ck - Star-Spangled Menu
Agua fresca is a drink made by combining blended fruit, chopped fruit, water, and sugar, then letting the mixture macerate. This version is popular with both kids and adults. You can make it earlier in the day and keep it chilled until ready to serve on a hot summer day.
Finely chop 2 cups of watermelon, and set aside.
Place remaining 2 cups watermelon in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed watermelon through a sieve into a pitcher, and discard solids. Add water, sugar, and lime juice; stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in the chopped watermelon. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
Crushed red pepper, paprika, mint, and balsamic vinegar recall the eastern Mediterranean. You also can use a quick-soak method: Cover the beans with water, and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. To make a day or two ahead, prepare the beans up to the point of baking, and refrigerate. The day of the cookout, bring to a simmer on the stovetop, then bake.
Sort and wash beans, and place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand 8 hours or overnight. Drain beans.
Combine beans and crushed red pepper in pan; add water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/4 hours or until beans are tender. Drain in a colander over a bowl. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid; discard remaining cooking liquid. Return beans and reserved cooking liquid to pan. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat; keep warm.
Preheat oven to 325°.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and 3/4 teaspoon salt; cover and cook 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add bell pepper and garlic; cook 1 1/2 minutes or until bell pepper is crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Add tomato; cook 1 1/2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, mint, paprika, and black pepper. Add onion mixture and 1/2 teaspoon salt to bean mixture, stirring well to combine. Cover and bake at 325° for 1 hour. Stir in vinegar.
Instead of butter, try this smoky, spicy sauce--it's a savory complement to the sweet corn. To remove the silks from an ear of corn, rub with a damp paper towel or a damp, soft-bristled toothbrush. Though the corn needs to be grilled at the last minute, the sauce can be prepared a day ahead.
Place the first 3 ingredients in a food processor; process until minced. Add cottage cheese; process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add mayonnaise and yogurt; process until blended. Spoon sauce into a bowl; cover and chill.
Place corn on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 10 minutes, turning frequently. Serve corn with sauce.
Place fingerling and red potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool slightly. Place potatoes in a large bowl.
Place blue potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool slightly. Add blue potatoes, onion, parsley, dill, chives, and eggs to bowl; toss gently.
Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients. Pour over potato mixture; toss gently to combine. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
The salad holds well and can be tossed a few hours in advance--but leave out the salt until close to serving time, since it will cause the tomatoes to release their juice. Blanch the green beans up to a day ahead, and keep refrigerated.
Place the beans in a large saucepan of boiling water, and cook 3 minutes. Drain and plunge beans into ice water. Drain.
Combine beans, tomato, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss well to combine.
Santa Rosa plums are great in this dessert, although any juicy plum will work nicely. Because it's good served either warm or at room temperature, this is a choice make-ahead dessert. After scraping the seeds from the vanilla bean, use it to flavor sugar: Bury the bean in a container of granulated sugar, and store for up to 6 months.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine first three ingredients. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; add seeds to plum mixture. Discard bean. Toss mixture gently to combine. Spoon into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through nutmeg) in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over plum mixture. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until plum mixture is bubbly and topping is lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Watermelon Agua Fresca
Summer Baked Beans
Grilled Corn with Creamy Chipotle Sauce
Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad
Green Bean, Chickpea, and Tomato Salad
Santa Rosa Plum Crumble
Celebrate summer with this no-fuss, all-American menu. (Serves 6)
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