Hello my Foodie Friends!
This 4th of July weekend celebration will include attending fireworks, parades, barbeques, carnivals, picnics, baseball games, and family gatherings. The Fourth of July is more than just a celebration of summertime — it’s a time to celebrate our freedom and how far we have come. Many families will be hosting or attending an outside event or taking advantage of the long weekend activities.
Fireworks have always been one of my favorite parts of celebrating our national holiday. Sitting in a chair and watching the spectacular color displayed is so exciting to me. As I reminisce about my childhood, there is one particular 4th of July that stands out. I love to tell my decades old story of when my two other brothers and our neighborhood buddies had acquired some fire crackers to add to our evening fun. After the firework show had ended at our local park, we still had the need to entertain ourselves and sustain the celebration. My parents were not aware that a group of us “spirited” boys still had unused fireworks in our possession. Our friends provided the fireworks and my brothers and I were given the task of getting a pan to cover the fire crackers with. I gave this “heroic” opportunity to my youngest brother instructing on spy-like maneuvers to quietly get the pan past my mother. Looking back, I am not sure how we actually were able to pull it off getting it past her. We found a quiet corner in our yard to set up. Anxiously, we lit several fire crackers and put a pan on top of them. Well, that pan shot so high in the sky, it landed in my father’s favorite red maple tree and stayed there until the following winter. One winter afternoon my father was looking out the kitchen window wondering what was lodged in his tree. Getting the pan down was an event in itself. However, cleaning it was another. In an attempt to teach the three of us adorable boys a lesson, we were ordered to get the pan back to its “original” shape and color. We never did get that pan back to its normal shape!!
Outdoor gatherings were always something I looked forward to, especially when looking at the vast number of dishes and desserts that will be spread out. Whether it is a picnic gathering, or a simple picnic at the park, no feast would be complete without a sweet treat at the end. A simple way to satisfy the sweet tooth, is with a fruit-ladened tart. It is a wonderful treat to add with wine or even a cup of tea. Fresh fruit tarts are a beautiful way to present a dessert. The secret lies in the pan that the tart is baked in. A tart pan has low, fluted sides with a removable bottom. The design of the pan allows for a better conduction of heat making a more uniform baked crust. The removable bottom enables you to remove the finished product by easily placing your hand beneath the bottom, and letting the outer ring fall. Tart pans come in a number of sizes to suit whatever you are making. They are also known as quiche pans.
Ahhh…I love summer. Being outdoors and enjoying fun times with family and friends (safely) creates those memories that last a lifetime. Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, to pick up the tools you need to make your weekend an enjoyable one! Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Happy Fourth of July.
John & Paula