Real Food Challenge - July 4th Celebration

This year was the first in which our July 4th dinner did not consist of hot dogs, hamburgers, chips or potato salad. Although we still enjoy those foods on occasion in our home we had other plans this year. My parents were in town for the weekend and we had a great time preparing this meal together as a family. It was less expensive than it would cost for a traditional 4th cookout and we all agreed it was the best we have ever had! I took photos along the way, but since I was the one doing most of the cooking I realized after loading them onto the computer I missed quite a few that should be here. It was a fabulous meal and almost every single item we ate was grown, baked or created here in Middle TN.

On the menu this year: Grilled Chicken with Curry Lime sauce, Porterhouse Steaks topped with Boursin Cheese, Fried Green Tomatoes w/ homemade dipping sauce, Corn topped with Boursin Cheese, Homemade lemonade, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Whoopie Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches made with Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice cream.

Getting the table ready and making lemonade! Also made a simple syrup out of water and organic cane sugar.

Ice cream!

Use the best whole milk you can afford! We just followed the traditional recipe and added a real vanilla bean to the mix. Once the milk, sugar and vanilla bean have thickened you add a bit of it to your beaten eggs, then add that mixture into the pot. Once it has cooked the proper amount of time I put it into the fridge to chill for 2 hours. At that time I added the heavy cream and into the ice cream maker it went! Dad used ice and rock salt and it churned for about 50 minutes. Then into the freezer and it was ready for dessert that evening!

***Tip about vanilla beans. Slice it down the middle, all the way but not all the way through. Most people will cut them in half and then remove the seeds but I find that a waste of time. If you leave the bean in tact you can scrap the entire bean at once with a knife. Then I follow that up with a spoon as the bowl of it scraps every last seed without tearing into the bean***

Making fried green tomatoes!
After slicing you need to "sweat" them. Sprinkle with sea salt and then place in a colander over a baking pan. Wait about 30 - 40 minutes and they should be ready to go.

After the tomatoes have sweat, dredge in unbleached flour (mixed with a bit of sea salt, pepper and onion or garlic powder). Dip into buttermilk and then into corn meal. We typically use coconut oil in our home but that just won't do for this treat. Use the best peanut oil you can find and fry till golden brown. Keep covered in a warm over (225 degrees) until ready to serve. The sauce is something mom made up that day. It was THE BEST sauce we had ever had served with a fried green tomato.

A few extras...

Curry Lime & Boursin Cheese from Maria Casto. C'mon out to the Franklin Market and sample her variety of spreads, salad dressings and the best Hummus you'll ever have! Maria is right next to our booth every Saturday! Don't miss out, come early!

Delicious watermelon, from the Crimson Sweet variety. Chilled on ice right after Saturday's market and ready to eat Sunday afternoon.

Lots of drinks on hand this hot summer day! And corn husked ready for the stock pot! No grilled corn this year, just four minutes in boiling water. So still crisp when you bite into it! Topped with Boursin Cheese...AMAZING!

Table slowly filling up. Disappointed I have no final shots and the ones of family around the table are too blurry to post. No photos of the meat, poultry, or finished corn. And you can barely make out the cantaloupe!

We ended the evening with fireworks in our back yard and sat upon the hill enjoying over two hours of Spring Hill's finest. Our fellow Spring Hillians put on an amazing showcase of fireworks, it was panoramic from our backyard, making this year not only the best meal ever but the very best fireworks too! 

***Items in this meal from market or made with local products: Corn, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Green tomatoes, Buttermilk, Heavy Cream, Hot Sauce, Boursin Cheese, Curry Lime Spread, Ice Cream (made with local cream), Whoopie Pies, Chicken and Steak***

1 comment:

  1. YUM! Deana it all looks great! Your an inspiration to those of us who wish they could cook. :0)