Celebrate July 4 with a fabulous party for family and friends

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Fourth of July is a big day for most of us, and we find many ways to celebrate the birth of our country — fireworks, concerts, parades, picnics and more. But one of the main celebrations is gathering with friends for a party. And that calls for foods typical of the Fourth. Today’s recipes and ideas just fit that bill.

• Marinated butterflied leg of American lamb, grilled to perfection, feeds a crowd deliciously. It’s easy. Try Mint-Raspberry Marinade to complement the lamb’s rich flavor. Combine 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint and 1 minced garlic clove.

• Sweet Northwest cherries, available June through August, are nutrient dense and loaded with important antioxidants. Choose firm, plump, shiny cherries and store in the refrigerator, ready for healthy snacking or to toss into a salad for a flavor and nutrition boost. Cherries can even be grilled (see recipe page 2).

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• A star-shaped pan and cookie cutters instantly say Fourth of July. Use red, white and blue sprinkles, sugars and picks to give desserts that star-spangled sparkle.

For more, visit www.americanlamb.com;  www.nwcherries.com or www.wilton.com.