Miss Fats is embarrassed by the delay of this post. She’s finally getting around to giving you the run down on her 4th of July…3 weeks later. Part of the reason is that she’s been at work baking much more exciting cakes for celebrations and she frankly failed to properly document the backyard BBQ shenanigans of Independence Day. However, as Chicago finally cools down, she thought she’d share the delights of a little garden party to remind everyone that summer is actually awesome and not a miserable hot towel wrapped around your face threatening to suffocate you (at least not all the time).
Part of the delay on posts is due to the fact that Miss Fats is currently in the process of moving. The worst. This is hardly the most difficult move she’s ever experienced, but there’s something about the chaos and constant movement of schlepping that puts Miss Fats into the worst mood. She apologizes to all her friends who have now seen the effects of this process. However, despite the fatigue, sweat and strange box bruises all over her body, she could not be more excited about her new apartment. She doesn’t like to brag (false: she loves bragging) but this place is out of control: backyard, porch, fireplace, and a DISHWASHER. And these are only a list of amenities. She should probably throw in the fact that the place is absolutely gorgeous.
Miss Fats can’t take credit for this place: she’s moving in with her lovely friend N, who has been kind enough to allow her to inhabit this incredible apartment and put up with her constant baking and moving watching. She could not be more delighted to begin life with N and her partner M, in September, where there will likely always be a new craft cocktail and cookie every night. Cue exit from reality.
M was in town for a short summer visit during the weekend of the 4th, so the three of them decided it was an excellent chance to their first party as future roommates. It was all pretty impromptu: they had to pull it all together in about 48 hours. But for team N, M & M? Not a problem. (Clearly: see above)
They kept it simple with burgers, brats, and hot dogs to be thrown on the grill, and asked friends to bring additional drinks and sides. Thanks to M’s amazing bartending skills, there were fruity Pimm’s Cups for all. (Not to mention she kept Miss Fat’s excellent G & T full at all times!) Their awesome friends filled in all the gaps between spicy margaritas, and a huge haul of cool beers. For the most part, they all just hung out in the backyard, nomming and drinking (as it should be on the 4th).
Miss Fats was, naturally, in charge of dessert. And she has to admit that she had alterior motives for this party from the beginning. She’s just going to come out and say it: she suggested this party because she wanted to make a big ‘ol cheesecake. Not that Miss Fats couldn’t just make one for the hell of it, but the 4th of July seemed to be begging for a proper red, white and blue, creamy cold cake. To her, nothing screams backyard BBQ more than a bright dessert topped with a heaping pile of fresh berries. And ever since her recent cheesecake success, Miss Fats has been itching to get a little more practice in while berry season is ripe.
So all set with a venue, Miss Fats baked up a bright lemon and vanilla cheesecake base, topped with rhubarb sauce and fresh blueberries. Happy Birthday, America. She used the same lemon cheesecake recipe from Food 52, with the same alterations as her first attempt. Unfortunately, it didn’t come out quite as beautiful as her first attempt. (Anyone who’s baked a cheesecake knows that the pesky beast is always coming out slightly different. Damn that temperamental cooling process.) So as you can see, the cake’s edges pulled from the pan a bit too soon and didn’t create the most elegant of corners. Oh well. However, the cake itself was close to perfect: Miss Fats was shocked. She couldn’t believe the final texture and flavor of this thing. Typically, a cheesecake dips slightly in the middle and loses it’s heft a bit. Not this one. Somehow, the cake remained perfectly fluffy, slightly firm and beautifully creamy from crust to center. This sat a-top a thin and crisp graham cracker crust with good hit of salt and was topped off with a creamy and tart layer of sour cream. Cake miracle. Look at that thing:
Miss Fats kept the toppings simple and tart to cut through the creamy cake base. She made a simple rhubarb sauce (since she’d obsessed), that required cooking down a couple of stalks in a bit of sugar and vanilla. Miss Fats worked the fruit through a fine strainer to get that beautifully clear and smooth sauce. Then she simply mounded fresh blueberries (they needed nothing: so plump and crazy sweet) on top and let the rough, messy edge all hang out. Miss Fats doesn’t need fancy perfection: she’s much more concerned about what happens in when the cake gets in your mouth.
Initially, she planned to just move forward with the cheesecake, since guests would likely be stuffing themselves full of grilled meat objects. But as she was checking out at the grocery store, she happened to notice a bag of super processed, red, white and blue star-shaped marshmallows that obviously needed to be purchased. Then it dawned on Miss Fats that it was fucking July and she hadn’t gotten her s’more on at all this summer: not okay. Upon this realization, Miss Fats threw in all the necessary s’more makings and anxiously awaited the oozing toasted marshmallow fest to come. Double dessert.
Don’t pretend like s’mores aren’t always a good idea. Come on: look at that thing. Even blue ooze is beautiful.
In the end, the party was a big success. Mostly because it was so little work and filled with so many taste-goods. Lets get real: Miss Fats couldn’t care less about America’s birthday, but she’ll take any excuse to make an excessive dessert, char meat, and wind up covered in sticky sugar and chocolate. And this party hit all of the marks. There were even bubbles. (M & N are the best.) Miss Fats wishes she could say more, but there are leftover s’more ingredients calling to her. More BBQ’s to come.