4th July just passed and celebrated this Country’s independence, the big question for me was what to cook. Most likely many of us saw friends and family at a bbq or a picnic. We celebrated with pomp, fireworks, shows, sports games, bells and whistles with red, white and blue decorations abound Our national anthem echoed across the country and the dark of the night was enlightened with fireworks. In fact a load of 22 tons of pyrotechnics was fired up into the sky in NYC at the 4th of July celebration. The skyline of Manhattan was dressed up with a glowing Empire State building with its patriotic red, white and blue colorful light top.
Watermelon Mint Slushy
(recipe makes four 16 oz glasses)
6 lbs watermelon - still in the rind
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 cups ice cubes
4 tablespoons fresh limejuice
5 leaves of mint and more to garnish the drink
- Cut the watermelon off the rind
- Combine watermelon with the other ingredients in a blender and process on high speed for 1 minutes
- Serve in freezer-chilled glasses or picnic cups. Serve with a straw
Chef’s Note: If you’d like to spike your watermelon slushy add 1 oz of rum to each glass.
Not only did we eat a combined estimated 155 million hot dogs on the 4th, July is also the month of hot dogs. So naturally I’m inclined to haul some sausages over the grill. Not that the majority of hot dogs are worthwhile to eat since the integrity of the taste and ingredients leaves much to be desired. Online you can find some good sources for quality sausages often from butchers with German heritage.
Some picks are Schaller & Weber, Usinger, Hartman or markets like Wegman’s and/or Whole Foods sell a delicious wurst.
Before tossing sausages on the grill, I prefer to first cook them in a steamer to an internal temperature of 165°F and then have them kissed by the grill for a few minutes. This way, the sausages can get tasty char marks. By steaming the sausages first they tend not to burst-open so that the juice can be enjoyed when eating it. Generally a well-made sausage does not need much of a condiment but if you’re rooted in tradition squirt away some classic ketchup and mustard.
Lastly I thought of serving vanilla ice cream with plump blueberries and raspberries but then I decided that it was too cliché and ordinary. I started a bit of sole searching an came up with…
(makes 12 figs or four portions)
1 cup port wine
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of cayenne
5 ounces bitter chocolate
- Rinse figs under water. Don’t cut the stem off
- In a small sauce pan on medium heat setting bring honey to boil and cook until it becomes a dark amber color. Take the pot off the stove and add the figs. Gently turn figs with a fork to coat them with the honey – don’t touch figs with your fingers they’re very hot at this point. Leave figs in the pot for a minute then add the port wine. Let the figs marinate in the honey/port mixture for at least 10 minutes.
- Break/cut chocolate into small pieces. Place into a microwavable dish and heat for 30 seconds. Stir chocolate with a fork. If the chocolate is not melted heat for another 30 seconds and stir. Melt the chocolate slowly with frequent stirring in between.
- With the fork, lift figs out of the honey port mixture and place onto a plate. Holding one fig at the time on the stem haul them through the melted chocolate. If necessary, use a spoon to coat the figs with chocolate.
- Put figs onto a plate and let the chocolate harden in a refrigerator.