Back to the Kitchen: Recipes for the Fourth of July

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It’s  the 4th of July. What a great time to celebrate with friends and family. Growing up it meant hot dogs, burgers, boiled corn, and watermelon. These days, there’s a twist—it’s  time to rely on the freshness of the season by playing with bold  flavors that create fireworks on your taste buds! Berries, peaches, corn, summer greens are all overflowing at markets everywhere.

Of course, no summer party is complete without a thirst quenching, refreshing adult beverage.  The peach and citrus white wine sangria is a perfect blend for a hot day.  All of the recipes go together well or you can mix and match with your family’s favorites. Have fun in and out of the kitchen and have a happy and safe 4th of July!

Turkey Burger with Cranberries and Ginger

1-pound ground turkey
2 scallions, thinly chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Splash soy sauce
4 burger buns or rolls
1 cup Asian lettuce mix

In a medium bowl mix the turkey, scallions, cranberries, garlic. ginger, red pepper and soy sauce. Divide into 4 patties. Over medium coals place on BBQ (or skillet or stovetop grill) and cook for 10 minutes and flip and cook 5-10 minutes longer. Serve on a bun with 1/4-cup Asian lettuce, Chinese style mustard and wasabi mustard. (In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4-cup Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon wasabi paste.)

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Pineapple Salsa

1/4 cup of olive oil
Juice of one lime
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tuna Steaks, 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick.

Prepare the grill. Mix the oil and lemons, lime, salt and pepper in a small bowl and brush over both sides the tuna generously. Grill the tuna steaks 5 inches over the heat for about 6 minutes per side until they are firm to the touch. Remove from grill and serve immediately with a generous amount of salsa.

Pineapple Mango Salsa

1 medium sized pineapple, diced
2 mangos, diced
Juice of 2-3 limes
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
1/4 cup very finely slivered fresh ginger
1 red onion, cut into thin slivers
1 to 2 small jalapeños, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely cut cilantro

Gently toss together. Taste for the intensity of flavors. The heat intensifies the longer it stands. Let stand for 20 minutes to one hour for the flavors to gel. If you want to get a head start, cut the fruit the night before and place in zip locks.

Grilled Corn with Chili Lime Butter

8 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, softened
1/2-teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
4 teaspoons fresh limejuice
1/2 teaspoon jalapeño, minced (or to taste)
8 ears corn on the cob in the husks

Place the butter in a small bowl; add the chili powder, lime peel, limejuice, jalapeño and salt. Mix well. Shape the butter into a log and slice into 8 even pieces. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Heat grill to medium-high. Place corn (in husk) on the grill, rotating the corn so you cook on all sides, for approximately 15 minutes total. Remove from grill and cool slightly (so you are able to peel the husk). Place corn back on grill over the same flame for about 4 minutes, once again rotating the corn for even grill marks.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

2 boxes (16 ounces) orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups feta cheese, diced
2 cucumbers, diced
2 red peppers, diced
2 pounds asparagus, grilled and chopped
2 cans large olives, sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1-cup basil, chopped
1-cup virgin olive oil
1 cup lemon juice
Splash green Tabasco (to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat two tablespoons olive oil. Sauté one box of the orzo until golden brown. In a large soup pot bring water to a boil and cook all orzo until al dente.  Drain and rinse with cold water. Once orzo has cooled, in serving bowl mix orzo, olives, feta, red peppers, cucumbers, asparagus, parsley and basil. In small bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice and green Tabasco. Mix into salad. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate and chill before serving.

Mixed Summer Greens and Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
6-tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup olive oil
Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.
6 cups summer greens
Toss all lettuces together. Lightly toss with dressing.
20 grapes, halved
6 ozs gorgonzola
Arrange lettuces on platter. Place grapes prettily on top and sprinkle with gorgonzola and fresh ground pepper. Use whatever mix of berries you desire.

Mixed Berry Tart With Almond Crust and Ginger Cream

This recipe makes two tarts. It may seem like a lot, but they go so very quickly. Use whatever fresh berries you would like. You can get as creative as you would like in your fruit placement.

Almond tart crust:

1 1/2  sticks butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1/2-teaspoon vanilla
2    1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup almond meal
(In a food processor grind 1/2 cup sliced almonds with 1-tablespoon powder sugar)
Pinch of salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine butter, sugar, salt and vanilla until well blended. Mix in the flour and almond meal. Stop when it is just mixed. Do not over mix. Wrap in plastic and chill over night. Divide the dough in half and roll each out on a well-floured surface to desired size and place in well-sprayed tart pans. Prick the bottom and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a rack.

Ginger Cream:

2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger (4 oz)

Blend cream cheese and granulated sugar in a food processor until sugar is dissolved and mixture is smooth. Add ginger and pulse until finely chopped and mixture is combined well.

To assemble:

1-pint raspberries
1-pint blueberries
1-pint blackberries
1-pint strawberries
(Or any fruit and berry combo that you like)
1-cup red currant jelly
Spread 1/2 of the cream filling into each tart shell. And cover with berries. When ready to serve melt the jelly over medium heat. Using a pastry brush carefully brush over fruit. Serve immediately.

Deep Dish Peach Cobbler


4 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1 cup shortening, chilled
1/2-teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons ice water

Place flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry bender or two knives, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring it in with a fork. Pat the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it at least 1 hour.


10 cups peeled, pitted, and sliced fresh peaches
Juice of one large lemon
1/2-cup sugar
1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-teaspoon ground ginger
1/4-teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375F. When the dough has chilled, divide it in half. Wrap 1 half in plastic wrap and return it to the refrigerator. Roll out the other half on a floured board and fit it into the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan.
Very gently toss peaches in the lemon juice in a large bowl. Add sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and flour and toss again with a spatula or wooden spoon to blend. Spoon the filling on top of the bottom crust. Roll out the remaining pastry on a floured board. Wet your fingertips with water and moisten exposed edges of the bottom crust. Place the top crust over the peach filing and crimp or flute the edges together. Cut several steam vents in the top crust.  Bake the cobbler for about 1 1/4 hours, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, and serve.

White Wine Sangria

1 bottle dried white wine
1 cup frozen lemonade
4 cups ginger ale or 7 up
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon sliced
1 lime sliced
4 strawberries, sliced
1 peach, sliced

In a large pitcher mix together white wine and lemon aide. Add fruit slices and about 4 cups ice. Pour over the ginger ale or 7-up and mix well. Best is a pretty glass pitcher so you can see all of the fruit.

Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. She is the co-founder and master baker at Magpie Gourmet Mini Pies.  Check out her websites and  Her Sweet and Savory Cookbook is available through AMAZON .


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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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