With the long 4th of July weekend quickly approaching it’s time to plan our holiday barbeques and picnics! After my fiasco of an Independence Day barbeque last year, where everyone showed up with a bag of chips and my grill lost a leg, I admit to dreading this year’s July 4th. Last year I winged it. This year, I had planned on staying in and sulking (just a little) until I recently discovered a foolproof (or me-proof) answer to last year’s holiday disaster: Celebrate! by Sheila Lukins.
With knockout recipes in line with Lukins’ Silver Palate Cookbook, Celebrate! offers 46 menus for entertaining on special occasions, be it a Kentucky Derby-inspired buffet or a Labor Day picnic. As an added bonus, Lukins suggests extra touches to make an event even more special, including music selections, wine recommendations, and decoration tips.
This year, I’m ready to conquer this holiday armed with Lukins’ “Bang-Up Fourth of July” menu, which includes recipes for Glorious Gazpacho, Dazzling Grilled Veal Chops, Outrageous Lobster Salad Rolls, A Decorative Cucumber Salad, Garden Squash Salad, Fresh Peach Cobbler, and Buttermilk Ice Cream.
I’m especially excited about the Garden Squash Salad below, since there is an amazing farmer’s market close to my apartment!
Garden Squash Salad
Summer squash, both zucchini and yellow, are crisp and delicious when served raw and very thinly sliced in a salad. Dressed with plenty of lemon juice and Parmesan cheese (look for the finest Parmigiano-Reggiano), it matches up well with peppery arugula and some fine ripe tomatoes.
4 small zucchini, ends trimmed
4 small yellow squash, ends trimmed
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin live oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved or cut into thin slivers
2 large bunches arugula (12 ounces total), stems trimmed, leaves washed and patted dry
2 large ripe tomatoes, cored
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Cut the zucchini and squash into very thin slices on the diagonal and place them in a bowl.
- Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper together in a small and toss with the squash. Let the squash rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Then add the cheese.
- Place the arugula in a salad bowl. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise, and then into very thin wedges, and scatter them over the greens.
- Just before serving, spoon the squash and dressing over the arugula and tomatoes. Sprinkle with parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, tossing the salad at the table.
For the full menu, including this Garden Squash Salad from Sheila Lukins’ “Bang-Up Fourth of July” menu, see the excerpt below, via Scribd: