A few gourmet condiments for the standard Fourth of July menu of steaks, a salad and ice cream can make a big difference with your outdoors crowd.
And, you can prepare it as much as a week ahead.
BUCKHEAD DINER'S STEAK SAUCE
Start to finish: 5 minutes; servings: 1014
1 cup steak sauce
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine steak sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard, vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Whisk thoroughly to combine. May be made ahead and refrigerated for up to two months.
Nutritional information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 41 calories; 15 percent calories from fat; 1 g protein; 7 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 1 g fat (trace saturated); no cholesterol; 518 mg sodium.
(Recipe from Charlie Schwab's Buckhead Diner)
ATLANTA FISH MARKET WARM BACON BLUE CHEESE DRESSING
Start to finish: 30 minutes (15 minutes); servings: 810
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 cup finely minced celery
1 shallot, finely minced
1 1/2 cups blue cheese crumbles, divided
4 ounces bacon, finely diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup light brown sugar, not packed
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Additional blue cheese and chopped chives for garnish
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, Worcestershire and pepper. Stir in celery, shallot and 1 cup blue cheese crumbles. Taste and adjust for seasoning. May be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to two weeks. May be served at this point as blue cheese dressing.
In a small saucepan, cook bacon over medium-heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove 1 tablespoon crisp bacon and set aside for garnish.
Add onion to remaining bacon and fat and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, stir to combine and then pour in vinegar. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until liquid reduces by half, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool and stir in remaining 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, combine the reserved bacon-onion mixture with blue cheese dressing. In a large skillet, gently warm dressing mixture, being careful not to heat so much that the blue cheese melts. Pour dressing over salad. Garnish with chopped chives, blue cheese and reserved cooked bacon.
Nutritional information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 457 calories; 85 percent calories from fat; 8 g protein; 10 g carbohydrates; trace fiber; 45 g fat (11 grams saturated); 39 mg cholesterol; 667 mg sodium.
(Recipe from Robert Holley's Atlanta Fish Market)
GOURMET HOT CHOCOLATE FUDGE SAUCE
Hands on: 10 minutes; total time: 10 minutes; makes: 4 cups
This easy recipe makes a sauce that is not overly sweet. Chef Jennifer Etchison recommends amaretto, brandy or rum to flavor the sauce. If you'd prefer alcohol-free sauce, substitute an equal amount of water.
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 ounces dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup liquor
1/4 cup granulated sugar
In a medium saucepan, combine corn syrup, water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in chocolate, cocoa, liquor and sugar. Whisk until smooth and remove from heat. Allow to cool before storing. Sauce may be used hot, warm or room temperature. Sauce may be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to two weeks. It can be reheated easily in the microwave.
Nutrition per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 97 calories; 5 percent calories from fat; 1 g protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 1 g fat (trace saturated); no cholesterol; 33 mg sodium.
EASY CANDIED NUTS
Start to finish: 30 minutes (5 minutes); servings: 1416
2 cups whole pecans or walnuts
1 egg white
Scant 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 vanilla bean, split, scraped, seeds only, optional
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, optional
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, mix nuts with egg white and stir to coat. Add sugar, salt and vanilla bean seeds, if using. Toss to coat evenly. Spread nuts on baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. If using butter, add after nuts have cooked about 18 minutes.
Remove nuts from oven and allow to cool on parchment paper. If nuts are sticking together, separate while warm. Allow to cool completely before storing. May be made up to one week ahead of time and stored at room temperature, or frozen for longer storage.
Nutrition per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 103 calories; 75 percent calories from fat; 1 g protein; 6 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 9 g fat (1 g saturated); no cholesterol, 62 mg sodium.