Another food-eating holiday has come and gone... though I am happy to report that this one was taken full-advantage of. We enjoyed the afternoon with Bril, Karen, and their little Olivia and our neighbors, Andrea and Chris, as well as pretty much the rest of our street. We still love neighbors!
Since I tend to be a wee Patriotic... and not to mention finally having an entire house and backyard deck to play with, I was excited to make a whole day of our Fourth.
Everyone came over in the late afternoon and we snacked on some guac and new chips (not being a traitor to our favorite TJ's spicy flaxseed chips but just trying something new... oh, and they were sold in large quantities at Costco), fresh tomato bruschetta self-serve style, and an experiment in chicken wings (this recipe is fantastic - I do recommend the Tabasco addition... and I also recommend buying the chicken already cut into drummettes... chopping cartilage was NOT FUN).
A few hours later, we had the guys grilling the burgers, my mom's 5-bean bake (a new staple for us) cooking in the oven, and I put the finishing touches on our favorite "fancy" fresh green salad - complete with crisp Romaine, candied walnuts, homemade balsamic vinegarette, sliced scallions and pears, and bleu cheese. Karen had perfectly added to the menu with her crowd-pleasing "cheesy potatoes" *think home-cooking at its best here.
After being treated to some neighborhood fireworks intermittent with the scattered showers that have plagued DC Fourths for the past few years, we were all ready for a sweet to finish the night. I was so excited to share my new-found homemade vanilla ice cream recipe. *I substituted 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract as I'm still holding out on buying real vanilla beans - the horror, I know It was another 7/4/08 experiment (much like the chicken wings) and turned out to be a keeper.
We enjoyed scoops of the fresh ice cream either as part of a homemade chocolate chip cookie sandwich or just as an accessory to the traditional cookies.
It was a great day spent with great friends; we hope for a repeat at the start of the Olympics - we're considering everyone taking a country per night or just doing one huge "Opening Ceremonies" party. ...to be continued
We enjoyed the afternoon with Bril, Karen, and their little Olivia and our neighbors, Andrea and Chris, as well as pretty much the rest of our street. We still love neighbors!