Fourth of July brings back memories, provides new ones

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Every once in a while, we are reminded about past Fourth of July celebrations and our many memories. Years ago, my parents always provided sparklers and we'd circle designs in the air and write our names. If the sparklers were extra long, we'd think that was really a treat. We passed the same love of parades and appreciation for America’s independence with our sons, Michael and Chris. They used to entertain us with fireworks when we lived outside the city limits. Then there were the barbecues and family reunions. But this year was different. We did something we've never done before - I was asked to judge a dessert contest called "Sweetie Pies" at the Lost Creek Country Club in Fort Worth. Lost Creek community folks receive my column inserted in the Star-Telegram every week, as they have a Parker County zip code. Mike came with me and we saw old friends and met many new ones. We watched the beautiful family parade and then I settled into judging this very tasty contest. It's always difficult to pick a winner when everything is so delicious. But with the help of four other judges, we decided the winning entry was "The State Cookie of Texas," submitted by Margi Wrucha. I knew as soon as I put a piece of that cookie in my mouth, that was it. Congratulations to Margi and the many folks who contributed to the contest, as well as everyone who decorated and coordinated this meaningful event. The barbecue lunch was fantastic and the folks were so welcoming and friendly. What a very nice place to live.

Last week was a busy one at the Thompson's as we attended several events, including a wedding reception for Delta and her new husband, Jim. They requested everyone bring a side to go with their fantastic seafood dinner. I brought the Summer Corn Salad with my dressing and I think folks liked it.

Dee Dee's Summer Corn Salad

I love the produce this time of year-everything tastes so fresh.

4 cups fresh corn kernels (I used about 9 ears).

1 small zucchini squash that I quartered lengthwise after seeding it and diced in small pieces

10 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters

5 red radishes, cut into small diced pieces

1/2 cup diced seedless cucumber

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Freshly ground black pepper-to taste

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and boil the corn kernels for about 1 minute, or just until tender. Drain into a colander, then run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again and pat dry with a paper towel.

Combine the corn, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, and parsley in a bowl and toss to combine. Season with pepper.

Just before serving, toss the salad with my Southwest Honey Vinaigrette dressing, which is delicious on summer veggies and wonderful on corn.

Dee Dee's Southwest Vinaigrette Dressing

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together, except the oil. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the olive oil. Continue whisking until the dressing is slightly thickened. This makes about 1/2 cup of dressing. I store it in a clean jar with lid, in the frig for up to 3 days. Be sure and let it come to room temperature before shaking and using for the salad.

The State Cookie

"The State Cookie of Texas"-submitted by Margi Wrucha. Here is her information regarding this wonderful morsel.

She clipped this recipe from the Austin American Statesman back in the early 1990's. She found a Texas-shaped cookie pan but doesn't remember where. However the cookie sheet was made by Texas Metal casting Company., P.O. Box 3276, Lufkin, Texas, 76901. It's cast iron and large. Margi used a combination of semi-sweet chocolate chunks and chips. This is a cast iron pan and she didn't try to remove the huge cookie out of the pan until it had cooled at least 10 or 15 minutes out of the oven.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup margarine, softened

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chips (or combine both)

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup flaked coconut

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, margarine and sugars. Add egg, milk and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and oats. Add to creamed mixture and mix until blended. Stir in chocolate chunks/chips, pecans and coconut. Line Texas-shaped pan with aluminum foil, spread cookie dough over whole pan, pressing to flatten. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 22-28 minutes. The top of the cookie will still be very soft and moist but will finish baking while still in the pan. Allow to set in pan for 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan, lifting out with help of foil. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Decorate if desired. This recipe makes 1 very large Texas cookie. If you want thinner cookies divide dough in half and bake for 14-18 minutes.

Thank you Margi for sharing this delicious and unique cookie recipe.

Next week I hope to share another dessert recipe from the contest. Meanwhile, let's keep up with watering outside and drinking lots of water ourselves.

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