Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4 BBQ

For this year's Independence Day holiday, SP & I invited friends over for a BBQ. Despite being in the house for 2 years, and despite all our friends visiting us at the house at some point in time, not everyone had been here at the same time - we had never hosted all our friends before!! So it was about time to do so. Saturday afternoon we bought lots of food, Saturday night we spent some time in the kitchen preparing food (tart, ice cream, pizzelles), and then Sunday morning spent some more time getting things ready (potato salad, salsa, slicing veggies for grilling) - whew! All the errands and kitchen time plus the heat meant that when I went out on the deck around 4 pm, I was ready for a drink, or two, to celebrate July 4:Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc and Earl Grey iced tea for me. SP was in charge of filling the cooler with ice and beer & soda:The beer was Heinekin (my dad likes Heinekin and this was the rest of the case from family visiting in April for the wedding), and we had Coke, Diet Pepsi, and Mountain Dew. We also had a newly purchased beverage storage bucket/tub filled with ice and wine, pitchers of iced tea, and, once AJ arrived, a pitcher of Purple Hooters (plus extra grape juice) and a pitcher of Sweet Tea & Vodka/Limoncello mixture. Yum! I have to confess that, with my college days far behind me, I am a booze 'wimp' and when I tasted the Purple Hooter, I made faces that caused everyone to crack up - it was very strong for me! More than just a couple sips and I would've been sleeping in the sun! I'm not sure what he used in his Purple Hooters, but I know there was lots of vodka and grape juice. And yes, we know that Purple Hooters are usually served as shots, not by the cupful in a red plastic cup.

Snacks are always nice, especially when drinking, so we brought out some tortilla chips and Chi Chi's salsa plus what I am calling "Yum Yum's Totally Wimpy No Heat At All Salsa."Sunday morning I finely chopped a bunch of grape tomatoes, a bit of green pepper and onion, added olive oil, fresh basil, a dash of onion powder, a few dashes of cumin, and some salt & pepper for a sort of salsa. I liked it; other people seemed to like it, too. One person commented that the lack of spice/heat was nice on such a hot day.

B&R brought Veggie Pizza -- I love Veggie Pizza and it's been a very long time since I last enjoyed it.If you've never had Veggie Pizza, it's a tube of crescent rolls baked and topped with a cream cheese-mayo-ranch dressing mixture and then sprinkled with finely chopped veggies. B&R sprinkled on chopped peppers, carrots, broccoli, and onion. It was sooo good! I confess that I ate most of it. Certainly at least 5-6 pieces on July 4 and they left me the last 3-4 pieces, which made a great Monday morning snack!

Soon enough it was time for the food. This year we decided on tubular meats! We bought some hot sausage, sweet sausage, kielbasa, and brats. SP grilled the tubular meats along with some onion, green peppers, and red peppers plus he grilled slices of zucchini and eggplant (thanks F&A for the extra veggies).

Here's my plate (I had sweet sausage):I did not eat my sausage on a bun. Buns are extra calories and extra filling and I needed room in my belly for the other goodies! Like this, Potato Salad dressed with a vinegar dressing, not mayo:B&R brought Macaroni Salad - elbow pasta, very finely chopped celery, onion, and egg, and just the right of mayo. In fact, I love how little mayo was on this; definitely not swimming in it. B&R also slice hard boiled eggs and place the slices on top in a pretty pattern and then sprinkle paprika over. Yum! This photo is of our little container of leftover macaroni salad -- somewhere between the drinks & appetizers and dinner I forgot about food blogging and neglected to take photos of the food, so I ended up photographing the leftovers Monday morning!!AJ came bearing Fruit Salad with a yummy yogurt based dressing. I think it had some honey and chambord mixed in with the yogurt:I really liked the dressing - that was the first time I'd had that kind of dressing on a fruit salad. The fruits were all my favorites, too: blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, grapes, honeydew - yum!

After all that food and a wee rest, it was time to bring out the desserts. There was Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream (made by SP):The Fruit Tart that SP & I made:B&R brought homemade White Chocolate Cheesecake:Look at that photo - no cracks on top of that cheesecake! There were 2 fruit toppings for the cheesecake, blueberry and strawberry:B&R said they forgot to add one ingredient to the cheesecake, I think it was the cornstarch, so they were concerned about the texture/it being too runny, but it seemed fine to me. Another cheesecake photo:I made regular (anise & vanilla extracts) pizzelles: B&R brought the leftover chocolate cookies they made for the cheesecake crust. Yes, like SP, B&R make the cookies that they then crush for cheesecake/tart crusts:I was expecting a rich, fudgy texture but these were nicely light and crisp:L brought homemade chocolate chip cookies:Mmmm chocolate chip cookies are always a good cookie choice - especially when there are kids who are very picky eaters (her kids didn't seem too interested in the ice cream, tart, or cheesecake; the older one did try the veggie pizza earlier in the day but apparently it wasn't very tasty as the bite of veggie pizza ended up on the deck).

The evening went on, it got darker, and as we ate and drank more and tried to recover from the heat, we were less and less motivated to move down the street for a clear view of the fireworks. We lit some citronella candles to keep the bugs away and ended up staying on the deck and viewing the fireworks through the trees -- and vowing to make SP scale the super tall tree to lop off the branches that obstruct our fireworks view before next July 4!

I had a great time with everyone and enjoyed lots of tasty foods - many thanks to those who came and brought their tasty treats. We have been enjoying the leftovers - so yummy!

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