Wow the crowd at your July 4th party with this patriotic flag cake. (foodnetwork.com)
The Fourth of July – it is the day we celebrate America the Great. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is our anthem, and backyard barbecuing is our country’s pastime. Actually, I’m not even allowed to touch the grill at my house, but I make some pretty spectacular side dishes and desserts. After all, the day we celebrate the birth of our independence as a nation deserves a little something special, does it not?
Friends and families gather this Friday to enjoy a day full of summer festivities and an evening full of fireworks. Whether your celebration is at your house, on the beach or at a huge neighborhood block party, food is sure to be a part of the fun.
Grilling is the easy part. Chicken, steaks, ribs, links, burgers, and chops – pick a few of your favorites, season them up, let them marinate overnight and there is almost no way to make a mess of the meats.
Creating dishes around that delicious barbecue to please a crowd of all ages takes a little more effort. Of course, we want to keep things festive, but sacrificing taste is not an option. Stick to the all-American classics when it comes to side dishes for the main course.
Experiment with potato and pasta salads, set out platters of Hawaiian rolls or bruschetta and you can’t go wrong with a fresh summer fruit salad. Watermelon, grapes, pineapple and strawberries is a bowl of pure chilled bliss.
When it comes to desserts and cocktails, think red, white and blue. Wow the crowd with quick and easy blueberry and cherry jello shots in star-spangled shooters. Top them with a fluffy cloud of sweet whipped cream, and serve them to your guests as they arrive. Red, white and blue sprinkles are a fabulous finishing touch.
Show up to your neighbor’s party with an ever-patriotic flag cake. Simply bake your favorite white or angel food cake in a large rectangular pan. Let the cake cool, then spread white icing over the entirety of the cake. Use blueberries to create the square of stars in the top left corner. Place the blueberries in short straight lines. Then, starting at the top of the cake, line the remainder of the the cake with sliced strawberries. Place two even horizontal rows of strawberries slices, followed by an inch or so of space, then repeat. Lastly, fill the empty rows of space with white frosting using a piping bag and a decorative tip. Add a few puffs of frosting to the blueberries, and you’ve got yourself a beautifully edible statement piece for the dessert table.
If you’re anything like me, and baking really is not your thing, try my Red, White and Blue Sundaes. Start with two scoops of ice cream, top with fresh blueberries and drizzle with sweet strawberry syrup. Crunch up a waffle sugar cone and sprinkle over the top, or just place the whole cone off to the side. They’re fun, fresh and free of fuss.
Whatever you do to celebrate, enjoy this holiday and our freedom to the fullest, and don’t be afraid to get extra full doing it, too.