Independence Day approaches and hopefully you’ve already set out your pool floaties, your July 4th beer menu, and your favorite quotes from U.S. founders. If you’ve yet to decide on what you’re eating, we’ve got some ideas. Hit us up on Twitter with any SOS queries and we’ll try to hit you back.
Our new friend Miranda in Brooklyn wrote us just last week with a weird proposition: That we trade her a July 4th menu for her rooftop cookout in exchange for two homemade tie-dye V-neck shirts she’d print during her party and send to our doorstep. We like weird trades; we said yes.
Since Miranda was a total stranger, we stalked her online and asked her a few follow-up questions. She likes pasta salad, corn, dairy products and Momofuko, but she doesn’t particularly like cooking. So we set our sights on an easy couple dishes centered around a potluck-friendly starch. We landed on Cornbread Salad, like a summer panzanella (bread salad) but with American accents. We made a simple cornbread recipe off the corn meal box (but added chives in the batter, and honey on top) and let it sit for 12 hours to get stale. We made some spicy pinto beans and marinated portabello mushrooms for grilling. We whisked a quick Ranch dressing. We crumbled up the cornbread and crunched up some Ranch-flavored Doritos for good measure. Combined on top of some really bouncy gem lettuces and arugula, this salad is both cracklike in its addiction, and fresh.
Then for a pre-meal snack. Corn, but how? We needed a classic flavor that would win the Brooklyn stamp of approval: smoke and coffee. We mixed finely grinded Bacon Bits and coffee beans with hot sauce and mayonnaise. The resulting goo looks like spreadable lardo and tastes like it contains flavor crystals made of all the burnt goodies clinging to your grill after a BBQ. Needless to say, it’s good on grilled corn. Happy Fourth Miranda!
Menu For Miranda
1st Course: Roasted peanuts (in the shell)
Beverage: Cisco Brewers, Grey Lady Wit
2nd Course: Fresh Corn with Grill Gravy
Beverage: Six Point, Apollo
3rd Course: Cornbread Salad
Beverage: Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn Bamboozle
4th Course: Vanilla Ice Cream with grilled peaches
Beverage: Vodka Firecrackers
“Grill Gravy” on Corn
1/2 cup Kewpie mayonnaise (Veganaise works too)
2 tablespoons veggie bacon bits
2 teaspoons coffee beans (about 10 beans)
1 tablespoon fried shallots (optional)
1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
6 ears of corn
1. Combine bacon bits and coffee in a coffee grinder. Grind until you reach a fine powder.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, hot sauce and porky coffee powder. Add shallots. Add salt to taste.
3. Slice corn cobs in half and cook on the grill for 5-10 minutes, or until starting to blacken in spots. Remove.
4. Slather corn with grill gravy and eat.
4 portobello mushrooms
3 cups red wine
1/2 cup tamari
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
lots of cracked black pepper
1 cup pinto beans (dry)
3 cups vegetable stock
3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup Ranch Doritos
1 loaf of day-old cornbread (an 8-inch tray)
1-2 heads lettuces of choice
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon buttermilk (soy milk OK)
a squeeze of lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
2 tablespoon parley, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and fresh black pepper to taste
dash of Louisiana hot sauce
1. Set your dried pintos, tomato paste and chipotle peppers in a pot with your stock and set to medium heat until you reach a steady boil, then lower to simmer and cook until for about an hour, or until fork tender. When they’re done, keep them covered and warm until serving.
2. Marinate your portabellos: Snap off their stem and give ‘em a wash. Using a spoon gently scrape off the black gills. Set them all in a casserole dish, with their bottoms up. In a bowl, whisk red wine, tamari, honey, garlic, salt and pepper and pour over shrooms. Let sit like this for a couple hours covered, jostling them every 30 minutes to ensure they come in contact with the liquid.
3. Make the dressing by combining all ingredients and whisking. (Add more buttermilk/soymilk if you want a thinner consistency.) If serving it on the side, sprinkle extra chives and paprika on top.
4. Grill the portobellos: Fish them out of the marinade and brush with some olive oil. Toss them onto a hot section of the grill, with their bottom-side up and let sit for several minutes. Baste them by pouring a few teaspoons of the marinade on each shroom every few minutes. Flip at least four times total while basting, then remove. Once cool enough to handle, slice them into slivers (think pieces of flank steak on a steak salad).
5. Grill the cornbread: Cut the cornbread into 4-5 large slices and make sure to keep it from crumbling in your hands. Gently brush with olive oil and set on a slightly less hot section of the grill. Flip a couple times with tongs, cooking just long enough to get grill marks. Remove.
6. Wash and spin your lettuces. Place them in the bowl you plan to serve from. To assemble, simply crumble cornbread and add, drizzle on as much dressing as desired, top with warm pinto beans and grilled mushrooms. Finish with a dusting of Ranch Doritos.
1/4 cup Curacao
4 shots small batch vodka
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons agave syrup
8 red cherries
20 ounces tonic water
half a lemon
1. A couple hours before serving, make a tray of white and blue ice cubes. Do this by pouring Curacao into half an ice tray, filling each cube unit only halfway, then topping the rest of those cubes with water. (Pure Curacao will not fully freeze.) Fill the second half of the tray with 100% water.
2. Make a raspberry syrup: blend the berries with 4 tablespoons water. Slowly drizzle agave syrup. Blend for a whole minute or until thoroughly pureed. Strain if desired to remove seeds (not needed).
3. To mix each drink, pour a shot of vodka and top with a squeeze of lemon, then top with tonic. Grab your ice tray and have it ready. Next pour in about a fourth of your raspberry syrup (this will fizz, move quickly to serve it while still bubbling). Top with a couple blue and regular ice cubes. Drink!