Well, like most people, I've been so busy that I let a major party holiday sneak up on me! We're less than a week away from the 4th of July and I just realized it today! Lucky for me, I have quite a few red, white and blue decorations left over from our 'Back-to-the-Classics' Memorial Day party. This one is perfect if you're looking for ideas for an old school BBQ with all the trimmings starting with Blue Cheese Burgers and Classic Potato Salad. All of the recipes for this one are from my great friends at MyRecipes.com.
Since it will likely be boiling hot all over the USA for the 4th this year, I am planning lots of icy cold drinks--- all of them lemonade based. Here's my lemonade line-up. Pick and choose for your party!
- Raspberry Lemonade
- Strawberry Basil Lemonade (recipe below)
- Arnold Palmer (half lemonade, half iced tea)
- Southern Sweet Tea
- Pomegranate Spiked Sweet Tea
- Pama Lemonade
- Kathy G's Mint Limeade
Get large containers--- large glass apothecary jars (at Target under $20 each) work well for a big crowd. Try to find ladles with a hook at the top of the handle so they don't slide down into the container. These two gallon acrylic dispensers from Pottery Barn work really well and everyone always asks me where I got them. They're a great investment if you entertain a lot. Around $69 for the large one.
On a hot day, I make my drinks strong so they are not diluted by melting ice. And I always serve ice on the side, I don't put it in the container. This keeps drinks from getting watered down.
Martie's Strawberry Basil Lemonade
I love fresh basil and grow it in my garden. Here's a new way to use it that is so refreshing!
7 cups water
5 cups sugar
zest of 4 lemons
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced
4 cups fresh lemon juice (about 10 lemons)
10-12 large fresh basil leaves
Make a simple syrup by combining 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Simmer until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest; simmer two more minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Bruise or crush four basil leaves and stir into the syrup. Let stand at least 10 more minutes.
Next, put the strawberries and the remaining sugar into a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Strain the puree into a large container or pitcher. Add the cooled simple syrup, removing the zest and the basil. Add the lemon juice and the remaining water. Stir well and taste. You may need to adjust to your taste. Just before serving, stir the remaining basil leaves into the lemonade so they stay fresh and bright green. Chill well and serve over ice. If you want, go ahead and cheat with frozen strawberries and lemonade from the store. It won't be the same but it will still be good.
Food ideas and recipes tomorrow!