Fourth of July across the Granite State is usually filled with fireworks displays, parades and other fun gatherings but this year many events are cancelled due to the pandemic.

But that doesn’t mean this Fourth of July can’t be festive.

One thing that will brighten up any Fourth of July celebration is a red velvet cake. The cake batter is made by doctoring up a boxed red velvet cake mix, then drizzing red, white and blue frosting on top of the cake to give it patriotic flair.

For food, you can get creative with zucchini noodles, aka “zoodles”. These are usually available at the supermarket in the produce section and make a nice addition to a cold salad or slaw. I mixed some with shredded carrots, bean sprouts, snow peas and other veggies and topped it with a peanut dressing and cilantro. It was delicious.

The cost of ground beef and other meats has inched up so if you’re looking for something to grill for a Fourth of July cookout, try my turkey burgers. I’ve made these a few times already this summer; the spicy kick from the harissa kicks up the flavor of the turkey burgers.

If you decide to add any real fireworks to your Fourth of July festivities, be careful with them.

Next week I’ll share some fun food ideas for a beach day.

Harissa & Herb Turkey Burgers

1 pound ground turkey

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon Harissa paste

1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs such as parsley and thyme

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix together until well combined.

Divide into four equal portions and use your hands to form each portion into patties about 1/2-inch thick.

Lightly spray the grates of an outdoor grill with cooking spray or lightly brush with olive oil. Heat the grill to about 425 degrees and set the patties on the grill. Grill on each side for 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown and the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees. Serve on burger buns with your choice of condiments.

Red Velvet Firecracker Cake

16.5-ounce package red velvet cake

5-ounce package instant vanilla pudding

4 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

16-ounce package vanilla frosting

1/4 teaspoon red gel food coloring

1/4 teaspoon blue gel food coloring

White sprinkles, if desired, for garnish

Spray a bundt cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Add the cake mix and vanilla pudding to a large bowl and whisk together.

Add the eggs, buttermilk, water and vegetable oil and beat with an electric mixer for 3 to 4 minutes or until well combined.

Pour cake mix into the prepared cake pan and set in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake is slightly pulling away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the middle part of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

When the cake is cooled, transfer it to a serving platter. To decorate, divide the frosting between three microwave-safe small bowls.

Add the blue food coloring to one bowl and mix thoroughly to make blue frosting.

Add the red coloring to another bowl of white frosting and mix thoroughly. Place the white frosting in the microwave and heat for about 10 seconds or until the frosting is slightly runny. Use a spoon to drizzle the frosting over the cake.

Let the frosting set for several minutes, then repeat the process with the blue frosting. When the blue frosting is set, repeat the process with the red frosting. Garnish with white sprinkles, if desired.

Zoodle Salad with Peanut Sauce

2 cups spiral cut zucchini (zoodles)

1 cup fresh bean sprouts

1 cup carrot, shredded

1 cup purple cabbage, shredded

1 cup Napa cabbage, shredded

1 cup broccoli florets

1/2 cup snow peas

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup peanuts, crushed

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and drizzle with peanut sauce; toss combine. Serve immediately.

Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons avocado or olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame rice vinegar

2 tablespoons mango rice vinegar

2 teaspoons Sambal Olek (optional)

1 lime, juiced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend together.

Adjust seasonings to suit your taste.