Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Fourth Celebration Continues

On Saturday we all woke up early and headed to Londonderry for the Farmer’s Market and Fourth of July parade. The Farmer’s Market was simply awesome. Look at those mounds of vegetables! Really it was like letting a kid loose in the candy store and I bought carrots, red onions, yellow and pink tomatoes, a yellow pepper, an English cucumber, eggplant, and four bunches of beets - golden and red and white striped.

The hubby had requested that I buy him some of Woodcock Farm’s soft sheep’s cheese, called Summer Snow. It’s like brie, only much more flavorful and if you leave it sitting out a bit, it gets slightly runny and even more tasty. We first bought some about three summers ago and Steve loved it so much that on our next trip to Vermont we actually drove around searching the fields for sheep so we could buy some more. We found the farm and it’s been on our list of must haves every trip since.

I stopped by the Woodcock Farm booth and sampled all their artisan cheeses and chatted with cheesemaker extraordinaire Mark Fischer. Unfortunately they won’t be making the soft cheese for another month, but I bought a delicious sheep/cow blend with a soft edible rind.

After scoring so many veggies that I had to return to the Jeep to unload them, we bought some fresh squeezed lemonade and checked out all the handcrafted items. I couldn’t resist adding some Vermont honey and some handmade beeswax/lavender soap to my bag. With a half hour wait for the parade, we sat on a bench overlooking the West River and watched the kids play.

The parade was small town America at its best. They had bagpipes, equestrians, clowns on little motor bikes, girl scouts, the West River Nordic Club with kids on cross country roller skis, plenty of ambulances and fire trucks, and a couple of floats. The hair dresser’s float was very good, but this one is my favorite:

It’s the float for the Taylor Farm and instead of throwing candy, they throw packages of CHEESE. Too funny and too cool. We’ve been visiting the Taylor Farm for at least ten years and it has been a joy to follow the progress of this family’s farm. When we first met the Wrights, we would watch them milk cows, check out the baby animals, play with the ever present litter of kittens, and bring home some fresh milk that reminded me of my childhood.

Now they make award winning Gouda cheeses that can even be bought on Cape Cod at Friend’s Market in Orleans. They still welcome the public, but it is a far cry from the walk into the barn experience of ten years ago. The farm has expanded to offer educational programs, hay rides, sleigh rides, and a full gift shop with cheese, baked goods and assorted hand crafts and goodies. You could spend hours there, soaking up the farm atmosphere and chatting with these friendly folks.

Here’s my Farmer’s Market loot:

And here’s our accidental red, white and blue boys – the real reason we make the trip. Is there anything better than cousins???

That afternoon we made homemade vanilla ice cream. We meant to make strawberry, but when the motor in the ice cream maker broke, we resorted to the old-fashioned hand crank method, which worked just fine, but we were afraid that adding the strawberries to the soft serve would make it too soupy.

For dinner that night Tom marinated and grilled some chicken and I made potato salad (see April 19 post for recipe) and a tossed salad with lettuce from Mom and Tom’s neighbor Maureen Fitch and the yellow tomatoes I bought at the Farmer’s Market.

After dinner, my brother Rich and his son Colin snacked on some half moon cookies his wife Barb made using the recipe from my Mom’s cookbook.

Just before dark we built a campfire in the fire pit, made s’mores and the kids played with sparklers. Then the fireworks fanatics headed back across the street for another spectacular show at Ken and Peg’s house.

A second dessert of vanilla ice cream topped with fresh crushed strawberries was the finale of the night. Did I mention how well we eat here?

The Recipe:

Half Moon Cookies:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3 squares melted chocolate
1 egg
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together brown sugar and shortening. Add melted chocolate, egg, milk, dry ingredients and mix. Drop by teaspoonful on a greased baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes in 350 degree oven. When cool, turn cookies over and frost bottoms, half with white frosting and half with chocolate.

Butter frosting:

1/3 cup butter
4 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a bowl beat butter till fluffy. Gradually, add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating well. Slowly beat in the 1/4 cup milk and vanilla. Slowly beat in remaining sugar. Beat in additional milk if desired.

Take half of the frosting out and put in separate bowl. Beat 1/4 cup cocoa into remaining frosting.

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