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.
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***