Here at AMACOM, we’ve been talking about Fourth of July celebrations. And, more often than not, that means talking about food. With all the recipes we’ve been talking about, you’d think we published cookbooks, in addition to business books.
Executive Editor Ellen Kadin will get things started with her guacamole.
Ellen’s Outstanding Guacamole.
- 2 lbs ripe avocados (4 little ones or 2 big ones)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (That’s what the recipe says, but I thought it was better with less.)
- ¼ cup minced onion
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)
- ½ lb tomatoes (≈2 medium-sized)
- 5 tablespoons finely chopped green chilis (A whole small can contains about that much.)
- 1¾ teaspoons salt (That’s what the recipe calls for, but I’d suggest dealing with the salt last and tasting the guac before you add any. I’ve sometimes left it out altogether.)
Cut avocadoes in half lengthwise, remove the pits, and scoop out the meat.
In a medium-sized bowl, mash the avocado with a silver fork (hey, just relaying what the recipe says) or a wooden spoon.
Add the lemon juice, onions and cilantro.
Coarsely chop the tomatoes and add them to the avocado, along with the chilis and salt (if any). Stir everything together and serve chilled.
Creative Director Cathleen Ouderkirk has two to share:
Bok Choy Salad
- 2 pkgs ramen noodles (broken)
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 2 oz sesame seeds
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 lg head bok choy
- 1 bunch scallions
Sautée noodles, almonds, sesame seeds and garlic in minimal amount of olive oil until golden. Cool.
Boil liquids less than one minute. Cool.
While the above seeds, nuts and dressing are cooling in the fridge, wash chop and refrigerate the two green vegetables.
When everything’s cool, combine it all and serve.
And here’s another recipe from Cathleen:
Pork Baby Back Ribs
6 lbs of ribs (two racks) serves 5-6 adults.
Sauce Ingredients: (makes 3 cups of sauce)
- 1 1/2 cups Peter Luger’s Old Fashioned Sauce
- 1/2 cup KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce (original)
- 1 cup orange juice
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine BBQ sauces with orange juice.
Smother ribs with sauce (both sides) and leave extra underneath. Save some sauce on the side to be used for final basting.
Cover pan tightly with foil. Cook for 2 1/2 hours. Baste after each hour and before final half hour.
Raise the heat to 350 degrees, uncover and cook for another 1/2 hour, basting once or twice.
Remove from oven, cover again, and let stand for 10 or 15 minutes.
Barry Richardson, the Senior Development Editor, has the secret to good grilled vegetables. He says: “There’s nothing like grilled vegetables as an appetizer or a side dish at a barbecue. Quick and easy to prepare, they always get loud kudos from the crowd—vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. I prefer using veggies from my own garden, but when they’re not ready yet (like now), I have to go old school—buying them at the market.”
I always use zucchini (especially when they’re in full harvest), usually eggplant and peppers, and yellow squash if available.
Barry’s Grilled Vegetables
Zucchini, cut lengthwise about ¼- to ½-inch thick (probably 4 slices). I leave the skin on the outside slices; some people prefer to trim it off.
Yellow Squash, cut lengthwise about ¼- to ½-inch thick (probably 3-4 slices)
Eggplant, cut lengthwise about ¼- to ½-inch thick (probably 4 or more slices)
Green Peppers, seeded and cut into about 4 pieces
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Balsamic vinegar (*Teriyaki sauce makes a tasty alternative)
Lightly coat the sliced vegetables with olive oil.
Brush balsamic vinegar on both sides of vegetables.
Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste on both sides of the vegetables.
(The longer the marinated vegetables sit in the fridge, the better.)
Place vegetables on grill at medium to high heat. Close grill. Check vegetables after a few minutes. When there are light cross marks from the grill across one side, let them grill for another two minutes (closed grill), and then turn them over. Close grill again. When done just right, the vegetables will be tender and charred slightly.
Put grilled vegetables on a plate, serve them to your guests and family, and start grilling another batch. The first ones will be gone almost immediately.
Rosemary Carlough, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, says her blueberry pie is a key part of her Fourth of July Celebration.
Rosemary’s Deep Dish, Double Crust Blueberry Pie
Adapted from Blueberry Pie #2 from Maida Heatter’s New Book of Great Desserts
Make a Pie Crust for a 2 crust pie and chill in two pieces for at least an hour.
- 4 small boxes (4 pounds) fresh blueberries
- 8 tablespoons unsifted all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon mace
- Finely grated rind of one large lemon
Wash the berries and pick out any bad ones (but if you buy them fresh they should be fine) and put on a towel to dry.
Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and mace and set aside.
Adjust your oven rack to ¼ or 1/3 from the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450°. You need a large deep dish pie plate.
Take two sheets of wax paper. Use half the pie dough and roll it out between the sheets to the size you need based on the dimensions of the pie plate. When the correct size take the top wax paper off, and lift the pie dough to the pie plate, peel off the second sheet of wax paper, gently pat the dough into the pan and trim the edges so you have about ½ inch past the edge of the pan. Sprinkle 3 Tablespoons of the sifted flour mixture evenly over the bottom of the pastry. Refrigerate.
Roll out the second half of the pastry, again between two sheets of wax paper, to the size you will need to generously cover the pan. Let stand briefly.
Place the berries in a large bowl. Add the grated rind and toss gently with a rubber spatula. Add about half of the remaining sifted dry ingredients and toss gently, just a bit, with the rubber spatula.
Place half of the berries in the crust. Sprinkle with half of the now remaining dry ingredients. Cover with the remaining berries, mounding them high in the middle, and then sprinkle with the last of the dry ingredients. With your fingers, press down gently to flatten the mound slightly without spending any berries toward the rim.
Fold the rolled out pasty in half. Carefully transfer it to the top of the pie and unfold it. With scissors trim the edges so you have about ½ inch overhang and then pinch the top and bottom crust edges together. Stand it upright a bit so any juices that escape don’t drip.
Cut some air vents in a star shape with a small sharp knife. You should have at least 6-8 vents about 2-3 inches long. If you wish, spinkle some sugar on top. Purely optional.
Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 40 minutes longer. Cool on a rack.
It needs to cool to not be too runny, but what I like best is that it’s a very fruity juice pie. None of that thick gloppy filling. The original recipe says to serve it cold but I like it slightly warm or at room temperature. It is runny with fruit!
Most of all, we here at AMACOM want to wish you and yours a happy, and delicious Fourth of July celebration.