Festive Fourth of July Food

While these sparkling recipes are designed for July 4th fireworks, they are perfect for entertaining all summer long. Three cheers for the red, white, and blue! Hope you have a festive holiday.

COOL BLUE MARTINIS

tumblr_nr2lhnfhXP1rsdtszo1_500.jpg

This recipe is for each drink but they can be made by the pitcher. These are really “light martinis” as there is more bubbly and less vodka or gin than in standard martinis.

– 5 ounces chilled Prosecco

– ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) gin or vodka

– ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) blue Curacao

– 1 tablespoon (or more) simple syrup

Stir everything into a shaker with a few ice cubes. Shake away! Strain into a chilled martini glass.

MAKES 1 DRINK

BOMBAY TURKEY SLIDERS with HURRY-CURRY SAUCE

These are a cinch to put together and both the sauce and the sliders can be prepped early in the day.

HURRY-CURRY SAUCE

– ½ cup light mayonnaise
– ⅔ cup plain yogurt
– 4 teaspoons curry powder
– 2 tablespoons ketchup
– 1 small clove garlic, finely minced

BOMBAY TURKEY SLIDERS

– 1¼ pounds ground turkey
– 2 teaspoons curry powder
– 1 teaspoons ground cumin
– Large pinch chipotle chili powder
– 3 tablespoons finely minced scallions
– 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or basil
– 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
– 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 12 little dinner rolls, split and toasted
– 12 thin slices Kirby cucumber
– 12 thin slices plum tomato

Stir together ingredients for sauce. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Put turkey in a large bowl. Add the curry, cumin, chili powder, scallions, cilantro or basil, ginger and mayonnaise, plus 1 teaspoon salt. Mix until blended. Form into 12 small (2 ounce) burgers. Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook burgers over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, turn over and cook 2 minutes longer. Place the burgers on the buns and slather with curry sauce. Top with a slice of cucumber and tomato. MAKES 12 SLIDERS.

RED, WHITE AND BLUEBERRY SHORTCAKES

This luxurious dessert is worthy of fireworks. Wonderful if you can get tiny ripe strawberries from your local farmer’s market. The light touch of lemon zest in the biscuits and thin layer of lemon curd makes these truly memorable. Garnish with edible flowers.

LEMON-BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

– 1½ cups flour
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– ½ teaspoon baking soda
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
– Grated rind of 1 lemon
– ⅔ cup buttermilk

SHORTCAKES

– 1½ cups heavy cream
– 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– ½ cup lemon curd
– 3 cups fresh berries: raspberries, tiny strawberries, blueberries
– Edible flowers for garnishing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and 1 tablespoon sugar. Cut butter into small pieces and incorporate into flour mixture. Add lemon zest and buttermilk and mix lightly. Turn dough out onto floured board. Roll out to 1-inch thickness. Cut out 3-inch round and place on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake 16 to 18 minutes until golden. Let cool.

Whip heavy cream with confectioners sugar and vanilla until very thick.

Cut biscuits in half. Spread lemon curd on bottom half of each biscuit. Spoon whipped on top and add fruit. Top with biscuit “hat” and add more berries and whipped cream. Garnish with edible flowers. SERVES 6.

I Wonder Who's Drinking My Vodka

A few days ago, after a nice enough brunch at Char No. 4 in Brooklyn, I bought a bottle of vodka. Not to replicate the Bloody Mary served at Char -- they make theirs with bourbon and it's great! -- but to test yet another recipe. I had concocted a formula for apple-ginger-pear martinis that made their way into my new cookbook Radically Simple (they take only five minutes to make!), but I needed a hip summer libation for a new project.  My idea was to use hibiscus tea as a base and go from there. After choosing a bottle of pretty cheap vodka in a local liquor store (it still cost $21.00), I sat with it, and my family, in the back of a car service.  It sloshed around as the car moved rapidly through the icy slush from the Heights to the Slope.  So eager to start "cocktail-ing," I high-tailed it to my kitchen and went right for the ice cubes.  "Oh no," I sighed.  "I left the booze in the back seat."  "Someone in New York will soon be drinking my vodka." If it happens to be you (!), here is the recipe for the quite-addictive apple-ginger-pear martinis.  Make them by the pitcher so that you don't need to be shaking and stirring when your guests arrive.  As for the martini made with hibiscus tea, simple syrup, fresh ginger, and lime, I decided to use GIN instead.  Blessings to my husband who reluctantly parted with a few shots of his beloved Old Raj.  It's one of the most expensive on the market -- and definitely one of the best.  Cheers!

Apple-Ginger-Pear Martinis

1-1/2 cups pear nectar (Goya makes a decent one) 2-1/2 cups apple juice 4 limes 4 teaspoons honey* 1-1/4 cups vodka 4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled

Stir the pear nectar and apple juice together in a pitcher.  Squeeze 6 tablespoons lime juice into the pitcher.  Add the honey and stir until it dissolves. Stir in the vodka.  Grate the ginger on the large holes of a box grater.  Place the grated ginger in a paper towel and squeeze to extract 1 tablespoon juice; add to the pitcher. Stir, cover, and refrigerate until very cold.  Pour into chilled martini glasses or serve over ice.  Garnish with a slice of lime.  Serves 6

*Read yesterday's blog about honey and the upcoming bee event at Stone Barns, just in case you missed it!