Our Favorite Fourth of July Recipes with Greek Flair

FILE - A tray of hamburgers. Photo by Parytino, via Wikimedia Commons

Celebrating the Fourth of July is synonymous with barbecues where family and friends gather to enjoy the flavors of summer and some quality time together, usually before watching a fireworks display. The following recipes are just a few of The National Herald’s favorites for the Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day!

Greek Hamburgers

2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon Greek oregano
1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients, careful not to overwork the mixture. Form into patties and grill over medium heat turning only once until browned on both sides and to the desired doneness. An 8-ounce burger cooked medium rare takes about 10 minutes total on the grill and should be turned about 5 minutes through the cooking time. If preferred, use a meat thermometer to take the temperature of the burger. An internal temperature of 160 degrees F is considered safe by the USDA. A well-done burger’s temperature should read 165 degrees F or higher. Be advised that cooking time alone is not an indication of doneness since burger thickness and uneven heat from the grill can affect the cooking time. Allow the burgers to rest for 5 minutes after removing from the grill. Serve on your favorite hamburger bun, Greek bread, or a toasted pita. Top with your favorite hamburger toppings – ketchup, mustard, red onion, tomatoes, pickles, and a sharp feta like Dodonis or Arahovas for added Greek flavor.

Greek Corn on the Cob

Grilled corn on the cob. Photo by Namitakhaire, via Wikimedia Commons

Fresh corn on the cob is one of those great summer treats and often the less you do with it the better it is. The following recipe starts off with a quick boil and then adding the toppings of your choice to spice up the flavor.

Fresh corn on the cob
Water
Greek sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Greek extra virgin olive oil or butter, if preferred
Feta, crumbled

Shuck the corn on the cob by cutting the stalk and then removing the husks and the silks. Rinse the corn and set aside. If cooking more than 4 to 6 pieces of corn on the cob, it might be easier to work in batches. Bring a large deep pot of water, enough to cover the corn, to a boil over medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of salt and the corn on the cob. Cook for five minutes. Remove from the cooked corn on the cob from the pot and set aside to cool slightly before eating. You can enjoy them simply with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, or butter if preferred, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, or top with crumbled feta.

Strawberry and Blueberry Cake

Strawberry and blueberry cake. Photo: Tiia Monto, via Wikimedia Commons

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt
1 cup ground nuts, toasted hazelnuts, almonds, or walnuts, or a combination, if preferred
4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Greek honey
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the topping:
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, as preferred
Strawberries
Blueberries

Grease and flour a nine by two-inch deep baking pan with a fluted edge, if preferred. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the ground nuts and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the olive oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the honey and yogurt and beat until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, and beat until just combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula occasionally to make sure the flour and eggs are all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes to an hour depending on the size and color of the pan and the strength of your oven, or until golden brown and a cake tester, toothpick, or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 to 15 minutes on a wire rack before removing from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely before decorating.
Top with whipped cream or ice cream and arrange the strawberries and blueberries as desired.

Greek Yogurt Ice Cream

Ice cream topped with Greek honey and walnuts. Public domain

3 cups Greek yogurt, Fage Total zero fat, or 2%, as preferred
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Stir together the yogurt and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the vanilla extract and refrigerate for 1 hour. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and follow machine directions for churning until soft-serve consistency. Transfer to a freezer-proof container, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, simply transfer the mixture into a freezer-proof container and freeze until solid, about 2-4 hours, then allow to thaw slightly, place in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve topped with Greek honey and walnuts and enjoy. Full fat yogurt may also be used in the recipe, if preferred.