Thursday, July 5, 2012

Food of the Fourth

As you can see, I'm not feel very creative with the title at the moment. Ah well; I suppose I'll just have to make up for it with pictures of scrummy food!

fizzy raspberry jelly goes over a treat.
Last night was our very quiet 4th of July. Since the Husband couldn't take the day off, we didn't have too much of a celebration, but we did watch some American TV over a thoroughly summery dinner. The best part of this whole affair? I managed to get everything cooked in about half an hour. I felt like a TV chef or something; it was brilliant.

The first step - before the Husband got home - was to sit Ethan down in the kitchen while I did some fizzy jelly. Yes, my fellow Americans will wrinkle their noses at that, but it's not technically Jell-o; though it's the same thing. When in Rome, you know. It's branded as jelly, so that's what I'll call it. Anyway, I made those up in our nice stemmed glasses (I say "nice", but they were 25p each at Sainsbury's) just because making them in our scavenged Gu ramekins doesn't make for the most satisfying portion sizes.

baked beans and bacon - lurve.
The next steps all came just after I returned from a stint at the gym. First on my list? Get the bacon for my baked beans sizzling in the pan. That done, I popped two cans of beans into a small pot with:

  • 3 tbls. brown sugar
  • 2 tbls. mustard
  • 2 tbls. ketchup
  • 2 tlbs. BBQ sauce
  • a small dash of Worcestershire sauce
This is a tried and tested recipe (thanks, Mom) and I use it every time we have a meal that involves beans. Even if it's just beans on baked potatoes.

After that, I needed to form the burgers while the water for my corn on the cob came to a boil.

though they be but little, they are fierce
We always just use the Sainsbury's value ground beef in our house. Honestly; for what we tend to use it in, this stuff has no difference in taste from the crazy expensive beef. Burgers, chili, tacos...most of these things are seasoned just enough that having the slightly cheaper meat doesn't matter. 

With these burgers, though, I didn't want to add too much seasoning. There's something pure and simple about the taste of unadulterated grilled meat. That said, I didn't have a grill to hand - I was cooking these suckers on the stovetop - so I figured a little seasoning wouldn't go amiss. For the quarter-pounders it was just:
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, diced.
  • 2 tsp. dry BBQ seasoning
I mixed that all in by hand and then formed the patties and tossed them in the same pan I'd used to cook my bacon. Nice and simple. (And on moderate heat, I even had time to take a quick 5-minute shower before coming back into the kitchen to flip my burgers. Winning.)

Time to get stuck in.
The corn on the cob was the easiest part since you just bring the water to a boil (enough water to cover most of the cob) with a pinch of salt in, then toss in your corn, put the lid on your pot, and leave it alone for about 8 minutes. So simple it's almost insulting to call it cooking.

With all of that quickly done, we were able to enjoy our nice, summery, 4th of July meal together. I have to admit, I'm a bit sad that it can't be a bigger deal over here, but then, we just need to find some decent ex-pats to share the holiday with. And for the record, the Husband loves his 4th of July celebrations. He has many fond memories of cookouts and root beer over the years with American friends. My plan for next year? Up the ante with some fireworks. Because right now, the American holiday I do best is Thanksgiving. I'm a Thanksgiving dinner champion, people. That's basically the reason I bothered learning to cook. (Well, that and not wanting to feel like a total waste of life when Ethan is old enough to stop eating baby food.)

I hope everyone else had a thoroughly enjoyable Independence Day!

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