Recipe: Cucumber Gin & Tonic Pitcher Cocktail — Summer Pitcher Drinks

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

My favorite cocktail is a gin and tonic. But sometimes, even if I use extra-fancy tonic water and good gin, it feels like it just needs a little bit more. Sure, a lime will do, but what about something a touch different? Something that could transform it into a party-ready cocktail rather than the quiet cocktail I sip on Sunday evenings. The answer to this dilemma is a slew of cucumbers — oh, and a big ol' pitcher so that it can be batched and served up to whatever thirsty crowd you happen to invite over.

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Recipe: Buttermilk Caramel Sauce — Easy Dessert Recipes

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Last year, in my quest to uncover all the most delicious and somewhat unexpected ways to use leftover buttermilk, I stumbled on a dessert sauce to top all dessert sauces. I reworked my favorite classic caramel sauce to put buttermilk at the helm, and the result is one that's sure to win your heart. It starts with nutty notes of butterscotch and the rich sweetness of caramel, and then surprises your tastebuds with a tangy twist that leaves you wanting more.

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Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas, Feta, and Herbs — Bite-Sized Guide: Portland, Maine

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Why is it that salads almost always taste better at restaurants? Among other reasons, there's a level of complexity to them that we don't typically get at home. This cauliflower salad is proof. It comes to us from Chef Christopher Gould at Central Provisions, a James Beard Award Best New Restaurant finalist in Portland, Maine, with inventive small plates and craft cocktails. Their fried cauliflower salad is so well-loved that it's one of the few dishes never seems to budge from their ever-changing menu. (A fact that makes our Production Editor, Lauren, happy, as it's her favorite salad!)

This salad delivers layer upon layer of varying flavor and texture, which makes it a main course-worthy salad that won't bore you. The smoky, caramelized cauliflower and crunchy chickpeas play off of the bright, crisp apple and fresh herb salad, which are then both tied together with briny, salty feta cheese crumbles.

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Happy Fourth of July from Maxwell @ Kitchn! — July 4, 2017

On June 11, 1776, anticipating that the vote for independence would be favorable, Congress appointed a committee to draft a declaration: Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and John Adams of Massachusetts. Currier and Ives prepared this imagined scene for the one hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
(Image credit: Library of Congress)

Waking this morning and walking across the Manhattan Bridge to the office, it was remarkable how quiet the city is. It is a particularly unique thing to have a peaceful day in New York City, so I'm savoring it and using it to bring back something we haven't done in years: wishing you a happy holiday.

When our sites began in 2004, we used to start an open thread after linking to some good thoughts by others on each national holiday. It was never a huge viral sensation, but that was not the reason it started. It started just to step back and observe our shared circumstance, and, in that way, reinforce our community here on the web.

On July 4th, 1826, the day of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams passed away within hours of one another. Both had been presidents as well as founding fathers, and both had become close friends during their lives (their collected letters to one another over 50 years is a classic).

Jefferson was 83 and Adams 90. With their passing it was generally felt that the Revolutionary period was over.

In this morning's Washington Post there is a great article on Jefferson's last written letter to the Mayor of Washington in June of that year, thanking him for the invitation to the festivities and declining for health reasons. His writing is inspiring:

I should, indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and exchanged there congratulations personally with the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword; and to have enjoyed with them the consolatory fact, that our fellow citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made.

May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings & security of self-government. that form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. all eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man.

Thomas Jefferson was both a great mind, who helped to shape the thoughts on which our country is founded and also a complicated man who was very much a product of his time. But it is his name that will always be associated the closest with this holiday for the work he put into writing the document on which is it based.

For more on this I also recommend reading today's Writer's Almanac, which is always good. Keillor always finds the humanity and the humor behind the scenes. It includes:

Thomas Jefferson wrote most of the Declaration of Independence; everyone else in the room thought he was the most eloquent and the best writer and he offered no dissent. It's said that John Hancock wrote his name in extra large script so that King George would be sure to see it; the king suffered from cataracts. Fifty-six men from 13 colonies signed the document. One out of eight of them had gone to Harvard. Two would go on to become presidents of the United States.

The signing actually took place on July 2, not the 4th, and this fact always irked John Adams, who decided to protest the date of the new celebration by never, not once, attending a July Fourth celebration as long as he lived.

And even though he protested the event, John Adams wrote movingly to his wife, Abigail: "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

I hope you all have a celebratory and peaceful fourth of July and feel free to share your thoughts about what this day means to you.

Best, Maxwell Ryan
Founder of Apartment Therapy Media

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20 Recipes to Turn Your Farmers Market Haul into Breakfast — Recipes from The Kitchn

When you're knee-deep in all the great produce available at the farmers market, chances are breakfast isn't the first meal that's on your mind. You may be thinking of the crisp salad or juicy fruit cobbler you'll be making later, but probably not how you'll use all those good things for breakfast, aside from sprinkling those berries on your morning yogurt. Well, grab an extra bag and load up because there's no better way to start your summer day than by using the most seasonal produce in your breakfast.

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Recipe: The Ulimate Sauce for Crisps, Crumbles, and Cobblers — Summer Desserts

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Doesn't vanilla butter sauce just sound delicious? This four-ingredient sauce is a real game-changer when it comes to summer fruit desserts. No need to make or buy ice cream or whipped cream — just warm a little cream, scent with vanilla, sweeten with sugar, and add a luscious knob of butter.

Fair warning: You're going to become so obsessed with this sauce that you'll be putting it on everything from crisps to cobblers to pancakes, and stirring it into your morning coffee. Here's how to fall in love with this simple sauce.

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