The Fourth is meant for equal parts fireworks, food, drink, babes, waves, and bad decisions. Cases of beer, they appear. Food, it arrives at the right time. America at its best!
Do we want to eat and drink well on the Fourth? Yes! But do we want to work hard for our food on the Fourth? Fuck No! So how do we pull this… how do we eat and drink well on such a rad weekend, without spending all our time cooking and mixing? And can we branch beyond the hot dogs and burgers and Budweiser and Coors?
Despite what some presidential hopefuls might say, one of the greatest things about America is diversity. Diversity of people, culture, food, drink. Which means do you don’t have to stick to the meat and lager standards. M
Maybe celebrate diversity this Fourth by skipping the usual and going global. Maybe some Mexican food. Maybe something Middle Eastern. America at its best is when it’s a melting pot… your table is too.
With that all, I’ll get off my high horse and show you a few of our favorite mash up recipes… quick things you can do throughout this long weekend to up the game and celebrate diversity. They’re not traditional, they’re not authentic, and some of them might be frowned upon by red blooded ‘merica lovers. But that’s fine with us.
Here’s to a great USA and some quick, simple food and drink to celebrate it. —Paul Brewer
WORLD TOUR FRENCH TOAST WITH MOUNT GAY RUM BANANAS FOSTER
It’s a holiday weekend and you wanna live life, so try this: French toast with bread from Hawaii and rum from Barbados and bananas from who knows where. French Toast doesn’t happen often. But when it does, it’s sweet, unadulterated stickiness. Plates are licked.
For the French toast:
– 3 sliced of thick bread per person. Try Danish bread or Hawaiian King Bread.
– 4 eggs
– 1/2 cup milk
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a shallow mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Quickly dip slices in mixture and cook in a hot skillet with a little butter until golden brown on both sides.
For the banana foster topping:
– 1 stick butter
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 4 bananas peeled and halved, cut lengthwise
– 1/4 cup dark rum, preferably Mount Gay from Barbados
Melt butter in a large skillet. Add brown sugar and stir together. Add the bananas and cook until caramelized over medium-high heat. Pour in the rum and catch a flame off of the gas stove or a BBQ lighter. Stand back when ignited and flambe. Be careful; a flame will shoot up above the pan. Let flame die down.
After a bit of travel and finding out how many types of ceviche there are in the world, my whole perspective on it really changed. Before, it was just spicy white fish from Mexico or Peru with the saltines, etc. But the revelation that it’s really just fish that’s been “cooked” with acid usually from citrus, the experimentation opened. A ceviche can easily bring in any flavors, even European ingredients, like this one.
In a bowl, we mixed the ingredients seen in the photo. That’s scallops, Swiss chard stem, onion, almonds, and lemon juice. (Sub in anything, but try to include something acidic, something crunchy, and something with bite.) Left ours overnight for the scallops to cook. Perfect.
THE FRENCH 75
It’ might seem a strange to drink something with “French” in the title on America’s favorite holiday, but, you know, the French and Americans have been allies for a long time so we’re all part of the tribe. It’s potent, and gets its name from a spicy little rapid-fire 75 mm gun the French used in WWI. Good background, but we dig this cocktail because it’s really refreshing, bright, and yes, strong. Great for hot nights.
- .5 oz Fresh lemon juice
- .5 oz Simple syrup (one part water, one part sugar)
- 2 oz Gin
- 2-3 oz Champagne float.
Shake the first 3 ingredients with ice, and strain into a glass. Float the sparkling wine on top.
This might be nicer if a martini glass, collins glass, or better yet a coup were used, but this little tumbler was the best we could wrestle up.
TUNA CRUDO IN A WONTON CUP WITH AVOCADO
Go ahead and make this. They’re really light and refreshing, and won’t make you so full that you shut down for the rest of the day. There are four parts to this amazing thing, so here’s the recipe broken down in four parts, then combined at the end.
1. Wasabi mayo
Mix wasabi and mayo in a bowl. If you want more spicy, add more wasabi. It you want more fat, add more mayo.
2. Fried wonton crisp
This takes a little finesse. Buy some wonton sheets from the store. Get a fry pan hot, Then add some vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, test one wonton sheet: drop it in the oil. It shouldn’t burn outright (if it is turn down the heat), and also shouldn’t be greasy upon removal (if it is turn up the heat). When you pull a good fried wonton out, it will be a little pliable at first then set to a nice golden crisp. So get a little bowl and use it as a form to make your wonton into a little cup to hold the tuna as you pull each fried wonton out. Make sense? mMke about 4 per person and set aside on a towel to drain and cool.
3. Tuna filling
In a bowl, mix chopped raw ahi tuna (1/3 lb per person), chopped chives, sesame seeds, two garlic cloves mashed to a paste, a squirt of rooster sauce (siracha or something?), a couple leaves of cilantro, a touch of sesame oil, a touch of soy sauce, and a squeeze of fresh lime right at the end (right at the end or else it will cook the fish and make it gray, not brilliant red).
On a plate, put a dollop (a lame word, but the best i can think of) of wasabi mayo for each wonton. Put the cup on top of each dollop (the dollop is like glue keeping the wonton from tipping). Spoon in fresh chunked avocado, a couple chunks per cup. on top of that, the tuna mixture. See photo.
Yes, a burger. A ‘Frisco burger. I think a burger has to come into play on the Fourth of July, though it doesn’t have to be boring. For this one, I’ve brought in a chipotle ketchup, feta cheese (Greece), and lamb patties (Middle East, mainly). An American symphony in burger form.
Saute onion rounds in olive oil; sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt and pepper. toss in 1/2 cup vinegar and cool until onions are tender, about 20 minutes. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill.
For chipotle ketchup:
Mix ketchup and canned chipotle chiles in small bowl. Season with salt. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Shape lamb into 1/2 pound, 1/2-inch thick patties. Sprinkle patties on both sides with coarse salt and pepper. Prepare stove top skillet (preferably cast iron), and Pplace burgers on skillet. Cook burgers until bottoms start to darken and juices rise to surface, about 3 minutes per side. Top with onions and cheese, and place burgers under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubble. While the burgers are in the broiler, also Broil or toast the sourdough slices, then spread em with ketchup. Top with burgers, lettuce, and anything you may like such as tomatoes, pickles, etc. Serve with remaining ketchup to pass.
THAI CLAM STEAMERS
How good are clams. I’ve been experimenting with different flavors and sauces to give them a different spin. Here’s a pretty nice one that you’ll see in restaurants sometimes, and it fits in the weekend theme nicely.
In a skillet that you have a lid for, saute some onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes in some olive oil and a big pat of butter. Once the veggies are fragrant, throw in some scrubbed clams (or mussels) and some lemon grass stalks. give the pan a shake like you mean it, then after a minute pour in a glass full of white wine. then pour in half a can of coconut milk. Reduce heat to a high simmer, cover, and stir every so often until the clams are open. If they don’t open, they’re bad and will make ya sick. Toss em.
Taste the sauce. Does it need salt or pepper? Add it. Finish with a generous sprinkle of cilantro and serve with some crusty bread.