Here are some fun and creative recipes to enliven your July festivities.  Pigs in blankets—hot dogs wrapped in puff pastry—add a delicious gourmet touch to the common hot dog in a bun.  For those in a red, white and blue state of mind—the fruit kebabs and potato salad will be sure to please.  To make the fruit kebabs, simply thread red and blue fruits and white marshmallows on skewers (please see photo).  I’ve provided recipes for pigs in blankets and red white and blue potato salad.  Happy 4th of July!!

Ingredients for Pigs In Blankets

  • 1 box of frozen puff pastry sheets-17.3 ounces*
  • 12 hot dogs or franks, cut in half lengthwise, ends trimmed**
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Before you begin, follow the directions on the box for thawing the frozen puff pastry.  It will require at least an hour to thaw at room temperature or an overnight thaw in the refrigerator.  Line a baking sheet large enough to hold 24 pigs in blankets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

You will find two wrapped puffed pastry sheets in the box.  Remove one sheet from the box and place the remaining sheet back in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Remove the puff pastry from its wrapping and place on a lightly floured board.  Gently unfold the puff pastry.  It should be approximately 9 ½ “ by 9 ½ “.

Cut the dough into 2-inch strips.  Center the 3-inch hot dog on the strip and roll the pastry around the hot dog until the pastry overlaps it by about ½ “.  Using a scissor or knife, cut the pig in blanket free from the strip.  Press lightly on the pastry to seal the overlap.

Repeat with the remaining puff pastry and hot dogs.  One puff pastry sheet will make about 12 pigs in blankets.  You will need to use the remaining sheet to make a total of 24.

Brush the pastry of the pigs in blankets with the egg/water glaze, then place seam side down on the parchment-lined baking sheet in the preheated oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes until the pigs in blankets are golden brown.

You can make these earlier in the day.  When ready to serve, reheat in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Makes 24 pigs in blankets.

Notes

* I use Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets available at most supermarkets.

** I use Hebrew National hog dogs—they are about 6 inches in length and will be 3 inches when cut in half.

Ingredients for Red White and Blue Potato Salad

  • 12 ounces baby red potatoes*
  • 12 ounces baby blue or purple potatoes*
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar**
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
  • ½ cup mayonnaiseoptional garnish:  finely chopped red pepper and chives

Place potatoes with skin in a medium saucepan and cover with about 1 inch of water.  Cook potatoes over medium heat for about ½ hour to 45 minutes until they are tender.

Allow the potatoes to cool slightly, then cut into ¼-inch slices.

Combine vinegar, sugar, paprika, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

Place warm potatoes into the mixing bowl, folding all ingredients gently together and marinate for about 1 hour.

Add red onion, celery, red pepper, sweet pickle relish and celery seed to the marinated potatoes and fold all ingredients together.

Add mayonnaise, and, once again, fold all ingredients together gently.

Serve potatoes immediately at room temperature or refrigerate and serve later in the day.

Sprinkle finely chopped red pepper and chives to garnish the potato salad.

Serves 4 to 6.

Notes

* I use Bella Mondo Delightful Rainbow of Tiny Potatoes—they come in 1.5 pound bags and can be found at Shop Rite.  It’s ok to use all red potatoes if you can’t find the blue ones.