I hope everyone has plans for a cookout today. It’s the perfect way to spend any summer day, but especially when it’s Independence Day.

While it’s important to remember it’s America’s birthday, it’s also important to fire up that grill and gather those side dishes for a delicious summer meal. These recipes are from countryliving.com.

TOMATO SALAD WITH BACON VINAIGRETTE

4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

3 tbsp. sherry vinegar

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. Heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges

1 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

Fresh chives, chopped

Cook bacon in a medium skillet on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 mins. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon; pour off all but 2 Tbsp. grease. Add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard; cook, scraping up any brown bits, until incorporated, 1 minute. Remove from heat; whisk in olive oil. Arrange tomatoes on a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette. Top with bacon, blue cheese, and chives.

MARINATED CHICKEN AND ONION KEBABS

1⁄2 c. plain yogurt

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. ground turmeric

2 tsp. lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1⁄2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 11⁄2-inch pieces

Canola oil, for grill grates

1 medium-size red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges, then halved crosswise

4 pieces flatbread or naan

Combine yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, lemon zest and juice, and 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl. Add chicken and stir to combine. Let marinate 15 minutes.

Heat grill to medium. Once hot, clean and lightly oil grill grates. Thread chicken and onions onto six large skewers. Grill, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and onion is just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Grill flatbread until lightly toasted, about 1 minute per side.

Serve kebabs and flatbread with Cucumber and Cilantro Yogurt Sauce alongside.

CUCUMBER AND CILANTRO YOGURT SAUCE

3⁄4 c. plain yogurt

1⁄2 seeded, coarsely grated, and peeled English cucumber

1 chopped scallion

2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

3⁄4 tsp. ground coriander

3⁄4 tsp. cumin

Kosher salt and black pepper

Combine yogurt, cucumber, scallion, cilantro, coriander, and cumin in a bowl. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper.

WORCHESTERSHIRE-GLAZED BURGERS

Canola oil for grill grates

2 1⁄2 lb. ground beef

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp.  Worcestershire sauce

8 hamburger buns

Cheese, lettuce leaves, pickles, and sliced tomatoes, for serving

Set up grill for direct cooking and heat to medium-high. Once hot, clean and lightly oil grates with oil.

Gently shape beef into 8 balls, then flatten into 3⁄4-inch-thick patties. Using your thumb, make a shallow (1 1⁄2-inch-wide) indent in the top of each patty. Season with salt and pepper.

Grill patties, indent sides up, until browned and patties easily lift from the grates, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and grill, basting with Worcestershire, to desired doneness, 3 to 4 minutes more for medium.

erve burgers on buns with cheese, lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes alongside.

CORN COBETTES WITH BASIL BUTTER

unsalted butter, at room temperature

1⁄4 c. fresh basil, finely chopped

1⁄8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Kosher salt

6 ears fresh corn, husked

Combine butter, basil, cayenne pepper, and kosher salt in a bowl. Cook fresh corn; let cool slightly, then break each into 3 pieces. Serve with basil butter alongside.

GREEN BEANS WITH CRISPY CHICKPEAS

From countryliving.com

1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed

1 tsp. whole coriander

1 tsp. cumin seeds

2 tbsp. olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. green beans, trimmed

Grilled lemons, for serving

Heat grill to medium. Combine chickpeas, coriander, cumin, and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium cast-iron skillet. Place skillet on grill and cook chickpeas, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and coriander begins to pop, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl; reserve skillet.

Add green beans and remaining tablespoon olive oil to reserved skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning once, until charred and barely tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Toss green beans with chickpea mixture and serve with grilled lemons alongside.

RASPBERRY AND ROSE SPARKLER

1 1⁄2 pt. fresh raspberries

2 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 bottle sparkling rosé, chilled

Sliced lemons and raspberries, for serving

Smash raspberries with sugar and lemon juice in a pitcher. Top with sparkling rosé. Serve over ice with sliced lemons and raspberries.

BLACKBERRY TART

2 refrigerated rolled pie crusts

3 (6-ounce) containers blackberries, divided

3⁄4 c. confectioners' sugar, divided

3 tbsp. lime juice, divided, plus zest for garnish

1 lb. mascarpone, at room temperature

1 1⁄2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish

Preheat oven to 425°F. Fit piecrusts in the bottom and up sides of an 8- by 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom; trim excess. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and prick bottom with a fork. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang; fill with dried beans. Bake until beginning to brown around edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Lift parchment to remove beans. Bake until bottom is light golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes; cool.

Puree 1 container berries, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1⁄2 tablespoon lime juice. Strain through a fine mesh sieve; discard seeds.

Whisk together mascarpone and 1⁄2 cup sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold in blackberry puree.

Toss together mint, remaining 2 containers berries, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1⁄2 tablespoon lime juice in a bowl; let sit 5 minutes. Spread mascarpone mixture in crust. Top with berries and juices. Sprinkle with lime zest and mint. Serve immediately.

NOTE: If you're looking for a mascarpone substitute, replace with one of these options: Blend 8 ounces softened cream cheese with 1⁄4 cup whipping cream. OR - Blend 8 ounces softened full fat cream cheese with 1⁄4 cup softened butter and 1⁄4 cup cream.

SALTY PEANUT

BANANA PUDDING

1⁄3 c. all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

1⁄4 tsp. fine salt

2⁄3 c. + 3 tbsp. sugar

1 3⁄4 c. whole milk

4 lg. egg yolks

1 3⁄4 c. heavy cream divided

1⁄3 c. Creamy Peanut Butter

3 tsp. pure vanilla extract, divided

50 vanilla wafers

4 med. ripe bananas, sliced

3⁄4 c. chopped roasted and salted peanuts, divided

Whisk together flour, salt, and 2⁄3 cup sugar in medium saucepan. Whisk in milk, egg yolks, and 1⁄2 cup cream. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and a pudding like consistency, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter and 2 teaspoons vanilla.

Arrange 25 wafers (slightly overlapping) in the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Top with half of banana slices, 1⁄4 cup peanuts. Cover and chill 4 hours or up to overnight.

Whisk remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 1⁄4 cups cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla on medium high with an electric mixer just until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Spread over top. Sprinkle with remaining 1⁄4 cup peanuts.

(6060 326-2661 |

lward@dailyindependent.com

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