dreamstime_2635010Wasn’t it the late-great, George Carlin who asked one of the most profound questions of our age when he pondered aloud, “Why is there no blue food?”  It’s important for a theme queen like me to have some red-white-and-BLUE food for July 4th. Bleu-cheeseburgers? Not if there are kids at the cookout. Who can blame them? Appreciation for the flavors of old mold will come with age, so to speak. (See instead a great recipe for Vidalia Onion Sliders below.)
The best of blue food
It seems that only dessert can trumpet the proud tradition of our grand ‘ole flag when it comes to fare. This is no compromise indeed. Flag food can be created with some of our All-American favorites: blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. This is a concession we can all make in the national interest. And, for that matter, in our own interest since blueberries, in particular, are rich in antioxidants. I hope this means we can “liberally” eat and drink all else, trusting the berries to “stabilize” the free radicals.

Blueberries also promise anti-aging qualities, which may protect us from craving bleu cheese, waking up to unwanted blue hair, and worst of all, any discussion of health maladies during the holiday cookout, especially while enjoying a Blueberry Cream Cake (recipe below)

Before Dessert – First Place Sweet Vidalia® Sliders
Last Years’ Winner of the “Sweet Times with Vidalias® Recipe Contest,” was Kelly McWherter, from Houston, TX. Kelly’s sliders are cooked in a skillet, but I suspect could be grilled instead. Want to compete in the contest this year? Visit the Vidalia® Onion Committee’s website at: VidaliaOnion.org for contest details and a chance to win $1,000. Here’s Kelly’s take on baby burgers:

1 ½ pounds ground chuck
½ cup peeled, grated apple (such as Granny Smith)
¼ cup finely chopped Vidalia® onion
2 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 ¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
½ medium Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ tsp garlic
12 soft dinner rolls, split and warmed (such as Hawaiian)
½ pound Brie, rind removed, sliced

Directions: In a large bowl, gently combine ground chuck, apple, onion, sage, brown sugar, mustard, pepper flakes and salt.  Form into 12 patties; refrigerate.Meanwhile, heat butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook and stir sliced Vidalia onion until golden, about 10-15 minutes. Remove onions from skillet; set aside and cover.  In same skillet, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat.  Cook burger patties, in batched as needed, until desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and garlic.  Spread rolls with mayonnaise.  Top roll bottoms with patties.  Layer on Brie and warm onions.  Top with roll tops and serve.

The Red, White and Blue Berry Cream Cake

Box white cake (preferably with pudding in mix)
Small can of Coco Lopez
5 tablespoons of strawberry jam
2 tablespoons of water
4 bananas
1 pint of strawberries
1 pint of blueberries
16-ounces of whipping cream
3 tablespoons of sugar

(Note: This cake is best made a day before serving. Chill overnight.)
Follow the directions on the cake box for a 13” x 9” sheet cake, except use only 1/2 the amount of water recommended. Substitute the rest with Coco Lopez. Reserve the balance of Coco Lopez. Bake cake as directed. Remove. While cake is still hot (and in their pans), dot tiny holes in it with a toothpick. Spread two tablespoons of Coco Lopez on top. Place jam and water in a small saucepan and  heat on low until it thickens enough to resemble syrup. When the cake is cooled, spread jam over the top. (Reserve one tablespoon for glazing the garnish).  Slice bananas 1/4” thick and place evenly spread over the cake. Whip the cream with the sugar and spread over the bananas. Be generous. Decorate with blueberries and strawberries. Polka-dot is nice, or if you’re feeling patriotic, you can attempt the Stars and Stripes. Cover and chill before serving – with love.

Terri Evans

Terri Evans

Terri Evans is 25+year marketing communications professional, a partner at LeslieEvansCreative and Bcauz marketing (cause-related). She has been a food columnist for Atlanta Intown and Atlanta Buckhead newspapers, and a contributing writer for Georgia Magazine, the Atlanta Business Chronicle and other publications. Evans was also a finalist in a Southern Living cooking competition. She is (and has long been) at work on a novel set in the South (of Georgia) and the South (of France). She's always cookin' up somethin'.