Happy Fourth of July! I don’t know what you’re doing this weekend, but I bet it involves food. There’s so much summer food to enjoy it’s hard to know where to start your holiday menu planning. This year I’ve chosen a couple of enduring summer favorites to feature at our sizzling Palm Springs holiday house party. Burgers and Ice Cream always make an appearance on this very American holiday. I’ve got several recipes for both of these must-haves on this blog. But there are other classic summer recipes I’ve neglected to bring to these pages and I’d like to correct that omission for this Independence Day celebration.
Starting with Deviled Eggs and Baked Beans. Both of these classic summer recipes have been seasonally appropriate longer than the rocket’s red glare has been blazing across our sunny suburban backyards.
Baked beans go all the way back to the Puritans of New England. I’m not sure if they knew they were starting a new country, but I’m quite sure they knew that aromatic beans and sweet pork would feed Americans for generations to come.
Deviled eggs are a more modern national trend, and they’ve become a picnic staple since at least the beginning of the twentieth century.
Classic Summer Recipes
I think you’ll see I haven’t strayed too far from the expected in either of these versions. After all, the best of these classic summer recipes are time-tested. So I’ve kept the recipes familiar and simply emphasized their simplicity and fresh flavors by choosing the best whole food ingredients.
Baked Beans: In the winter I actually bake my “baked” beans. In the summer however, I find that this stove-top version takes half as long and doesn’t require turning on the oven. This recipe still has intense flavor from molasses and pork. It’s also just as thick and ruddy as its oven-baked counterpart – as good as American Baked Beans should be. It’s the Fourth of July after all, don’t settle for those soupy, bland beans the Brits serve on toast. The war is won! You don’t have to eat that stuff.
Deviled Eggs: Deviled eggs can go in any direction you like. Creative versions show up on trendy restaurant menus. Home cooks (and quite a few bloggers) are inventing all sorts of devilish combinations. However, when the weather heats up I think we should all take it a bit easy and look to the roots of these classic summer recipes. To me “deviling” an egg usually means seasoning the cooked and mashed yolks with some mayo, grainy mustard, and just a few herbs. Paprika makes them pretty, but it’s completely optional. This is how my mom made them in the 1970s. Except I’m fairly sure she used dried herbs. GREG