Friday, July 8, 2011

Picnics With Friends

I have been living in Ann Arbor now for very nearly a year, and in all that time never once had a party at my place. That all changed last Monday, the fourth of July. At the suggestion of my adventurous friend Rachel, Kimmy and I decided to host a picnic party at our apartment, utilizing our spacious and lovely courtyard. It was a grand success!

Kimmy and I provided hamburgers, hot dogs (both turkey and non), pulled barbecue chicken for sandwiches, and some assorted beverages. Friends contributed delicious pasta salad, a fresh blueberry crumble, corn on the cob, an amazing cheesy artichoke dip with chips, crackers and cheese, cookies, and many other wonderful things. I'm going to highlight two things here because they were quite popular and I'm biased like that. And no I didn't make them.

One of the things I love most about my boyfriend is that he cooks. I used to live in a house with two guys whom I did most of the cooking for, and in another house in which two different guys did most of the cooking for me. I preferred the latter living situation. Don't get me wrong, I love to cook, as this blog can attest, but it's nice to trade off every now and again, and even better to share recipes and cooking tips.

For our fourth of July party, Greg made a key lime pie that impressed certain of my friends from work so much that they unanimously and separately agreed that he is a keeper and I need to keep him. (We also established that I do not love him for his money. But I digress.)

Greg also made Brazilian Lemonade, which is really more a limeade since it is made with limes because, according to this site, "Brazilian lemons look and taste more like common limes." The recipe he followed is located here, and is great for its visuals and casual voice. We lacked a blender, however, so Greg just hand squeezed all the limes into a pitcher. Everyone who was there from my work insisted I copy down the recipe and bring it in with me, which proved somewhat difficult after I discovered his print-out half-dissolved on my kitchen counter. So I'm posting it here! Hey! 

Since the lemonade-sans-lemons only called for half a can of sweetened condensed milk, Greg left me with the remainder which I later poured over blue moon ice cream. It was delicious. When I was in Japan, probably every ice cream parfait that I consumed included sweetened condensed milk. When I asked why this particular topping, I was told "because it's American." Okay... Sure... We also regularly pile steamed kernels of corn and sliced cooked carrots over-top our bun-less hamburger patties. (Seriously, if you are ever in Japan, stop at the nearest Big Boy restaurant and order the Big Boy. You will see that this is truly what they believe we eat.)

Even if the origins of drizzling sweetened condensed milk over ice cream and shaved ice is obscure, the practice is delightful and surprisingly incredibly tasty. I recommend it! In fact, I still have much of the can left in my fridge and I am without ice cream. I think a trip to Meijer is in order! Huzzah!

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