Hello, friends! If you’re living in the States I hope you enjoyed a long holiday weekend and were able to reconnect with your hammock and lemonade glass. For the Fourth, we had a couple of friends, Melissa and Ray, come into town from California for a long weekend. This was their first time in this part of the country, and we were looking forward to showing them around. In addition to our out-of-town guests, we invited a few more buddies over for a cookout and evening of relaxed conversation in the sticky July sun.
While people arrived, I laid out marinated olives with garlic, thyme, and rosemary, using a recipe that I’ve enjoyed in the past. I also served tofu chèvre, a beloved appetizer from Kristy at Keepin’ It Kind. David is always requesting another batch of her chèvre, and so this seemed like just the perfect excuse.
To my mind the mark of a good recipe is when it can be tweaked and modified depending on seasonality and preferences with consistently good results. For this night, I decided to make a double batch and add a teaspoon of garlic powder into the cheese mixture. I then topped it with fresh thyme, rosemary, and cracked pepper before binding it in plastic wrap to set up. Then I removed the plastic wrap and popped it into the oven. I served it with crackers and crusty olive bread from a local bakery. I’m glad I made a double batch of the tofu chèvre, because it was a big hit that our guests kept returning to again and again to slather onto more warm bread.
Of course, July Fourth begs for some action on the grill. To keep things easy, we went with our favorite brand of veggie sausages, Field Roast, for a hodgepodge of their apple sage, chipotle, and frankfurter sausages. We let our guests pick whatever sausage they preferred. To top the dogs, I made a batch of Smoky Soy Curl & Two Bean Chili. (Just click here for the recipe!) Then there were sides of grilled polenta, turnip pickles, and a green leaf lettuce salad with creamy garlic dressing. We grilled skewers with mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions that had been marinated in balsamic vinaigrette (minus the fresh garlic).
To round out the dinner, my friend, Ashley, made a star-studded fruit salad, complete with slices of star fruit for the occasion.
In our house David is the official pie maker, and so he leafed through Vegan Pie in the Sky to create a strawberry & blueberry pie using the olive oil double crust recipe and swapping out the fruit in the Pucker Up Raspberry pie. We topped it with vanilla bean So Delicious coconut milk ice cream. Everyone made quick work of the pie with lots of mmm’s all around.
With all of that deliciousness, what holds the title for best moment of the night? Watching Melissa respond to seeing fireflies light up a night’s sky for the first time. Let’s just say many photographs were taken of the paparazzi of bugs.
As the evening wore down, people said their goodbyes one by one, until it was just us and our guests for the weekend. We finished off the night with a walk, in which the stars, moon, fireflies, and far off fireworks lit the path.