Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Fire Crackers and Creamy Cool Cucumber Dip

Firecracker, Firecracker, Boom, Boom, Boom!!
I seem to vaguely recall a childhood jump-rope song that had those
"Firecracker" lyrics in it...
Isn't it so funny, all the little things we retain from our childhood?

All these years later and I can tell you half a poem about firecrackers and
a few of other odds and ends...
I can tell you how much an extra long ice pop from Gil's cost in 1984.   10 cents.
I can tell you that my elementary school felt like a scene from The Wonder Years... and how grateful I am to have grown up in a small-ish town.
I can you how long --exactly to the minute-- it took to ride my bicycle home from the city pool to be home in time for dinner.  We had to leave by 4:40 and not a second later... if we planned to arrive home by 5pm. (It was an uphill ride (both ways), with a sopping-wet towel and pruney-feet...just some of the details my 10-year-old self had to factor into my travel planning)

I can also tell you what we ate every Fourth of July (I really can) because... for most of my childhood we celebrated with family friends.  Every year, the same plans and every year was always fun.

Many of my July 4th memories include swimming in the hot and humid sunshine, a rope swing, basement roller skating, and a deluxe homemade fireworks extravaganza (an entertainment experiment put on by the parents). I recall mosquito bites, lightning bugs, and the memory of always leaving the party completely worn out... I was living my best life...

And still today, July Fourth doesn't feel complete unless there are frosted chocolate brownies, a big bubbly casserole of cheesy potatoes, homemade chip dip, and of course, plenty of grilled burgers and hot dogs.

July 4th has always been a favorite of mine...lots of reasons why... I love that it's a no pressure, non-gift-giving holiday, a fun family day, good food, music and a day to spend together...
I recently received some great advice from my grandmother. She's 93 years young and waiting very patiently to visit with all of her family and friends again.  We were discussing the current Covid-19 situation...and she said, "Make sure to celebrate the's so important to keep family traditions going if you can."  She's right...   It's so important to celebrate... I'm trying to keep the joy present and spread the lighthearted feeling of summer wherever I can.  -It somehow feels better to carry on and celebrate... and I do think it will keep our spirits up.

Will this year be different for all of us??  Yes, to some degree July 4th will not be the same...but we can still celebrate and we can still keep our traditions alive.  We can make delicious foods and make a point of making the most of the day... because one day...the memory of this difficult time will be part of the story we share with our grandchildren... the now we are experiencing, will become the "I can tell you how much gas was in 2020..."  or "We had the BEST Fire Crackers that July 4th of 2020...did you ever eat a Fire Cracker??"

Which brings me to this Southern staple of parties and picnics... the Fire Cracker!  How perfect for July 4th... the recipes for this appetizer/snack certainly varies from town to town and from church gathering to neighborhood block party... but, essentially, it's saltine crackers, that are lovingly soaked for a few hours to overnight in a slurry of spices and seasoning, and coated in either oil or butter.  The crackers are then baked in a single layer, until toasty and crisp.  Our family loved them!!  They'll be a new addition to our picnic spread this year...

I'm so curious if you have a Fourth of July favorite??  What will you be bringing the picnic this year?

If you need a super easy and very crowd-friendly snack, this is it.  These crackers are great on their own or served with cheese, veggies, or this creamy cool cumber dip... see below.

These Fire Crackers definitely bring a little smoky heat to the the cucumber dip is the perfect addition if you need to cool off!!

Enjoy this new "old-fashioned" favorite... may it become one of those traditions, those delicious recipes, that family will look forward to for years to come.

Enjoy the recipe:


2 sleeves saltine crackers
1 packet ranch dip (about 2 Tablespoons) I used Fiesta Ranch, either "Regular or Fiesta" will work
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (add more for a hotter version)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup olive oil

Place crackers in the zip-top bag.  Set aside.
In a bowl add the ranch dip mix, add the spices and the oil.  Stir.
Pour the oil/spice mixture over the crackers. Seal the bag and gently shake the bag to coat the crackers.  Let crackers rest in the bag for at least 1 hour to overnight.  Move the bag occasionally to help coat all the crackers.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Place the crackers on two large baking sheets in a single layer.

Bake on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes, or until the crackers look lightly toasted.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Serve Fire Crackers with cheese slices, fresh veggies, or creamy cucumber dip.

Creamy Cool Cucumber Dip

1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the ingredients together, place dip in the fridge until ready to serve.  The flavor will develop after chilling for 1 hour.

No comments:

Post a Comment