A Melting-Pot Menu for July 4th Slideshow
When slowly cooking fresh vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and tomato together, these garden favorites break down into this stew-like side dish that originated in Nice, France. It is a great dish to serve a crowd, and if you have too much leftover, use the ratatouille as a filling for omelettes at breakfast the next day.
Wine Pairing: French Sancerre, such as Xavier Flouret "French Blonde" Sancerre.
A large, ice-cold margarita is a summertime favorite for many. This simple recipe calls for three ingredients — tequila, lime juice, and agave — and can be easily combined in large batches for serving in pitchers at your Fourth of July party.
Different from the rolled babka of Eastern European Jewish tradition that is baked in a loaf pan, this rich, sweet yeast bread baked in a tube pan is an Easter tradition for many Polish immigrants. Traditionally studded with fruits like raisins and sometimes glazed with a fruit icing, babka can be served in lieu of coffee cake at breakfast when hosting friends for brunch, or with berries and crème anglaise for a patriotic party dessert. Just be sure to make it a day or two in advance to leave you more time to be with your guests.
Wine Pairing: If you were to serve this for dessert, pick a sweet white wine such as a sweet German Riesling — like the ones from Donabaum — or a late-harvest dessert wine.
Italy: Lasagna Bolognese
When you’ve got a crowd to feed, nothing beats a big lasagna (plus, you can make it in advance). And while Italians traditionally serve a Bolognese — a primarily meat- and milk-based, slow-cooked sauce (with a bit of tomato) hailing from Bologna, Italy — with a wide noodle like tagliatelle, why not use it along with thin sheets of pasta, creamy ricotta, and fresh mozzarella, to make this comfort food favorite?
Wine Pairing: A hearty Chianti Classico like those one from Le Fonti.
China: Steamed Buns
With a history that goes back to the Jin Dynasty, steamed buns — served both stuffed and unstuffed — are a dim sum favorite around the U.S. In this recipe, inspired by the pork buns at David Chang’s Momofuku restaurants, tender roast chicken stands in for pork belly for a sandwich-like food that is sure to please both kids and adults at your Fourth of July backyard picnic.
Wine Pairing: Chinese food goes well with unoaked Chardonnays, like those from Gunn Estate.
Germany: Bratwurst with Apples, Onions, and Sauerkraut
Instead of a hot dog grilling party this July 4th, why not have a wurst-fest?
While brats are typically served as a snack, accompanied by mustard and a tall stein of beer, in Germany, they are also a mealtime pub favorite when accompanied by sauerkraut or potato salad.
Wine Pairing: A Santa Barbara County Sauvignon Blanc from Great Oaks Ranch.
Sweden: Swedish Meatballs
Known as Köttbullar in Sweden, these one-bite, pork- and beef-based Scandinavian favorites are great to serve as an appetizer, with a side of lingonberry and blackberry jams for a touch of red and blue, at your July 4th party. You can also transform any leftovers into a meal by serving the meatballs over noodles.
In a pinch? You can also pick up frozen meatballs at IKEA — they’re known for them!
Wine Pairing: A Spanish Rioja from Bodegas Ysios.
While you might order a couple of rolls with a seaweed salad for a light dinner, this healthy, pre-portioned Japanese food favorite also makes for a great appetizer that your guests can easily pick up and eat without dirtying their fingers.
Hosting friends for the holiday weekend? While you could order a couple of rolls from your local takeout spot, why not enlist them for help and have them roll their own vegetable or California rolls?
Wine Pairing: A crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Te Awa.
Spanish: Seafood Paella
Traditionally, this rice and saffron-based Valencian dish is made with green vegetables, beans, snails, and a meat like rabbit, chicken or duck. Today, however, a variety of interpretations can be found, from seafood paellas to recipes made solely with vegetables. When made in a large paella pot, paella is another main dish that is great for entertaining a large group. All you need is a salad, some fresh-baked bread, and some good wine to round out the meal.
Wine Pairing: Serve a white Rioja; Bodegas Valdemar's Tempranillo Blanco is excellent but can be hard to find.
This yogurt-based, thirst-quenching drink is often enjoyed in India during lunch when the weather is hot. For your July 4th celebration, it's a great thing to serve it to the kids instead of soda. With a consistency close to a milkshake, this sweet and refreshing treat is sure to please.
In moussaka, thin layers of broiled eggplant are layered with a lamb and beef filling and a yogurt-based béchamel sauce. It’s one of the most popular foods in Greece and can be made in advance in large pans for an easy, crowd-friendly meal.
Wine Pairing: An indigenous Greek red wine such as a Xinomavro, Krassato, Stavroto; Alyssa prefers the Tsantali Rapsani Reserve.
Brazil: Pão de Queijo
Similar to the French pâte à choux, these cheese buns are typically made with manioc flour, which is starchier than regular flour. They are a favorite in Brazil, where they're eaten for breakfast as a snack. Served piping hot out of the oven, they also make for a festive party appetizer for a 4th of July celebration.
Wine Pairing: A Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, such as Kingston Family Vineyards Tobbiano or Sauvignon Blanc.