Our tradition each July 4 is a day trip to my friend Pat's summer house on Long Pond in Plymouth, MA. They've turned what was once the infirmary of a Girl Scout camp into a cozy one-bedroom cottage with a gigantic front porch.
We arrive after the crack-of-dawn flag raising and reading of the Declaration of Independence. We swim, feast on lobsters and corn and tomatoes, enjoy Pat & Joe's hoards of children and grandchildren (photo). Party poopers that we are, we drive home just at sunset and, as we drive, enjoy the fireworks going off on either side of the highway.
Today I'm inviting the Reds and all of our readers to a July 4 pot luck! I'm bringing my friend Pat's blueberry pie. (Scroll to the bottom for recipes!)
What are you bringing?
LUCY BURDETTE: My family would often gather with my mother's two sisters for holidays. Aunt Barbara was usually in charge of the potato salad at our summer celebrations. She had to make several kinds, because someone wouldn't eat onions and I wouldn't eat eggs and so on...(These were NOT allergies--they were preferences. She was more accommodating than I would be:)
But last year I started to think about those hard-boiled eggs--why shouldn't they be a main ingredient? What if I left out all the fancy stuff--the onions, the celery, the pickles, the peppers, the capers--and went back to something basic?
HALLIE: You left out the EGGS from the potato salad?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Proving how old I am, back at home we had sparklers. We would bend the ends, light them, and spin them.
If someone did that at our house today, I would swoop down on them with the garden hose.
Now we have a new tradition, which is lobsters, and grilled corn, and chilled rose. The kids play in the pool and eat hot dogs, because that is all they eat, but all good. We have strawberry shortcake and watch the local fireworks, which you can see, pretty much, from our back yard. Then listen to the Boston Pops on TV and sing along, while patting ourselves on the back that we are not in all the 4th of July traffic.
(Even writing this makes me realize how lucky we are.)
I have a FABULOUS Brussels sprouts salad, but I won't make it. I'll tell you for Thanksgiving.
Sure, I have a recipe.
Love you all madly.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Hallie and Hank, your 4ths sound fab! We are so boring. We stay home, grill burgers (I do make a mean burger!) and fresh corn, with fresh farm tomatoes and cole (cold!) slaw, and watermelon.
This slaw is garlicy and not too sweet, with an unexpected kick from the nutmeg. I found the recipe years ago in a newspaper somewhere and have been making it ever since. This year, with the new ice cream maker, I think maybe we'll add homemade vanilla--maybe even root beer floats! Or maybe Hallie's blueberry pie!
I like to watch the Boston Pops, then sometimes we'll drive someplace where we can see the fireworks without getting in traffic.
Hank, we always did sparklers when I was a kid. Loved them! But no kids in the family now, so no excuse:-) (Grown kids are going to the lake...)
RHYS BOWEN: Oh Hank, I used to love sparklers on our Guy Fawkes Night which is when we had fireworks.
Of course, being a Brit, I'm not supposed to celebrate the Fourth, am I? But we always do. We often go to nearby Sonoma where my daughter has a swim center and her swim team marches in the parade. But grilling lobster on a dock sounds so much better! I think your holidays must be more civilized on the East Coast! We do usually go to friends whose house has a fabulous view over San Francisco Bay to watch fireworks from their deck. Everyone brings potluck items and I'm trying to remember if I bring anything special. John makes a mean stuffed egg.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Our Independence Day tradition is to head up to Portland's Munjoy Hill for a barbeque hosted by children's book author Gail Donovan and her husband. Munjoy Hill backs up to the Eastern Prom, where the Portland Symphony Orchestra plays a free concert and there are, of course, fireworks. The great thing about having friends who live on the hill? The city closes all roads in and out of the Prom at 3:30 in the afternoon, so if you can't park up close before then, you have a long walk back to the car after the fireworks.
The PSO begins to play as dusk falls over Casco Bay, and then the fireworks explode right at the height of The 1812 Overture. Scores of people watch from boats on the water. It's magical, and one of the many times I feel so grateful to live in Maine.
I got some lovely Napa cabbage and fresh cilantro in my CSA this week, so I'm bringing an Asian-themed slaw to the party.
JUNGLE REDS POT LUCK JULY 4 RECIPES
From Hallie, Pat's Blueberry PieTwo 9" pie crusts - I pre-bake the bottom crust for about 10 minutes
Filling: Mix 4 c blueberries (rinsed and picked over) with 3/4-1 cup sugar, 3T flour, 1/2 tsp lemon peel (ESSENTIAL), 1/2 tsp cinnamon, dash of salt
Put the filling in the bottom crust; sprinkle w/1 tsp of lemon juice and dot with butter
Seal the top crust and cut slits in it. Brush on some beaten egg for shiny glazed.
Bake @400 for 35-40 minutes
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, of courseFrom Lucy, No-eggs Potato Salad6 medium red potatoes
Heaping tablespoon of fresh dill
1 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp celery salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 heaping Tbsp Hellmann's mayonnaise (I used the kind with olive oil)
Wash the potatoes, cut out any unappealing spots, and cut them in half or quarters, depending on size. Boil them gently until they are soft. Cut them into slices when cool. In another pan, boil the eggs about ten minutes and let them cool in the hot water. Stir together the oil and vinegar and dill and marinate the warm potatoes in this mixture. Meanwhile, mix the other ingredients--the celery seed, celery salt, mustard, and mayo, and add fresh black pepper to taste.
Slice the eggs and add them to the potatoes. Fold the mayo mixture into the potatoes and eggs and taste to correct the seasoning. Serve in a pretty bowl with grilled anything! Here's hoping you have a wonderful holiday weekend with all your favorite relatives and friends-- and food!
From Hank, Fresh Corn with Lemon Butter
Get fresh corn.
Take the husks off.
Put the on hot charcoal coals.
Turn turn turn, then steam with the cover on for two minutes.
Stall until the lobsters are done.
Pour lemon butter and pepper over everything.
From Rhys, stuffed eggs
Hard boil eggs. Peel.
Cut in half, remove yolks.
Mash yoke with mayonnaise
add a touch of horseradish AND Reece's pepper jelly
when smoothly blended stuff back into egg whites
sprinkle with chopped parsley
Arrange on egg dish.
From Deb, Garlic and Nutmeg Cole Slaw
In a medium bowl whisk together:
1/2 cup mayo (I use Hellman's with Olive Oil)
1/8 cup sugar (I use unrefined)
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Chop or shred 1/2 head fresh cabbage, add to dressing and stir well to combine. Refrigerate covered for about an hour to blend flavors.
From Julia, Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw
1/4 c rice vinegar
1t fresh grated ginger or 1T powdered
2T sesame oil
1 fresh chili, serrano or jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 small head of Napa cabbage, chopped into 1/2 inch slices
1 carrot, grated (this is for color, so you could also substitute re and yellow peppers, etc.)
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped
Whisk vinegar, sugar, ginger, oil and hot pepper together with a dash of salt. Add remaining ingredients, toss to blend. Let sit to develop flavor.