Entertaining made easy for the 4th of July

I love to entertain but I also love to enjoy the party. I hate to stay in the kitchen cooking while everyone is having good time.  The way  I look at it, if my guests are having good time I am a good host. If I am having a good time too I will entertain them again and that will be a win win situation.

So, you ask how to do that? I am glad you asked.  On the Fourth of July there will be  a lot of grilling so I make a lot of cold side dishes that can be made couple days ahead of time.  Cold dishes complement the grilled main dish, and ease the pain of the hot weather.  For the hot weather, I make only vegan dishes that can stay fresh safely outdoor in the hot weather.

On the day before the party, I make the cold dishes, I marinate the tofu, vegetables or the meat you are grilling and I set the tables.  So, couple hours before my guest arrive, I start the grill, set the drinks, take the cold dishes out and start the music, after I get ready of course,.  When the guests arrive, they will nibble on the cold dishes and enjoy the drinks while the tofu, the mushroom or the meat is grilled.

These few of the spreads and salads that I make for my party.

Hommous

serves 6-8

2        cups cooked garbanzo beansAlways think color and texture

1/2    cup water

4        cloves garlic

1/2    teaspoon cumin

6        Tablespoons tahini

6        Tablespoons lemon juice

salt to taste

-Place the garbanzo beans, the water and the garlic in food processor and process until the garbanzo beans are smooth and finely pureed.

-Add the rest of the ingredients and process until you have smooth paste.

Mohammara, Red bell pepper and pomegranate spread

serves 6-8

1         red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

1         medium onion, chopped

1         cup walnuts

2        slices white bread, couple days old

1        teaspoon freshly ground coriander

1/2   teaspoon cumin

4       Tablespoons pomegranate molasses

2       Tablespoons chili paste

4       Tablespoons olive oil

-Place the pepper, the onion, the walnut and the bread.  Process, using and off and on bottom, into coarse mixture.

-Add the rest of the ingredients and process couple time more into semi coarse spread.  You should be able to feel the crunch of the walnuts in this spread.

Green olive tapenade

serves 6-8

1  1/2    cups pitted green olives

1/2        cup chopped scallion

1/2        cup chopped parsley

1            cup walnuts

6           Tablespoons lemon juice

6           Tablespoons olive oil

-Place the olives, the scallion, the parsley and the walnuts in a food processor.  Process, using about 5 on/off, into coarse mixture.

-Add the rest of the ingredients and process couple time more into semi smooth spread.  You should be able to feel the crunch of the walnuts in this spread.

Summer Potato Salad

serves 4

4       medium potato

1        medium ripe tomato diced

1        red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1        medium sweet onion, finely chopped

1        punch Italian parsley, chopped

2       Tablespoons caper

zest of one lemon

1/4   cup lemon juice

6       Tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

-Boil the potatoes in water until they are cooked but not over cooked.  Remove from the stove and wash with cold water.

-Peel the skin from the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes and place in a salad bowl.

-Add the rest of the ingredients and toss gently.

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