How to throw a memorable Fourth of July party
With Mother Nature as your co-host, you can throw a memorable Fourth of July or other summertime party for very little cost.
Hold your party outside — on your patio, in your backyard, lakeside, or at a park — and let nature provide the atmosphere and decor. Who needs centerpieces when you’ve got rose bushes and geraniums and sunflowers in full bloom?
What to serve? The venue will dictate your menu. You may need dishes that travel well or that don’t require refrigeration. No matter how many guests you expect, you can feed them without emptying your wallet.
To save money, consider an array of summer salads, with cheap base ingredients like pasta, rice or grains.
Marlene Eliades of Plain Township, Ohio, created a spinach pasta salad for her family’s annual July 3 outing to the Blossom Music Center. She says it’s the first dish to disappear.
“I’m not kidding you, this is the very best pasta salad you’ll ever have,” she said.
Eliades mixes pasta, baby spinach, tomatoes, olives and grated cheese with a simple dressing of lemon juice and high quality olive oil, punched up with lemon zest. The bright tang of the lemon tames the spinach and pairs beautifully with the aged Pecorino Romano cheese. Watch a how-to video of Eliades making this salad at CantonRep.com.
Gourmet wheatberry salads sell for $6 a pound at the deli, but you can make your own for pennies a serving. Wheatberries are sold in bulk. (See recipes at www.wheatfoods.org.)
Rice salads are very economical, especially when tossed with whatever produce is in season and on sale. Rice can be dressed with mayonnaise like a potato salad, or with a vinaigrette. More than 200 rice salad recipes can be found at www.usrice.com.
Rita Palaski, who is hosting the 35th annual July 4th party at her Tuscarawas Township, Ohio, home, saves money by buying pop in 2-liter bottles.
“That way we do not have half empty cans of pop sitting around getting warm and attracting bees,” she said.
To save even more, forget bottles and cans and serve beverages in pitchers or punch bowls. Make up a batch of lemonade, ice tea or sangria.
MARLENE’S SPINACH & PASTA SALAD
3 bags baby spinach
1 pound short tubular pasta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of three lemons
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, or Parmesan
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
Garlic powder, kosher or sea salt and pepper to taste.
Cook pasta al dente; rinse in cold water, drain well. Drizzle with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
Put lemon juice in bowl of food processor. With motor running, add olive oil in thin stream until emulsified.
Put spinach, pasta, olives and tomatoes in large serving bowl. Add dressing, toss, season to taste. Sprinkle with cheese, toss and serve.
1 container frozen orange juice, thawed
1 bottle red wine, chilled
1 sliced orange
Add the recommended amount of water to the orange juice, stir till blended. Add red wine and 1 tablespoon sugar (optional, only needed if red wine is dry), stirring till sugar dissolves. Pour into clear glass serving pitcher and add sliced orange. Serve over ice. If you prefer bubbles, top off glass with splash of ginger ale.
Canton (Ohio) Repository