Christmas in July

Back in the day, I considered myself a fairly savvy hostess and I doggedly pursued a reputation as  “bon savant.”

I could throw together a saucy menu for friends and family, and present it with a pinch of panache, and a heavy dose of flamboyancy.

Fast forward a decade. “Flamboozled” is a better descriptive term for my attempts at “hostess with the mostest.”  My senses may have been dulled by too many years of entertaining two indiscriminate puppies and one stray cat.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find it out until this weekend.

Bevanne is ready to pop her zucchini boats in the oven.

I had some rather Cosmopolitan house guests over the Fourth of July weekend – all gourmands who love to talk about food, prepare food, and, naturally, consume food with the latest preparation methods.

With the Food Network droning in the background, we planned our July 4th celebration down to the last detail.  We all agreed the fare should be based on comfort and simplicity with just enough cutting edge twists to keep it from being “avant gauche.”

We cruised the Farmer’s Market and purchased the freshest and most luscious vegetables available, then hit the grocery stores to pick up ingredients I didn’t have on hand.

The menu would feature salmon roasted under a blanket of citrus, tomato and red pepper relish, zucchini boats stuffed with spinach and feta, tomato and red pepper  relish, and sour dough baguettes dipped in fresh pesto oil.

At my insistence, they agreed to add the ultimate in comfort food – a rich and creamy mac and cheese.

I assured them it wouldn’t be necessary to purchase the macaroni since my son had given me some gourmet noodles from Whole Foods last Christmas.  I had refrigerated them to keep them fresh, anticipating just such a grand moment.

Let the cooking begin.

After dumping the colorful little shapes into the boiling water, I did a double take.  Oh my gosh.  They were in the shapes of little Christmas trees, and ornaments of the Yuletide season.   No problem, except it was July 4 and Christmas was as about as far away as it can get from either end of the calendar.

So we did what any fun loving group would do.  We declared it Christmas in July, hung some wreaths, and made up patriotic Christmas carols.

Dessert was No Bake Cheese Cake topped with blackberries from the farm.  I’m saving the menu to use again on Christmas Eve.

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