4th of July in Chicago – Now What to Cook?

1 Jul

Chicago Summer - Buckingham FountainGot any plans for this weekend? 4th of July weekend (or the weekend closest to it) is one of my favorite times of the year, not the least of which is because I feel like there’s an extra energy in the air here in Chicago this time of year. Maybe it’s the excitement from all the extra tourists (god love ’em – I remember when I was one myself), maybe everyone having that extra time off work during one of the hotter times of the year, but it’s just an extra buzz in the air that makes people happy despite the heat.

Chicago Summer SkylineThese are times I live for in January and February – when it’s soo cold and everything is either wet and nasty or covered in snow – or covered in snow and nasty. When it seems like the bus will never come and the sky is that depressing color – kind of gun metal or cigarette ashes on the bottom of your dirty, black-scuffed Uggs. I’m pretty sure the whole city daydreams of this time during January and February. Daydreams of full-on sunshine, strappy shoes, strappy shirts, beer on a patio under trees with brilliant lime-green colored leaves.

Chicago River - Trump Tower and Wrigley BuildingAnd here we are, ya’ll. Summer in Chicago and the 4th of July is upon us! One thing is for certain. Everyone has plans. Plans to barbeque, or go to a barbeque, or meet at this place or brunch on that patio. Chicago loves food and drink and this is definitely a weekend worth celebrating with copious amounts of both.

So yesterday, I was trying to decide on some things to cook for the weekend. Normally, I get cravings for specific foods and will let my appetite guide whatever I cook. But I couldn’t think of anything yesterday. I just wasn’t craving anything specific. I checked out some food blogs that I follow – Tasty Kitchen, Sweet Savory Southern, and the good folks at FoodandWine.com, to name a few. But nothing floated my boat.

Or, crumbled my cookie, as they say.

Chicago Summer - Lincoln ParkThen it hit me this morning in the shower – why not grill?? We’ve grilled a few times since the weather warmed up, but nothing too crazy. It’s definitely time to start flexing more grilling muscles and I firmly believe this is the weekend to start. How can you not eat something grilled on this high patriotic holiday weekend? And of course we have plans as well – a quick drink for a good friend moving away to join her soon-to-be husband, patio time with other good friends – and some pool time is mandatory, of course!

So I’ll start looking around for some side dish ideas to go with our grilling fiesta weekend. Peaches are in this time of year – my mom suggested a peach pudding. Or what about a carrot cake – why not??

Happy Anniversary, Booley!

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