The Fourth of July is party time in the United States when families gather together to celebrate the Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1776. I’ve experienced a couple of Independence Day parties in the USA and on both occasions was amazed by the quantity and quality of the food offered. Everyone brought a plate of food large enough to feed twice the number of guests.
Buffalo wings (or just ‘wings’ as they’re called for short) were popular. Unbreaded chicken wing sections are generally deep-fried then coated or dipped in a sauce of vinegar, cayenne pepper, hot sauce and melted butter. They are traditionally served with celery sticks and a blue cheese dressing (or outside of New York, ranch dressing) for dipping. Apparently, they originated in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, when the co-owner cooked leftover wings in hot sauce as a late-night snack for her son and his friends. They were an instant hit.
The name ‘Buffalo’ is now also applied to other spiced fried foods served with dipping sauces.
America’s Julia Child was one of the first influencers of French cuisine in the US. After spending years in France, she returned to Boston and late in life became a TV cooking celebrity. Many of her recipes are true blue French with rich creamy sauces and a ton of tempting ingredients. Her recipes live on — often with adaptions — such as the pâté that follows.
Reduce the amount of Tabasco in the sauce if preferred. A fabulous nibble for TV game watching.
Chicken: 1kg chicken wings, halved if preferred
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch cayenne pepper or to taste
celery sticks to serve, optional
Dressing: 1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
100g crumbled blue cheese or goat’s cheese
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Hot Sauce: 1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon each: Tabasco sauce, white vinegar
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Line a lipped baking tray with baking paper.
Place the chicken wings in a bowl. Combine the oil, garlic, salt and cayenne. Pour over the wings and move them around to coat evenly. Place on the oven tray and bake for 25 minutes or until cooked, turning once.
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a serving bowl.
Combine the hot sauce ingredients
Place the chicken wings on a platter the drizzle with the hot sauce. Place the dressing bowl on the side together with the celery sticks, if using. Serves 4 as a nibble.
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
500g chicken livers
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons brandy
dash ground allspice
1 teaspoon each: thyme leaves, chopped sage
1/2 cup red wine
Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Sauté the onion and garlic gently, until softened. Move to one side.
Wash the chicken livers and pat dry. Halve and remove any sinews. Season then sauté in the butter until just cooked, about 6 minutes. Stir in the brandy and flame. Add the allspice, thyme, sage and red wine and simmer gently for 4 minutes.
Cool then place in a food processor and blend, until smooth. Spoon into a small loaf pan or ramekin and smooth the top with a spoon.
The pâté may be topped with, freshly ground black pepper or melted butter.
The pâté will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2 months. Great garnished with thyme sprigs. Serves 8-10.
KEY LIME CHEESECAKE
Use a glass to help push the crumbs against the pan sides.
Crust: 1 packet (200g) digestive biscuits
2 tablespoons honey
125g butter, melted
Cheesecake: 375g cream cheese, softened
finely grated rind 2 limes
395g can sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons lime juice
Lightly grease an 18cm springform cake pan. Line with baking paper, if preferred.
Crush the biscuits finely and combine with the honey and butter. Press evenly onto the base and sides of the prepared cake pan. Chill.
To make the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese and grated rind together, until very smooth. Gradually add the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice, beating until smooth. Pour into the chilled crust and refrigerate overnight. Serves 10.