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Tips for a delicious Fourth of July

Red, white, and blue
Red, white, and blue
Shelly Butcher

So, the Fourth of July is coming up.

I know you're itching to bake a giant cake with alternating layers of red velvet and vanilla buttercream frosted in the same and decorated with rows of cherries and a field of blueberries that take hours to arrange just so.

You're not?

Neither am I. It's grilling season. I'd much rather throw some shrimp on the barbie and wash it all down with a nice warm pint. (See what I did there?)

Here are my grilling tips for an excellent Fourth of July celebration:

  • Add some berries (or cherries) to your hamburger. Just pulse them in a food processor along with the meat, garlic, and spices. Berries add another dimension of flavor to your burger, and they're great at killing any stray bacteria, so you can eat your meat medium rare, as God intended.
  • Speaking of which, you'll want to buy your meat from a good source. I like the grass-fed meats available from Old Creek Ranch, Fogline Farm, and Marin Sun Farms. You can stretch your meat a bit by adding an egg and a bit of ground liver.
  • Hamburgers need a place to rest, and a fresh brioche bun is my favorite choice. Make your own, or buy them from your local bakery. You can find some pretty good brioche buns at the grocery store, too.
  • Grilling isn't reserved for carnivores alone. For vegetarians, prepare kebabs of haloumi cheese (my favorite is Karoun Yanni cheese) with chunks of bell pepper, onion, whole cherry tomatoes, and small slices of lemon. Season with za'atar and olive oil, and serve with fresh pita bread. I like to make tofu kebabs for vegans: use the same vegetables listed above (add some mushrooms), only marinate with soy sauce, crushed garlic, cumin, paprika, ginger. These kebabs also pair nicely with pita bread. You can make a separate grill for those who abstain from flesh, using a disposable rectangular aluminum baking pan. Pour in some charcoal, light it up, and simply place the skewers width wise along the top of the baking pan.
  • For dessert, just skip the cake and serve fresh watermelon. I like mine with feta cheese and mint. Or you can serve it with some crunchy sea salt, or plain.

Have a happy Fourth!

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