A 4th of July BBQ

by foodhoe on June 30, 2011

I hope that this crazy weather is finally settling down… thunderstorms and torrential downpours over here in California during July makes it hard for us to believe it’s really summer.  To help inspire your BBQ weekend, I wanted to share with you how I spent the 4th of July last year.  We drove to Pacifica to our friends Ajay and Rekha’s house for a BBQ and fireworks.  Their house is in a snug little valley that is curiously fog-free and we enjoyed a lovely warm evening out on their patio. Pacifica is one of the two cities in San Mateo county that still allow fireworks, and so we were able to enjoy an old fashioned neighborhood pyrotechnics show.   We stopped and picked up some sparklers from the roadside stand, but they just aren’t the same as the ones I remember from my childhood which used to spray out in a fiery corona, some were golden, some were red or green; sometimes it looked like we were holding flaming molten chrysanthemums.  These seemed more like fizzlers than sparklers, but the kids enjoyed them.

We hung out in their backyard and enjoyed a bowl of delicious creamy guacamole made by Gladys that was excellent with crunchy corn tortilla chips.  You can see flecks of jalapeno, red onion and cilantro and it was brightened with a squeeze of lime. 

I love summer fruit salads, everything is so sweet and ripe and in season… Marisol and Chris’s kids hovered around this like little hummingbirds.

Ajay confided that the delicious potato salad was from Safeway

Then we began to enjoy the Chaudhari family specialties.  I love how our cultural heritage brings such varied and rich flavors to these celebrations.  These Samosas were fresh out of the frying pan, incendiary and delicious; the irresistable aromas posed a real danger from the molten interior scalding the tastebuds off of your tongue!  But no one was able to withstand the charms of the savory aromas of the curry infused potato filled dumplings.

The samosas were served with this Maggi Tomato Pudina sauce which was kind of like ketchup but is sweeter and has the subtle flavor of coriander leaves and other savory spices.  It certainly was different!

Rekha made a gorgeous golden Biryani, a fragrant mound of savory fluffy rice dotted with bell peppers, carrots and corn, full of aromatic spices.

There were also golden Tandoori Chicken Kebabs that were juicy and tender

psst, I’ll let you in on a secret, these were made with a mix!  Delicious and easy… although I can’t guarantee you can find this at your local grocery store, so I’ll include my go-to tandoori recipe from Saveur magazine.

And for the tour-de-force, Ajay made curried chicken burgers that he was inspired to make after reading about it on Closet Cooking.  I can just imagine how delicious these would be with a tangy yogurt raita and savory chutney, but that Maggi Pudina sauce was mighty good.

These were flavored with fragrant curry, aromatic ginger, garlic, chilies and cilantro served simply with slices of red onion and crisp green lettuce on a soft bun.

We continued to feast and somehow managed to consume a cheesecake but by then it was too dark for photography and I was distracted by the sparklers.  After that we gathered along the sidewalk out front and watched the fireworks which were going off along the entire street.  It seemed like the entire neighborhood was a riot of crackling explosions and the oohs and ahhs of wonder from the spectators.  It was so noisey and smokey but brought back memories of my family gatherings and made me appreciate what Independence Day really represents for all of us whose ancestors pulled up their roots from distant lands to settle here in the land of plenty.   Mostly I appreciate how the melting pot aspect introduces us to interesting and delicious flavors at these feasts of epic proportions!

I took this picture of Rekha and Ajay in Point Reyes last year, I loved how the unexpected gust of wind whipped her hair up into a golden nimbus…  Thanks guys for a most wonderful time!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Su-Lin June 30, 2011 at 9:22 am

Now THAT is a barbecue! And those samosas…whoa. I need to look out for that pudina sauce over here. Can’t wait to see what you’ll be having this year!


Rosa June 30, 2011 at 10:01 am

What gorgeous food! Happy 4th of July!




Single Guy Ben July 1, 2011 at 11:58 am

Looks like a fun time last year with great weather. This year the weather should be just as good, so what are you going to do? Hopefully it’ll involve a lot of food that you can photograph and share! 😉


Cookie July 3, 2011 at 9:39 am

Looks like we’re in for a non-foggy 4th tomorrow! Fingers crossed! Yes, I’m a big fan of Safeway potato salad as well and they’re macaroni salad’s not bad either. I hear they’re having a special along with fried chicken tomorrow!


grace July 6, 2011 at 12:48 am

man, oh MAN, do i love cookout food. it’s a good thing paper plates are so wobbly–they keep me in check with the size of my portions. 🙂


foodhoe July 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Su-Lin, yes those samosas were so irresistible, and this year they had a different spicy sweet tomato sauce that was hot!
Rosa, happy 4th to you
Ben, we went back to Ajay and Rekhas for delicious spicy curry. Strangely enough, it was colder this year despite the heat wave!
Cookie, the weather forecast was hopeful for a clear 4th, but it looked pretty fogged in to me…
grace, lol, yes the paper plates do make us keep portion control in mind…


Bonnibella July 12, 2011 at 12:28 am

The fireworks look pretty big and fiery in the last photo. How lucky for you to get homemade Indian cooking. I agree with why you appreciate 4th of July.


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