The Fourth of July is fast approaching and we are all scrambling to get our parties together. Whether we are throwing a barbecue or hitting the beach, there’s a lot of time and effort that goes into Independence Day celebrations. We admit that it can get a bit stressful, but never fear! We got together with Martha Stewart and gathered some expert tips to help you plan your July 4th bash.
The Daily Meal: What are the best July 4th recipes for kids?
Martha Stewart: Make “Flag Cupcakes” to celebrate the occasion! Decorate patriotic cupcakes with stars piped in blue buttercream and stripes cut from red licorice laces.
TDM: What are your favorite healthy alternatives to standard July 4th foods, and how do you incorporate red/white/blue?
MS: A delicious red, white, and blue parfait is perfect for the whole family on Fourth of July. Layers of red current gelatin, vanilla panna cotta, and blueberries and currants create a striking and delicious parfait. Serve them in a short, thin glass tumbler.
TDM: Best cocktails for the occasion?
MS: I don’t recall where I first tasted a cherry mojito, but wow. This is one of the best drinks for summer. Try to get the biggest, best bing cherries available; I get mine each July 4th from my friend Deborah Olsen, who owns C.J. Olsen Cherries in Sunnyvale, CA. I serve a big batch from a punch bowl or glass cylinder container. Ladle the mixture over ice and top with sparkling mineral water.
TDM: Any grilling tips for our readers?
MS: I might be the last person on earth to be associated with a grill, and yet, for just that reason, I have made it a priority to grill everything to perfection. Hamburgers are so often cooked badly – charred, raw, overdone – yet this doesn’t have to be the case. I think it all has to do with the grill, the fuel, and of course, the heat. I prefer a large, flat grill with a cooking surface that can be raised or lowered.
The art of grilling is very important. Kebabs and chicken wings taste so delectable if properly grilled and flavored. Herb skewers made from branches of woody herbs like rosemary or summer savory impart additional subtle flavors to ground meat.
Shellfish such as lobster, langoustines, shrimp, and crab need careful attention when put on the grill, as shells tend to burn quickly and flesh toughens rapidly over high heat
TDM: What are some entertaining tips you have to ensure a disaster-free and yet super fun party?
MS: Sufficient refrigeration is essential when you’re hosting lots of people in the summer. If you can, put extra refrigerators in your basement or garage, and establish enough storage space for extra dishware, glassware, linens, and even a few additional tables and chairs.
Confetti-filled balloons are a fun alternative to fireworks. Satisfyingly loud and sparkly, they can be set off by kids indoors! To make, pull a balloon over a funnel. Pour in the confetti until the balloon is a quarter full, and then inflate with a hand pump. Use a sharpened pencil for popping fun.