We celebrated Independence Day with grazing food and the freedom to choose whatever nosh you want. We’d probably be tarred and feathered as Loyalists for some of these little nibbles, but now that we’re in the great Republic of Texas, I’m not sure anybody really cares.
First, vegetable cole slaw and grilled salmon salad (both from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook), shown here with a goat (but not really goat) cheese sandwich (from Parties!).
I took the liberty (har) of buying the grilled salmon for the salmon salad pre-made at the Whole Foods prepared food counter, and I substituted the goat cheese in the sandwich for a spreadable garlic herbed cream cheese made by Président called “pub cheese.” The cole slaw, which I had made years ago for a different 4th of July party, was a little heavy on the mayo for my taste, but I might have under-measured the cabbage, throwing the ratios off. Also, would you believe that two fancy schmancy grocery stores were out of raspberry vinegar (for the salmon salad)?? I substituted a fig balsamic vinegar instead, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Here’s another view of the cream cheese cucumber sandwiches. As you can see here, I didn’t follow my adopted grandfather‘s dictate that the bread needed to be so thin that you could read the newspaper through it. We Americans can’t be bothered with such trifles. We can, however, be bothered to cut the crust off if it feels prudent.
As long as we’re being investigated by the people who care about unAmerican activities, we might as well ‘fess up that we had some cheddar and chutney on brioche (from Parties!). Does it help my case to say that I didn’t really enjoy it?
It did give me the idea that I could put chutney out with our next cheese tray, though. I’m more of a fig jam girl myself, but I can see the appeal if you’re into that kind of thing. I wouldn’t go making 40 sandwiches with it, like Ina would, but I like giving people the freedom to choose how to pollute their cheese.
Last but not least, we freed ourselves from the tyranny of others’ pie filling choices by making the fruit tarts in Parties! I would not recommend this pie dough for a novice pie baker – it’s all butter and as delicate as the original Declaration of Independence. I’d recommend the pie crust recipe from Foolproof over this one, but it worked out well for these small little tarts. I’ve had a different version of this from a grocery store in Minneapolis, but to prevent the crust from getting soggy, they lined it with a thin layer of white chocolate before filling it. Just … don’t do that. It’s a bad idea. Instead, make a little dessert bar where people can fill their own pie crust. If you’re feeling extra generous, add some whipped cream and ice cream to the choices. Freedom!