The best part of July 4th, besides the federally approved day off, is of course being surrounded by friends and family…and food, drinks, and copious amounts of fireworks. So throw down those Pop-Its (Bang Snaps? What are these called anyway?), fire up the grill, and light the sparklers. Throw in some pool, lake, ocean, or sprinkler action and we have an all out summer holiday party going on.
Unfortunately, there’s just not enough waterfront to go around for everyone to live right on the water. If you don’t happen to have waterfront property, sprinklers and baby pools will do in a pinch, but nothing beats a full-size pool. They’re convenient and private and you don’t have to run across burning sand as you move from your towel to the water – all wins in my book. However, pools are not for everyone. They take up a good amount of space (the typical pool being 20’x40’+), there are a lot of regulations about making your pool and property safe for those around you, they require a fair amount of maintenance (chlorine, cleaning, etc…), and they can be expensive. Whether or not a pool is right for you if ultimately up for you to decide, but we can help you along the way and answer any of your questions.
In the meantime, as you ponder pool potentials, let’s refocus on the topic that I could talk about most – food. A Fourth of July feast must include at least one potato salad (I’m sure that’s written law somewhere), summer drinks, and enough chips and dips to ruin dinner.
I grew up on a mayonnaise based potato salad with some mustard, celery, hard boil eggs, russet potatoes, salt, and pepper. Delicious! But I’ve always been skeptical about leaving mayonnaise out in the burning sun and then eating it four hours later. In recent years I’ve transitioned from the mayonnaise potato salad to the vinaigrette potato salad. I found this recipe (and picture) on the Food52 website and I’ve never looked back.
Potato Salad with Arugala and Dijon Vinaigrette
(Serves 6 to 8)
- 1/2 small red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
- 3 cups arugula, stems removed, washed and dried and very roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 5 tablespoons good olive oil
- Put the onion in a small bowl and cover with cold water (this will remove some of the bite). Put the potatoes in a large pot of generously salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Lower the heat so the water is barely simmering and cook for about 10 minutes, until you can pierce the potatoes with the tip of a sharp knife and it slips out easily. Drain the potatoes well and pour them into a large bowl.
- Gently toss the warm potatoes with the rice vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the chives, arugula and red onion and stir through.
- Whisk together the red wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the potato mixture and toss to combine. Serve warm or keep covered at room temperature for up to an hour.
I know I said that I was skeptical about leaving mayonnaise out so you might think that I feel that way about all dairy products. However, I make exceptions. For instance I make this semi-homemade dip all the time and if I’m outside, so is the dip. The dip doesn’t last long so maybe that’s why I’m never concerned. Hmm…Anyway, I found this dip on Pinterest and have made it seemingly nonstop since then. Thank you 2 Sweets blog and Pinterest for all the calories joy you have brought me.
Poolside Chip Dip
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 jalapeno (seeds in/out optional)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
8 oz. cream cheese
1 Hidden Valley Ranch packet
1 tsp. garlic salt
- Chop the peppers and put into a mixing bowl with the corn and black beans.
- In a separate bowl, mix together cream cheese, ranch packet, and garlic salt. Mix well.
- Add cream cheese mixture to vegetables and mix well.
- Serve with tortilla chips.
While we’re in the kitchen making delicious foods, let’s also mix up a peach lemonade slush. I also found this image last summer on Pinterest (I find everything on Pinterest – it’s a magical place) in a quest to finish off a bunch of peaches before they went bad and then adapted the recipe to cut out the frozen lemonade (although certainly you could use it).
Peach Lemonade Slush
½ c. sugar
3 – 3 ½ c. water
1 c. lemon juice (6-8 lemons)
3 ripe peaches, cut up
2 oz. vodka (optional)
1 oz. peach schnapps (optional)
- Make the lemonade: Combine ½ c. sugar and ½ c. water in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil until the sugar dissolves and then take off heat to let cool. Combine simple syrup with 2 ½ – 3 c. water and 1 c. lemon juice.
- In a blender, combine 2 c. lemonade, peaches, vodka and schnapps (if adding), and ice. Blend until smooth.
Now that you are well fed and your thirst has been quenched we hope that you have an amazing Fourth of July. We’ll see you after the holiday!