06 July 2010

Fireworks & Food

I love love love the 4th of July and one of the biggest reasons being that you get to watch fireworks! I love sitting outdoors, whether in a park, field or beach, waiting for the sky to light up in beautiful colors and patterns. It's really a moment that is magical and I'm so happy that I finally got to share it with my someone special this summer. Wish I took some pictures at Berkeley Marina but it was too cold and of course nothing beats seeing it in person. I'm just glad the sky wasn't cloudy and we had a clear night to watch the pretty fireworks. :)

One of my most favorite things about summer are the backyard barbeques. I miss being back East where the heat comes in waves and you're forced outside to enjoy some refreshing beer & juicy watermelon. The best barbeques are hands down over 4th of July weekend. Sometimes, you'll plan a beach barbeque before the fireworks or all your friends will gather at someone's house. There are even times you'll have to decide which invitations to take to enjoy the best food you'll have all year. I remember having some of the most delicious chicken, corn, skewers... all made fresh and hot off the grill at summer barbeques.

This year was a little bit different, my first 4th of July out West. While it was nice & sunny and we had our hearts set on grilling, it was too windy to be outside all day so we didn't quite make it to the pool. Even though it was a 4th different than I'm used to, I enjoyed the company and we got to share our new apartment with our friends. I surprised myself by playing hostess & cooking up a whole batch of yummy barbeque foods! It made me really happy and felt natural somehow to be in the kitchen preparing everything before our guests arrived. I wanted to share the homemade creations of our delicious feast because it turned out great!

I'm kind of lazy about getting every exact ingredient when I find recipes online so these are all my own adaptations. :)

Deviled Eggs

10 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1/4 cup mayo
2 tbs hot sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt & pepper
ziploc bag
cilantro, for garnish

1. Combine mayo, hot sauce, dijon mustard, salt & pepper in a small bowl.
2. Halve the eggs and scoop out the yolks, adding of the 6 yolks into the bowl with the prepared mixture.
3. Mix the yolks and mixture until smooth and spoon into a ziploc bag.
4. Arrange the egg halves onto a serving dish.
5. Cut a small corner of the ziploc bag and pipe into the eggs.
6. Finely chop a small amout of cilantro and garnish!

Super easy & gives your guests something to munch on while you fire up the grill! Very simple crowd pleaser.

Sweet Potato Salad

I lovee sweet potato lately so I thought this would be a nice way to mix things up.
Not bad but I think I prefer warm roasted/fried sweet potatoes.

2 sweet potatoes
1/3 cup of mayo
2 tbs cajon seasoning
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled
4 green onions
1/2 white onion
4 strips of bacon, cooked & chopped

1. Peel & dice sweet potatoes into small cubes.
2. Boil until tender and then drain & cool.
3. Chop white & green onions.
4. Mix mayo & cajun seasoning.
5. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve.

Stuffed Burgers

Stuffed burgers are so much yummier because they have all the flavor already packed inside them.
Another plus is that you don't have all the extras sliding in your bun and making it a mess to eat!

20 burger patties
4 bacon strips
1/2 white onion, chopped
shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cook bacon and chop into small pieces.
2. Sweat onions out until tender in bacon grease.
3. Combine bacon and onions in a bowl and set aside.
4. Taking 3/4 of each burger patty, roll and flatten into thin round patties on a baking sheet lined with foil.
5. Spoon 1 tbs of bacon and onion into eat patty and top with some cheddar cheese.
6. Cover with another thin rolled patty and seal the edges.
7. Grill for a few minutes on each side.
8. Eat with bun & ketchup, it's all you need!

Please don't mind the poor quality photo & squished burger bun!
I didn't get to have one until much later in the evening, it's even yummy after being reheated in the microwave!

Strawberries with Sweet Cream

4 oz cream cheese, about half a package
one box of strawberries
powdered sugar
ziploc bag
vanilla extract (would have been even yummier with this but I didn't have any)

1. Rinse strawberries and cut the ends, placing them flat on a plate.
2. Cut cross wise for almost the whole length of the strawberries.
3. Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar to taste until smooth.
4. Put mixture into a ziploc bag, cut off a small corner & pipe into center of strawberries.

Et voila! Everyone will be surprised at how you can whip up something that looks fancy in just minutes while they are all chatting away.
Perfect amount of sweetness without being overindulgent.

We also had some yummy Italian sausage (which goes great with dijon mustard I must say), chicken legs & corn (try grilling it before removing the husks, mmm!).