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped or about 1 t. dried leaves
3/4 c. stuffed green olives, drained and cut in half
1 t. dried oregano leaves
1 t. salt
1/4 t. white or black pepper
In large bowl, combine all ingredients; toss gently to coat. Cover; refrigerate 1-2 hours. Makes 12 servings.
NOTE: I add the tomatoes just before serving, folding in gently so they stay firm.
And, a 4th of July dessert for you.
4TH OF JULY CHEESECAKE SQUARES
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter
1-1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
3 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1-21 oz. can blueberry pie filling
15 large strawberries with stem intact, washed just before serving.
In bowl, combine crust ingredients, mixing well. Press mixture over bottom of 9x13 pan.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar; beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla until well-blended. Spoon blueberry filling evenly over graham cracker crust. Carefully pour cheese mixture over blueberries. Bake just until set, 45-50 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool; chill until cold, about three hours. Cut into 15 squares. Top each with a strawberry. Serves 15.
Have fun with family and friends and if you’re doing fireworks, please be careful, especially with little children around. Don’t forget to fly the flag!