My brother acquired a boat recently. I say “acquired” because it seems to literally have dropped into his lap (or front lawn) from a good friend of his. Not the most impressive boat, a 17-foot Boston Whaler from the 80’s, but in Charleston, SC a boat is golden. When he asked me to go out on it for the Fourth of July, no questions asked, I was goin’! As with most things with my brother, there is always a catch!
The Catch: He fills the tank with gas, I bring the refreshments (AKA beer and my Wine Spritzers) and food.
After much (Or was it very little??) thought, I landed on Chicken Salad Sandwiches using Birney’s Hickory Smoked Pulled Chicken as the base, which is perfect because the chicken has such a great smokey flavor and an awesome spice blend to it. SHAMELESS PLUG check out birneysfoods.com for some AWESOME bbq. I try to stay low-cal-ish so I blended the chicken with about a cup of Greek Yogurt, about 2 tbsp of mayo for the tang, halved grapes, green onion and slivered almonds. Perfect and easy, but they don’t all have to know that!
Then it was like I had Divine Inspiration! Mini White Cupcakes with A Fresh Strawberry Puree Buttercream and Sugared Blueberries (Are you getting the Red, White and Blue theme that I’m running with??) I call my brother BEYOND excited by my brilliance and he was less than enthused, claiming NO ONE ate cupcakes at the beach. Say whaaaaaaat??? Good, I had something to prove!
The Frosting: A simple Buttercream
- 6 tbsp softened unsalted butter
- 16 oz powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ABOUT 1/2 cup pureed strawberries, depending on desired thickness of frosting
- a tiny pinch of salt to make the sweetness pop!
With a hand mixer I whipped up the butter for about a minute and alternated adding the powdered sugar and strawberry puree, with the vanilla and salt mixed in about half way through and VOILA:I put the frosting in the refrigerator to firm up while I got the sugared blueberries ready!
- desired number of berries
- egg white whipped til frothy with a splash of water
- granulated sugar
Simply place blueberries in the frothy egg white mixture, remove from whites shaking off excess whites and toss in sugar. Leave them to dry on parchment or wax paper and you’ll add the perfect fresh crunch to any dessert!
The Cupcakes in all their Glory:
Needless to say, they were the biggest hit of the day! My brother gave me a public apology for doubting my cupcakes and went so far as to keep them SECRET from 10 or so people that were there in our group!!! More for us!
My true inspiration for them is Sugar Bakeshop on Cannon St. Downtown Charleston, which I make a point of visiting at least once a week, the best cupcakes in Charleston hands down.
Great food, great company and great spritzers made for a Fourth of July to remember! And I learned a valuable lesson: Find a friend that is willing to give you a boat!