My family is one of tradition. We always celebrated holidays in similar ways and with the same people and it was always important that we were together. The 4th of July was always a good time! Cousins, swimming, barbecue and fireworks! It doesn’t get much better than that for a kid. Having moved, we have to find new traditions in our new community with our new village. The first Independence Day here in Pasadena we did what I thought was THE thing to do here. We went to The Rose Bowl. While it was a huge production and very sensational, the masses resulting in crazy parking lot traffic, totally negated the lot of it. The following year we discovered Redondo Beach. Our friends Jeff and Steve live right off the beach and we had front row seats to the display! I was SO pumped to have found an awesome kid friendly party! We left his house at 10:30 and drove right home! Hahahaha yeah, right! We didn’t pull into the driveway of our house until nearly 2am! It was completely nuts and I had basically resigned myself to the fact that we just weren’t gonna “do” the 4th any more, the insanity that follows is just not worth it. This is where it really takes a village, y’all! This year, I sort of co-hosted the Redondo event and was invited to stay the night, I even got to bring my tribe! As an added bonus, my girl, Wendy was here with her sons and were able to share in our experience. Our actual hosts, Jeff & Steve are the absolute picture of hospitality. Every time we visit, they entertain my children, they feed us, they beverage us and they let us hang at their fabulous beach house! And now I get to spend the night?!?! Hey guys! I think I’m just gonna move in… consider this your heads up!
Seriously though, what do you get when you combine a veritable prop/costume shop, good food, better drinks, the beach, all things that glow and sparkle and explosives? A good goddamned time, that’s what! The kids never stopped running, we all wore crowns and wigs and hats and glowing things… We hung at the beach in day and returned to it to watch the fireworks at night! LED hula-hoops, glow wands, cocktails and the sound of laughter mixed with the crashing night waves. Pure bliss. I am including a recipe and an idea for a slider bar, but this post is really about the experience. What it feels like to have my dear friend of 26 years and her boys, co-mingled with some of the most amazing people that I’ve met in the past few years. A peak into just one experience that makes me feel awash with gratitude for the life that we’ve built and are continuing to build for ourselves. This really is the good life. Work hard, play hard and surround yourself with like minded individuals… That’s a recipe in and of itself.
For the food, I decided to build a slider bar. We did basic sliders and buns, seasoned and grilled to perfection and served them with a variety of toppings and aioli sauces. A few topping suggestions are sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions, blue cheese crumbles, small cheese slices and of course the basics! I want to share the recipe for the roasted garlic lemon aioli. It was a basic mayonnaise recipe turned WAY up!
You will need the following:
- 1 head fresh garlic
- 1 table spoon olive oil
- 2 coddled egg yolks (to coddle an egg, place 1 room temperature egg in a small cup or bowl deep enough to cover it. Pour boiling water over the egg and let sit for 2 minutes. Place egg immediately into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Use directly after coddling)
- Pinch of salt
- A few grinds pepper
- 2 table spoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Cut the top off of a head of garlic and place in a small pan or ramekin. Drizzle with 1 table spoon olive oil and cover with foil.
- Roast in a 425 degree oven for 25-35 minutes or until garlic is soft.
- Once roasted and cooled enough to handle, pinch each clove into a food processor. Add coddled egg yolks (discard your whites), salt, pepper and lemon juice. Process this until smooth.
- VERY slowly, drizzle oil into the mixture while your processor is running. If you pour too quickly, you risk your oil not properly emulsifying into your mixture. So, be patient!
- Finally, adjust S&P to taste and serve immediately and at room temp. You may store this on the fridge for up to one week.
Don’t be afraid of this. Making mayo is quite easy and you have control over your flavors and ingredients (though, if making mayo for general use, try the lightest olive oil you can find or a quality canola oil for best results). Likewise, if you don’t want to make it from scratch, I hear Best Foods mayo gets good reviews 😉