July 4th is like Summer Thanksgiving when it comes to eating. Many get together with friends and family, and we eatâ¦ and we eatâ¦ and we eat. And we drink. And we laugh. And we watch fireworks. And for many of us, it’s a day when we have strong traditions around what we did as we grew up and we continue those same traditions today. We can always party at the beach, in the mountains or with our neighbors. We can watch the same parade we’ve been watching for decades or go to the same park or get together with the same friends and family.
Every July 4th, my family gets together in the mountains with 50 to 60 family members, and we hug and laughâ¦ and eat. We sing, we walk, we compare how much older all of our kids are and how much they’ve changed in just a year. And this is 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 I’ve worked on that are ideal to make while on vacation because they are quite easy and don’t require fancy equipment. They’re also great to make at home all summer long.
Roasted Potatoes with Goat Cheese with Herbs Recipe
The secret to delicious roasted potatoes is to boil them. It just means you boil them, but just a little. You finish cooking them in an oven at 400 degrees. This results in crispy but tender potatoes. When hot, toss them with herb goat cheese, butter, salt and pepper, and garnish with parsley or green onions for a delicious accompaniment. Serve hot or at room temperature. See the full recipe here.
5-minute aperitif with heirloom tomatoes, burrata cheese and pesto
This recipe is perfect for tomato lovers. Tomatoes are at the center of my summer meals more than any other vegetable or fruit. For this recipe, just slice the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, top some burrata on top, and pour pesto over the cheese. Then sprinkle the whole thing with chopped salted pistachios and add a little fresh basil for good measure. Serve with French bread and WOW – it is so good! See the full recipe here.
Zucchini salad and squash ribbon
Our Marketing Director, Megan Casey, sent me this recipe, and I added a little to it. I have eaten it several times and it is so satisfying. If you want to add protein, shrimp pair very well. You will need a vegetable peeler, zucchini, 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 tribute to this recipe. She used peeled red potatoes in her version, but I think that’s fair enough otherwise. However, this recipe contains chopped sweet pickles (that Mt. Olive brand that all Gen Xers grew up with!), Chili-stuffed green olives, and green peppers. My husband Jay hates all of these things with passion. So, the name of this potato salad in our household is “Jay’s Nemesis Potato Salad”. It’s too good !
It also contains hard-boiled eggs, green onion, red onion, and yellow mustard. To make it even better in my eyes – and more hated in Jay’s eyes – add some fresh dill! Pair it with burgers and hot dogs, as the flavors really complement each other. See the full recipe here.
Avocado, fresh corn and tomato (side dish or salad)
After tomatoes, summer is corn when it comes to recipes at home. The buttered corn on the cob is almost definitive for summer consumption. This recipe is a little different in that it calls for raw corn. That’s right, this side / salad is quick to make as all you need to do is chop the corn on the cob, and there’s no water to boil or even a microwave to turn on. If raw corn makes you skeptical, it should, but only if it’s not fresh. But, the corn, fresh, raw and straight off the cob, is so sweet and delicious. See the full recipe here.
If you’re looking for other 4th of July recipes, check out our list of 10 more recipes here!