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Fourth of July Party Recipes

fourth-of-july-food-and-cupcakes
There is no better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than to get together with a group of good friends and enjoy the freedom and way of life we have. Here are a few great recipes for you and your friends to enjoy this or any Fourth of July.

Artichoke Dip

You will need:
2 boxes of frozen artichokes
1 large jalapeno
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 cup mayonnaise
4 oz cream cheese
2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

First you will want to roast the frozen artichokes for increased flavor. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the still frozen artichokes with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, just a bit of each. Spread the artichokes over a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast, stirring occasionally. Remove when the artichokes are browned at the edges, which will take about 25 minutes. Allow the artichokes to cool and chop coarsely.

While the artichokes are roasting, start roasting the jalapeno over a gas flame until the skin is bubbled and charred. Allow the jalapeno to cool, then peel, seed and mince the jalapeno. Then, put the remaining oil in a skillet and saute the onion until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Put in a bowl and set aside.

Stir the remaining ingredients in a bowl and add the onions until all the lumps are smoothed. Add in the artichokes and jalapeno and add salt and pepper to taste. Put the dip into an 8 in square baking dish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake uncovered for about 20 minutes. Serve after 5 minutes with pita chips or crostini.

 Oven Fried Chicken

You will need:
6 pieces of chicken, skinned, such as 2 breast halves, 2 thighs, 2 legs (about 2 lbs in total)
1 cup buttermilk
2 egg whites, beaten
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Make sure that the chicken pieces are skinned, then combine the buttermilk and beaten eggs thoroughly in a pie plate. Then combine the flour, cornmeal, herbs and spices in another pie plate. Dip the chicken first in the buttermilk mixture to get a thorough coating, then put into the flour mixture also coating thoroughly.

Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook on each site for about 4 minutes until the coating is lightly browned. Place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently spray the chicken with cooking oil and bake for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
8 tbsp salted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg at room temperature
2 large egg yolks at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put your Fourth of July themed cupcake liners in a muffin tin. Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Then stir in the butter, sour cream, egg, egg yolks and vanilla extract. Beat the mixture until the batter is smooth and no flour pockets remain. You can use a stand mixer or a hand mixer to make the beating process easier, but it is not necessary and you will need to beat by hand to finish and make sure the flour pockets are stirred in.

Divide the batter into the muffin tine and bake until the tops are golden brown about 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting.

For the Frosting:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
12 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

This is a cooked frosting recipe, which can be tricky to prepare, but the recipe is light, fluffy and delicious. Start by combining the sugar and egg whites and salt in a glass bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer if you have one. Fill a large pan with water and bring to a simmer. When the water is simmering place the bowl with the egg whites over the water. This will pasteurize the eggs. As soon as you place the egg mixture of the water start mixing with a whisk gently but consistently. Make sure to continuously stir until the mixture reaches 150 degrees when measured with a thermometer.

Once the egg mixture is cooked and slightly thickened, remove from the heat and beat at medium speed until the mixture resembles shaving cream. You can do this in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer if you prefer. Add the butter one piece at a time and beat until the mixture is smooth, creamy and light. At this stage the frosting may start to look like the butter and eggs are separating, which will look very unpleasant, just continue to mix until the consistency changes. Finish by adding the vanilla and beating at a high speed for another few seconds until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Divide the frosting into to bowls and add a few drops of blue food coloring to one bowl and mix thoroughly and a few drops of red food coloring to the second bowl. The red frosting may look more pink than red, but it is better to leave it light than risk having too much of the food coloring taste in the frosting. Frost the cupcakes as desired.
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