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SHABOOM'S 4th OF JULY
EVENING PICNIC
AT THE FIREWORKS!
What could be lovelier and more thrilling than a blanket or tablecloth on the ground under a starry night sky, popping the cork of a bottle of chilled champagne or Reisling, and sharing a romantic interlude with soft background music and colorful fireworks. Don't forget the good wine goblets and linen napkins to make this really special!
PUT THESE IN YOUR PICNIC BASKET
Sparkling Sangria
Fromage Quatre
Guacamole
Chili-Roasted Cornish Hens
Austrian Green Bean Salad
Marinated Artichokes
Potato Salad Basque-Style
Apricot Bread
Blondies

SPARKLING SANGRIA
Mix up a batch of this for everyone to sip on. Transported in a large thermos or jug, it will really be a hit.
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water
1 Lime
1 Orange
1/2 Lemon
1 bottle Dry White Wine (25.4 oz.)
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
1 cup Club Soda Water -- chilled
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cut off ends of fruits; add ends to mixture in saucepan. Bring to boil; boil 3 minutes. Cool; discard ends. Cut remaining lime, orange and lemon into thin slices. In a 1-1/2 quart container, combine sugar-water mixture, wine and the Grand Marnier liqueur; mix well. Add fruit slices; refrigerate. Just before serving, add club soda and stir gently.

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FROMAGE QUATRE
This recipe by Jacques Pepín was inspired by his daughter Claudine's leftover cheeses in her fridge. He used brie, blue, swiss and mild cheddar any pieces of leftover cheese will do, according to Jacques. It's great to take along on a romantic evening picnic, serve as dip or spread with crackers, chips or crudites, and sip on a glass of white wine.....and, by the way, feel free to add more garlic and black pepper if desired.
Serves: 7-8
Prep.Time: 15 minutes
3-4 cups of various Cheeses
1 clove Garlic -- sliced
1/2 teaspoon Coarse-ground black pepper
1/2 cup Dry White Wine, or more
Place cheeses, garlic, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the wine into a blender or food processor; whirl briefly just until combined. With lid in place, pour wine gradually through hole in the top while processing until consistency is creamy and almost smooth (it's alright if small lumps remain). Spoon mixture into small serving bowl or plate; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 1 hour before serving.

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GUACAMOLE
This recipe came with my old MasterCook program, and seems to be rather foolproof. Great for picnics, and terrific with some of that white wine :)
Serves: 6-8
Prep.Time: 15 minutes

3 whole avocados
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 jalapeno chiles -- seeded and chopped
1 whole fresh tomatoes -- chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch fresh-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon sour cream
Peel avocados, cut them in halves and remove pits. Toss with lemon juice in a ceramic bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, blend well, and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with toasted pieces of pita bread or tortilla chips. (Be sure to keep this chilled.)

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CHILI-ROASTED CORNISH HENS
I've had this recipe for ages....these little critters are great hot or cold....terrific for a picnic under the fireworks!
Serves: 4-8
Prep.Time: 30 minutes

4 Cornish Game Hens
1/4 cup Butter
2 cloves Garlic -- minced
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Chili Powder Blend
1 teaspoon pure New Mexican Chile Powder (or additional blend)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees; remove and discard giblets from hens cavities. Wash hens inside and outside thoroughly; pat dry with paper towels. In a small saucepan, melt butter; stir in remaining ingredients. Place hens on a rack in shallow roadting pan; brush all over with sauce. Roast 45-55 minutes, basting frequently with sauce and pan juices, until cooked through and juices run clear. (Be sure to chill them thoroughly if taking on a picnic.)

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AUSTRIAN GREEN BEAN SALAD
This is quick and easy, and can be prepared ahead of time....and makes a wonderful summer salad or side dish.
Serves:6
Prep.Time: 35 minutes

2 slices Bacon
1 can French-style or Cut Green Beans -- drained
1 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Onion -- finely chopped
1 teaspoon Dillweed
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Vinegar
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
In a small skillet, cook bacon until crisp and brown; drain, crumble and place in a medium bowl. Add beans, 1 teaspoon salt, onion and dillweed; toss gently. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; whisk until well- blended. Pour dressing over bean mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours before serving.

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MARINATED ARTICHOKES
I'll only bother with the hearts of artichokes---the leaves are too much trouble. These can be served as a dinner side dish, part of an Italian antipasto, on a buffet, as an appetizer, or as a "nibble" at an "Attitude Adjustment" party!
Serves: 4
Prep.Time: 30 minutes + marinating time

1 package frozen Artichoke Hearts (10-oz.)
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Tarragon Vinegar
1 teaspoon minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Dry Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cook artichoke hearts according to package directions; drain and put into a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients until well-blended; pour over artichokes and toss gently. Cover and chill up to 4 hours, or serve at room temperature.

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POTATO SALAD BASQUE-STYLE
Easy and perfect for a picnic since there's no egg to worry about.
Serves: 6
Prep.Time: 30 minutes
1 package 5.5-ounce Idaho Scalloped Potatoes (I use Betty Crocker)
3 1/2 cups Water
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Onion -- chopped
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Basil
1/2 pound fully cooked Ham -- diced
1 small green bell pepper - diced
1 Tomato, peeled and seeded -- diced
Set aside the sauce packet from potatoes. Heat 3 cups of the water in medium saucepan; add potatoes and simmer 12 minutes. Drain, rinse, and drain again. Saute onion in oil in medium skillet until tender. Blend in sauce mix, remaining water, milk, vinegar, oregano and basil; stir and cook until mixture is thickened. Combine ham, green pepper, tomato and potatoes in large bowl; pour dressing over all and toss to coat. Cover and chill 2-3 hours.

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APRICOT BREAD
I found this in Country Magazine a few years ago, submitted by Ruth Jones of Maitland, Florida, and I've found it's really great anytime, with any meal, or by itself toasted and slathered with butter....yummmmm!
Yields: 1 loaf
Prep.Time: 35 minutes + baking time

1 cup chopped dried Apricots
2 cups Boiling Water
2 tablespoons Butter -- softened
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Egg
3/4 cup Orange juice
2 cups All-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup chopped Nuts (optional)
Soak apricots in boiling water for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, cream sugar, butter and egg; stir in orange juice. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until combined. Drain apricots well; add to the batter with nuts if used. Pour batter into prepard pan; bake 50-55 minutes or until bread tests done. Cool 10 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack. Yields 1 loaf.

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BLONDIES
Now what's yummier and easier to take along at a picnic than brownies?! And Blondies are even better!
Yields: 16 blondies
Prep.Time: 20 minutes + baking time

1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs -- beaten slightly
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 inch square pan, line with wax paper, then butter and flour the wax paper. Melt butter in saucepan. Stir brown sugar into butter until dissolved. Cool slightly and beat in egg and vanilla. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients into butter/sugar/egg. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 30-45 minutes; cool on a wire rack.

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Copyright 2008, Shaboom's Kitchen, Carol Stevens, All Rights Reserved