At the First Las Vegas, the one in Northern New Mexico, tradition runs deep, and this weekend will be the annual Fourth of July Fiestas, a three day celebration with parades, coronation of a Fiesta Queen, food, music, and dancing.
The first Fourth of July Fiestas was in 1850, in the same main Plaza where the festivities are still held today. That same Plaza just a little less than four years before was where General Stephen Kearney and his troops stood and told the stunned Las Vegas residents that they were no longer Mexican citizens, but under the "protection" of the Army of the United States. I am not sure they needed the U.S. to protect them, but that's the way it went.
I will be there for the first time this Saturday, to watch Ernest's daughter Leandra dance folklorico on the Plaza stage, eat some elote (roasted corn on the cob) from one of the street vendors, and look at the patriotic quilts displayed in Thread Bear's window.
Here's the quilt I made for the window display. It was a challenge requiring us to use the patriotic flag panels and fabrics Ann had assembled in a bag. We were allowed to use up to four additional fabrics and we had to keep the quilt fairly small. I framed the flag panel with blue strips and all is quilted in the ditch. I quilted along the lines for the flag in the center.
When you look at this quilt, sing the first verse of America the Beautiful so you can "get it." I got the idea from a quilt by Sandra Millett I found in Quilt magazine (Winter 2002). Hers is much bigger and way better.
What you have here are "spacious skies," "amber waves of grain," "purple mountain majesties," and a "fruited plain." If I had spent more time on this I would have done a better job of finding appropriate fabric, but this is what I had in my stash. That's okay. I like it anyway.
Below is the back of the quilt which I like almost as much as the front. Miss Bonnie wouldn't move.
A Fourth of July barbeque needs a tasty dessert, and last summer I found a recipe for Strawberry Icebox Cake. I took it to a barbecue at our Yurt Neighbors' place and it was a hit!
You don't have to bake it, just layer the ingredients, put it in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight and then watch everyone pig out when they taste it.
Strawberry Icebox Cake
2 pounds of fresh strawberries
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 t vanilla
4 sleeves graham crackers (that's about 24 whole crackers)
Hershey's chocolate syrup, dark
1. Take out 4 or 5 good looking strawberries and set aside. Thinly slice the remaining strawberries.
2. Whip the whipping cream until it just starts to hold stiff peaks.(Stop the mixer, lift up the beater and if the cream peaks, that's what we're talking about here.) Add the sugar and vanilla and whip to combine. Don't overwhip or you will have butter.
3. Spread some whipped cream on the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking pan. Place six graham crackers on top of the whipped cream. Lightly layer another spoonful or two of whipped cream. Add a single layer of strawberries. Repeat the graham cracker layer, whipped cream layer, and strawberry layer three more times until you have four layers of graham crackers.
4. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the top and drizzle a zigzag of chocolate syrup over the whipped cream.
5. Cover the pan with some plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours. The graham crackers should have softened completely. They are supposed to be "cake-like."
Before serving, put the pretty strawberries you saved on top. This icebox cake is so yummy you should encourage everyone to eat it all because if there are leftovers in the fridge, you will find yourself spooning this strawberry goodness out of the pan in the middle of the night.