Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Happy & Busy Fourth

Did you have a great Fourth of July, our Independence Day?  We celebrate with friends and family, and in this house we celebrate with food.  My sister had a party for 16 and she invited me and Mom, and asked me to help her with the food.  We dropped off the food and came back to Laguna for the afternoon.  It was ostensibly a party for the 20-something aged nieces and nephews, friends, and a few neighbors, but still, I did it right.  To start, cherries~


dipped in chocolate, on white rose petals.  A little decadent for the kids, but too good~


yes, these were delicious, and very easy to make with a little melted chocolate.


Also, a Provencal apricot crumble.  The fruit is sweet, the crumble is very almond; it’s great hot and with ice cream.  I wonder if they understood this dish today, the top is savory and the fruit is sweet and slow-baked; but I’ll make it again soon.


The star: Mom’s cheesecake, topped with partially-baked pitted cherries and fresh blueberries.  YUM~


I wished I had tasted this, but I will make it again this weekend.

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I added a tiny sprig of mint.


an Italian lemon torta, the one I make from Jonathan Waxman.  Simple garnish to hint at the cake, before the heap of berries and cream and lemon sauce~

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The Lorenza flourless chocolate cake again.  This one was divine; I topped it with a chocolate cherry until it gets smothered in creme~


There were 20 pieces of chicken and a dozen slabs of ribs to go with the desserts.  No wonder my Sis called Mom later to say OMG.  Yes it was all perfect.  You can not rush through making desserts, it takes time.  Like six hours.  I got home to Laguna and set my table and hung the lanterns for the Fourth.  No party here tonight, party of three plus two dogs.  It was a faux-party.


I will revise these photos this week; it took me (solo) so much time to do all this I missed the end of the day light. Tomorrow evening I will make some adjustments, and Saturday night my brother and his kids are in town, so we will have dinner.  Maybe at this table.


  1. Dear Andrea, the teens must have been in heaven! Really a menu they have never experienced (except the BBQ ribs and chicken! I could see the fireworks down at the local park from my balcony! Earlier I went to a family gathering where yes the food and a new baby were the star attractions!

    2013 Design Series!

  2. Hi Andrea,

    We, too, had a rather quiet 4th up here in the mountains above Temecula. It's been hot! However, hotter weather will come in August so this is my last good opportunity to plant more flowers, trees and bushes in our seven acres of "mini Provence".

    Weeded the Petanque Court, harvested lavender, trimmed the Ceanothus and Laurel hedges and added trailing ivy to the concrete urns atop the pillars in our herb garden.

    This time of year there is really only one tree I dare to plant with little fear of it dying from the heat - Spartan Juniper. This is a little known Juniper that does very well in southern California and it is beautiful! The color is deep emerald green. It grows moderately tall - up to 20 feet and is around 6 to 8 feet wide. I like mine a bit narrower so I prune off side branches and use them for filler in flower arrangements and wreaths at any time of the year. It also has a fresh piney-juniper scent and makes juniper berries which can be used for cooking.

    After working in the sweltering yard from 5:30 am to 11:30 am, no dessert-making for me. All I could manage was my "Quick Gazpacho":

    V-8 Juice (12 oz per person)
    Steero Chicken cube (1/2 per person)
    6 ice cubes
    Fresh Cilantro leaves
    Fresh Lime juice (1/2 per person)

    Combine in blender until smooth.
    Optional: Strain to remove tiny bits of cilantro

    Garnish with any or all of the following:
    Sour cream
    Chopped green onions
    Chopped or shreded cucumber
    Shredded red, yellow and/or green bell peppers
    Any other veggie you like in a salad

    Smiles from My Slice of Provence,
    Charlotte Des Fleurs

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  4. I really enjoyed this post over the holiday from my phone and now that I'm re-visiting from my computer I'm realizing the cherries aren't dipped in white chocolate! They are in chocolate and then on a white rose petal! I love it now that my screen is bigger to figure out what's really going on. What a sweet surprise!