My Favorite Ways to Celebrate Summer Holidays Southern-style

Summer-time. Long days…relaxing weekends…fresh produce…family and friends….

The Fourth of July holiday combines all of these great things.

Flags Flying Freely

Flags Flying Freely / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

This year we celebrated July 4th the way we have for years. We enjoyed a great meal with a dear friend whose wife and three children were away. Afterwards we took a few pitchers of frozen drinks to our next door neighbor’s house and enjoyed fireworks and conversation with neighbors.

Fourth of July Dinner, blackberry peach cobbler

Fourth of July Dinner / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

We cooked New York strips on the grill–this was the first day that it had not rained in almost a week.

Hydrangeas and flags

Hydrangeas and flags / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

Despite my poorly timed pruning this past fall, my hydrangea bushes produced enough flowers for our centerpiece.

vintage American flag

Dr. Billy’s flag / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

This flag once belonged to my stepfather and was flown for many years from the porch of his Charleston house. Given the age of the flag, we prefer to display it inside these days.

Garden & Gun, Charleston Magazine, Local Palete

Keeping current / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

With the fourth falling on a Thursday this year, we were able to stretch out the weekend which allowed me time to peruse three of my favorite magazines: Garden & Gun, Charleston Magazine and Palate.

Edisto tomato pie

Tomato pie / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

With a counter-top full of ripe, home-grown tomatoes, I could not resist making a tomato pie. If you want my recipe, click here.

Boiled peanuts, South Carolina, southern

Boiled peanuts / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

No Southern, summer gathering is complete without freshly boiled peanuts. I picked these up at Ruke’s Vegetable Stand on Mathis Ferry Road in Mt. Pleasant.

Watermelon

Watermelon / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

Watermelon. What else can I say?

Blackberry Peach Cobbler, recipe, Gourmet

Blackberry Peach Cobbler / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

We finished everything off with a delicious Blackberry Peach Cobbler using the fresh fruit I picked up at Boone Hall Farms vegetable stand. Below is the recipe I used.

Blackberry Peach Cobbler

Gourmet | September 2005
yield:Makes 12 servings
active time:25 min
total time:1 1/2 hr (includes cooling)

ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 lb blackberries (5 cups)
  • 2 lb peaches (6 medium), peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons whole milk

preparation

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish (3-quart capacity).

Whisk together cornstarch and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a large bowl, then add blackberries and peaches and toss to combine well. Transfer to baking dish and bake until just bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes.

While fruit bakes, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in another large bowl, then blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and stir just until a dough forms.

Drop dough onto hot fruit mixture in 12 mounds (about 1/3 cup each), then sprinkle dough with remaining teaspoon sugar. Bake cobbler until top is golden, 25 to 35 minutes. Serve warm.

Cooks’ note: Cobbler can be baked 6 hours ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Before serving, let stand at room temperature 1 hour, then reheat in a preheated 350°F oven until warm, about 20 minutes.