All-American Flavor

Spice up your fourth of July picnic with spirited decorations and a new, patriotic spin on four cookout classics.



Don’t let your Fourth of July barbecue be the opening act to the evening fireworks display. With extra attention to detail, you can make your party the holiday showcase. Keep it simple and make it gorgeous, advises entertaining expert Annette Joseph. In her book Picture Perfect Parties, published by Rizzoli, Joseph offers easy entertaining tips and delicious recipes with step-by-step instructions that’ll make every occasion a memorable one. Try one (or all) of the following four dishes for your next summer cookout!

Dr. Frank's Favorite Barbecue Ribs

Serves: 6

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed n ½ cup blueberry jam
  • 1 Tbs. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce (bottled or homemade)
  • 4 lbs. baby-back-style pork ribs

Directions
In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together all the ingredients except the ribs, bring the sauce to a simmer, and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool on the stovetop while you prepare the pork ribs. You will need to peel the membranes off the ribs. You can have your butcher do this, or you can do it yourself. Slide a small sharp knife under the silver skin, or membrane, move it sideways along the length of the ribs, then grab the loosened skin with a paper towel and remove it. Combine the ribs with half of the cooled sauce in a large zip-top plastic bag. You may need several bags to hold the ribs; if so, divide the sauce into equal parts per bag. Seal the bags and massage the sauce to cover the meat and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Reserve the remaining half of the sauce for basting on the grill.

Preheat a grill to low heat.

Remove the marinated ribs from the plastic bags and discard the marinade in the bags. Wrap the ribs in heavy-duty aluminum foil and seal the edges, making several sealed packages. Place the aluminum foil packages on the grill and cook for 45 minutes, turning the packages every 10 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn. Remove the ribs from the grill, then remove the ribs from the packages and set aside. Increase the heat on the grill to medium. Place the ribs directly on the grill, and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, basting with sauce generously every 2 to 3 minutes, until the meat is evenly browned and caramelized. Serve warm.

Corn and Tomato Salad with Fresh Basil

Serves: 6

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed, or the kernels from 6 cobs freshly cooked corn
  • 2 cups baby tomatoes, halved n ½ red onion, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup chiffonade (thin ribbons) of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Directions

In a large bowl, stir together the corn, tomatoes, red onion and basil. In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and whisk to blend.

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and gently toss to coat.

This salad may be prepared a day ahead; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Grilled Peaches with Red Onions

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 large ripe peaches, pitted and quartered
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • ½ small red onion, sliced
  • 6 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. flaky salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

Preheat a grill to medium heat. In a large mixing bowl, toss the peaches with the olive oil.

Grill the peaches for 5 minutes on each side, or until the fruit has caramelized.

Transfer the grilled peaches to a large serving platter and place them cut-side up to show grill marks.

Sprinkle with the sliced onion, balsamic vinegar, salt and cracked pepper and serve immediately.

Red, White & Blue Potato Salad with Thyme and Rice Vinegar Dressing

Serves: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb. purple potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ¼₃cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and cut into bite-size pieces

Directions

Put the potatoes in a stockpot and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes. Add the salt and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil the potatoes for 15 minutes, or until they are fork tender yet firm.

Drain and set aside to allow the potatoes to cool while you prepare the dressing.

Stir together the mayonnaise, thyme, chives, celery, lemon juice, rice vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Transfer the cooled potatoes to a large mixing or serving bowl, along with the red peppers and artichoke hearts. Add the dressing and gently toss to coat.

Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

This salad can be made ahead and refrigerated, covered, overnight.

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A Bergen Moment

"On a warm and sunny Sunday, I took a bike ride to the Englewood picnic area at the Palisades Interstate Park. Many families were enjoying the pleasant day, having a Mother’s Day picnic. Because I am particularly interested in photographing bridges, I took this image of children playing in a brook near the Park Drive Bridge. I especially liked the girl with her festive dress!”
—Mario Burger, Edgewater, flickr.com/photos/jag9889

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