We will be having a big Fourth of July party at our house this year. But we’re going to start the day before: Tuesday, July 3rd, at the 130th annual Independence Day celebration with fireworks show in Oceanside. Fireworks start at 9 pm but food trucks and live music will be on hand starting at 6 p.m. The viewing area is on a closed portion of Rancho Del Oro Road.
The next day, friends and family will gather at our house, poolside and in uniform. Well, in matching T-shirts from Walmart: the Kelly clan will all be wearing red shirts sporting an American flag gussied up with sequins and captioned “Made in America 2018” ($4.97). (We are, at least. The shirts are probably made in China. Patriotism is complicated.)
Nobody wants to cook, so we’re going with fried chicken from Crispy Fried Chicken. They have two locations, on El Cajon Blvd and in National City. Both will be open on the Fourth of July; 15 pieces of dark meat runs $15.99; mixed dark and white, $19.49; and all-white, $25.99. We always get them mixed, plus a few sides of popcorn chicken ($12.99 for a large order). They have plenty of sides such as onion rings, mac and cheese, fried okra, and coleslaw. But our favorite is the hush puppies: $2.49 for 6, $3.49 for 12.
The guests will be bringing sides of their own. Mary is planning on watermelon mint juice from Solti. “They have a tasting room in Miramar, and growlers of juice cost $35. What they carry varies by season. All the juices are raw/vegan, organic, non-GMO, unpasteurized and cold brewed. The watermelon is great for hydration, the lemon is cleansing and purifying, and the mint is supposed to be good for indigestion relief. But I also think it’s simply delicious and refreshing, perfect for a party on a hot day. And if the tasting room doesn’t have the Growler available, I can pre-order six glass bottles at 12 1/2 ounces each for $52.”
“I am bringing sweet fruity kabobs,” said Sally. “And yes, they will be kitschy. They are made with chunks of strawberry, pineapple, kiwi, and then blueberries. Red, almost white, and blue, plus green because it’s summer. And I’ll alternate little rounds of Rice Krispy treat with the pieces of fruit. The Fourth of July kitsch comes from the fact that, for a limited time during the holiday season, you can get Rice Krispies that have red and blue as well as normal colored krispies in the box.” Target carries it: $2.50 for a 9 oz. box (the treat recipe is on the side).
“Roasted corn on the cob is my specialty,” said Uncle Jim. “I buy my corn at Jimbo’s in Carmel Valley. Everything they sell is organic.” I called Jimbo’s and talked to the produce manager, Eric. “Right now, we are getting our corn from Mexico,” he said. (Patriotism is complicated!) Jimbo’s corn often goes on sale: 2 ears for $3. “But if it’s not on sale, I can sell it by the case. A case has 48 ears, and I can give a 10% discount.”
Jim shared his recipe. “It’s easy-peasy: preheat oven to 350 degrees. This is for four ears, so just increase it as needed. In a small bowl, cream together one clove minced garlic, ¼ cup unsalted butter, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Spread that over the corn, wrap each ear in foil, and roast for 40 minutes, turning halfway through. Take out corn, open foil, and broil for two minutes to brown top of corn. The broiling makes for a perfect outer texture, while cooking it in foil keeps the corn juicy.”
Of course, Uncle Max is arranging a frozen margarita machine from The Margarita Man San Diego. “They use natural mixes made with real fruit juice,” boasts Max, “ and you know I will bring 100% agave tequila. Vons usually has a special on El Jimador, and you save even more when you buy six.” (More Mexico!) “We will only need the Fiesta package ($180), which comes with one machine and one mix: that makes 60-80 servings. Plus, you get 50 9 oz. cups. Can you tell I’ve done this before?”