Recipes For a California Fourth of July

Most of the "food holidays" in the U.S. take place in the colder months of the year, but we're starting to think the Fourth of July might be the best day for grubbing down all year. There's plenty of fresh produce -- especially fruit! -- and it's our civic duty to cook outdoors, carcinogens be darned. Below is a list of some of my favorite July 4th-appropriate recipes for you to choose from, as well as local beer and wine choices perfect for the summer. Have fun and eat well!

For The Grill
Parks, balconies and backyards are absolutely full of people cooking out this week. Some of our favorite on-the-grill recipes include:

A Grilled Shimp with Chipotle Orange Cocktail Sauce dish from KCET chef Steven Raichlen.

if you're feeling adventurous, cook up a Whole Grilled Orata using a recipe provided by L.A.'s Sotto restaurant.

Grilled Chicken in Bacon Sauce. Bacon sauce. Yeah, people like this one.

If you want to lighten it up a little (and keep your ingredients super-local) try an Arugula Salad with Spot Prawns.

Go the vegetarian route with Indian Vegetable and Cheese Kebabs -- the kind of cheese used doesn't melt over the flame!

This one draws a lot of attention: Beer Can Chicken, for the showman chef.

OK, lobster may not be the most California of animals, but you're allowed to have it on special occasions. And this one's cooked outside: Charcoal Roasted Lobster

Burgers!
Because burgers are their own food group in SoCal, they get their own category. Try one of these recipes from favorite local restaurants.

If you're not into beef, Suzanne Goin's Pork Burgers are a great alternative.

The utmost in decadence. Bacon Cheeseburger from 25 Degrees.

The Churchill Burger has both fancy cheddar and sweet onions.

Speaking of fancy, The Oaks Burger comes complete with a pineapple-jalapeno compote.

Side Dishes
Some people would argue that "sides" are the best part of the meal. And who am I to disagree?

Tender Greens offers a Picnic Ratatouille, and they were generous enough to share their recipe. It doesn't have to be served hot, so it's a perfect item to bring if you're going to a house party.

Tomatoes are so fabulous right now. Throw them into a Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Pesto.

BLTs are comfort food, and potato salad is comfort food -- combine them into one dish everyone will want to swim in: BLT Potato Salad.

Watermelon, Feta, Corn Salad is delectable and very colorful.

Though this Strawberry Salsa with Black Beans is intended as a taco filling, it's also great served with chips.

This one is simple but seems very fancy on the plate: Roasted Tomato and Whipped Feta Bruschetta

Liquid Refreshment
Because you probably won't just serve water to your guests.

Some are still laboring under the delusion that rosé wines are declassé. It's not true! Try one of California's best pink wines.

If you bought way too much fruit (happens to me all summer long), use it up in these recipes for summer cocktail recipes with fresh fruit.

Beer's really the classic Independence Day beverage -- choose one of these three local beers made for summer.

Or go interactive (and alcohol-free) with frozen Arnold Palmers.

Dessert
Make fruit the star of your dessert spread!

If you want something custard-y and rich but also seasonal, take a look at this Peach and Blueberry Tart.

Nothing wrong with a classic: strawberry shortcake with homemade biscuits.

This is probably the easiest dessert on the site, and it runs blue: Blueberry Crumble.

This nectarine tart recipe also keeps it simple, but the gustatory rewards are abundant.

Happy Fourth!

About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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