July 4th is fast approaching which means we're ready to dig into some of our favorite All-American foods — burgers, corn on the cob, pie, heck, even Rocket Pops — are in the spotlight.
But, our friends are from all sorts of backgrounds and, while there may still be kids riding Radio Flyers with patriotic pom poms streaming off the back (we've seen them IRL on Cape Cod!) there's no one America when it comes to food. All it has to be is summery, fresh, and delicious — here are the recipes we'd build a whole cookout around:
As the temps soar, we want to cook minimally but still want food with bold flavor; these funky, herbed Shrimp Tostadas fit that bill perfectly.
Extra-Special Deviled Eggs - from Joy The Baker
Oh, deviled eggs - we have such a love-hate relationship with them because they can get so boring so fast. But, not these - they're extra-special, after all!
Padron Pepper and Goat Cheese Tacos - from Bojon Gourmet
Yes, padron peppers hail from Spain but they've taken US menus by storm the last few summers. There's nothing wrong with keeping it classic, blistered and them with salt, but we like the idea of these tacos too.
BLT Bites - from Weelicious
The BLT is such a holy grail of American summer perfection that we don't like to mess with it, but miniaturizing them means you have have a few bites and still save room for the rest of the cookout.
Whipped Burrata Crostini with Grilled Shrimp and Peaches -from Running To The Kitchen
If you're like us, you could have only appetizers all the time and be totally happy. And when they're appetizers like this, we think you can see why!
Red White and Blue Bruschetta - from Nosh and Nourish
Watermelon and feta salad is so prevalent we feel like it's an unoffical national dish of summer — here the combo gets put on bread for a patriotic-looking appetizer that doesn't feel cliche.
ON THE GRILL
Baby Back Ribs with Espresso BBQ Sauce - from Shutterbean
There's nothing wrong with classic BBQ ribs and we even like ours with Dr Pepper every now and then but these ribs (with espresso in the sauce!) bring pinkys-out classiness to the cookout.
Okay, this is hardly a traditional burger but sometimes we like to change it up a bit. And, when so many fresh vegetables are available, we like to make this lamb burger filled with salad fixings.
We've got a thing for bread in our salads and in the summer our go-to is this grilled peach version.
Basil Parmesan Grilled Corn - from What's Gaby Cooking
Classic corn on the cob with a twist, Gaby grills her corn then slathers it with some of our favorite flavors - basil and parm - need we say more?
Corn-Jalapeno Slaw With Harissa-Dusted Giant Shrimp - from Turntable Kitchen
If you want corn beyond the cob, check out this spicy combo.
Hushpuppy Panzanella - from This Mess Is Ours
Speaking of creative twists on panzanella, Meg has brought her Southern flair to this version with hushpuppies. Be forewarned that you may end up eating all the hushpuppies before you ever make it to the salad!
Hearty grain salads don't cut it this time of year — we want something we can eat and still sit comfortably in a bathing suit afterwards — this salad puts the spotlight on wild rice, one of the most American of all grains (a grass, actually).
If you need a little substance in your salad, then you're gonna wanna make this one: it's like steak and peppers, the salad edition.
OTHER GOOD SAVORY STUFF
Tomato Cobbler with Blue Cheese Biscuits - from Joy The Baker
The recipe that convinced us Joy was a baking queen? It was this savory take on cobbler. We love it so much we count the days until tomatoes come in so we can make it again!
If you're packing up a picnic, then you're going to want (no, need) to take along this simple vegetarian sandwich — it only gets better as it sits so go ahead and make it well ahead of time.
Summer is when poblano chiles come into season and we use them everywhere from old-school Mexican pizza to this new-fangled version.
Sometimes we don't want to have to choose between desserts and this recipe solves that by combing two of our favorite All-American treats, cheesecake and brownies.
If little ones are involved, you pretty much have to make this Icebox Cake. And, even if there are only little ones in spirit, this chocolate banana combo is a must because it's super easy and a crowd favorite.
Roasted Blueberry and Lemony Yogurt Popsicles - from TastyYummies
Roast the fruit in the morning before it gets hot, pop these in the freezer, and unmold them once it's too hot to do anything but sit and eat a popsicle!
Red White And Blue Firecracker Popsicles - from Brown-Eyed Baker
We pledge our allegiance to red white and blue pops but the classic Rocket Pops are loaded with commercial junk — this version has all the patriotism made with all real ingredients.
Apricot Cherry Fold-Over Pie - from Bojon Gourmet
It's hard for us to pick just one pie, but this apricot-cherry combo is one we plan on making all summer long.
A part of us wishes we grew up in the era of soda fountains, if only so we could order milkshakes and egg creams. That same part of us loves this updated coconut version of cream soda.
Slices of watermelon are so expected — we like to blend it up with lemon, honey, and berries for this twist on lemonade.
Blackberry Sage Jam Cocktails - from With Food and Love
Sherrie created these cocktails last 4th of July with all American ingredients and we think they're something worth toasting.
How we celebrate peach season? With this classic Southern drink!
Opening photo by Kristen Curette