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Ask A Los Angeles Chef: Easy 4th Of July Recipes

corn burger header 610 bbq
(credit: istockphoto)

Summer plans are beginning to take shape with July 4th being at the top of everyone's social calendar. Fireworks or not, a red, white and blue barbecue is a perfect way to get together. Keeping the menu simple, but not short on flavor or creativity, burgers, corn and an icy dessert are crowd pleasers. Executive Chef Chuck Abair of CAFE del REY in Marina Del Rey pulled together three restaurant specialty recipes for easy at-home entertaining on the Fourth.

Cafe del Rey Interior - Cafe del Rey
(credit: Cafe del Rey)

Executive Chef Chuck Abair
4451 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 823-6395

Executive Chef Chuck Abair creates robust flavor in CAFÉ del REY's seasonal menus inspired by the Mediterranean. Guests are invited to discover fresh takes on favorites including the Moroccan lamb burger, a house specialty, line-caught sustainable seafood entrees, braised bacon sandwiches and truffle pizza. The restaurant serves brunch on the weekends, and dinner daily. There is a daily raw bar, an extensive and international wine list and a most beautiful setting looking out at the marina.

cafe del rey
(credit: Cafe del Rey)

Moroccan Lamb Burgers
Ingredients for lamb burger:

  • 2 lbs. lamb burger
  • 1/3 lb. Manchego cheese (cubed)
  • Burger bun (the restaurant prefers bioche buns)
  • Tzatziki—see recipe and ingredients below
  • 1 tablespoon of Harissa paste *can be found at high-end grocery stores and ethnic food stores
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato


  1. Hand mix lamb burger, Manchego and Harissa paste in a bowl.
  2. Portion lamb into 4 rounds and set aside.
  3. Grill burgers 5 minutes per side, or to desired temperature (optional in sauté pan).

Tzatziki ingredients:

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • Mint - chopped, to taste
  • Cilantro - chopped, to taste


  1. Peel and de-seed cucumbers.
  2. Grate cucumbers into yogurt.
  3. Add lemon and minced garlic into yogurt mixture.
  4. Add mint and cilantro to taste.

Assembly of lamb burgers:

  1. Spread tzatziki on both sides of the bun.
  2. Top with burger, lettuce and tomato.

Related: Food Guide To Downtown LA's Grand Central Market

Yellow Corn Succotash
  • 4-5 ears of yellow corn
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 green zucchini
  • 2 cups fava beans
  • 3-4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Roast corn in husk on grill, let cool and then clean corn off of the cob.
  2. Dice red onion, bell pepper, squash and zucchini.
  3. Over medium heat, add onion, bell pepper, garlic to pan and sweat for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add squash, zucchini, corn and fava beans* to pan and cook until all of the ingredients come together.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

*Directions to cook fava beans

  1. Remove beans from the pods.
  2. Cook shelled beans in boiling water for 1 minute.
  3. Drain and plunge beans into ice water; drain.
  4. Remove the tough outer skins from the beans and discard skins.
  5. After this, the beans are ready to add to the succotash.
watermelon sorbet
(credit: istockphoto)

Watermelon Sorbet
(yields 2.5-3 quarts)Make this the day before you serve.


  • 5 pounds seedless watermelon (cubed)
  • 2 cups fresh lemon; zest of 3 lemons
  • 1 cup fresh lime; zest of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 cups sugar


  1. Purée watermelon in blender until smooth and set aside.
  2. Cook sugar, lime, lemon juice and water until sugar dissolves.
  3. Add zests once off the heat.
  4. Stir in lemon/lime syrup to watermelon purée with a whisk.
  5. Let cool at room temperature.
  6. Churn mixture in an ice cream machine.
  7. Let it set overnight.

Related: Best Margaritas In Los Angeles

Sheryl Craig is a writer with a passion for interesting finds and treasures in Los Angeles. She has a background in journalism and public relations. A mother of two daughters, Sheryl integrates her healthy lifestyle into raising her children. Her work can be found at

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