The Fourth of July has always been a big deal for my family, mainly because my dad is obsessed with fireworks. He's been dropping outrageous sums of money and putting on a lovely show for us for as long as I remember.
And my little brother has taken things a step further. Cory started created his own pyrotechnic displays when he was in junior high -- complicated concoctions of fireworks and fuse glued to plywood, with everything timed perfectly. He also went through about an eight-year phase where he re-enacted famous war battles with using tanks, smoke bombs, firecrackers, and army men. He used to watch a lot of Patton.
We're the neighborhood pests this time of year. We're typically the last ones lighting fireworks, right up until that midnight deadline, or so our friendly neighborhood sheriff's deputy is keen on reminding us. We've started a few fires in our time (a ditch, the neighbor's tree). One on particularly windy Fourth, we rained hundreds of tiny parachutes all over our neighbor's house and yard. And there was once incident involving a rocket, a neighbor, and her toilet that I shan't repeat.
Somehow, no one has ever gotten upset with us, and we always clean up our messes.
I'll be the first to admit that we're a bit more concerned with fun than we are safety. My dad makes his own rocket launchers out of PVC pipe. We have shooting contests. We sometimes get hurt. For example, one of us took a chaser to the neck last year. (Note that I've been informed that this was a Roman candle. Which, I'm sure, changes everything.)
In other words, don't be like us. Have a fun AND safe Fourth of July.
And make something yummy for breakfast. Like this blueberry crumb cake, from Barefoot Contessa at Home. I love Ina Garten. She's my favorite. She would never start her own shirt on fire with a champagne party popper.
Blueberry Crumb Cake
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/3 c. flour
6 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
2/3 c. sour cream
1 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp, kosher salt
1 c. fresh blueberries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9" round cake pan.
2. For streusel, combine sugars, cinnamon, and nutmet in a bowl. Stir in melted butter and then flour until well combined. Set aside.
3. For cake, combine butter and sugar using stand mixer. Beat on high speed 4-5 minutes.
4. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla and sour cream.
5. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
See how nice and fine it gets?
6. With the mixer speed still on low, add flour mixture just until batter is combined.
7. Stop mixer and use a spatula to ensure ingredients are thoroughly combined. Gently fold in blueberries.
8. Pour batter in prepared pan, smoothing with a knife.
9. Top with streusel, crumbling by hand.
Mmm ... streusel ...
10. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
11. Cool completely, then slice and serve. Optionally, top with powdered sugar or whipped cream.