July 4th is a day to celebrate with family and friends! As the More is More Mom®, my mission is to provide my guests with an experience they will fondly remember long after the party is over. To me, entertaining is like putting on a show; an extravaganza. I love for all of the details to be over the top. Now that we have welcomed our guests with a gorgeous and welcoming table setting and a whimsical buffet, it’s time to get to the heart of the matter……The Menu!
The secrets to a throwing a great party are simple; gracious hosts, charming guests, lively mood music, tasty cocktails and plenty of delicious food. Over the next three days I can’t wait to share all of my recipes with you. I know this is completely out of order, but I am going to begin with the entrées, should you desire to incorporate them in to your own celebration.
Grilled Romaine Salad with a home-made Spicy Remoulade Dressing
Kansas City Style Ribs and BBQ sauce
Warm Potato Salad
Corn on the Cob
Grilled Romaine Salad:
½ cup of olive oil
1 Tbsp zesty herb seasoning (of any kind…..I used a garlic and herb seasoning by McCormick)
Because I like to do as much as humanly possible in advance, the night before my party, I sliced each head of lettuce in half, vertically, and slid them back in to the package, so they were ready to go.
Early in the day of my party, I infused the olive oil with the herb seasoning. I love to have one less detail to attend to.
My grill was already hot from cooking the ribs. Chuck cleaned off the grill, lightly brushed the infused oil over the romaine and placed it directly on the grill rack. After about 5 minutes, he lightly brushed the lettuce on the up side, flipped over the romaine and cooked for another 5 minutes.
The lettuce has a beautiful, smoky flavor. Top it with the Spicy Remoulade dressing and you will think you’ve died and gone to Heaven. How about that for rabbit food?
Spicy Remoulade Dressing:
Make your life easier and prepare the dressing the day before. Again, the extra time allows for the flavors to blend together.
In a bowl, stir together;
1 cup of mayonnaise (or so)
¼ cup of green onions (or more, chopped, but don’t worry about dicing)
1-2 Tbsp chopped parsley (I really like parsley, and use Italian rather than curly)
2 Tbsp (or so) of Creole mustard…..I used Dijon and it was amazing
2 tsp fresh lemon zest (totally worth it)
3-4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp ground red pepper (go for the kick)
Store in an airtight container. This was so good you could eat it with a spoon. It would also be fantastic served with a shrimp cocktail or as a topping on a sandwich.
Kansas City-Style Barbeque Sauce:
This is seriously the real deal. I’m a fan of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, but this is something else. I served 5 slabs of ribs and had plenty left over. Once again, make this a day or so in advance so the flavors get to know each other.
Heat 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan.
6 -10 cloves of garlic, smashed (of course more garlic is always better)
2-4 Tbsp of tomato paste (I like more. I like four.)
1 heaping Tbsp of chili powder
1 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp crushed red pepper (hot, hot, hot)
¼ tsp ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
Stir for about 3 minutes, until the paste is a dark brick red.
2 cups of ketchup
2 cups of water
½ cup of cider vinegar
¼ cup of dark molasses
¼ cup (oh, a little plus for sweetness), packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp cracked black pepper (always)
1-2 bay leaves
Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
The Rib Rub:
You know I live to be prepared. I mix my rub early in the day to ensure that I am not frantic when it’s time to get everything cooking.
In a bowl, mix together;
2 Tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp sea salt (my favorite)
1 tsp cracked black pepper (my other favorite)
The Ribs (be they spare or baby back….):
Kansas City BBQ typically calls for spareribs, but I always say use what you like.
I pre-heat my oven to 325°
Line baking sheets (with a lip) with aluminum foil. You know how much I prefer a streamlined cleanup!). I could accommodate 2 slabs per baking sheet.
Rub the “rub” all over the ribs. Slow cook for 1 ½ – 2 hours. Just watch them so they don’t overcook.
The ribs can be cooked up to 3 hours or so before you toss them on the grill. Simply leave them in the oven (or warming drawer) covered with foil.
Warm up the grill to a medium heat, slather the ribs with sauce, and cook until the sauce gets a nice, baked on, caramelized glaze. Serve with additional sauce for mopping!
Warm Potato Salad…from the kitchen of Paula Dean!:
Is your mouth watering already? This was unbelievable! You could absolutely cook it and serve right away, but who would want that mess? The beauty of potato salad is serving it cold.
The night before, mix;
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped green onions
(you’re chopping both of these items up for the salad dressing anyway, eyeball it and chop once)
1 cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped red or yellow bell pepper (green is predictable, pedestrian and boring)
3 hard boiled eggs (I did this the day before. One of my many methods is to boil my eggs, mark them with a pen, and put them back in the carton for safe keeping)
The day of your party….
Boil 8 medium red potatoes for 15 minutes (I like mine soft and extremely tender). Allow them to cool to the touch. Cut in to cubes and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine;
the pre-prepared first 4 ingredients
3 hard boiled eggs chopped
¼ cup diced pimento (you can totally buy them this way)
1-2 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning (I tend to like seasoning)
2 Tbsp the ever popular sea salt
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup mayonnaise (I love mayo…even though it’s full of fat. Oh, wait a minute, I guess it’s because it’s full of delicious, heart stopping fat. Don’t even suggest fat free. That’s gross)
1 cup sour cream
Really mix all of these ingredients well.
Add the cubed potato salad.
You’ve got yourself one rockin’, yummy potato salad.
FYI- I also made baked potatoes for those not adventurous to eat potato salad. I wrapped the spuds in aluminum foil and cooked them with the ribs (only for a full2 hours). They looked quite appetizing too.
Corn on the Cob:
Really now, what could be easier? We shucked the corn the night before and stored it in a huge, 2 gallon, Ziploc baggie in the fridge over night. Boil a huge pot of water and cook the ears for 12-15 minutes. Drain, slather with an insane amount of butter (this is a holiday) and serve. What could possibly be better?
I’m getting full just writing about this fantastic Fourth of July dinner….and wait; we still have appetizers and dessert. I hope you’ve saved…..more room!