WIAW 71- Fourth of July!

Delicious holiday meals! www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Saturday was the Fourth of July – American Independence Day!

Other years, we’ve sometimes spent the day with a friend, whose windows are perfectly positioned to just barely not see the fireworks… You literally see their reflections in buildings, but nothing else, so we watch on TV (and curse out the producer when they’re showing a reaction shot to what the reflections show us was probably a lovely explosion!) Sure, we could go down to the river… and stand for hours in the heat, humidity and the crowd – and I did that, 20 years ago – but… it doesn’t sound as much fun any more.

This year, our friend was out of town, we never really put anything together with anyone else, rain was predicted all day, the fireworks barges were going to be perfectly positioned so that we would just barely not see them from our own window… so we just planned a quiet day at home. But I decided to use a contact grill to have a pretend barbecue… just for fun…

Delicious holiday meals! www.inhabitedkitchen.com

The rest of the day was pretty typical. I’m starting to work out the convenient version of my breakfast tortillas… took me long enough to realize I should! But I made up a big pot of “refried” beans – really just cooked, seasoned, and mashed – and then scrambled enough eggs for an extra day. Then I assembled tacos, with corn tortillas, beans, and pre-cooked eggs, and microwaved them. Much faster, much easier and quicker to eat, I can’t imagine why this has taken me so long…  Maybe because I’m semi-conscious in the morning, so it’s not a good time for innovation?

Delicious holiday meals! www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Lunch was your basic salad… Three kinds of lettuce, this week! Carrots, zucchini and scallions, feta cheese and chick peas, and tomato herb dressing. I opened (it is a holiday, after all) a gluten free cracker I’d gotten at Aldi’s to try – meh… It’s flavored, and they’re so busy flavoring it that you can’t really find the taste of the plain cracker. Not bad, but – not worth traveling an hour to get more. I really have to start baking crackers…

Delicious holiday meals! www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Speaking of crackers… When I was setting up, Rich came in to get his salad out of my way – and then helpfully fetched the reflector and held it steady for  few shots. Then I showed him how I balance it (so no one has to hold it…) And then he filched my crackers! Hmmph.

We started dinner with the borscht. (The Food Blogging Life – I took all the pretty pictures for Friday’s post, then put it back in a container to actually eat the next day… I would not do that with most foods, but this is chilled, and it worked just fine.

Delicious holiday meals! www.inhabitedkitchen.com

I sliced and grilled sweet potatoes, and cooked them first. A “contact grill” is one with a top grill that comes down on top of the food so it heats on both sides. This usually happily advertises that it cooks your food more quickly – and it does, not just because you have heat on both sides, but also because it holds in much of the steam naturally escaping from the food. So your food is actually lightly steamed as well as grilled… For many vegetables, that is an advantage – these potatoes, particularly, might dry out before cooking tender on an open grill.  I would not, personally, use a contact grill on a steak, though – I would not want it steamed.

Delicious holiday meals! www.inhabitedkitchen.com

Anyhow – I cooked the sweet potatoes, then put sliced zucchini on the grill while we ate our soup. When it was cooked, burgers – every once in a while, a good, seared homemade hamburger just feels right… I’m weird, though – I never have liked hamburger buns. Mom served them without, partly because she was perennially dieting but mostly because Dad didn’t like them – and I don’t like the way they get soggy if the meat is at all juicy. So I’m one of the few people in America to go gluten free and not miss hamburger buns… and I don’t even think of offering them to Rich! (Who doesn’t seem to actively miss them…)

Delicious holiday meals! www.inhabitedkitchen.com

But the seared hamburgers with grilled sweet potato and zucchini, after the lovely ruby borscht, certainly pleased and satisfied us! I really should have zipped out to Greenmarket on Friday to get some strawberries, but we didn’t miss them…

And then, at 9:30, it turned out that we could just see the edge of the fireworks from our kitchen window! (Most of the display was blocked by a tall building, as we had expected, but we just see the Manhattan Bridge, and they were just visible over it.) We had to turn out the kitchen light, and stand very close together in the dark – not exactly a hardship – and not trip over the cat who had decided he’d better hide from the scary noise in the dark with us. (The other was less trusting and more thoroughly hidden under the sideboard.) No pictures – we can’t get decent pictures through the glass, and that side of the window doesn’t open.

So – with the ceremonial watching of 1776 in the afternoon, and grilled food and fireworks in the evening, we felt we had a fine Fourth! I hope you did, too!

At this point, I have no idea if I am partying with anyone but you – but, hey, you’re here, cool! What did you eat on the Fourth? For the holiday? For Saturday? We’ll have our own party, whether anyone else joins in or not, because I really like doing the WIAW  posts… I hope you like reading them!

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