Celebrating Independence Day in Maple Corner
When you live in a small town, holidays take on a particular flavor. On Independence Day in Maple Corner, the 5 minute parade is so short it has to go by twice, sometimes with the viewers trading places with the performers on the second run-through so that everyone has a chance to be both a spectator and a participant. There’s the usual array of kids all dressed up and riding bikes. And then there’s the well-loved “Mrs. Appleyard’s Memorial Precision Rolling Pin Drill Team” who toss their pins in unison as they walk the dirt road from the general store to the pond. One year two friends and I rode in the bed of a 1938 dump truck as part of our semi-ill-conceived “Three Cornelia’s of Calais” float. You get the idea: home grown and full of humor.
After the parade, neighbors converge on the green next to the pond. We arrive calling our dogs, corralling our kids and juggling our potluck dishes, plates and beverages, all the while hoping it doesn’t rain.
As always, there are culinary standouts, and they disappear fast. Everyone hopes that Felicia brings her famous garlic bread and that certain well-loved salads and casseroles are there amongst the bowls and dishes. Kids seem to swarm around the food tables and devour all the desserts before the rest of us have even said our “hellos.” And then there is the fire pit and grill where all manner of meats and tofu are cooked up.
In honor of July 4th this year, here are a few recipes that will cover the bases while satisfying your most discerning friends. Additionally, this week’s Real Good Basic is a biscuit recipe that is perfect for strawberry shortcake, an absolute-July 4-must at our house.
So, here’s to parades, and food and hanging out with the people you love.
- 1 Red Hen Pizzaz pizza crust (or make your own)
- 1 pound of tomatoes, sliced and roasted
- 1 bunch of fresh basil, chopped
- 1 cup black olives, drained and chopped (I use Kalamata)
- ⅓ cup capers, drained and chopped
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Queso Fresco (or feta)
- Daily Grind Sausage (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Red Hen Pizzaz pizza crust, tomatoes, basil, queso fresco or feta, daily grind sausage
- black olives, capers olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Wash and cut tomatoes in half, or, if large, cut into several slices. Toss gently with a bit of olive oil and salt. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, flipping once. When done, tomatoes should have lost much of their moisture and be only very slightly charred.
- While tomatoes are roasting, wash and chop basil, olives and capers. Combine with olive oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread mixture evenly over entire pizza crust. Arrange tomatoes on top and scatter bits of cheese atop all.
- Bake in preheated oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until crust is nicely browned and cheese has melted.