We have our own traditions for the fourth up here in the Great White North. In this household, it means getting up at at the crack of dawn - not to bake apple pies or ready the BBQ - but to watch three hours of this:
This photo (and more awesome ones) from Here
July 4th is officially the start of Le Tour de France - a little ol' bike race that goes on for 21 days and covers at least 3,500 km of road (that's about 2,200 miles for you yanks). And no, those roads are not straight aways, nor are they flat. The tour goes through the mountains - not once but three times. Mountains, like the famous Alpe d'Huez, goes from flat to 1900m in a matter of kilometers. Of course, once you've reached the top of the mountains, you've got to get down them - at about 70mph while traversing sheer rock cliffs and hairpin turns.
Forget how hard it is, what about the soap opera that's going on in the middle of it? Will Cadel Evans come from freakin' no where and attack at the last second? Will the absolute inhuman monster that is Fabian Cancellera out pace everyone? Will Mark Cavendish managed to piss everyone again? Will Alberto Contador flip Lance Armstrong the proverbial bird? And, speaking of Armstrong, does anyone really care that he's back (other than Americans)?
So, why aren't you watching Le Tour?
Getting up early and sitting on your butt for three hours the entire month of July is about as hard and tiring as the tour itself. Okay, maybe it's a bit better - but I can only make it through if I have some snacks to power me through. Yesterday, I prepped for the start of the race by making some amazingly thick and tasty breakfast scones. I took the fresh black currants we had picked a couple days ago and paired them with a juicy orange and a handful of local tayberries - this created, not a super sugary scone, but one that is tart and satisfying. The recipe is not too fussy - you can add any berry you'd like and they would come out just fine.
Makes about 10 scones
3 cups all-purpose white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into bits
3 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest (from about 2 navel oranges)
1 1/2 cups black currants (frozen and rolled in some sugar)
1/2 cup crushed tayberries
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1)In a large bowl whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add butter and zest and beat with an electric mixer (or your hands) until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in with your currants. In a bowl whisk together buttermilk and eggs and add to flour mixture, mixing just until a dough forms.
2)Preheat oven to 350°F. and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On each sheet arrange 1/2-cup mounds of dough about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle mounds with brown sugar and chill 15 minutes.
3) Bake scones in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets half-way through baking, until light brown (or when your cake tester comes out clean), about 20 minutes.
this here's the maillot jaune of breakfast