There's nothing I love more than lounging in bed going through photos and video clips the morning after a really great party. My eye makeup is more than a little smeared, the sink is overflowing with baking pans and mixing bowls, and it's STILL raining outside, but I can cocoon into my comforters and pillows and scroll through hundred of pictures of my friends faces, relive the good food, and hear again the laughter and jokes of the night's misadventures. With Gillian Welch singing to me from the record player, and my socked toes all comfy under layers of cool cotton, I've spent a few blissful hours cropping, rotating, and sharpening these memories...
We had amazing weather for one of Portland's favorite holidays - the Rose Festival was lightly toasted by warm sunshine and high clouds, the river looked beautiful as I crossed over to the east side, and our humble little BBQ in the big, beautiful orange house known as Crib Largo went off without a hitch. I was in an extra-fantastic mood because I just got a new job (!!!) and a summery white dress, two factors I'm relatively sure had a direct impact on the good weather... We even played a little frisbee in the intersection, yelling "CAR!" (or, just as often, "BIKE!") and skittering to the side of the road to let passersby pass by. Chess games were played, Jim Beam and Icelandic Schnaps were sipped and shot, and somehow most everyone ended up in random articles of womens clothing...
Anyway, the food. Oh, the food. The boys got started on the brisket pretty early, smoked it to perfection. Honestly, it was the best meat we'd ever had at a Family Dinner® gathering (aside from Travis' Dancing Ladies Chicken, of course...). Meatmaster Jesse made the rub from the scrappy spice collection of the Largo kitchen, set up the Weber for success, and painstakingly monitored the smoke levels over the course of a few hours. Damn, that was good brisket. We also had a huge pile of variously-flavored sausages, grilled veggies, roasted kale, confusingly good pickles, Sweet Tea, watermelon (both in cocktail and analog form) and my contribution, strawberry shortcakes and strawberry thumbprint cookies. In the past four days, I've eaten at Kenny & Zukes, Hash, Foster Burger, and Tastebud... but the dinner we had last night topped them all.
Rereading that last paragraph, I just realized I ate a LOT OF FOOD this weekend. Which is likely why I'm drinking tea and eating cucumbers while digitally thumbing through my photo uploads. A girl needs balance. A girl also needs great friends, and this girl has them, and how. Summer may still be a few weeks off in this crazy town, but I can already tell it's going to be a good one.
Strawberry Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies
adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style, 2002
- 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (Or more, if you want. I always up the kosher salt in cookies... it's kind of my thing...)
- Good Strawberry Jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place the balls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and press an indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool and serve.