This Fourth of July, Chris and I will find ourselves alone, with nary a barbecue or picnic to attend. It’s a lonely position to be in, but such is the case when you’re a stranger to an area I suppose.
We should really be used to it by now.
Last Thanksgiving, we were in Puno, Peru. I believe we ate street hamburgers, 33 cents each, and arroz con leche—also bought off the street from a man with a cartful of the stuff—for dinner. We were resolute about not making a big deal out of the day. I made a big deal out of the day.
For Christmas, we were in Mendoza, Argentina, and celebrated the evening at a huge hostel-organized dinner where we endured ham stuffed in chicken stuffed in something else because I didn’t want to spent the holiday alone, just the two of us. The evening quickly devolved into a girls-gone-wild soiree, where tequila shots were generously given out to those brave enough (or wanton enough) to slurp them from some poor girl’s bellybutton (I was not wanton enough to be that girl).
And New Year’s Eve was celebrated in Santiago, Chile. We’d debated trying to be in Valparaiso that night, but, again, in the attempt to not make a big deal over the holiday, we opted to stay in Chile’s capital instead. Where we were invited to a concert which turned out to be more like a rave and spent the entire night alternating between momentary blindness and momentary deafness. It turned out to be one of our more fun New Year’s Eves.
If this last year has taught me anything, it’s how not to make a big deal over holidays.
But I’m not saying we won’t be a little lonely.
Sometimes, all it takes is going through the motions to make a day feel festive. Or make-believe motions in this case.
If I were playing hostess to a yardful of guests, I would totally serve this dessert as a 4th of July finale, after an evening of food-gorging, fireworks-watching, and beer-guzzling. It’s sweet, velvety, and cold, the cream cheese imparting a slight tartness, the ricotta grounding it firmly as a luxurious dessert. While not heavy, it’s certainly rich. And the berries, oh the berries: I will miss them when they’re out of season.
WHIPPED RICOTTA WITH MIXED BERRIES
Adapted from Bon Appetit
2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 ounces (1/2 cup) cream cheese, room temperature
4 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp honey
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups mixed fruit (strawberries, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, etc.)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Mix ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 2 Tbsp sugar, honey, and vanilla extract thoroughly (alternatively, blend everything together in a food processor and transfer to a bowl). Cover and refrigerate until slightly set (about 2 hours).
Toss fruit with lemon juice and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Divide ricotta among six bowls. Top with berries and serve.
Note: You can go all-out patriotic like I did, and use blueberries and strawberries in your fruit blend, but I think peaches would work terrifically as well.