July 4th is like the Thanksgiving of summer when it comes to eating. Many gather with friends and family, and we eat … and we eat … and we eat. And we drink. And we laugh. And we watch fireworks. And for many of us, it’s a day where we have strong traditions around what we did growing up and we continue those same traditions today. We may always celebrate at the beach, or in the mountains, or with our neighbors. We may watch the same parade that we’ve been watching for decades or go to the same park or gather with the same friends and family members.
Each July 4th, my family gathers in the mountains with 50-60 family members, and we hug and laugh … and eat. We sing, we hike, we compare how much older all of our kids are and how much they’ve changed in just a year. And, it’s my favorite time to cook because the pressures of work are left behind, and summer vegetables and fruits are all in season. Fireflies light up the sky at dusk; the days are longer, and life seems better.
Here are five recipes that I’ve been working on that are great to make while on vacation, as they’re pretty easy and don’t require fancy equipment. They’re also great to make at home all summer long.
Roasted Potatoes with Herbed Goat Cheese Recipe
The secret to delicious roasted potatoes is to parboil them. That simply means that you boil them, but just a bit. You finish cooking them in a 400-degree oven. This makes for crispy but tender potatoes. When they are hot, mix them with herbed goat cheese, butter, salt, and pepper, and garnish with parsley or green onions for a delicious side. Serve hot or at room temperature. See the full recipe here.
5-Minute Appetizer with Heirloom Tomatoes, Burrata Cheese and Pesto
This recipe is perfect for tomato lovers. Tomatoes are the center of my summer meals more so than any other vegetable or fruit. For this recipe, simply slice up the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place some burrata cheese on top, and spoon some pesto over the cheese. Then, sprinkle chopped salted pistachios over the whole thing, and add some fresh basil for good measure. Serve with French bread and WOW — it’s SO GOOD! See the full recipe here.
Zucchini and Squash Ribbon Salad
Our Director of Marketing, Megan Casey, sent me this recipe, and I added a little to it. I’ve eaten it several times, and it’s so satisfying. If you want to add protein, shrimp pairs really nicely. You’ll need a vegetable peeler, one zucchini, one yellow squash, three stalks of asparagus, asiago cheese, salted pistachios, herbs (I used mint, basil, and cilantro), olive oil, and reduced balsamic vinegar. See the full recipe here and enjoy!
Jay’s Nemesis Potato Salad
I have such fond memories of my Aunt Barbara’s potato salad growing up. This is my homage to that recipe. She used peeled russet potatoes in her version, but I think this is pretty spot-on otherwise. However, this recipe contains chopped sweet gherkins (that Mt. Olive brand that all Gen Xers grew up with!), pimento-stuffed green olives, and green peppers. My husband, Jay, hates all those things with a passion. Thus, the name of this potato salad in our household is “Jay’s Nemesis Potato Salad.” It’s soooo good!
It also has hard-boiled eggs, green onion, red onion, and yellow mustard. To make it even better in my eyes — and more detested in Jay’s eyes — add some fresh dill! Pair this with hamburgers and hotdogs, as the flavors really compliment each other. See the full recipe here.
Avocado, Fresh Corn and Tomato (Side or Salad)
After tomatoes, summer is all about corn when it comes to recipes at my house. Buttered corn on the cob is almost definitive of summer eating. This recipe is a bit different in that it calls for raw corn. That’s right, this side/salad is fast to make because it only requires cutting the corn off the cob, and there is no water to boil or even a microwave to turn on. If raw corn has you skeptical, it should — but only when it’s not fresh. But, fresh corn, raw and straight off the cob, is so sweet and delicious. See the full recipe here.
If you are looking for more Fourth of July recipes, see our round-up of 10 additional recipes here!