Since the Fourth of July is a holiday that celebrates all things American, serve a delicious meal of classic American dishes. Start things off with a tex mex favorite: guacamole and chips. Set up a burger bar with an assortment of cheeses, vegetables, and condiments. Invite guests to assemble a burger to their own liking.

Maple glazed baked beans are a sweet and smoky side, while watermelon and arugula salad is a cool and refreshing alternative. To learn how to make these delightfully patriotic dishes,


Guacamole and Chips

Guacamole and Chips


  1. 5 avocados, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  2. 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  4. 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  7. 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  8. 1 16-ounce bag tortilla chips


  1. In a large bowl, combine the avocados, onion, jalapeñ, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
  2. Serve with the tortilla chips.

Serves 8.

Make ahead: prepare guacamole up to two hours before serving. To keep it from turning brown, cover the bowl with plastic wrap so that the wrap lies directly on the guacamole, with no air in between, then refrigerate.

NUTRITION PER SERVING: CALORIES 427(44% from fat); FAT 21g (sat 3g); CARBOHYDRATE 56g; SODIUM 297mg; PROTEIN 7g; FIBER 13g; SUGAR 3g

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The Burger Bar

The Burger Bar


  1. 2 pounds brisket, ground
  2. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  3. 4 thin slices Swiss cheese
  4. 4 hamburger buns, split


  1. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet to medium hot. Take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a thick square. Blot a small amount of oil on the paper towel and carefully and quickly wipe the hot skillet to make a nonstick surface.
  2. Season the ground meat in a bowl with salt and pepper. Give it about 3 turns in the bowl with your hands or a big spoon and it's done. Shape into 4 patties.
  3. When the skillet is hot, put the burgers on the skillet and cook 4 minutes on the first side and 5 for the second side for rare; 7 minutes per side for medium, adding the cheese during the final minute or 2 to melt.
  4. Remove the burgers to a plate. Rub the skillet with the folded paper towel again to clean it. Then toast the buns cut side down for about 1 minute, just to mark them.
  5. Serve the hamburgers in the buns with the accompaniments below.

Makes 4 burgers.

Sauteed Mushrooms:
Saute 1 pound thickly sliced mushrooms in 1/4 cup olive oil with 2 sliced garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves over super-high heat until nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in a couple of drops fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavor.

Caramelized Onions:
Heat 2 tablespoons unsalted butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add 2 onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook slowly until well caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes.

Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Chives:
Thickly slice 2 pounds red and yellow beefsteak tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and 1/2 bunch chopped fresh chives.

Bacon with Rosemary:
Lay out 1/2 pound sliced bacon on a baking sheet, strip leaves from 1 sprig rosemary and throw them on top with lots of cracked black pepper and roast at 400 degrees F until the bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes.

Herbed Horseradish Mayonnaise:
Stir together 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, 1/4 cup freshly minced herbs such as parsley, basil, chives or scallion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, a little squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

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Maple-Glazed Baked Beans

Maple-Glazed Baked Beans


  1. 1 pound yellow eye or navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
  2. 2 cloves
  3. 1 small onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  4. 2 bay leaves
  5. 1/2 pound meaty bacon, fat side scored
  6. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  7. 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  8. 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  9. 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup
  10. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  11. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°.
  2. In a large pot, cover the beans with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, skimming occasionally, until the skins peel back when you blow on them, about 1 hour. Reserve 4 cups of the cooking liquid and drain the beans.
  3. Transfer the beans to a 10-by-13-inch baking dish. Stick the cloves in a slice of onion; nestle the onion slices, bay leaves and bacon, fat side up, among the beans.
  4. In a bowl, whisk 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid with the maple syrup, Worcestershire, dry mustard, 1/4 cup of the ketchup and 1 teaspoon of the salt; pour over the beans and bake for 3 hours.
  5. Stir the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt into 1 cup of the cooking liquid; pour over the beans and bake for 1 1/2 hours longer.
  6. Whisk the remaining cooking liquid and ketchup with the Dijon mustard and pour over the beans. Bake for 1 1/2 hours longer, until the beans are richly browned. Let stand for 15 minutes. Discard the cloves and bay leaves, and serve.

Serves 6.

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Watermelon Arugula Salad

Watermelon Arugula Salad


  1. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  2. 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
  4. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 3 cups cubed (1/2 to 3/4 inch) seeded watermelon, drained (from a 2 1/2-lb piece, rind discarded)
  6. 6 cups baby arugula (6 oz)
  7. 1/4 cup pine nuts (1 oz)
  8. 1/3 cup crumbled feta or ricotta salata (1 1/2 oz)
  9. Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
  10. Fleur de sel to taste (optional)


  1. Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, and salt in a large bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.
  2. Add watermelon, arugula, and pine nuts and toss to coat, then sprinkle with cheese, pepper, and fleur de sel (if using).

Serves 4.

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