Fourth of July Picnic Menu
Happy 4th of July blogging friends! Today, Hailey and I plan on fighting the traffic to the beach for an early potluck picnic with a few of our closest friends, before we make our way to a downtown rooftop party to watch fireworks. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect way to spend a Friday?
In honor of America’s independence, the girls of A La Main have shared a few of our summertime favorites. I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did.
This salad has become a favorite of mine. I was first introduced to a something similar a few months ago at a work lunch meeting, and boy, I was hooked. I could NOT wait to go home and recreate the flavors.
I think what I love most about this salad is how well all the tastes flow with each other. The sweetness of the strawberries nicely contrast the slight tartness of the balsamic glaze, and the creamy honey goat cheese helps temper the peppery bitterness of the arugula. It’s easy to see why it’s become my main go-to workplace lunch and one of my summertime faves.
Hailey and I decided to pack these salads in mason jars for ease of transport for our beach picnic. Don’t they just look gorgeous!
Strawberry-Arugula Salad (inspired by Martha Stewart)
12 Oz of Arugula
1 Cup of Strawberries
½ Block of Honey Goat Cheese (from Trader Joe’s)
Dash of Salt & Pepper
Balsamic Glaze (from Trader Joe’s)
4 Large Mason Jars
Rinse and thoroughly dry arugula. Divide into four and place even amounts into each mason jars. Rinse, dry and slice strawberries. Add strawberries, honey goat cheese, and salt and pepper to the arugula. When it comes time to serve salad, drizzle balsamic glaze on the salad, close the jar lid and shake to fully toss the salad.
Makes 4 servings.
Marta and I have been toying with the idea of buying a grill for a while now. For the last few months, my mind was filled with romantic visions of all of the burgers, kabobs and grilled corn we would eat. One little problem: I’ve never grilled anything by myself before. So when we decided to order a little tabletop charcoal grill (our balcony is on the smaller side), I did my fair share of “research.” And by research, I mean I checked in with my brother–a self-proclaimed grilling master. Michael can talk for hours on the best way to stack coals, form a burger patty, the optimal fat-to-meat ratio for grilling and how to light coals without using the chemical-filled lighter fluid.
So when it came down to lighting our grill, I thought I was set. We opted to go the sans-lighter fluid route because: 1) it’s more natural and, 2) who wants to taste lighter fluid when they bite down into a nice, juicy chicken leg?
If only I gained grilling skills by association… I failed miserably at lighting the coals! After several lame attempts, smoke inhalation and arms covered with coal soot, I decided to do what I do best: improvise. One day I’ll learn to use the grill, but today, I present baked beer-marinated chicken.
Beer-Marinated Chicken (lightly inspired by Picture the Recipe)
6 Organic Chicken Legs
1 Bottle of Beer (I used Lagunitas Day Time Ale)
1/4 of a Red Onion, minced
1/4 of a Yellow Onion, minced
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
Handful of Fresh Parsley
1/2 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
Dash of Salt and Pepper
In a large bowl, mix together both onions, the juice from one lime, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Stir around 1 cup of your beer into the bowl.* Rinse and pat dry the chicken legs and add them to the marinade. Let the chicken legs refrigerate in the marinate for at least one hour, occasionally checking on them to re-douse the legs with the beer marinade.
*Note: If you want to taste test your marinade, this is your last shot. Do not try the marinade after you add the raw chicken, or else risk salmonella poisoning.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
After you marinate the chicken, oil a large baking sheet and place chicken legs on the sheet. Place sheet on the top rack in the oven and allow to bake for ~30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked but still pink inside. Remove the chicken from the oven, pour the remaining beer over the chicken, put the oven on the broil setting at 400 degrees and place the chicken back in the oven for 10-15 minutes to brown. Watch your chicken as to not over burn it.
For the last installment of our picnic trilogy: peach collins.
I really wanted to make something that would take advantage of all the great stone fruits we’ve had this season…and what better way than a peach collins? As I was researching how to make the drink, I came to realize that this is not an authentic peach collins. Traditionally, collins are: 1) made with gin (I made mine with vodka), 2) freshened with lemon juice (I had limes on hand) and 3) served in a collins glass (I only have stemless wine glasses).
Regardless of its official moniker, the not-really-a-peach-collins is a hit in my book!
Peach Collins (adapted from DIY-Cocktails)
3 Ounces of Vodka
2 Ounce of Peach Simple Syrup*
1 Ounce of Lime Juice
Sparkling Mineral Water
1/2 a Yellow Peach, sliced
2 Sprigs of Mint Leaves, rinsed
Place peach slices and mint leaves in two glasses and muddle slightly. Add vodka, peach simple syrup and lime juice, and stir. Add in sparkling water (approximately 4 ounces per glass). Serve over ice or chilled.
*Note: You can make your own peach simple syrup by boiling 1 cup of drinking water with 1 cup of sugar and one sliced and pitted peach. Let mixture simmer for ~10 minutes before you strain the peach preserves from the liquid. (The peach leftovers go great with non-fat greek yogurt!)