Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fourth of July fare—the easy way

Tasty celebration doesn’t have to wear you out or cost you much


By JENNIFER LIEBRUM
Express Staff Writer

Tyler Peterson, left, dives into the ribs while daughter Devon patiently waits. Patty Gilman dishes up some slaw while Quin Gilman tackles a hot dog. Photo by Willy Cook

It's been a long wait, but summer and outdoor dining peaks on the Fourth of July. So with a little advance work, you can have your parade and party too, and still feel like you had a lazy day of summer in the end.

Plan your meat course first, whether it's burgers and dogs or ribs, besides setting your table, you need to know what time you'll need to invest in your main course so you can budget the rest of the countdown to festivities accordingly.

Because our family's day includes participating in the Hailey parade every year, and a 91-year-old great grandpa born on the Fourth who comes in from Jerome for about two hours to eat with us, we have to get the ribs going early, eat on time and be ready for the rodeo that night.

How to grill it like (Shaun) Mahoney

At least 24 hours before, shop for your ribs. Ask the butcher at your grocery for baby backs with the silver skin removed from the ribs, "It will make them much more tender," Shaun Mahoney, of Mahoney's in Bellevue, says. Use a sweet and smoky dry rub from the spice aisle and apply it right away to both sides. The longer the better. Keep meat refrigerated. Put ribs in a smoker at 170 degrees for eight hours using a mixture of wood chips of hickory and cherry. When they are done, you can finish them on a hot grill and baste them with your favorite barbecue sauce to give them a nice glaze. Portion while hot, and "finger" the ribs by lifting them with a knife slightly away from the bone for easy eating.

We're all about the slaw in the South, but I found that my yellow mustard-based style doesn't set well with my fifth generation Idaho husband and the inlaws so I asked Keith Perry of Perry's Restaurant in Ketchum for the tricks to his crowd-pleasing coleslaw and potato salad.

Coleslaw

1 ½ heads green cabbage, shredded

1 white onion, cut in half, sliced in thin, long pieces

2 carrots, shredded

¼ head red cabbage, shredded

Sauce

¼ cup mayonnaise

3Tbs. vinaigrette dressing

Salt and Pepper to taste

Toss and refrigerate.

Potato Salad

4 lbs. red potatoes boiled to soft, about 25 minutes

½ bunch celery, chopped small

½ red onion, halved, sliced long

½ bunch parsley, minced in a food processor

Sauce

4 cups mayonnaise

¼ cup Dijon mustard

1 Tbs. black pepper

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ Tbs. salt

½ Tbs. garlic, crushed

1 Tbs. basil

Blend in food processor, toss with vegetables.

The sweet finish

Of course you'll want watermelon and apple pie, but a good old fashioned root beer float adds nostalgia to the afternoon. Kainoa Lopez, who brews BuckSnort root beer locally, (and provides it for the Sun Valley Center of the Arts post-parade ice cream social in Hailey), lent us some to mix with another local favorite, Toni's ice cream. Toni Bogue rose to the challenge to make exotic choices for mix-ins, choosing Crème Caramel (crowd favorite), Ginger, and Vanilla Bean from her homemade Sun Valley Ice Cream Company. Add straws and spoons and you have a party in a mug.

Your table

Don't have a lot of stars and striped items in your cabinets? Don't sweat it. For this setting, we shopped at local thrift stores, Barkin' Basement (Hailey), and Advocates Attic (Hailey) and The Gold Mine (Ketchum) who lent us most of the items used to decorate from mini flags to the bobble head cowboy (off the market, we bought it after the shoot).

Just add music, summon the guests and smile, it's really summer now.




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