Happens every time. Yep, I’m a rule breaker…a real rebel. 😉 (hee, hee) Okay, technically when you have friends over for dinner or a party, you are NOT supposed to try out a new dish/recipe you’ve never made before. I guess that’s in case it doesn’t turn out right or you just don’t like it.
But, wouldn’t ya know, that’s when I always get in the mood to experiment and try something different…not the same old, same old. So far, it’s never come back to bite me in the tush…always seems to turn out fine. In fact, I don’t know what it is, but sometimes a dish seems to turn out its best, the very first time I make it. Does that ever happen to you? Maybe we try harder the first time, following the recipe to the nth degree.
For our little 4th of July bash, I decided to pull out one of those millions (slight exaggeration) of recipes I’ve torn out of magazines over the years. I wanted to make a green salad for our cookout and the one I’m sharing today sounded just right. You’ll find a printable version of this recipe at the end of this post.
Several folks have asked what the menu was for the party. It was very much a causal event…just a fun cookout with friends, so I kept it very basic, very simple. We had hamburgers and hotdogs off the grill. I also threw some mushrooms on the grill in case anyone wanted mushrooms on their burger in addition to the usual stuff like tomatoes, lettuce, etc…
I drizzled asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper and cooked it on the grill, too. Sorry I didn’t take pics. When a party starts, I am so focused on my guests, I never think to take pics again. Plus, it was raining a bit here and there so I was moving with a purpose.
Let’s see…Oh, I made a baked artichoke dip (see pic below) as an appetizer and picked up some of Trader Joes yummy salsa, too. A couple of my guests brought appetizers (deviled eggs and stuffed mushrooms) so we were almost full before dinner hit the grill. lol We had just stuck the spoons in the dip to scoop it onto our plates before heading out on the porch for our party “on the Titanic” when I took this pic. As you can see, this was a casual event…nothing fancy…just friends getting together for some fun and laughs.
Another guest brought potato salad her sister had made. It was delish!
I made baked beans. Instead of making them from scratch like I usually do, I bought canned beans and doctored them up by adding ground beef (of course, browned with onion in advance) with bacon (cooked in advance) sprinkled across the top. Then I baked it all in the oven for a bit to get it good and hot. I just decided to go simple with the beans instead of making them from scratch.
We had the salad I’m about to share, and dessert was cupcakes from scratch with homemade Seven Minute icing…you’ll find the recipe for the icing HERE. I served the cupcakes in the cute lawn chairs like you saw in this 4th of July Tablescape, HERE.
I made extra cupcakes…
Because you just never know when you might have a cupcake emergency. 😉
In addition to the cupcakes, I also made a peach bourbon trifle with fresh Georgia peaches. I shared that recipe HERE.
Oh, oh, oh…I almost forgot one of the yummiest parts. I made a wine/pomegranate fruit punch, again for the first time.
You’ll find the recipe for the punch HERE and I’ve included it below, as well. I made two batches and each batch is supposed to yield 10-12 drinks. Six people went through two batches with none left over! It was so refreshing…perfect for a hot, steamy July afternoon/night in Georgia!
Of course, we had sodas, iced tea, etc… I’m sure I’m leaving something off…there was a lot of food!
Okay, I promised you a yummy recipe for a great salad…time to deliver on that promise. 🙂 This recipe comes from an August 2007 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.
Arugula Salad with Berry Dressing:
1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. honey
Dash of salt
2 Tbsp. chopped pistachio nuts
1 4-oz. log goat cheese (chévre)
4 cups arugula leaves
3/4 cup blackberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries
1/4 cup thin strips of shaved jicama (optional)
In a blender, combine 3/4 cup strawberries, vinegar, oil, honey and salt. Cover; blend until smooth. Set dressing aside.
Place arugula and remaining strawberries in a salad bowl or serving dish.
Spread chopped pistachio nuts on a piece of waxed paper. Roll the goat cheese in the chopped nuts until well coated. (I put the cheese in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to get it good and cold, which made it a easy to roll in the chopped nuts.)
Slice goat cheese crosswise into 8 slices.
Add blackberries, raspberries, cheese slices and jicama across the top of the salad.
You can peel the jimaca into thin slices/shards with a vegetable peeler. I’d never eaten or bought jicama prior to this. I found it at Harry’s Farmers Market, here where I live. I’m not sure if regular grocery stores carry it or not. You don’t have to add it to the recipe, but I think it adds a nice touch. Taste pretty good, too.
Drizzle berry dressing over the salad.
Makes 4 servings.
Here’s the same recipe in a printable version.
- 1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil 1 tsp. honey
- Dash of salt
- 2 Tbsp. chopped pistachio nuts
- 1 4-oz. log goat cheese (chévre)
- 4 cups arugula leaves
- 3/4 cup blackberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries
- 1/4 cup thin strips of shaved jicama (optional)
- Berry Dressing:
- In a blender, combine 3/4 cup strawberries, vinegar, oil, honey and salt.
- Cover; blend until smooth.
- Set dressing aside.
- Place arugula and remaining strawberries in a salad bowl or serving dish.
- Spread chopped pistachio nuts on a piece of waxed paper.
- Roll the goat cheese in the chopped nuts until well coated. I put the cheese in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to get it good and cold, which made it a easy to roll in the chopped nuts.
- Slice goat cheese crosswise into 8 slices..
- Add blackberries, raspberries, cheese slices and jicama across the top of the salad.
- Drizzle berry dressing over the salad.