Monday, July 06, 2015

4th of July

For the past few years I have hosted a fun and fantastic 4th of July party for family, friends and co-workers, at my house, in my tiny back yard.

The 4th is traditionally one of those holidays that new vegans approach with some trepidation.
Think about it, there's usually meaty BBQs and creamy, eggy salads and dairy based desserts. Tough to navigate, even for veteran vegans sometimes!
PLUS, around here, those big, public 4th of July celebrations are hard to get to, expensive, all-day events, and far, far from my house.
So - that's why I decided to bring the picnic and the party to my house!

Besides, it's the one summer holiday that ALL of my kids are home, I don't want to waste it being off at some park with a million drunk, sweaty people I don't even know!

This year we kept the menu SUPER simple; chips and dips, BBQ vegan hot dogs with many fixin's, grilled corn, beverages of choice, Red-White-And-Blue Shortcake for dessert. And loads of fireworks in the cul-de-sac after dark.
SUCH a success I can't even tell you, for vegans and non-vegans alike!
Everyone had a great time, went home full and happy (or stayed the night!) and everyone wants to return next year.

--THIS was our super-easy dessert!
--A simple assemble-your-own shortcake.
--Two bowls of berries, red and blue.
--Star-shaped, sugar-sparkled shortcakes.
--Fluffy, white, whipped coconut topping.

Red, White and Blueberry Shortcakes
2 cups fresh strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups blueberries, rinsed
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons Earth Balance, cold and cubed
1/2 tsp. vinegar
2/3 cup plant milk
2 Tbsp plant milk
Coarse sugar or raw sugar for topping
Vegan whipped topping of choice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
In a medium serving bowl, toss the strawberries, raspberries and 1/4 cup sugar together. Put blueberries in another serving bowl.
Set aside until time to serve.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, baking powder, salt and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Then pulse in the cold Earth Balance cubes until a coarse meal is formed.
Mix 2/3 cup plant milk with vinegar. Set aside 5 min.
Turn the flour mixture out into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in plant milk mixture and gently mix it in with a fork, be careful not to over mix the dough or the shortcakes will be tough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead super-gently - basically just fold it over itself a couple of times until it just holds together.
Pat the dough out to 3/4-inch thickness and cut out 8 - 10 star-shaped 2 or 3-inch shortcake biscuits.
Transfer the shortcake biscuits to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Brush the tops of each biscuit with the 3 Tablespoons plant milk and sprinkle each with a couple pinches coarse or raw sugar.
Bake in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the shortcake biscuits have risen and are a light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Set on serving platter beside berries and whipped topping.
Let each guest make their own:
Split each biscuit, spoon some of each type berries on the bottom piece, then whipped cream and top with the other biscuit half. Garnish with more berries.