Fourth of July Festivities

July 4th has always been a holiday laced with good food for me, mainly because my dad cooks some pretty damn good barbecue on the grill. Of course, I stay inside in the AC, cooking up desserts or whatever side dishes I want, just to avoid being outside in the 90° heat. This year, I did things a little different (and I mean, a little). I still cowered in the air conditioning, minding my own business and leaving my dad to grill the beef and pork, but beforehand I finally mustered up the courage to step in front of the grill for longer than 30 seconds and cook some stuff.

And really, some stuff is actually just a few ears of corn, which my sister and I made into Elote, which is a Mexican-style grilled corn. Not at all difficult to make, but just a bit messy (and really sweaty when you’re off turning those ears on the fire). We had a few guests over so, per typical Filipino gatherings, we had an over-abundance of food, but everything tasted absolutely wonderful. Here’s some of what I made this past weekend.

Photo by Jedd Marrero

Here’s the prized grilled corn, which was awfully spicy. I mixed together mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, chili powder, cotija cheese, and cilantro, which gave each ear a tangy, smokey bite that was actually kinda addicting. The only downside to this was that it was messy as hell to prepare, but I’m sure that was also due to the fact that I had to plate this in the middle of a blackout (happy July 4?). Despite the abnormally large amount of chili powder I put on top, the cream balanced it out and cooled off my tongue, making it easier to keep coming back for more. But also this was a really good way to showcase my black stoneware plate from World Market that I brought all the way from NYC, so ha.

Thai Tea Tiramisu
Photo by Jedd Marrero

This one was actually a recipe from Spoon University by the amazing Amy Yu, who also wrote up a recipe for matcha mochi cupcakes that kinda got me into a mochi swing. This recipe required me to brew my own Thai Tea, which I absolutely know nothing about, except for the fact that it’s commonly black tea that is used. I grabbed four black tea bags from our pantry and soaked it in boiling water, then added some star anise and cinnamon and hoped for the best. For the cream, I mixed together egg yolks with sugar and condensed milk (which provides the creaminess that Thai Tea is known for). The ladyfingers were soaked in my makeshift Thai Tea, and the cream was drizzled on top and refrigerated, where it hardened considerably thanks to my adding unflavored gelatin. I subbed cream cheese from the mascarpone, because I’m an awful cheap. The end result tasted very similar to a Thai Tea cheesecake, which was fine by me.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
ice cream
Photo by Jedd Marrero

This one was actually a long time coming, since I had an entire jar of key lime curd in the fridge from Memorial Day. My dad told me we had an ice cream maker that’s been at the house since before I was born, and I just found out about it a few months ago, so naturally I wanted to put it to use as soon as possible to make up for lost time. My first batch of ice cream was Champagne, Rose, and Strawberry flavored, which sounds good in theory but I was seriously lacking on the champagne flavor. Though this time, I had a lot of key lime juice and curd, so I wasn’t really worried about the flavor falling flat. I made a swiss meringue and toasted it to toss into the ice cream, as well as crushed graham crackers. Though it took a while to process, everything came together nicely – I ended up using my entire jar of key lime curd, and even more lime juice, and the final product tasted like a mix between sorbet and ice cream. The meringue and graham crackers weren’t overpowering, and fundamentally it was just as refreshing as a citrus ice cream should be. Pretty surprised at how it tasted, to be honest.


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