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Independence Day Side Dishes

“To be successful you can’t show up to the potluck with just a fork.”

Dave Liniger

The big day is almost here! Your best friends have rented a huge party tent, the fireworks have been procured, and the weather is looking perfect! The kids are excited to swim with their buddies, you’ve got the perfect matching patriotic attire planned for the whole crew, and the drinks are already chilling. Your friends are known for hosting the best summer bash of the year every Independence Day and this year promises to be no different. They’ve got the entrees covered … it’s up to you to wow them all with some festive side dishes, enough to make our founding fathers proud.

And now you’re drawing a blank. Ack!

We’ve rounded up three that should really dazzle a crowd, all while keeping prep-time manageable (because let’s be real, we know you’re be-bopping all over town between summer camps and lessons … whoever said summer was for relaxing clearly hasn’t seen your family’s day planner!). Jerry’s Foods has you covered on ingredients and we’re here to walk you through the simple steps to take to make side dishes you’ll be proud to add to the potluck table this year.

So let’s talk fruit. Full-on sit-down meals are tough to come by at Independence Day parties. Grazing seems to happen all day, only interrupted when the entrees are pulled off the grill and hit the buffet … then bring on the binging! We get it … we’ve been there. So let’s add some ease with a lot less guilt for our first side dish, Patriotic Fruit Skewers

With just a little work and a star-shaped cookie cutter, you’ve just amped up a plain-Jane cut fruit salad a notch or two. If you’re looking for something to keep the kids away from their electronics for a hot minute, this is the recipe to get them involved in. Finally, if your crew likes strawberries but isn’t much for raspberries – not a problem! Any red fruit can be used. Now there aren’t many options for blue-colored fruits other than blueberries, however we suggest loading up on them for your versions. They add such a great pop of color, mild flavor, and really tie the whole dish together.

Patriotic Fruit Skewers

Ingredients and supplies

  • Toasting bread of your choice
  • Cream cheese, softened
  • Red colored jelly of your choice
  • One pint of blueberries
  • 3-4 bananas
  • Lemon juice
  • Serving platter

Directions

  1. Slice watermelon into 1” wheel slices, set aside. Rinse and drain blueberries and raspberries, pat dry and set aside.
  2. Alternate color scheme to your liking, adding fruit to skewers.

Next up … you’re on a fruit kick, so let’s keep going. Now, until Ma Nature decides to send us some other blue-colored fruits we’re still slightly limited in variety and will be sticking to blueberries once again. But gosh darnit, they’re tasty so let’s not let it be an issue.

Where we do have a severe lacking in color though is the white fruit department … so we’re going to take a little liberty (see what we did there?) and use vanilla yogurt-covered raisins. They are so tasty and will look perfect! This tri-colored offering will leave everyone feeling like a kid at heart and offer a healthy option to those loaded-down BBQ plates.

Red, White, and Blue Berry Salad

Ingredients and supplies

  • One pint blueberries
  • One pound total of red berries
    (strawberries, raspberries, or cherries)
  • Two 8oz. bags of vanilla yogurt covered raisins
  • Plain white serving platter

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain all fruit, pat dry.
  2. Working in alternating lines, add red fruits, blueberries, and yogurt covered raisins. Repeat until platter is filled.

We think you’re getting the hang of the Americana fruit dishes. They really are very easy, look great, and taste delicious! We’ll add a third one for good measure … I mean, can you ever really have enough star-spangled goodness at your Independence Day BBQ? No. The answer is no.

So for our final easy side dish to add a little pizazz to your party we give you Flag Toasts. These little guys are just darling and so easy to make – they are also a great activity to involve your kids in, and give them a civics lesson at the same time if you’re feeling really ambitious you little Betsy Rosses! Make it your own by using delicious sweet and fruity bread, English muffin toasting bread, or even a pound cake, we won’t judge! If jelly isn’t really your thing, alternate the bananas with a red fruit of your choice. If you’re a little averse to cream cheese flavoring, there’s nothing stopping you from using white icing is there? The options are limitless!

Flag Toasts

Ingredients and supplies

  • Toasting bread of your choice
  • Cream cheese, softened
  • Red colored jelly of your choice
  • One pint of blueberries
  • 3-4 bananas
  • Lemon juice
  • Serving platter

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain blueberries, pat dry.
  2. Toast bread to desired doneness.
  3. Spread toast with softened cream cheese. Top with jelly being careful not to incorporate the cream cheese.
  4. In the top left corner, add a small square of blueberries (9 or 16, depending on the size of your toast slices).
  5. Slice bananas into coins, then again in half. Toss in lemon juice to prevent browning. Pat dry on paper towels.
  6. Place bananas in strips resembling the American flag, leaving space where the red jelly shows through.
  7. Add all of your Flag Toasts to a serving platter and set out just before serving.

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2018 June – Grilling for Father’s Day

“The only time
to eat diet food
is while you’re
waiting for the
steak to cook.”

Julia Child

 

Mothers, you’re on the bench. Father’s you’re up! It’s all the dads’ time to shine … and what’s more dadly than a big, delicious, perfectly grilled steak? Nothing, that’s what. Nothing. Historically, mothers are treated to a lovely afternoon meal out by their families. Fathers though, they like the best steak they can get their hands on. And if the dads in your life are anything like ours, they firmly believe that no restaurant steak is as good as what they can create on their favorite grill. The catch though, is that on Father’s Day WE should be cooking for HIM. So if the thought of attempting to produce a magazine-worthy rib eye for your favorite dad gives you heart palpitations and causes your blood pressure to spike, fear not! We’re here to help!

The first step to grilling your #1 dad the steak he dreams of on his big day is to pick the best cut for his tastes. If he likes a tender steak while watching the health content, filet mignon is what we’d consider. If flavor is what he’s all about and he doesn’t mind a little grizzle here and there, a beautifully marbled rib eye (with or without the bone) will make his whole day. If he lies somewhere in-between the heavy flavor profile while still wanting a softer texture, let us steer you toward the New York Strip. And if you just can’t decide, ask the butcher for a Porterhouse steak … that way he’ll get one filet mignon and one New York Strip, separated by the T-bone. Lucky for you, Jerry’s Foods offers some of the most exquisite steak selections around. Our meat department places great care in providing only the best to our valued customers and our meat department is filled with the best of the best – they’re there to help you make a great choice every time.

Alright, it’s go-time. Get that grill fired up and pre-heated while you work to get your beef cut prepped.

Once you’re ready to put that bad boy on the grill, be sure to pat it dry first. Any excess moisture on the surface will steam-cook the meat when it comes in contact with a hot grill, preventing that delicious surface caramelization. Paper towels will do the trick every time.

You can season your steak with various blends while your grill is heating, though it’s recommended you wait to add salt until just before you’re ready to start cooking. Salt brings moisture to the surface and since we already know we’re going for the delicious char from the point of contact, let’s not do anything to prevent that … like salting the steak too early. Our personal favorite steak seasoning is a light brush of olive oil then sprinkled with salt and pepper. If you want to get fancy, you can add spices like chili powderpaprika, or garlic powder to a rub! If the dad you’re cooking for is anything like ours, he won’t even reach for steak sauce with that seasoning blend!

Alright, your grill is ready, your steak is beautifully seasoned … it’s time. Gently lay your steak down either on the hot grates (if you use a cast iron pan on your grill to sear it, make sure the pan is pre-heated!) and do not, under any circumstances, pick that steak up until browning starts to creep up the edges and it no longer sticks/lifts easily from the grate. Depending on the size of your steak this could take anywhere from five minutes or longer. When it’s time to turn it, be sure to flip it every couple minutes to ensure even cooking.

If the dad you’re grilling for likes a medium-rare steak, the internal temperature reading should reach 135°. If he’s a medium kind of guy, look for your thermometer to read 140°. Finally, if he prefers medium-well beef, 150° is what you’re shooting for. Once you’ve got the desired doneness, remove the steak and bring it in … but keep him away from it for another 10 minutes. Hot steaks don’t retain their juices and start to dry out immediately when cut. If it’s allowed to rest, it’ll result in a juicier and more satisfying meal. Trust us.

Prompt the kids to put away their electronics, wash those hands, grab their homemade cards for dear old dad, and get seated at the dinner table. Serve up the side dishes, and finally, cut into those steaks … making sure to always cut perpendicular to the grain. When you hear him grunt like Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, you’ll know you’ve achieved grilled steak perfection this year!

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