Friday, July 3, 2015

A Patriotic Celebration!

What would it be like to have dinner with one of the Founding Fathers . . . say, Benjamin Franklin . . . ?

Oh, to be treated to that razor-sharp wit - as long as it wasn't directed at me, of course!  So many sayings we use nowadays were coined by the clever Mr. Franklin!  Here's one of my favorite quotes:  “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”  A man after my own heart!  Do you have a favorite BF quote?

We tried the Cabernet Sauvignon with Mr. Franklin's portrait on the label to make an Apple-Berry Sangría.  I wonder if he ever tasted sangría.  Did you know that the word sangría is a derivative of sanguis, the Latin word for blood?  Literally, it means bleeding.

A Spaniard of long ago might have said to his tavern keeper:  “¡Prepara una sangría!” (Prepare a bleeding!), meaning, of course, “Prepare a pitcher of that delicious concoction with red wine and brandy and fruit,” not a true bleeding, unless, of course, he was referring to a bull fight . . . Yikes! Not going there, at least, not today.

There are as many recipes for sangría, as there are sangría lovers.  I have never found the definitive recipe. My husband and I traveled all over Spain on our honeymoon sampling local variations.  I mean, when in Spain . . . We have carried on with the quest for over 30 years now, and it's still ongoing . . . No task is too onerous to make the world a better place . . .

I was inspired for this table by the bandanna tablecloth.  I kept imagining cowboys on a cattle drive, wearing colorful bandannas around their necks . . .

And later stopping to pick a posy of wildflowers for their sweetheart . . .

It was too hot for a heavy meal so we kept the menu simple  . . .

Hamburgers with all the trimmings and my homemade potato salad.  Potato salad is another one of those dishes for which everybody has a favorite recipe, but here's mine:

5 lbs. red potatoes (if you are going to make it, you might as well commit), peeled and cubed
1 dz. eggs, hard-boiled and coarsely chopped
1 yellow onion finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 cups Hellmann's mayonnaise
½ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes until just done.  Add chopped eggs, onion and celery.  In a small bowl mix the mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.  Pour over the potato-egg mixture.  Combine thoroughly. Chill. Garnish with Spanish smoked paprika (I prefer it to Hungarian Paprika) and parsley sprigs.

A strong recommendation:  Please use the very best wine vinegar you can find, instead of using pickle brine. Nowadays commercial brines are made with the cheapest quality distilled vinegars, often derived from petroleum, and then sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Enough said.

We saved room for dessert:  Cherries Jubilee over Vanilla Bean Ice Cream!  As you can see, I'm still playing with cherries.  This time, I got to light them on fire with the help of a little kirsch!  My first flambée!

I used Martha Stewart's recipe. Here's the link:  Cherries Jubilee.  Make sure your ice cream is very hard, as it will melt quickly when you add the warm cherries.  If this happens, do not despair, do like I did, and eat it like soup!  It will still be vastly delicious!  I'll be making this again.  After all, practice makes perfect! (That's not a Ben Franklin quote, but doesn't it sound like it ought to be?).

The photo below was taken on Father's Day at U.S. Cellular Field, where we watched the Chicago White Sox beat the Texas Rangers 3-2.  That big, ol' Star-Spangled Banner stretched out across the field makes it perfect to add to this post, and gives me an opportunity to show off the handsome men in my life!

Happy Independence Day!  As my youngest son is being deployed to Kuwait, I pray for his safety and that of all of our soldiers; it is because of their sacrifice that we can celebrate on this day.  Peace.

I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for the weekly Tablescape Thursday party!  Please stop in and take a peak at all the marvelous tablescapes!