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!


Unknown said...

I LOVE the floral peices! And that Sangria looks delicious.

xinex said...

Oh how beautiful and what fun, your table is quite entertaining too with Benjamin Franklin and his quote. Christine

Cynthia said...

Very pretty table and I agree- the Sangria does look delicious! Sending a special "Thank you" to your son for his service!

Jen said...

Here visiting from BNOTP! Your tablescape is very festive and thank you for providing your favorite potato salad recipe!

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

What a lovely tablescape. Love the patriotic theme. We love sangria and yours look lovely. Have a happy weekend.

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

I totally agree about the Sangria! Even if I use the same ingredients it never tastes the same twice! The fruit and wine combos vary so much between recipes. Your cherries look delicious too! I once made banana foster for dessert and it was fun and good but I was worried about it all during dinner. Maybe I'll give it another try! Now about that potato salad--just how many people are you feeding here??? It sound delicious too and my hubby loves potato salad. I make mine without onions and I know that sounds wrong to most people but I can't eat them so we are used to it that way. I never knew about the pickle brine issues! I usually try to use the best ingredients anyway because when you add up all the costs and compare the differences, and then consider that this food is becoming part of us, I think it makes sense to use the best. Of course my reasoning does not prevent me from eating ring dings and devil dogs! (Do you have those naughty goodies out there?) Best of luck to your son!

Zuni, Chickadee Home Nest said...

First, thank you to your son and others who make our freedom possible, Maria. I've been thinking about you a lot since his departure.

Your sweet comments about Baby Love's dance recital tussie-mussie brought me over, because as you can see I haven't been around much--too much going on, including new baby born 7/9! Another blessing for our family! Thank you for your visit.

Early in your post you said you were keeping things simple, and immediately I thought, "Yeah...sure..." and I was right, of course! LOL You don't do anything simple--cherries jubilee???!!! And making your own potato salad and peeling 5 pounds of potatoes??!! I hope i can be there for your next simple 4th, that's for sure!! I love the tablecloth--so fun! It caught my eye right away. And leave it to you to think about Ben...I do believe he would've liked sangria, based on other readings about him!! :)

Great picture of your to treasure!

Greetings to your family, Maria. Love stopping by to visit (your blog). Any chance of a real visit to Ohio any time soon?? We'd love to see you again! My best, ~Zuni