One of my fondest memories of living in New York was watching the July 4th fireworks from the Brooklyn Bridge; this was in the pre Giuliani and Bloomberg years so we had beer and pot.

I guess you would be lucky to get away with a Marlboro Light and a Red Bull these days. Plus, if you are on the Brooklyn Bridge you won’t get to see much this year as the Macy’s 35th annual firework display will be on the Hudson River.

The Hudson River location is sure to once again disappoint people in Brooklyn, Queens, Roosevelt Island and the east side of Manhattan, who in the past had great views.

Last summer they were moved to the Hudson to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage and they will be there again this year.

You will have a great view if you live in New Jersey though.

This year is the 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty and the United States’ 235th Independence Day.

If you can’t make it Hoboken, try making some fireworks in the kitchen {not real fireworks though as they are banned}


Makes 12 pieces
This easy recipe for Firecracker Shrimp can be prepared a day ahead of time and then deep-fried just after your guests arrive.

12 large shrimp, in the shell
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic salt, divided
4 sheets spring roll wrappers
24 carrot strips (3 X 1/4 inch)
1 egg, beaten

Dipping Sauce:

¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
{you can also use sweet chili sauce that is available in most Asian markets}
3 cups vegetable oil for deep-frying


Removing the shells and leaving the tail intact, make a deep cut lengthwise down the back of each shrimp; wash out the sand vein. Place warm water in a bowl and add the salt; stir to dissolve. Place the shrimp in the salt water and swirl. Leave the shrimp in the salt water for 5 minutes, then rinse with cold water, drain, and pat dry on paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt.

Cut each spring roll wrapper into thirds, making 3 long narrow strips.

Place the carrot strips in a small bowl, sprinkle with remaining ¼ teaspoon garlic salt, and set aside.

Brush the egg at the top of the shrimp. Place 2 carrot strips in the slit of each shrimp. Brush each spring roll strip with egg and roll each shrimp up tightly in the spring roll strip, with the egg holding it together. The tail of the shrimp should be protruding from one end and the carrots from the other - to resemble a firecracker! Continue the process until all the wrappers are rolled with the shrimp and carrots.

To make a dipping sauce, in a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and hot pepper sauce. Set aside.

In a wok or saucepan, heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees F.

Fry the shrimp rolls until golden brown, about 2 minutes, turning 2 to 3 times. Drain on paper towels. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Here’s a smashing drink to celebrate the holiday, I like to call it…
Drunk on the 4th of July


1 ounce watermelon schnapps
1 big splash cranberry juice
1 very thin slice jalapeno or serrano pepper
1 slice lemon
1 slice lime
1 ½ ounces tequila
¼ ounce blue curacao
½ ounce simple syrup
Watermelon wedge, for garnish


Mix the schnapps and cranberry juice in a shaker; pour into an ice-filled glass.

Muddle the jalapeno pepper, lemon and lime slices, tequila, blue curacao and simple syrup (to make a batch, dissolve sugar in equal parts hot water and chill) in the shaker. Slowly strain into the glass over the red layer. Garnish with watermelon, if desired

AND FINALLY… Parable for The 4th of July

Once, in the 1820's, a little boy called Sam was playing in the yard behind his house.  During his pretend fighting game, he knocked over the outhouse.  Now Sam was upset and worried that he would get into trouble so he ran into the woods and didn't come out until after got dark.  When he arrived back home, his pappy was waiting for him.  He asked suspiciously, "Son, did you knock over the outhouse this afternoon?"

"No, pappy," Sam lied.

"Well, let me tell you a story," said the father. "Once, not that long ago, Mr Lincoln received a shiny new axe from his father.  Excited, he tried it out on a tree, swiftly cutting it down.  But as he looked at the tree, with dismay he realized it was his mother's favorite cherry tree," his pappy paused." just like you, he ran into the woods. When he returned, his pappy asked, 'Abraham, did you cut down the cherry tree?'  Abraham answered with, 'Father, I cannot tell a lie. I did indeed chop down the tree.'

Then his father said, 'Well, since you were honest with me, you are spared from punishment. I hope you have learned your lesson, though.' So," the Sam's father asked again," did you knock down the outhouse?"

"Pappy, I cannot tell a lie any more." said the little boy. "I did indeed knock down the outhouse."

Then his pappy father spanked Sam boy red, white, and blue. The boy whimpered, "Pappy, I told you the truth! Why did you spank me?"

Pappy answered, "That's because Abraham Lincoln's father wasn't in the tree when he chopped it down!"

July 4th - Firecracker Shrimp