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AMEX 4th of July Picnic

07 / 72017
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With July 4th right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to pack up your picnic basket and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you live in a city, are headed to the beach, planning a visit to a local park, or just hanging in your own backyard, I’ve put together a few items to make your picnic picture perfect.

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One of my go-to recipes for any get together, especially a picnic, is my Pimento Goat Cheese Spread. I grew up in West Virginia, and we love our pimento cheese spread. Typically, it’s made with just cheddar cheese, pimentos, mayo, and maybe a little pickle relish, sometimes a touch of cream cheese. I’ve put my own spin on the traditional recipe by substituting smoked cheddar cheese and fresh goat cheese. It’s a classic all-American recipe to serve for the holiday. I’m always a fan of a little bubbly to make everyone feel festive. This pairs nicely with Altaneve Prosecco.

white-wine-and-dip

 

Pimento Goat Cheese Spread

1 (11 ounce) log fresh goat cheese, at room temperature

4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, shredded (1 packed cup)

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup drained jarred pimentos, coarsely chopped

2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish

1 teaspoon onion powder

A few dashes of hot sauce, to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crudites and crackers, for serving

In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, blend the goat cheese with the cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, scallions, relish, and onion powder. Season with hot sauce and salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl an airtight container and chill until serving. Serve with crudités and crackers.

Beach Party 

I am a self-proclaimed beach bum. If you can’t find me on a summer day, chances are, I’m at the beach.  I had so much fun traveling around the country to film this season of Beach Bites for Cooking Channel.  Every region of the U.S. has a different style of cooking and their own “beach bite.” I had Alabama-style BBQ, fried wild shrimp in South Carolina, empanadas in Florida, the best fish tacos in San Diego, and even participated in a traditional Kahlua pig roast in Maui.

blanket

When I am at home in the Hamptons, I enjoy having our beach cuisine, like lobster rolls and local littleneck clams.  At all times, I keep my beach chair, umbrella, and towel in my car so all I have to do is pack up the cooler and head to the beach.

duffle-cooler

This cooler is on wheels, making it easy to transport through the parking lot and down the boardwalk to the beach, and side handles so it’s also easy to carry. It has plenty of room for food and is easy to clean.

Rooftop Celebration 

In the city, I love a rooftop picnic, especially for sunset cocktails.  Pack some simple snacks, like chips and salsa, olives, and prosciutto. This tabletop bar set has everything you need to shake up the perfect drink as you toast the 4th of July fireworks.

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To simplify the packing for a bar set up, I like using Splash mixers. They are all-natural and delicious without a ton of sugar. The mini-sampler gives something for everyone with margaritas, mojitos, cosmopolitans and more.

Splash

Park Picnic

I like to meet friends in the park for a picnic and make it a potluck. Everyone is assigned a dish and brings their own blanket so there is plenty of room for all.  July 4th is kind of like the Thanksgiving of summer and a potluck makes sense to feed a large group.

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I typically make a few different salads, like this Quinoa Tabbouleh from my  Endless Summer Cookbook, and a grilled vegetable salad. I pack them in Chinese takeout boxes.  These are eco-friendly and look great.

park

Backyard BBQ

A backyard picnic is perhaps my favorite of all! I entertain all summer long, but July 4th is the day I go all out. I am usually stationed at the grill, so I like to set up self-serve drinks and hors d’oeuvres stations.

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I just love this rolling cooler. Fill it with ice and your favorite drinks. It has an attached bottle opener a drain and the old-fashioned look makes it a conversation piece.

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You can never go wrong with a cheese and charcuterie platter. This sampler takes out all of the guess work with multiple cheeses and meats, nuts, and a cherry confit. Added bonus, it comes with a chocolate bar, perfect to use for s’mores.

Hope you love this Fourth of July Picnic Guide! Thanks for reading my tips and don’t forget to catch me on Cooking Channel’s Beach Bites this summer, season two premieres on June 1st.

 

 

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