• Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Fourth of July Recipes

Fourth of July Picnic
By , Contributor
July 2, 2014

With BBQ on the brain this 4th of July, we assembled four unexpected international toppings that transcend the traditional grilled burger and hot dog. Banish the standard ketchup, mustard, lettuce and pickle and go global with the easy, practically no-cook recipes from Italy, the Mediterranean, Caribbean and South America.

Italian Gorgonzola Dolce, Mushroom and Pickled Red Onion Stack


8 Portobello mushrooms 3-4 inches in diameter, gills removed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb Gorgonzola Dolce, room temperature
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 medium red onions, about 1–1/2 lbs, peeled and sliced, 1/4-inch rounds
2 cups rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup Mirin
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt


Equipment needed
1 medium-sized mixing bowl
1 saucepan, 6–8 cups
1 measuring cup
1 set measuring spoons




Zesty Gorgonzola Dolce, grilled mushroom and pickled onions stack up for this Po Valley Italian-inspired burger.

Yield 8 servings 

Make the pickled red onions one day ahead. In saucepan, add rice wine vinegar, Mirin, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. Place in refrigerator to chill. When chilled, add sliced red onions to liquid, stir and let marinate in refrigerator overnight.

In a medium bowl place the room temperature Gorgonzola Dolce and add 1/2 cup mayonnaise. Using the backside of a fork, mash the Gorgonzola while mixing in the mayonnaise into a smooth mixture. Store in refrigerator.

Pre-heat gas grill to medium-high. Brush off any dirt from mushrooms and remove stem. Using the back of a spoon, remove the gills from the underside and discard. Brush both sides of the mushroom with oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Place mushroom on grill and cook for about 3–5 minutes per side. Remove from grill, set aside.

Assemble burger: Spread on top of grilled burger 2 tablespoons of Gorgonzola Dolce, one grilled mushroom and several pickled onion rings. Top with burger bun. Eat.

Caribbean Jicama and Mango Slaw


1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced, about 2–3 tablespoons
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp, Cholula sauce
2 tbsp cilantro, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 black pepper


2 cups jicama, peeled, cut into 2-inch long, thin matchsticks
2 mangos, peeled, small dice
4 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 red onion, medium-sized, small dice
1 red pepper, medium-sized, cut into 2 inch long thin matchsticks
2 jalapenos, top, ribs and seeds removed, fine dice


Equipment needed
1 large mixing bowl
1 medium-mixing bowl
1 vegetable peeler
1 measuring cup
1 set measuring spoons




Crunchy and sweet with a little kick, this slaw is top dog for your hot dog. Marinate for at least 2 hours, or better yet overnight for a flavor pop in every bite.

Yield 8 servings 

In a small bowl add the oil, vinegar, lime juice and sugar; stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the Cholula sauce, cilantro, salt and black pepper; stir all ingredients. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add the jicama, mangoes, cabbage, onion, red pepper and jalapeños. Pour the dressing over the slaw and mix gently. Taste. Add more Cholula for a spicier kick.

Assemble hot dog: Evenly spread 2 tablespoons of slaw along the top of hot dog for a crunch in every bite.

Mediterranean Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Spread


1 lb sheep’s milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp oregano, fresh, minced
1 tsp thyme, fresh leaves, minced
1/4 cup black olives, pitted, chopped (Nicoise or Kalamata)
1/4 cup green olives, pitted, chopped (Cerignola or Manzanilla)
1 lemon, juiced, 2-3 tablespoons
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp Sea salt 
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 large red onion, ¼ inch round slices
1 bunch spinach, fresh large leaves, stems removed, washed


Equipment needed
1 large mixing bowl
1 wire whisk
1 measuring cup
1 set measuring spoons
1 vegetable peeler or zester




The extra creaminess of sheep’s milk ricotta mixed with herbs and the saltiness of olives will make your taste buds swoon. Look for sheep’s milk ricotta in specialty cheese shops. 

Yield 8 servings

In a large mixing bowl add the cheese and olive oil. Using a wire whisk blend the olive oil into the cheese for a smooth, consistency. Add oregano, thyme, black and green olives, lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt and black pepper, stir to incorporate all ingredients. Taste. Adjust sea salt and black pepper.   

Assemble burger: Spread on top of grilled burger 2 tablespoons of sheep’s milk ricotta mixture, two large spinach leaves, and one slice of red onion. Top with burger bun. Enjoy.

South American Corn and Merken Relish


6 ears of sweet corn, husk and silk removed
2 medium sized poblano peppers, top and seeds removed, small dice
1/2  pint red cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 medium red onion, peeled, small dice
2 tbsp cilantro
1 lime juiced, 2-3 tablespoon
1 tsp Merken powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil


Equipment needed
1 8 quart saucepan
1 large sized mixing bowl
1 measuring cup
1 set measuring spoons




Summer corn, green mild poblano peppers and sweet cherry tomatoes get a punch of smoke and fire from merken, an exotic, Chilean spice of dried and smoked red chili, coriander and salt. Expect a jolt of in this relish! 

Yield 8 servings

In the 8-quart saucepan add 6 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add the 6 ears of corn and cook for 3 minutes. Remove immediately and rinse under cold water to stop the corn from further cooking. Let corn cool. To remove the corn kernels hold upright on a cutting board and using a knife in a downward motion to cut off the kernels. Turn corncob and repeat until all kernels have been cut off. Discard cob.

In a large mixing bowl, add the cut corn kernels, diced poblano peppers, tomatoes and red onion; stir together. Add the cilantro, lime juice, merken powder, salt, vinegar and oil. Gently stir making sure all vegetables have been coated. Taste. For extra smoke and spice add additional Merken. Enjoy. 

Assemble hot dog: Evenly spread 2 tablespoons of corn and Merken relish along the top of hot dog for spice and smoke in every bite.

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