Friday, July 30, 2010

Hot hot hot in Atlanta, Georgia

CNN Headquaters in downtown Atlanta

Centennial Park (site of the 1996 Summer Olympics) adjacent to CNN building
Dr John Pemberton, the inventor of Coca Cola
Coca Cola Museum

I thought I'd better post this before the month of July is over!

Our friend Mark moved to Atlanta several years ago; he told us the nickname of Atlanta is Hotlanta. Whatever the connotations, it was hot, hot, hot, temperature-wise, over the fourth of July weekend.

Our relatives happened to be in Atlanta and we had planned on taking them to see the Fourth of July fireworks at Stone Mountain. Having just arrived from Southern California, they wanted to relax and get acclimated to the heat and humidity so they declined. We immediately switched to Plan B, which was to attend a ballroom dancing party at Mark's friends' place in the suburbs. It was our first time at such an event. What fun! Great music, fabulous food, and great companies. It was such a joy watching these graceful dancers whirled and tapped around the dance floor. Check out the video and let us know what you think!

The dance party ended early. Guess where we saw the fourth of July fireworks? At the Home Depot parking lot at nearby Roswell. What a neat little town! We'll be back.

You might also like:
A zest for life Fourth of July on the Charles River with the Boston Pops Culinary tour to Atlanta, Georgia

Friday, July 16, 2010

Small is Beautiful

And oh so sweet. I am talking about wild blueberries. I will never forget the first time I tasted them. We were spending a weekend at a friend's beach house in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. One morning, we happened to drive through a quaint neighborhood when we spotted a couple of young kids (about 6 or 7 years old) selling something on their driveway. The kids were so cute we couldn't resist stopping to see what they have to offer. We bought some wild blueberries and they were deliciously sweet. Since then, I am a fan of freshly picked fruits or vegetables, wild or farmed. Whenever I get a chance to pick fruits off a tree or bush at a farm or someone's backyard, I do so with a passion. No matter the temperature or bugs.

Case in point. Yesterday, I foraged for the wild blackberries that were growing along the road, just off the entrance to the marina. I've been warned about rattlesnakes lurking underneath those thorny bushes, but that wasn't gonna stop me from picking some wild berries. There were bugs - yellow jackets, among others - competing with me, but no snakes. By the time I was done, I was sweating like a pig in the heat and humidity. It was 100 degrees F in Chattanooga. And we thought Florida was hot. During the day, it was actually 5 to 10 degrees hotter here. Chattanooga's weather has been strange this year - a frigid winter, a rainy spring, now a hot summer (85 -100 degrees F the last few weeks). As a result, the wild blackberries were small. But boy, were they sweet. I gave some to my neighbors, and froze some for smoothies. Maybe I'll make blackberry jam with the rest.
Wild blackberries
Homemade blackberry jam and smoothie. Yum!
Following is the recipe I used for making blackberry jam. This website has so much  more detailed information on making all kinds of berry jams, so do check it out.

Wild Blackberry Jam by Christine Ferber (author of Mes Confitures)

2 1/4 pounds wild blackberries
3 3/4 pounds granulated sugar
Juice of one lemon (or two if you like your jam less sweet)

Pick over the blackberries. Rinse them quickly in cold water without soaking them. In a preserving pan, combine the blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer. Pour into a ceramic bowl. Cover the fruit with a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate overnight.

Next day, bring the blackberry mixture to a boil, stirring gently. Continue cooking on high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring and skimming carefully. Check the jelling. Put the jam into jars immediately and seal.

Is your area enjoying a good harvest so far?

Updated: 8/14/18

You might also like:
Sichuan Eggplant (鱼香茄子) Preserving summer's harvest, and a recipe Have yard sale, will travel

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

We are back on the boat at Hales Bar Marina. This is our fourth summer here. The marina is usually hopping over the fourth of July holiday. Sadly, not this year. The floating cabins look deserted, and many slips are empty. The marina usually puts out a good fireworks display every Fourth of July, and every time I have managed to miss it. Ditto again this year, as we are in Atlanta to meet up with family and friends.

I recently wrote an article on Celebrating the Fourth of July in Boston at AssociatedContent. Unforgettable memories indeed. Here are some pictures from those good old days.

Celebrating the fourth on the Charles River with the Boston Pops

Old Mai Thai on the right

How was your Fourth of July holiday?

Related posts:
Fourth of July on the Charles River in Boston
Art Festival and a picnic in Sarasota, Florida
Memorial Day weekend at Fort McRae Anchorage