Note: the 2012 Read for Fun program is almost ready - hopefully I'll post on the 4th!
My dad turned 75 last week. Something well worth celebrating! I spent the last four days in VA, cooking and visiting. The party really could not have been better. Even if it was 114 with the heat index. Luckily, my parents have plenty of room and air conditioning, and the power didn't go out until five minutes after the last guest left. Tender mercies (their generator also falls into that category...)
Dad ordered the main meal from Red Hot & Blue (yum), but Mom & I got to have fun with the appetizers and dessert.
We figured that bbq was too filling to allow for our usual appetizers spread, so we made cold soups, and they were perfect for that kind of ridiculously hot day. Plus, all could be made ahead of time (and were, I should add). There was Gazpacho, and cucumber soup (needs more umph - maybe more lemon?), and what we called melon soup but what I have since decided is really melon punch. It's a Williams Sonoma recipe, modified for those of us who don't drink alcohol: melon, sparkling white grape juice, honey, lemon or lime juice, and a little mint, pureed.
And for dessert?
Ice cream sandwiches! These were so so good. Mom made ginger cookies, almond sugar cookies, and orange-vanilla cookies, and I made NYT chocolate chip cookies - all ahead of time, and stored in the freezer until the day before the party. We filled the ginger cookies with vanilla ice cream swirled with homemade lemon curd; the chocolate chip cookies with chocolate chip ice cream; the sugar cookies with cherry vanilla ice cream or black raspberry ice cream; and the orange cream with, obviously, orange-vanilla ice cream. (Clip art for labels from Martha Stewart)
It's a good thing I'm back in NY now, so that I don't keep eating the leftover ones...
They were packed in a cooler filled with ice and dry ice, so they stayed nice and cold and hard, even while serving.
Here's the story of the cooler.
Early on in the planning process, we knew that we'd need extra coolers. I suggested that they ask friends if they could borrow one. I also suggested, flippantly, that they try to find one suitably vintagey. Not meaning it at all - I mean, please. Except deep in my brain, where the vision of these cookies packed in an oldtime metal cooler sat.
The day of the party, Dad went to get ice, and came back with this. He saw it at Wegmans, and figured it was perfect.
And that's just one reason I love him.