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June 28, 2012 4th of July Video featuring My Star-Spangled 4th of July Party

As my last three posts have mentioned, last weekend I created a 4th of July themed party for TheDaily.  Here is the completed video.  It was so beautifully shot and produced by their team- thanks to Beryl Shereshewsky and Kyle Walling!

4th of July Table Setting, Red White & Blue Ice Cream Cake, & Star Spangled Sangria

Last week, came to my house to shoot a video for a 4th of July video.  I created this "Star-Spangled 4th of July Party" complete with a Red, White and Blueberry Ice Cream Cake, baskets of berries, a Help Yourself Bar with Star-Spangled Sangria.  For the behind the scenes scoop, visit this blog post.   To watch the video they beautifully produced, click here!

Here is the complete table with the Red, White & Blueberry Ice Cream Cake as the centerpiece.

I set the table (yes, that is my farm table that is usually on my sun porch) in our back yard under a big tree.

Here is the Help Yourself Bar featuring Star-Spangled Sangria with Mason Jar glasses.  Here is a link to the DIY instructions for setting up this bar and easy patio decorations.

I made the stars for the sangria out of a red apple cut with a cookie cutter... it really couldn't have been easier.   Here is the recipe for the Star-Spangled Sangria

As you can see, I used navy tin plates that had a shiny silver edge - great for outdoor entertaining.  Down the table I used mason jars filled with rock salt and flags for a little height and festivity. 

On the table I tucked baskets of blueberries, cherries and strawberries amongst the flags for a seasonal touch... and who doesn't love an edible centerpiece. 

Speaking of edible centerpieces...

This ice cream cake is three layers with strawberry and blueberry soaked cake inside- it truly is red, white and blue.  And delicious.  And easy.   Here is the recipe! Watch the video for the step-by-step instructions

Click below to continue reading after the break!

June 27, 2012

4th of July Video Shoot for | Behind the Scenes

Last week we had some visitors in Concord.  A team from came out to do a 4th of July shoot - my first video shoot.  The video posts tomorrow (Thursday) morning - I'll share a link as soon as it is up! UPDATE : here is the link to the video!

The table was set with flags and berries in baskets... I set the scene and they brought their equipment to film.   Here are all of my props before we set the table.  Everything was shot step-by-step.

Jealous of their fancy lenses.  Of course, I talked the photographer's ear off about photography...

...anything for some free photog lessons, right?  It was great just to watch him and take notes.

The blueberries are ready... almost a little too ready as they were baking in the hot sun we had last week. 

In my kitchen, they filmed me making a Red White & Blue 4th of July Ice Cream Cake... it looked a lot different in there than it does when it is just me and my camera on a little tripod.  Now I know why the Barefoot Contessa built a barn! 

Emma's first shoot- she's a natural.

Visit here to see the beautiful video they created and all of the details from the Star-Spangled 4th of July Party.

Tastes of Summer : 4th of July Menu Idea | Ribs, Grilled Sweet Corn, Cucumbers, Garden Tomatoes Watermelon Margarita & Peach Crostata

In just a couple of days we'll be on our way back to Kansas City for the 4th of July.  Last year we didn't make it home for the 4th and while we had a great time watching the famed Boston Fireworks display, I hated hearing about the festivities back home.  I told Mike that we would absolutely be going back for the 4th this year.  I can't wait to spend the 4th of July out in the country at my parents' house for a casual day by the pool with the entire family.  There will be mountains of food, kids in the pool and my Brother and my Dad setting off a fireworks display that night (another benefit of celebrating in the country is that you can have your own display). 

When I talked to my Mom, she already had the menu planned- most of it either from their garden, their field or one of their friends' gardens or fields.  Even the ribs would be from a local butcher and prepared by a family friend.  This menu is similar to what we'll having.  I think it sums up all of the best of summer - BBQ, sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches & watermelon.

The BEST (& easiest) Barbeque Ribs

Grilled Sweet Corn on the Cob

Sliced Garden Tomatoes

Old Fashioned Cucumber Salad

Easy Peach Crostada

 Easy Peach Crostada 

Watermelon Margarita

Here is the easy to pin strip!

June 26, 2012

Very Berry Tart | Blueberry Blackberry Raspberry Shortbread Crust Tart

Summer is the official season of berries.  As you may remember, I made individual blackberry crumbles last week.  I wanted to come up with a  recipe for a crowd that would be light enough to serve after a big meal.  I love this shortbread crust and the natural flavors of the berries that show through.  If you'd like to serve the berries fresh (instead of cooked with the crust), just bake the crust first and pile on the berries when the crust has cooled.  It is great with ice cream or whipped cream.

Very Berry Tart
Blueberry, Blackberry & Raspberry

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 egg yolk

1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of blackberries
1 cup of raspberries
1/4 cup of sugar

Topping (not pictured)
Whipped Cream or Ice Cream

For the crust, combine flour and brown sugar in the mixing bowl.  Cut cold butter into small pieces.  Add it to the flour mixture.  With the whisk attachment mix the butter into the flour and sugar.  The whisk will help to "cut" the butter into the dry ingredients.  When it is crumbly, add egg yolk.  Mix together.  Press the mixture into a tart shell.  The mixture will be crumbly and loose.

Option 1 : Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees until brown.  Cool and pile with fresh berries (no sugar needed).  Serve with Ice Cream or Whipped Cream.

Option 2 : Pile berries into the uncooked crust.  Sprinkle sugar over the berries.  Cook for 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the edges and the berries begin to bubble slightly. Serve warm with Ice Cream or Whipped Cream.

The crumbly mixture.  The whisk will help to cut the butter into the flour and sugar.

With your fingers, press the crumbs into the tart pan.  You can also use a pie plate.

Add the berries on top of the crust.  I used blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, but you could use strawberries, peaches, plums... whatever you have. 

 Out of the oven - doesn't it look good?!  I love that there is not anything on the berries (but a little sugar) to hide their flavors.  The crust is like a crumbly, sandy shortbread cookie.

June 25, 2012

Grilled Steaks with Pineapple, Zucchini, Mushroom Kebabs

The Chimichuri Sauce atop our Grilled Flank Steaks was a big hit at our house, which was surprising as I am one of those that do not like cilantro (supposedly) and Mike has a pronounced distaste for parsley (and cilantro, for that matter).  When my Mom was in town last week I used the leftover sauce as a marinade for our vegetable & pineapple kebabs that accompanied grilled ribeye steaks & classic baked potatoes.  The combination of the spicy, herb & lime juice sauce was amazing combined with the sweet pineapple on the grill- really special.

Grilled Pineapple & Vegetable Kebabs
marinated in Chimichurri Sauce

1 large zucchini, halved and sliced
1 pint of mushrooms
1 red onion, quartered
1/2 pineapple, 1-inch cubes
 Chimichurri Sauce
8 bamboo skewers

Soak the bambook skewers in water for 10 minutes or more to keep them from burning on the grill.

Place all of the vegetables and pineapple pieces in a large bowl.  Add chimichurri sauce and toss, coating each piece.  Thread the vegetables and pineapple onto a bamboo skewers, alternating them as you go.

Grill them for about 4 minutes on each side until they begin to cook thru and soften.  You can brush extra sauce on as you go for even more flavor.

June 24, 2012

Emma & The Outer Banks of North Carolina

As a child, before our first summer vacation to the beach, we asked my Mom over and over again to tell us all about the ocean and the beach. 

 I can remember her telling us about how magical it is to feel the sand between your toes. 

She described how soft the sand is compared to that in our sandbox...

and how the waves would come in to tickle your feet.

And that the water would be cold.  Really cold.

She said to always wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen... still to this day.

She said there is nothing quite like a day at the beach.

I don't think I'll ever get over waking up to the sound of the ocean outside my window...

...the way the sea air feels on my face,

Or going to sleep with the sound of crashing waves.

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