Fourth of July Cooking…My Fixation Continues

AUTHOR: | POSTED: June 25, 2013 | COMMENTS: 2 Comments
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Food on the Fly, Holidays,

Carolyn Savage

I warned you last week that there’s something about the warmer temperatures that makes me polish off my knives so I can mince, dice and chop my way through summer.  I’m happy to report the impulse to cook hasn’t waned…yet.  As the Fourth of July holiday is right around the bend, I talked with Mary Beth and Rick at 101.5 The River about some great recipes to take along to a cookout.  The two below are 11’s on a scale of one to ten.  The pasta salad is a little cumbersome when it comes to chopping, but as I’ve said before, there’s something cathartic for me about chopping veggies.  It makes me feel healthy and confident in what I’m feeding those that I love.


Antipasto Pasta Salad

Finished product!

Finished product!


This recipe can be a meal.  There’s enough meat to fill everyone up…for days.  Supposedly serves 12….lumber jacks, that is, that haven’t eaten all day.  So, if you are making this for a small group as a side, or for your family of four for dinner, you may want to cut the amounts in half, unless you want to eat it for a week.

Who knows?  You may want to.  It’s that good!


For the pasta salad

  • 1 pound pasta  (I used spirelli.  Use whatever you like.)

*  A note about the Asiago cheese.  You want this to be soft, not aged.  And don’t skip it.  It adds an authentic Italian zing thus putting the “antipasto” in this pasta salad. You can find soft asiago anywhere fine cheese are sold.

photo (6)

Soft asiago is sold in wedges as seen below.

Soft asiago is sold in wedges as seen below.

For the Dressing…


  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, and cool under cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, salami, pepperoni, Asiago cheese, black olives, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and tomatoes. Stir in the envelope of dressing mix. Cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour. (I actually did this the night before.  Allowed for the tastes to blend and it was worth it!)
  3. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Just before serving, pour dressing over the salad, and mix well.

*  Some people cheat and use bottled dressing.  You can, but I didn’t and it was worth the extra three minutes it took to whip up!


Yummy and super easy to

Yummy and super easy to make!


Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

We had to do something with these before she ate them all!

We had to do something with these before she ate them all!

This kind of recipe reminds me of my family.  My mom can make a crumble out of just about anything.  Once she made the topping out of Life Cereal because that’s all we had on hand.  It was awesome.


This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s book, “How Easy Is That?”.  I’ve already established my fixation with the Barefoot Contessa, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this recipe is ripped from her.  It is super easy to make…taking only about 20 minutes.  And…served warm over a scoop of vanilla ice cream?  Well, I promise your reviewers will rave!



For the fruit filling

  • 4 cups strawberries (hulled and halved)  (about 1 1/2 quarts)
  • 4 cups of diced rhubarb (about 4-5 medium stalks)
  • 3/4 cup of white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tbs corn starch
  • the juice of one orange
  • water

For the Crumble (aka, crisp, crunch…whatever)

  • 1 cup  white flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted cold butter (diced into tablespoon thickness)


  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. After zesting, squeeze juice from orange into 1/2 cup measuring cup.  If you don’t make a 1/2 cup of juice fill the remainder of the measuring cup with water.  Add cornstarch to orange juice/water mixture, stir and dissolve.  Set aside.
  3. Mix strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and orange zest in large mixing bowl.  Add orange juice-cornstarch mixture.  Stir.  Pour into 9 x13 backing dish.  Set aside.
  4. In large mixing bowl, add flour, quick cooking oats, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and diced cold butter.  Mix with hand mixer until crumbly.
  5. Drop crumble topping (using your hands) over fruit mixture in baking dish.  Should cover fruit almost if not completely.
  6. Place baking dish on a cookie sheet covered in foil (to catch drippings in case fruit bubbles over)
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Serve warm.

Diced rhubarb.  Rhubarb looks like celery.  It's tangy, though, and adds a nice zip to any recipe with sweet strawberries.

Diced rhubarb. Rhubarb looks like celery. It’s tangy, though, and adds a nice zip to any recipe with sweet strawberries.

Before baking...

Before baking…


After baking…

Someone was in a hurry to eat this!

Someone was in a hurry to eat this!

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kebabs

For those of you looking for the Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kebabs, click here.  (I wrote about that recipe last week but talked about this morning on the radio!)

Happy cooking, friends!

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