Saturday, July 4, 2009
The Accidental Patriot
My grandfather's birthday is July 4th (Happy Birthday, Grandpa!), so those holiday three-day-weekends during my childhood were often spent happily at his house (and especially, in his little above-ground pool), celebrating his birthday and the Fourth with sparklers and fireworks, grilled hot dogs or burgers, birthday cake, ice cream, and the festive wearing of red, white, and blue items of clothing. I took my fashion choices very seriously and tried to incorporate all three colors on the big day.
In high school, as I was stretching my coltish-yet-sarcastic-and-cynical legs, I still enjoyed Grandpa K's birthday and the relatives (and the pool, the summers before we totally outgrew it), but I began a tradition of making sure I was not wearing red, white, and blue on The Fourth of July. I continued to take my outfits seriously, but in a different sort of way. Clearly, I would have been the lamest of all lames if I coordinated my colors with a national holiday, you guys! Jeez.
Now look at me: a softened-and-aging adult, and I've almost come full circle. Here I am on July 4th, wearing blue, white, and green (I'm almost to Quacker Factory land, aren't I?!) and baking a fruit tart in the colors of the flag.
It's not my fault, cynical teenage Self! I have had a handful of blueberries languishing in the fridge for more than a week. Then I impulsively bought 2 pints of sour cherries at the farmer's market on Monday but have not had the time to use them in my cooking up to this point.
This morning I knew the fruit had to be used or I'd risk it rotting in the refrigerator. I found this recipe, which was originally written for pears but which Chowhounds said worked as well with sour cherries and other fruits. I threw caution to the winds and tossed the blueberries on top, realizing I was now creating (and planning to eat) a red, white, and blue dessert on Independence Day, of all days.
I used 1/2 tsp of vanilla and 1/2 tsp of almond extract in the batter and sprinkled brown sugar over the top before baking, but otherwise followed the recipe as given.
OMG, y'all. Moist, moist, moist. Yum, yum, yum. More, more, more!! Happy freakin' Fourth of July! I'm feeling kind of patriotic about this.