Fourth of July celebrations call for delicious food, refreshing drinks and great company. If you’re hosting America’s birthday party at your place next week, you might be reviewing lists, finalizing menus, hanging party lights in your trees… and having a mild panic attack because you only just now have time to pull it all together.
Never fear! Social media lies – you don’t actually have to go all out to host an incredible party. July 4th is not a holiday for fancy food. It’s all about cold drinks, classic backyard BBQ fare, and making sure everyone has a good view of the fireworks. Most of all, it’s about a good time.
Simple is Best
The secret to being an amazing host? Keep it simple! This year, spend more time socializing and less time sweating the details (or a hot grill) with these easy, crowd-pleasing favorites, from a refreshing cocktail to a patriotic dessert.
Start your party with a bang! This classic 4th of July cocktail fits the patriotic color scheme, and nothing says summer like watermelon. Simply toss some chopped-up watermelon into your blender, then add silver (blanco) tequila, triple sec, agave, fresh lime juice and a pinch of salt. Bonus points for a salted rim with a touch of chili powder. Top it off with a watermelon/lime garnish, and don’t forget to serve up some juicy watermelon slices for the kids, as well.
Meanwhile, if you’d like a can’t-miss upgrade for your old blender, we have a great idea.
Chips & Mango Salsa
You’ll need something to snack on while the grill is heating up. Something cool. Something refreshing. Something quick, simple, and really tasty. Keep things easy-breezy with a light mango salsa served alongside tortilla chips for dipping, because today we celebrate our freedom to dip things.
1 ripe mango
½ jalapeno pepper
½ red onion
3 Tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped
Cut the mango in half in line with the seed. Score the mango into small square shapes with a knife, being careful not to cut your hand. Push the skin in and gently cut the cubes of mango into your bowl. Repeat this process for the second half of the mango. After cutting off the cubes, finely dice this half of the mango. Add the diced mango into the bowl with the cubed mango and mix them together.
Cut a jalapeno in half and use a spoon to clean out the ribs and seeds to cut down the spice. Finely dice the jalapeno and 1/2 of a red onion. Add to the bowl of mango along with the finely diced jalapeno.
Add the juice of 1 lime. Tip: Press and roll the lime against the counter before cutting to get more juice. Add 3 Tbsp. of roughly chopped cilantro and mix it all together.
Leave in fridge for at least 10 minutes, then serve!
All-American DIY Hot Dog Bar
While being from different parts of the country may stir up rivalries during baseball season and election years, there’s one thing that can bring everyone together: hot dogs. This July 4th, grill up a bunch of dogs and lay out a “fixins” bar that covers preferred toppings from all corners of the U-S-of-A.
From pickle spears, peppers and mustard for a Chicago dog to chili and coleslaw for a taste of the South, our regional differences never tasted so good. The best part? No recipe necessary. Beyond grilling up the dogs and setting out toppings, your guests do the rest.
If your plans include grilling something a little heartier than hotdogs, check out our recent post on using dry rubs to enhance the flavor of meats, poultry, seafood and veggies.
Looking for a last-minute replacement for your old grill? Don’t pan, we’ve got the right BBQ equipment to suit your needs.
Summer Berry Angel Cake
This summer berry angel cake is the perfect July 4th dessert, complete with red, white and blue flair to celebrate America. With juicy, ripe berries, along with angel cake, lemon curd, and a delicious creamy filling, it’s a sweet ending to a perfect day. The secret ingredient? A store-bought angel food cake for the ultimate shortcut. Shhh, we won’t tell. Check out Kari Karch’s complete recipe below.
1 Store-bought angel food cake
5 Egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 Lemons, zested and juiced
1 Stick butter, cut into pats and chilled
1 8oz. light cream cheese
1 Pint heavy cream
1 Tbsp. almond extract
¼ c Granulated sugar
1 pint each: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries
Mint for garnish
Using a serrated knife, slice the angel food cake into 1 ½ inch layers and place the bottom layer on a cake stand. Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1 inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Measure citrus juice and if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup. Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth.
Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.) Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon.
Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter one piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Remove to a clean container and cover by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Let cool while making the whipped cream.
Pour heavy cream, extract and sugar into your stand mixer. Start whisking on low and increase speed to high once cream starts to thicken. Whip until peaks form (about 3 minutes).
Spread a layer of whipped cream on the bottom slice of angel food cake. Top with a mixture of berries and place another angel food slice on top. Spread lemon curd onto this layer and top with berries. Repeat each step alternating whipped cream and lemon curd. Top with berries and garnish with mint.