I know it’s a little late, but our 4th of July celebration was a blast! Lots of great food, two of our favorite people, and a perfect place to see fireworks.
Unfortunately I have to admit that I sort of forgot to take photos.
It’s weird taking pictures of things when there are just four of you there… Maybe if I was with other friends who liked to blog about their yummy eats (um, Jennie, I’m looking at you!), it wouldn’t have been awkward… But as it was, it was. So I’ll just describe instead.
When Mike and Jess got here, we had fruit and cheese plates (otherwise known as the reason to always keep a box of nice crackers in the cupboard… around 1 pm I realized I’d overlooked any food for munching with sangria and hastily threw them together from what we had in our fridge and cupboard, but you’d have never known, because between 4 kinds of yummy cheese, frozen grapes, and strawberries, peaches, oranges, and passion fruit, they looked beautiful!) and a strawberry sangria that they’d brought over (so yummy, and I have the recipe now!).
For dinner, we had hamburgers (I have the best burger recipe in the world and will share it with you next time I make them… seriously, so juicy and tasty – and even Jess’ turkey burger tasted awesome using the same recipe) with carmelized onions, corn on the cob cooked on the grill, a big green salad, my pickles (they turned out so good that I’m getting requests to bring them places!), and chips. That last one is another lesson – always have a backup plan – because I’d actually intended on having sweet potato fries. Unfortunately hubby insisted on using his mandoline slicer, which is fantastic, but on the thickest setting the thing cut the fries so very very tiny that the outsides burned before the insides cooked. We ended up with a bunch of raw hockey pucks. Plan B!
After a vigorous game of Balderdash (Mike and Jess are our board game buddies – we’ve been having dinner and game nights every month or so since they moved down from LA), we left for a top secret fireworks viewing spot. Hey, I know how it can get when people crowd in! We found parking relatively easy there and I’d like to do so again next year! We brought out picnic blankets and sipped on travel cups of coffee and ate cupcakes while we waited for the shows to start – we ended up seeing seven or eight different shows at various times, so it was a great place to watch!
The cupcakes were pretty good, especially considering that it wasn’t my intention to make vanilla cupcakes with strawberry cheesecake frosting. In fact, I set out to do red, white, and blue ones again. This time, I decided I’d make them with blueberries instead of blue-dyed cocoa. We went to the Farmer’s Market and picked up some ripe strawberries and blueberries and I pureed them to add to the cake batter.
Now, here’s where it gets sketchy. I don’t know whether it was the fact that I was using twice as many berries as last year or whether it had more to do with the cake recipe I was using (which was not the same one as last year’s). But instead of being heavy, dense, and impossible to eat, this batch was light, gummy, and impossible to eat. So much so that I didn’t even take a photograph before I dumped the whole thing in the trash (which was a shame, because they did have a nice bright color to them).
Luckily I’d made an error earlier on in the baking process. I was planning to half a recipe I had, that makes 24 cupcakes, to make this year’s batch of three-colored cakes. I halved the butter and the sugar and the flour and the salt… But when it came to the eggs, I just cracked them in – two whole eggs and two egg whites – and realized as they were mixing into the batter that a half recipe was just one whole egg and one egg white. Oops.
So I hastily softened some more butter and measured out the rest of the ingredients. Luckily, I did – because I ended up with 12 extra vanilla cupcakes when all was said and done. And the strawberry cheesecake frosting was totally worth it (yes, I’ll put up a recipe, but it might not be till later in the month when I use the now-frozen leftover frosting for something).