Festive Food for July 4th

Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

Most of us around the country will be grilling the favorites for the 4th-burgers, dogs and possibly sausage…that’s a given. The side dishes can be a little more challenging. The menu below can be a potluck with participants volunteering their dish in advance for a coordinated menu. After all, you don’t want 26 bags of tortilla chips-right?

Make sure to let folks know that the food should be able to sit at room temperature or have them make bring coolers if temperature is an issue. Fire up the grill for piping hot burgers and doggies!


A kayak party makes the 4th!


An activity like kayaking makes the holiday memorable and gets in some exercise before the feast.


Dianne Flury hosts another of her spectacular gatherings!



  • Greek Yogurt Dip with Garden Herbs
  • Creamy Spicy Broccoli Salad with Cashews
  • Dijon Red Bliss Potato Salad
  • Cherry Blueberry Ice Cream Cake

 Greek Yogurt Dip with Garden Herbs

Makes 2 cups

  •  1 cup low-fat cottage cheese 
  • 1 cup low fat Greek yogurt
  • 3 teaspoons fresh dill weed 
  • 2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder or finely grated onion

 Put cottage cheese in food processor with steel blade and process about one minute, until cottage cheese is well blended. (It won’t be completely smooth.) Add yogurt, dill weed, onion powder, and Worcestershire. Blend about 30 seconds more, until all ingredients are well combined. Chill several hours before using.

 Creamy Spicy Broccoli Salad with Cashews

Serves 8

 This broccoli dish is so popular, you know you’ve sampled many versions on the same theme. I decided to update it a bit by making it zingy and vegetarian. I also cut back on the sweetness to enhance the wasabi punch.

  •  1 large head broccoli
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup cashew halves (or pieces)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup wasabi mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • about 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

 Wash broccoli thoroughly, drain. Cut into bite-size flowerets.

 Combine mayonnaise, wasabi mayonnaise, honey and vinegar, stirring until well blended.

Combine broccoli, red onion and tomatoes in large bowl. Toss with mayonnaise dressing. Chill for several hours or overnight. Stir in cashews before serving and sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese. 

 Dijon Red Bliss Potato Salad

Serves 6-8

No mayo here, which is a great thing for transporting to outdoor events. It’s also much lower in calories. You can add the herbs of you garden…dill, tarragon, basil, etc.

  •  6 cups small red potatoes, quartered (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt 
  • 2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

 Place red potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool slightly. Place potatoes in a large bowl.

 To the potatoes, add, onion, parsley, chives, and toss gently.

 Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients. Pour over potato mixture; toss gently to combine. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.


The Grill team-John and Norm for the burgers, dogs and chicken sausages


Cherry Blueberry Ice Cream Cake

Serves 6

 When antioxidant-rich cherries and blueberries are at their peak, add them to breakfast, lunch, dinner and of course, dessert. 

 You may want to use frozen Greek yogurt since now it comes as an icy treat with additional protein. I spied some cherry mascarpone gelato in the freezer case and oooh that was divine! Note that toasting the angel food cake makes a big difference.

  • 1 loaf angel food cake
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream or frozen Greek yogurt or gelato
  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • Extra fruit for topping

 Slice the angel food cake in half horizontally. Toast both sides of each half until golden-watch carefully so that it doesn’t burn.

 Soften the ice cream by placing in a medium bowl; fold in cherries and blueberries. Freeze.

 To Assemble: 

Place the bottom layer of the angel food cake on a serving platter or small cutting board which will fit into your freezer. Spread the bottom layer with half of the ice cream fruit mixture. Add the top layer of cake and press down gently to adhere. Quickly top with remaining ice cream spreading so it looks natural with a few peaks. Freeze the entire cake.

 When ready to serve warm a knife with a serrated blade in hot water. Slice each piece and then return knife to hot water before slicing the next piece. Top each slice with extra berries.