Bring on the fireworks with this island-style tailgate party
Fourth of July calls for extra celebration in our house. This is also our son’s birthday. The excitement mounts as our son and his family of five small children look forward to participating in the Pirates Property Owners Association annual Fourth of July Golf Cart Parade in Galveston’s West End — this year planned for June 30.
AFTER THE PARADE — TAILGATE PARTY
Colorful golf carts are never more fun than when decorated for Fourth of July parades. Children and adults join in the festivities, often spending hours constructing elaborate decorations wrapped around their golf carts for parades and neighborhood parties.
After the parades, hot dogs and watermelon often are traditional menu items of the day. So, when evening comes around, and the golf cart is still decorated — after all that work — you might look for a festive and different menu to enjoy while relaxing and waiting for fireworks to light up the sky.
Consider throwing a tailgate party right from the golf cart. Have buckets of iced beverages on hand and perhaps, for a touch of nostalgia, bring back summer memories with chilled glasses of traditional Fruit Juicy Red Hawaiian Punch. Add your own creations to the party with summery fruits or veggies assembled on skewers in patriotic colors, of course.
QUICK GAZPACHO SHOOTERS
Yields: 2 cups
½ cup mild picante sauce
1 cup bloody mary mix
½ cup peeled, seeded and finely chopped cucumber
Mix all together and chill. Serve in mini shooter glasses and garnish with cucumber sticks.
ALL STAR BAKED FRIED CHICKEN SLIDERS
3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets
1 cup flour
2 cups plain panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
1½ cups buttermilk, divided
½ cup peanut oil
1 package 12 white slider buns
Garnishes: Sliced Roma tomatoes, curly leaf lettuce and oval-cut pickles
Butterfly slice breasts lengthwise in half and then cut again crosswise to make 4 pieces about the size of slider buns.
Pound thick pieces lightly to flatten. In a gallon-size zip-close plastic bag, place 1 cup of the buttermilk and all the chicken breast pieces. Seal and let stand for 1 hour or more. Remove chicken and discard buttermilk marinade.
Prepare 3 separate bowls for dipping. Place flour in first bowl. In second bowl, beat eggs and remaining ½ cup buttermilk. In third bowl, stir together panko crumbs with garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika and peanut oil.
With a fork, dip chicken — both sides — in flour, then egg mixture and then into panko mixture. Place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake sheets (separately) at 400 F for 10 minutes, then turn over and bake another 10 minutes until chicken is lightly browned and crispy.
Assemble slider buns, piled high with chicken, lettuce, tomato and pickle. Set out favorite mayonnaise and mustard and enjoy.
ZESTY PARTY SNACK MIX
2 cups oyster crackers
1 (6.6-ounce) package regular or
1 (8.5-ounce) can cashews or peanuts
2 cups corn chex cereal
1 cup bite-size pretzels or stick pretzels
¼ cup vegetable oil
1-ounce package Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
¼ teaspoon lemon pepper or garlic powder
Place crackers, Goldfish, nuts, cereal and pretzels in a gallon-sized zip-close plastic bag and toss.
In small bowl, combine ranch dip mix, dill and lemon pepper (or garlic powder) with vegetable oil and mix thoroughly. Pour into zip-close bag with snack mix and toss until all is completely coated.
Spread on 2 large baking sheets and bake at 250 F for 20 minutes. (Stir once during baking.) Spread on paper towels to cool. When completely cool, store in another zip-close bag.
Party snack mixes served individually in cute patriotic containers are a great substitute (instead of chips) for those crunchy cravings.
RED WHITE AND BLUE MINI TRIFLES
Yields: About 6 mini trifles, depending on size of dessert dish
1 bar 1⁄3 less fat cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup powdered sugar
Fresh raspberries, washed and drained
Fresh blueberries, washed and drained
½ prepared angel food cake
Small clear plastic or glass dessert cups
With electric mixer, whip cream cheese, almond extract and powdered sugar on high until creamy.
Continue mixing on medium, gradually adding whipping cream until mixture is light and fluffy. Tear angel food cake into small pieces. Layer individual dessert cups starting with cake pieces, cream mixture and blueberries. Continue with cake, cream mixture and raspberries. Keep layering, again using blueberries and then top with more cream and a whole raspberry. Chill until ready to serve.
For a different dazzling dessert, simply layer the cake, fruit and cream arranged in a beautiful clear trifle dish.
Martha Justice is the author of “Easy Breezy Coastal Cooking,” which is available for order online at www.grandcookbook.com or through Justice via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.