Usually I am back in my hometown of Fairlawn, Ohio, for the Fourth of July, visiting family in Wadsworth, Canal Fulton, Akron, Canton and Cuyahoga Falls and to attend two, very special family reunions; one is the Boughton-Smith family reunion, held every year since 1912 with well over 150 or more family members attending at the family farm and farm house (built in 1861.) The other is the Kariotis-Manoussadakis family reunion held at Kim and Steve Lampshires home, every year since, well it is a young reunion, 1994. The joke or story my husband likes to tell is about the first Kariotis-Manoussadakis reunion. Phil and I had come to Ohio to attend the other reunion and I suggested to my sisters that we have a reunion as well. So we contacted a few of the Greek family members in the greater Akron area and had a really good time, all 15 of us. The joke? Phil looked around and chuckled The Kariotis family reunion and there is not one Kariotis here. He was implying that it was all granddaughters who had gotten married, so all of our legal last names were no longer Kariotis. Not funny, but a few hours later my Uncle Andy Kariotis, his wife, Barb Kariotis, and son, Steve Kariotis, showed up. Thank goodness. Phil still jokes about that first reunion and I still dont think it is funny. The reunions are held on the second weekend in July back to back; that way we can manage to attend both and not overstay our welcome. This year I will arrive on the Saturday of the Kariotis reunion. I am surprising my sister, as I told her I couldnt attend this year. I am flying in with a large tray of baklava; it seems they only have baklava at the reunion when I attend and make it. That is why I will be in Kingwood for the parade, festivities and fireworks. I have my Fourth of July menu ready. We have pulled out the washers and bocce ball sets, put up the basketball hoop in the pool, and we are ready to party and enjoy the Kings Harbor fireworks from our own backyard. All I need to do now is cook. So Please Join My Table as I share a couple of our Fourth of July favorite family foods. My Fourth of July Potato Salad 1/4 cup clear French salad dressing 6 medium red-skinned or golden potatoes (white if you prefer); cooked in their skins, cooled and cubed (peel them after cooking if you prefer) 1 cup chopped/diced celery 1/4 cup chopped Vidalia onion 1 tablespoon relish, dill or sweet your choice (this ingredient is optional) 1/4 cup chopped red onion 4 hard-cooked eggs, sliced not chopped 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper cup Dukes mayonnaise Paprika for garnish 1 hard-cooked egg sliced for garnish DIRECTIONS: Pour French dressing over warm potatoes, place in fridge for 2-3 hours. Remove from fridge; add celery, onions, eggs, salt pepper, pickle relish and celery seed, and mix carefully. Fold in mayonnaise. Top with remaining sliced egg and sprinkle with paprika. Cover and place back in fridge for 3-4 hours. Serves 8-10. I dont know what you are grilling on the Fourth, but Phil is breaking in his new Weber grill (Fathers Day gift). We are having Greek burgers and venison sausage as well as chicken souvlaki. Here is the recipe I use for my Greek barbecue red sauce for beef, pork, or chicken: Karens Kokkinisto 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium-large onions, finely chopped 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned) 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1/2 teaspoon Greek seasoning 1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper 1/2 cup of dry red wine 2-3 bay leaves 1 teaspoon cinnamon 2 tablespoons honey DIRECTIONS: In a 2-quart saucepan, saut onion oil until translucent. Add the wine and stir to bring down the temperature in the pot. Add all remaining ingredients and stir until well blended. Lower heat and simmer partially covered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until desired thickness. Add a little more water if the sauce begins to dry. Remove bay leaves and serve. Great on any meat! Makes approximately 1-2 cups. This colorful dessert is my sister, Kims, recipe. It's so good that my parents added it to the menu at our family restaurant, Zorbas! Kims Cherry Almond Delight 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (reserve 1 tablespoon to grease pan) 1 tablespoon sugar 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs 1/4 cup toasted and finely chopped almonds 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature 1 package of Dream Whip (I prefer to use 8 ounces of mascarpone cheese at room temperature, and 1/2 cup of whipping cream beaten to soft peaks.) 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted after measured 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract 1 can of cherry pie filling or use your own family recipe 1 tablespoon of amaretto liquor 6 amaretto Italian cookies, crushed DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in an 8-cup glass measuring cup and melt in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Add almonds, sugar and graham cracker crumbs to melted butter and mix well. Using remaining tablespoon of butter to lightly grease a 13x9x2 pan. Press crumb mixture into bottom of pan and bake in a 350-degree oven for five minutes; remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Prepare Dream Whip according to package directions, set aside. Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar till light and fluffy; add almond extract. Gently fold in Dream Whip (or mascarpone cheese mixture). Spread mixture over graham cracker crust. Chill in fridge 1 to 2 hours. Remove from fridge and mix amaretto liquor into cherry pie filling. Spread evenly over whipped cream mixture. Top with crumbled amaretto cookies and cut into squares. Serve cold. Serves 10-12. Photo 1) Presley Rogers, Karen's granddaughter. Photo 2) Victoria Valadez and Presley Rogers, Karen's granddaughters.

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