The old standbys are perfectly fine for July 4th while we’re still in the honeymoon stage of summer days and outdoor meals.
But hear me out. What better time to put on some fireworks at the buffet table than the occasion that calls out for oohs and aahs?
Yes, indeed, we’re talking about putting a spark to the spread on the picnic table. We’ll do this by playing around with some familiar dishes.
Take a salad tossed with a variety of bell peppers, topped with feta, essentially a variation on a Greek salad that brings the farmers market to the table.
Or put a twist on potato salad, with it served up warm with green onions, pickles and two — yes, two — mustards.
Transform the predictable black bean and corn salad by adding chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, avocado, honey and spices. Not so everyday anymore.
Then there’s dessert, always a crowd-pleaser. We all have our favorite bars and cookies, and so do the cooks. And there can never be too much dessert at a picnic.
Consider a simple cheesecake ice cream that does not require an ice cream machine. (Yes!) Serve it with a crumble made from broken graham crackers baked with pecans, brown sugar and butter.
Maybe your crowd leans toward s’mores (mine does). For this wild variation, big Cheez-Its are dipped in a chocolate-peanut butter combo, and dusted with powdered sugar before melted marshmallows are sandwiched between two to create a homemade Butterfinger.