Independence Day Elevated, or Why Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Boring Food.

Salads / July 24, 2015

Have you ever noticed that Independence Day is the only day we refer to by date? Yes, think about it…

“So, whaddaya doing for the 4th?” we casually infer, as though this very important holiday has actually trademarked the number four, stealing it from the other 9 digits. I mean no one says, “Are you staying home for the 25th?” or, “Did you buy a new dress for the 31st or are you going to wear that tight sequined one?” I mean really! If my husband gave me a card that said, “Happy 14th…” I think I’d spit.

Sure, sure. Hooray for the red white and blue, for amber waves of grain, for Betsy Ross, and the Statue of Liberty. Woo-hoo for the iconic gingham tablecloth, and finally a nod to the American way of abbreviating ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.

I’m just saying I think this, of all days, deserve a title that takes longer than two seconds to say. And being the rebel I am, I have decided to combat this reticence with a menu that takes boring up a notch…and a half…and maybe a smidgen more, because a nod to taking a little extra time is long overdue. This post and the recipes are my way of saying that freedom is a precious thing, and it deserves more than a single syllable word or a familiar menu.

So, partying again with our friends the Neer’s (can I just say I love giving Vicky a food assignment? ‘Cause the bruschetta was off the charts yummy!), we spent our nation’s birthday doing some of the familiar things: eating, laughing, and watching a little baseball. But in our heart of hearts, as our forks touched the plate, “The Fourth of July” was elevated to a place it deserved. Memorable. See our menu and decide for yourself:

Broccoli Kale Bacon Salad

Serves 4-6


4 C broccoli flowerettes
2-3 C thinly sliced and chopped kale
4-5 slices of thick-cut bacon cooked crisp
1/3 C chopped pecans
1/3 C golden raisins
1/3 purple onion chopped


Mix about ¾ C mayonnaise
¼ C white sugar
2 t apple vinegar


  • Cook the bacon, drain, chop and set a side. In a large saucepan, blanche the broccoli until tender but still green.Drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again, blot dry and add to a large bowl. In the same bowl add the bacon, the chopped kale, pecans, raisins, and onion. Add the dressing about 1 hour before serving. Can adjust the ingredients in the dressing to make it sweeter or more savory. Can use low fatmayo as well

Kiwi Blueberry Cream Cheese Tart

Serves 8


5 fresh kiwis peeled and sliced thinly.
Blend with a little lemon juice to keep
¾ pint of fresh blueberries
2 T port wine
Dash of cinnamon
2 t sugar
1 Eagle Brand® Cream Cheese filling*
1 pie crust cooked in tart pan (use a
packaged crust or make your own.)
Sprig of mint to garnish


  • In two bowls, mix the kiwi with the lemon juice and another one with the blueberries, port, sugar and cinnamon. Can sit for up to 4 hours until plating. Keep them separate until serving.
  • Make the pie crust and fit into a buttered tart pan. Cook in a 425 degree F oven for about 10 minutes until browned. Cool.
  • Prepare the Eagle Brand® Cream Cheese mixture. Spread in the cooled tart crust and refrigerate before serving.
  • To plate, take a slice of the cream cheese filled tart, and top gently with combination of kiwi and blueberry. Don’t mix them or you’ll get blue kiwis.
  • *1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
    1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
    1/3 cup lemon juice
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • BEAT cream cheese until fluffy in large bowl. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.Let refrigerate in the pie crust until firm. About 3-4 hours.

Mushroom Shallot Hamburgers with Pimiento Cream Sauce

Serves 6-8


2.5 lbs 85% lean ground sirloin
3/4 pint shitake mushroom chopped
½ shallot diced
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 t salt, ½ t pepper (more to taste)
5 T butter divided
Steak seasoning
1/3 C Pimiento Cheese spread
½ C milk
2 heaping
T of flour


  • Melt 3 T butter in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onion and mushrooms, and sauté on medium high until the onions are almost caramelized, about 10 minutes. Cool.
  • Then add the mushroom mixture to the hamburger meat. Form into patties. Makes about 12 to 13. Sprinkle with your favorite steak seasoning and grill until cooked to your liking. They are best medium rare to medium.
  • In a saucepan, melt 2 T butter, add the flour and cook for 2 minutes whisking constantly until the roux loses its raw flour flavor. Add the milk and whisk until smooth, and lower heat to medium and whisk until it gets a little thick.
  • Add the pimiento cheese, stir until smooth. Serve over the hamburgers.

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