Welcome to the newest Yahoo!7 food blog, featuring highlights on some of my favourite food trends, both new and old, and tips and tricks on how to cook and eat well for less!I’m currently sitting in the Hamptons just before the Fourth of July. How cliché I know. Yes, the same place the SATC* girls chilled on the weekend, those Gossip Girl socialites rendez-voused during the summer, and countless other TV show characters enjoyed the sun and sand. At this time of the year in the States, there is no escaping the way red, white and blue seem to vomit all over the country.
Walking through Southampton today I was surrounded by flags, banners, posters, Uncle Sam action figures, red, white and blue lacy thongs, whales with stars and stripes, and every other nationalistic item you can imagine.
But you gotta love it. Not going quite so far as wanting to dance down the street singing the theme song of ‘Team America’, but it’s hard not to get swept up.
Ahead of all the coloured undies hanging around town, the thing that really takes centre-stage during the Fourth of July celebrations is the food.
Celebrating our independence just isn’t the same without a grilled hot dog in one hand, an icy cold beer in the other and a warm, sticky slice of apple pie sitting right in front of you.
The Fourth of July is in the middle of the hot, humid American summer. And when you’re constantly running for the ocean waves to cool yourself down all you want to eat is simple, good, homemade food. The food is easy; burgers are topped with cheese, tomato and lettuce (Yanks aren’t really big fans of topping their patties with pineapple and beetroot unfortunately), and the hot dogs are covered in mustard and ketchup.
What’s in an American hot dog? Well, no one really knows and we like to keep it that way.
The grills are all fired up in preparation, all the fresh blueberries and raspberries that can be found are bought to create edible flag desserts, and many people usually take a day off from looking beach-day perfect to enjoy the delicious food. The whole day is usually spent outside, while the adults enjoy beer and champers, the kids are usually awaiting the nighttime fireworks while red, white and blue popsicles magically turn their whole mouths into a festive masterpiece of colour.
While hot dogs and apple pies are clearly the classics, this year I decided to give them a little twist. I’m making ‘Pigs in a Blanket,’ basically teeny little hot dogs wrapped in puff pastry that become the ultimate finger food when you’ve got a glass of bubbly in the other hand. Accompanying the appetizers I’ll have a big bowl of ‘White Trash dip,’ a combo of ranch dressing, BBQ sauce, cream cheese, Monterey Jack, shredded chicken and cheddar cheese that will knock your wife-beater and trucker hat right off.
Instead of Grandma’s tried and true apple pie, I went for a red velvet cheesecake, smothered in rich cream cheese frosting and festively topped with rings of blue sprinkles.
Despite the lack of sunshine and hot weather in Australia at the moment, you can celebrate the Fourth just as easily. As long as you keep your recipes simple and classic, you have a healthy amount of beer on hand, and you have some calorific, rich and delicious desserts for later, you can have your own star-spangled special day down in Oz as well.
Men's Health: Fourth of July recipes
For the ‘pigs in a blanket’ you just need some frozen puff pastry, which you let defrost until it is soft, cut into small strips and wrap one strip around each small hot dog. The red cocktail sausages that you find at your local deli or meat section at your local supermarket are perfect. Bake them according to the puff pastry instructions and serve with a big bowl of ketchup!
For the ‘White Trash’ dip you'll need:
- a bottle of ranch dressing,
- a bottle of BBQ sauce,
- eight ounces (225g) of cream cheese,
- a cup of shredded, cooked chicken,
- a cup of shredded Monterey Jack, and
- half a cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
Mix it all together and bake it in the oven at 175C for 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.
For the red velvet cheesecake, you can combine your favourite red velvet cake recipe and your favourite cheesecake recipe. Simply make two red velvet cakes, make sure your cheesecake is cold and firm, and pile them together like a sandwich. Cover the whole thing in rich cream cheese frosting.For some more takes on the classics, check out these recipes:
Burger with the lot
Seasoned corn on the cob
Honey mustard and frankfurter wraps
Turkey or chicken sliders