It takes courage and faith to do great things. The Founding Fathers of the United States definitely had both, since they dared commit what was considered treason and could be punished by death, but managed to open a new page in the world’s history and unite a new nation.

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved and 12 colonies adopted the original draft of the actual Declaration of Independence, composed mostly by Thomas Jefferson.

The document was signed a month later, on August 2. But the very fact of its existence proclaimed that the newly born American nation had the right to make historically important decisions independently and just to enjoy living its own free life.

By the way, Great Britain wasn’t officially informed about the Declaration till November, 1776.

Since those challenging times we celebrate the birthday of our country on July 4 and associate it with the brightest manifestation of true patriotism, adamant courage and strong faith in the equal right to liberty.

This patriotism, this courage and this faith have got incorporated into our genes. They determine our national lifestyle, making us who we are.

In 2018 we are celebrating this again, with joy, parades, fireworks, families and friends, as well as with our traditional menus.

Marky’s Gourmet Store is happy to join the observation of the 242nd anniversary of American Independence and offer a festive variety of delicious ideas that will turn this summer day into a memorable occasion. So, let’s see what we have here.

Traditional Coleslaw with New Flavors

No national American holiday can go without this crunchy side dish. But did you know that we should actually thank the Dutch for bringing it with them when they flooded into New York in the late 17th and early 18th centuries?

The name of this dish is derived from the Dutch word “koolsla”, meaning a cabbage salad that was served chilled originally.

Nowadays, shredded cabbage can be accompanied or substituted with other vegetables and seasoned with anything that tastes you best. So, how about trying some new combinations of flavors within this refreshing appetizer?

For 5-6 servings you’ll need to mix:

  • 1 c. of shredded red cabbage and 3 c. of shredded white cabbage
  • 1 c. of shredded carrot
  • 1 c. of thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 c. of apple cider vinegar
  • salt, pepper, sugar, cumin (to taste)  
  • with 1 cup of blue cheese crumbles and 4 chopped slices of bacon
  • also, you can add 1/4 c. of mayo and/or 1/4 c. of sour cream.

Toss the ingredients well and just serve the salad in a bowl. It will be a perfect pair for any fatty dish. Besides, you can layer 1-2 tablespoons of the salad in your favorite meaty burgers to make them slightly tangier.

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Festive Solutions for Ubiquitous Potato Salad

In the 16th century Spanish explorers of the New World introduced a simple version of potato salad to Europe. But only in the early 19th century German settlers brought this dish back to America together with their traditional cuisine.

The main difference in American and German potato salads lies mostly in the variety and amount of seasonings, herbs and spices. The American variant contains more of them, usually including dry dill, celery, chives or paprika. The whole set of the other ingredients, like bacon, onions or mustard, remains the same.

But if you’d like to add some festive piquancy to this culinary tradition, check these two flavorful ideas.

Fish aficionados can substitute bacon with smoked salmon and mayonnaise with crème fraîche. So, if you choose these ingredients, highlight their flavors with parsley and tarragon.

A vegetarian-friendly potato salad has shiitake mushrooms instead of bacon, accompanied by chopped scallions, parsley, kale and thyme leaves, seasoned with virgin olive oil and wine vinegar, as well as spiced up with paprika and garlic.

Both fingerling and new potatoes will taste perfect in any version of the salad. Slice potatoes into “coins” and simmer in water over medium-high heat until they get tender.

Presidential Mac & Cheese (and Its Variations)

Macaroni and cheese could be considered as one of the most typical American dishes unless its origins traced back to Switzerland. The local specialty is called “Älplermagronen” and is made of elbow macaroni, fortified with cream and melted cheese.

Although the historical connection between this Swiss dish and traditional Italian pasta probably makes the whole different story, one thing is certainly clear: mac n’ cheese was popularized in the United States by Thomas Jefferson, who first tried it in Italy.

But it wasn’t until the US Kraft Foods introduced the macaroni and cheese dinner in 1937 that the dish took its rightful place in traditional American cuisine. Today, it’s impossible to imagine our menus without mac n’ cheese. It has won kids’ and adults’ hearts (and stomachs), making every dinner more filling and delightful.

Let’s see how you can give this dish some festive zest.

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You can toss prepared macaroni and cheese with sautéed porcini mushrooms, sausage and tomatoes. These additional ingredients will make the dish only more nutritious and flavorful. Or you can opt for crabmeat instead of sausage and add some Old Bay Seasoning to taste to make the dish even more fragrant.

By the way, don’t limit your culinary fantasy with only one kind of macaroni pasta. Choose the shape you like.

Original Hot Dogs Recipes

Historians believe that hot dogs are the culinary invention of ancient Romans, which was later brought to the rest of Europe and became especially welcomed on German territories.

In the 1860s German immigrants brought their sausages to the United States and sold them in pushcarts as a tasty company for beer and sauerkraut. But the man who popularized sausages as hot dogs was not a German but a Jewish immigrant from Poland. His name was Nathan Handwerker.

However, he sold hot dogs without these wonderful buns. What’s more interesting though, no one knows for sure who brought together the hot dog and the bun and when exactly that genius came up with such brilliant idea.

Whoever that was, not only Americans but also other nations that borrowed the hot dog with the bun are all grateful to him.

Hot dogs are the traditional must of a summer picnic or cookout, so there’s no wonder we can’t but include them into the menu for Independence Day this year. But this year you could treat your family and friends with hot dogs with so delightful toppings that no one of your dearest and nearest can even expect to try these mixtures of flavors.  

Here are a few ideas:

  • Top your hot dogs with mozzarella, pepperoni and pizza sauce.
  • Grill hot dogs together with a fragrant medley of chopped fresh cauliflower, grated fresh carrot, marinated red pepper, chopped Kalamata olives and chopped provolone cheese.
  • Or, before grilling, you can slice each hot dog down the middle, fill the sausages with gouda cheese and then wrap them with pre-cooked bacon. Don’t forget about your favorite BBQ sauce.

Sweet Red, White and Blue Finishing Touches

Make sure you have enough fruit and berried for July 4, as these gifts of Nature will help you make a few stunning and really patriotic desserts in no longer than 15 minutes.

Strawberries, raspberries, cherries and watermelons will stand for the red color on our national flag. And this color symbolizes hardiness and valor. Apples and bananas will perfectly stand for white – the color of innocence and purity. And, apparently, blueberries will stand for the blue color, representing justice and perseverance.

So, you can choose your favorite berries and cook these light and flavorful bruschetta with ricotta and honey. By the way, you can serve them even as an appetizer. Kids will definitely be delighted!

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Or you can use watermelon, apples and blueberries to make another patriotic dessert. Just cut watermelon and apples pieces as thick as it is suitable for your star-shaped cookie cutter, then place it on the slices and push down. Place apple pieces inside watermelon pieces and finish with a blueberry in the middle of each fruit star. Also, you can push popsicle sticks to through all stars to make it more comfortable for your guests to enjoy them.

Marky’s wishes everyone tasteful and happy Independence Day 2018!

P.S. On the eve of this holiday let us remember the words of Condoleezza Rice, the first woman and the first African-American to serve President George W. Bush’s National Security Advisor during his first term.

She said that America is united not by ethnicity, nationality or religion, but the idea that one may come from humble circumstances and do great things. In America it doesn’t matter where you come from. It matters where you are going. As long as you have courage and faith.

Happy Birthday, America!