Monday, July 2, 2012

Independence (from the oven) Day

Pinterest would have us believe that July 4th is the day when Americans gather together to clink their perfectly styled red, white and blue layered drinks in mason jars, munch on perky fruit tarts served on vintage china, complemented of course by impeccable patriotic crafts displayed on crisp white linen as it flutters ever so delicately in the breeze.

Over here in my little corner of life, I struggle to make sure the berries don't turn moldy immediately after washing them (seriously, am I the only one this happens to?); I'm leery of blue foods (and don't own any mason jars anyway); and crafts? Ha! I'd have to do the craft from inside the air conditioner to make sure the glue doesn't turn into a tacky mess in the heat. I do love vintage china, but since I live in a two room apartment what I have is in storage. No, I'm basically just looking forward to celebrating with Thom, since the last time he had the 4th off was 2009*.

In real life we make messy

 If you're less than pinterest perfect like me, you'll probably appreciate a little time away from the stove this week. Here are some ideas to help you keep your cool:

Peach Melba Daiquiri
You know that commercial where the two girls are sitting on a roof deck pretending they're on a cruise because they have the latest caramelmochacoconutpoopaccino? It's funny because it's true. A few minutes with my trusty immersion blender and Thom and I are sitting on our concrete patio, shaded by the towering brick building behind ours, sipping on a couple of Peach Melba Daiquiris, and wishing we were back in Cancun.

Nothing beats a poolside bar
 Combine crushed ice, frozen raspberries, raspberry syrup and amaretto - pulverize. In a separate container pulverize frozen peaches, crushed ice and peach liqueur. Combine and top with whipped cream and a straw. Go outside and put your feet up. Ahhhh... summer!

Okay, okay, so I got a little Pinterest cute with this next one:

Patriotic Berry Lollipops
As my friend Jen says, it's "easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy." Combine softened cream cheese with lime zest, lime juice (just a few drops - don't want to thin out the cream cheese) and confectioners sugar to taste. Stuff inside a hulled strawberry and top with a blueberry. Gently press a lollipop stick through and voilá! You can get really creative by coating the strawberries in melted white chocolate and dipping in red and blue colored sugar but if you're watching your sugar intake these are great as is.

Guacamole Stuffed Tomatoes
Having friends over and want to show off just a little? Guacamole stuffed tomatoes to the rescue! Cut a cocktail tomato in half. Scoop out seeds. Stuff with guacamole. Act like it took you hours and march outside, holding the tray triumphantly over your head whilst proclaiming, "TAH-DAH!"

Actually, don't do the whole holding the tray aloft thing - these babies will roll off! Just try not to eat them all (mmm... gaucamole!) before your guests arrive. Want to get fancy? Top with kernels of roasted corn and serve with tequila soaked lime wedges half-dipped in salt.

Boozy Berry Parfait
Oh martinis, I miss you so! Now that I'm old(er) my body doesn't like me to drink hard stuff like vodka or tequila. But I have all these beautifully proportioned martini glasses! (Guess I should have invested in mason jars instead). What to do? Well, a little booze goes a long way with me these days so how about a boozy berry parfait? Combine your favorite berries with a tablespoon of Grand Marnier and layer with whipped cream. Martini with a spoon!

Peaches & Cream Tartlets
I know you're accustomed to seeing me make everything from scratch but trust me that there comes a time when it's okay to purchase some ready-made components for a dish. For me that time is when it's 90 degrees and humid out. Perfect time to break out these sweet tart shells from Clearbrook Farms. Get ready for Peaches & Cream Tartlets!

Combine sliced peaches with cinnamon and peach liqueur. Set aside. Brush ready-made mini tartlets with raspberry jam and fill with peaches. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon. Attempt portion control.

I hope these give you some inspiration for your next gathering as well as a reprieve from the stove during the summer. Whether you do something "pinteresting," as Thom says, or you're more disorganized laid-back I hope you have a safe and happy holiday filled with friends, family and food. Oh, and if you are adept at that whole perfectly styled white linen under an oak tree kind of party, invite me over would'ya? I'll bring guacamole stuffed tomatoes.

But I can't promise not to shout "TAH-DAH!" when I arrive.


*Please thank your local first responders (Fire, Police, & EMS) for being available (i.e. away from their friends, family & food) so everyone else can enjoy peace of mind today. Remember: 911 doesn't close for holidays.

Have you hugged your first responder today?


  1. That peachy thing is really peachy looking...and so is the guy. B

  2. I love all of your ideas with freedom from the oven, bur especially the strawberry pops, guacamole stuffed tomatoes, and the berry Martini. I too, have an assortment of martini glasses, but I also have mason jars. lots of options for drinks.

  3. Ha! You are hilarious--Pinterest makes me feel woefully inadequate! lol

    Best tip for berries ever. You will thank me: get them home, dump them in a bowl and pour over a 10:1 mixture of filtered water and vinegar. Swish-swish-swish. Drain gently. Spread out and pat dry. Store in fridge. Staying power. Amazing!

    I am so happy for you that you and your beloved get to spend the holiday together for a change. And thank him for me:)

    1. YES! I knew there had to be something I could do for the berries. Thank you!

  4. Lovely post. Have a great 4th

  5. I'll have one of whatever it is that Thom is drinking there. Actually, make it two. ;)

  6. YUM! We too are having an oven free 4th. Tell ya what - you give Thom a hug FOR me that way I can do my duty and you get an extra hug! :)

  7. I could become addicted to those boozy berry parfaits, that is why I have nominated you for an award, check it out when you get a moment

  8. Everything looks so good. When should I arrive?

  9. I think I'm a matter what the temp is outside I still feel the need to use my oven almost daily *sigh*

    Oh and also-I nominated you for The Addictive Blogger Award :)

  10. Just discovered your blog today and am loving all of the items in this post =) I have just the perfect occasion for the guacamole cocktail tomatoes; I know they will be a hit.

  11. Hospitals don't close either ... remember the nurses ;)

  12. i love all the goodies in this post, they all sound so delicious (and festive!)


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