Sunday, July 6, 2008

Red, white & breakfast

Along with Thanksgiving and New Year's, the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. The days are long, the food is abundant and the time is perfect to reconnect with family and friends. We had plenty of opportunities to do just that throughout our week-long vacation.

For me, this celebratory week kicked-off with a lovely bridal shower followed by a rockin' bachelorette party for my friend Denise (who I've known since Kindergarten). The evening's festivites started off with drinks and apps at Margarita's, then we stopped by The White Heart (to give the place an injection of tulle) and finally we wrapped up the night dancing to the captivating beat of King Memphis at Empire Dine & Dance.

More party hopping continued on Thursday, when we headed up to Sunshine Farm for the annual Fourth of July throwdown. While the party's numbers were diminished by an unexpected death in the family of our good friends (whom we thought about all weekend), we soldiered on with plenty of games and good eats.

The games included numerous sets of volleyball, a Yankee swap and a slingshot contest. My friend Kate, who is seven months pregnant and seated in this photo, even saw some action on the court. (We recruit future players in utero on the farm.)

Of course we needed this activity to work off all the wonderful food we were eating. The highlight for me was the tortilla buffet my sister made for lunch on the 4th. Here she is chopping tomatoes in the kitchen of Big Mary.
She used black beans, red kidney beans, onions and a tomato-based broth to create a delicious, plant-based filling for the whole-wheat tortillas.

I made a chunky guacamole to go with the wraps. I used 7 ripe avocados, 6 limes, 1 Vidalia onion, 3 cloves of Maine-grown garlic, a Tbsp. or so of garlic sea salt and a dash of Mother's Mountain Habanero Heaven hot sauce. I peeled and roughly chopped one avocado at a time. After I added each cut avocado to the bowl, I squeezed lime juice over it. Then I stirred in the chopped onions, minced garlic, salt and hot sauce.

My mother bought locally-raised hamburger which she wanted to be cooked up as a meat-eater's option for this buffet. But with my sister at the helm in the kitchen, me her first mate and no one who knew how to cook beef (or who wanted to cook it) nearby, we make the executive decision to keep the whole buffet vegetarian.

I went pretty traditional with my topping choices, going for the beans, salsa, red onions, green peppers, black olives, lettuce and, of course, guacamole. It was fabulous. Marcie made the yummy salad, which consisted of corn, black beans, rice and peppers in a tangy dressing.

The next morning (with the afterglow of the fireworks and the annual bonfire still clouding my vision), I rolled out of the Honeymoon Cottage and took over buffet duty in Big Mary's kitchen.

Instead of beans, this meal centered around a hearty pot of cooked whole oat groats. Topping choices include strawberries, shredded coconut, blueberries, bananas, walnuts, crushed flax seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, vegan chocolate chips, maple syrup, honey, cinnamon, hemp milk and rice milk. The results were truly delicious and decadent.

It proved the perfect fuel to get us out the door and over to the Hill family reunion on Little Sebago Lake, where we chatted nonstop, ate a ton and totally forgot to snap any pictures! Even without photographic evidence, I can tell you the food was phenomenal. As usual my mother-in-law's vegan baked beans were a stand-out. I enjoy them so much, I even ate some of the leftovers for breakfast this morning.


ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Wow, your Fourth of July sounds absolutely perfect. (And I thought your comment about recruiting the unborn baby was super-cute.)

I LOVE your patriotic breakfast spread!

J said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful time, even in spite of your recent loss.

And that spread looks fantastic, oh man, seriously. That picture with all the avocados and the limes.....mmmmmmm

Anonymous said...

Hope you and your family and friends are bearing up after your loss. I know how difficult that can be. Sometimes its best just to focus on what's going on around you and keep it mindful. It sounds like you all did a good job of being present.

Food looked great! We had an all veg 4th too which was wonderful.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful 4th of July weekend! And such wonderful food! And lots of great time with your family, too!

Bianca said...

Looks like a ton a fun! And a week-long vacation?! Lucky!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the buffet details... it was nice to see your topping ideas for the oat groats. I've been stuck in a rut with a few toppings and may try some of yours =)

Lovlie said...

HMMM! The food looks really really good! The breakfast buffet looks so nice! I'm gonna have porridge tomorrow morning!