4th of July

Almost every 4th of July, we have a family gathering to celebrate my mother in law's birthday (conveniently timed to a national holiday!).  Usually we go to the beach, but this year, the family came to our house.  I wanted to make a meal that was celebratory and fitting of the summer holiday, that involved very little hands-on work while our guests were here, and that allowed me to eat everything while not leaving the guest of honor feeling deprived.

I made almost everything ahead: except grilling the pork and whipping the coconut milk. The only problem is that I was having too much fun and enjoying the food so much that I forgot to take pictures! I've found photos that pretty much look like what my dishes looked like, only with better styling.  However, the recipes that accompanied the photos were not what I used.


  • Appetizers: Rice crackers, wasabi hummus, carrots
  • Gazpacho
  • Grilled balsamic rosemary pork tenderloin
  • Lemony potato salad
  • Black bean and corn "rainbow" salad
  • Chocolate cake with coconut whipped cream and berries



I didn't follow a recipe closely on this or keep track of my amounts but it came out very nicely.


Plum tomatoes

Vidalia onion

Red pepper


Fresh garlic

White balsamic vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Frank's Red Hot sauce

Salt & pepper

Toppings: diced avocado, chopped cilantro & parsley

Photo from Ninecooks.typepad.com

Grilled Balsamic Rosemary Pork Tenderloin


2 pork tenderloins, trimmed

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

A few cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped

Fresh rosemary and thyme


I marinated the pork overnight, grilled it, let it sit for a bit, then sliced and served.

Grilled rosemary pork tenderloin
Photo borrowed from the Food Channel

Lemony Potato Salad


This dish was divine!!! Red potatoes, lemon juice, scallions, olive oil, dried mustard, salt, pepper, fresh parsley. I followed the recipe from http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/lemony-potato-salad-10000002003430/


Lemony potato salad
Lemony Potato Salad Photo: Becky Stayner; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Black Bean and Corn Rainbow Salad


Again, I didn't follow a recipe per se but this is to give you the idea.  I don't use raw onion or garlic because I had those in the gazpacho and too much of those ingredients make my skin exude essence d'allium. Not my favorite perfume.


Black beans (I use Goya canned, rinsed)

Plum tomatoes, diced

Orange pepper, chopped

Avocado, diced

Corn (I used fresh, cooked corn cut off the cob)



Fresh lime juice

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

black bean corn salad
Photo borrowed from the Food Network

Flourless Chocolate Cake


This is the third time I've make the chocolate cake from Elana Amsterdam's "Almond Flour Cookbook".  It calls for blanched almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, eggs, agave nectar, vanilla and sea salt.  You should buy the book.  Everything in it is outstanding.  The only change I made was to reduce the amount of agave nectar and substitute apple sauce.


I've been reading about making whipped cream out of coconut milk and decided I had to try it.  I'm so glad I did!!! Here are instructions.  And then I threw blueberries on top.  I also had it for breakfast on the 5th of July.

Flourless chocolate cake
Photo borrowed from www.Skiptomylou.org, not the recipe though

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