The 4th of July celebrations on the lake are always fun. There are festivals at Rumbling Bald Resort and two fireworks displays on either end of the lake. The Rumbling Bald fireworks are on the fourth and the city shoots their fireworks on the evening of the fifth. At dusk the lake is full of boats making their way to the east to view the first of the events. We take sweaters and blankets because the evening tends to get cool. There is something special about viewing the bright bursts of color from the boat.
The traditional 4th of July dinner has always been ribs on the grill, but this year I am trying something different. I have been experimenting with a variety of meat and vegetable combinations and finally hit on this version which I think is a winner. Chicken cubes are marinated in one baggie and pineapple and green and red peppers in another. They are arranged on the skewers and basted with the marinade from the fruit and pepper mixture. They cook quickly and look vibrant on a bed of orange rice.
The rice salad can be made ahead of time and compliments the teriyaki flavors so well. I love this salad. It comes from Anna Pump’s new book Summer on a Plate. It can be served at room temperature which is an added bonus if you are asked to bring a dish to a picnic.
I will be posting another recipe for the fourth of July soon. It is one that I have had in my arsenal for years. It is called Firecrackers.
TERIYAKI CHICKEN SKEWERS
Makes 3 servings (can easily be doubled)
3 boneless chicken breast halves cut into 2″ squares
1 green pepper, cut into 1″ squares
1 red pepper, cut into 1″ squares
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into 1″ squares
2 Tbls sugar
4 Tbls Soy Sauce
4 Tbls Mirin (sweetened sake) If you can’t find this, eliminate the soy and use 8 Tbls teriyaki sauce
6 wooden skewers, soaked in water
Place chicken pieces (you should have 18 pieces) in one large baggie. Place pepper and pineapple pieces in another baggie. Mix sugar, soy and mirin (or teriyaki sauce) in small sauce pan and heat just until sugar dissolves. Cool. Pour half of marinade over chicken and the other half over the peppers and pineapple. Marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
Thread ingredients on six wooden skewers alternating. You should have three each of red pepper, pineapple, chicken and green pepper.
Prepare grill. It should be hot. Spray grill with oil and grill the skewers turning as needed and basting with the marinade from the veggies and pineapple, until chicken is cooked, approximately 10 minutes.
ORANGE RICE SALAD
2 Tbls olive oil
2 Tbls unalted butter
2 cups finely chopped onion (one large)
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice ( I used Uncle Ben’s)
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice (I used mixture of fresh and juice from the carton)
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp kosher salt (I used less)
2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup minced fresh chives or scallions
I added the zest of one orange
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 Tbls fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
In a heavy pot over low heat melt the butter with the olive oil and saute the onions and rice for 5 minutes. Stir often, so it does not brown. Add the orange juice, water, salt and pepper. Cover and cook 15 to 17 minutes ( Mine took 20 ) or until rice is just tender. Spoon the rice into a large bowl. Fluff it with a fork to separate the grains. Add the pine nuts, celery and chives.
Place all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well to blend. Pour dressing over the rice and toss gently but thoroughly. Let cool to room temperature before serving.