At Singing Brook Farm in Hawley, Massachusetts, we celebrate Independence Day in a low-key but festive manner.
Our impressaria for the occasion, Liza Pyle, organizes an annual pot-luck lunch near the Dam (where the water forms a lovely if frigid pond), followed by what she terms “hijinks”–games for the young and the not so young.
This year it started to rain just as the time came to light the fire by the Dam so we moved to the Play House, a building constructed by Liza’s grandfather just for days like this one. We had enough chairs, enough food, and eventually enough sunshine for everyone.
The edible offerings included things one couldn’t be without on July 4 (hot dogs, baked beans, devilled eggs, farm-fresh tomatoes, brownies), plus a new dish to me, grilled baked potatoes supplied by Liza and her brother David. I can’t wait to make them. I’m not much of a griller, but honestly I think even I could manage these!
Before I get to the semi-recipe (it’s more of a narrative), here are a few pictures of the hijinks.
As you can see, a good time was had by all (mostly!). The day revolved around community, the fruits of nature, and future generations. In short, our July 4 was almost iconically American. And now here is how one fixes the potatoes:
Bake several potatoes until they are almost done. A fork should be able to penetrate them, but they should still be firm.
Cut them in half lengthwise; then brush (or rub!) extra-virgin olive oil on both sides of both halves.
Grill the potatoes until they brown nicely (this won’t take long!).
Serve with sour cream into which you have mixed chives, salt, pepper, and anything else that takes your fancy (mustard, other herbs, horseradish–whatever!).
Don’t forget to sing “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”