A very international 4th of July

No fireworks, no sparklers, no picnic on the beach. How then, are you supposed to celebrate the 4th in the middle of a chestnut forest? I looked back at what we did in 2010 and tsk-tsk’d myself for not having spiffed up the grill to summer bbq-readiness…and it’s already July.

Okay, so zero hamburger, nada hot dogs and zilch homemade apple pie, neither rootbeer or a big slice of cool watermelon. But…we did put together a fantastic spread with flavors from across the globe and managed to add a patriotic hue with some red, white and blue.

Onion pakora

Onion pakoras – couldn’t get enough of these when I made them for a thali indian meal last month. Simple ingredients often begets the most amazing tastes. The sauce is plain ketchup mixed with a good dose of garam masala spice. Recipe on the sophisticated gourmet.

Buttermilk cornflake chix

Buttermilk cornflake chicken. For a healthier and alternative version to fried chix I used to dip the pieces in low-fat mayo then crushed cornflakes and baked them until done. Now I soak chicken breast fillets in buttermilk seasoned with herbes de provence, paprika and salt & pepper.

Tangy potato salad

Tangy potato salad – the tang comes from a couple splashes of white wine vinegar. Again, no mayo but some olive oil, salt, pepper, sweet peas and a grated hard-boiled egg on top.

4th of July cheese

4th of July cheese plate – 3 from Italy, 1 from France and 1 from Belgium (or Denmark?). The Basilio is the orange and green-speckled cheese in the back which is supposed to be basil and hot pepper, but the predominant smoky flavor reminded me a lot of scamorza and not much else. The french fromage is a petit Pont-l’Eveque that is just plain yummy.

Bear Beer Tarte au fromage blanc

Why I passed on a 6-pack of Bud in favor of Bear Beer is obvious – read the alcohol content. Brewed in Germany. It’s supposed to be extra strong lager, and despite the unenthusiastic reviews online is much more palatable than Duff. I actually found Bear Beer at a chinese market in Lecco.

Tarte au fromage blanc using 0% fat fromage frais because that is all I could find. It tastes as good as it looks if you like chiffon/mousse textures in your desserts. Blueberries and red goosberries make anything so picture-perfect summer, don’t they?

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