Food for your 4th… ’14

Last year’s ‘Food for your 4th‘ was such a hit, I figured I might as well give you more choices. Hopefully posting in time to prep for your celebration, here are some favorites that cannot be beat!



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raw lemon cheesecake with berries

This year, let’s start with the sweet. Let me introduce you to a wonderful dessert everyone loves yet it is very healthy! Last year I gave you the recipe for a terrific raw peach cobbler I make and devour all the time. My good friend Theresa “Tee” Elam, who is a marvelous cook, turned me onto Cafe Gratitude‘s Raw Lemon Cheesecake about 6 weeks ago. I have been devouring it ever since. Damn, is it excellent. And, again, it’s healthy! Sometimes life is so good.

Note: I confess, I’ve only done the crust once. The crust is worth making and helps it seem like a ‘real cheesecake’ but I love the filling so much and, you know, I’m such a lazy S.O.B. that I usually just make the filling and eat it with some fruit on top, not that it even needs the fruit! Any of these ingredients can be ordered off if you can’t find them in your local store.

The recipe makes one regular cheesecake, though I usually make individual sizes, as seen in the photos.

Click the link for this recipe and other recipe/suggestions!

2 cups almonds
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
heaping 1/4 cp chopped dates

3 cups cashews soaked 6-8 hours, then drained
1 1/2 cups almond milk (make your own! Click here and scroll down)
1 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup raw agave
1 tsp vanilla
2 pinches salt
3 tbsp soy lecithin (tiny little balls of ‘stuff’ that emulsify. Read about it here if you are interested.)
3/4 cup raw unscented coconut butter

Crust:  In a food processor, process the almonds, vanilla and salt until crumbled. Continue to process while add small amounts of dates until crust sticks together. Press the crust onto bottom of greased (with the coconut butter) 9 1/2 inch pan.

Filling: Blend all the ingredients except lecithin and coconut butter until smooth. (A very long time.) Now add the lecithin and coconut butter until well incorporated. Pour in prepared crust and set in fridge or freezer about an hour until firm. Top with fruit if so desired.

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prepping the cheesecakes

Tee has her own crust recipe, which is even better. I’m posting it for you here:

*Tee’s Raw Pie Crust:

3/4-1 C almond flour

1/4 maple syrup powder

1/8-1/4 C coconut oil

Pinch of sea salt

Tee writes: Combine all ingredients by hand or in a standing mixer until thoroughly combined into a dough.  I play around with the amounts of flour and oil until I get the right consistency (pea size balls, just like a regular crust).  Don’t ask me why it varies, but it does.  🙂  Press the dough evenly into your pan (tart pans with removable bottoms work best).  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for an hour or more before filling.



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tom’s green goddess salad

I love Green Goddess dressing. Tart, creamy, tangy, buttery, ‘Mad Men’-esque… It’s soooo good. I love it all year long but it is particularly terrific in the summer as Green Goddess is cold and bracing on a hot day. Follow my recipe for the dressing below, tasting as you go. I add A LOT of herbs as I like the dressing very ‘herby’ but you might want to pull back just a touch. You can add anything to this salad when tossing it, such as tomatoes, but my favorite way is a purely green salad, with lettuce, the dressing, some sliced avocado and some chives. 


1 1/2 cups herbs, packed fairly tight: I use about a cup of basil, then finish with italian parsley and tarragon. Don’t forget the tarragon, it is what makes Green Goddess taste like Green Goddess! But tarragon is strong. Leaves from 2 or 3 stems is all you need.

3 cloves garlic

8 chopped scallions, white and green parts

1 cup plain greek yogurt, I like Fage’ (or use Best Foods/Hellman’s Mayonnaise if need be)

2 anchovies or a healthy squirt of anchovy paste

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup sour cream

1 avocado (optional)

 In a food processor or blender, first chop all the herbs, garlic and scallions.

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herbs ready for destruction

Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend/process a long time, making sure it is smooth. Taste as you go! If it is too ‘herby’ for you, add more yogurt/mayo and or sour cream. Or even some half and half or whipping cream. Chill at least an hour until ready to use. I like the creamy thickness and taste the avocado gives the dressing but the avocado is optional.

Note: This makes a very thick dressing. You can always add olive oil to the salad bowl right before you toss if you want the dressing to be a little less thick. It makes a terrific dip for crudite’ as well.

Toss with your choice of lettuce. I love this with romaine and/or butter lettuce but green leaf and/or red leaf, or a big mixture of many lettuces will do. Serve with sliced avocado and chives on top. 


I’ve written lovingly about Patricia Wells here, a smart and extremely engaging woman who wrote a cookbook that entirely changed the way I thought about food and cooking. I was lucky enough to spend a week with her a few years ago. One of many recipes she taught us that I make all the time is this fresh potato salad, a tasty and healthy alternative to the ubiquitous gross potato salad available at the supermarket. It’s very easy! While your potatoes are steaming, you make a lovely mustardy dressing, then toss the warm potatoes with the dressing and a few other key ingredients. Trust me, it’s terrific. You, too, will make it often.

patricia wells’ warm potato salad

Click here for a link to the recipe… thanks to!



Like Patricia Wells, I’ve also written about Suzanne Goin, another amazing chef who has also had a huge impact on my life. I post her pork burgers every 4th because they are my 4th of July tradition. I can’t imagine a better burger or eating anything else on this great holiday. I’ll keep posting this until every one of you has made them!

suzanne goin’s amazing pork burgers

The recipe for these burgers can be found at another wonderful food blog I encourage you to check out, Food Gal, written by the extremely talented Carolyn Jung:

Pork Burger Recipe

Note: you must make both the Romesco and the Aioli. They elevate the already stunning burger to another level entirely. Trust me, this is worth it!

** Here is a good look at this amazing way to make Aioli.

Ok! Food for your 4th! If you try any of these, or if you have your own favorites and traditions you would like to share, please click on comments and let us know below.

Happy 4th of July!

And if you know a Brit, give them a break. (This is for you, Sj!)


7 thoughts on “Food for your 4th… ’14

  1. Ok. This blog overwhelmed me simply because I want to make all these things in one day, for one meal and I know that’s not possible! I will have to be satisfied with the green goddess dressing salad for now and add additional items as time allows. Thanks for all the ideas, Tom!

  2. Your awesomeness knows no bounds, sadly my appetite was unable to do justice to your wonderful cooking, but I will be making all of these in single portions! Hugssssss

  3. Tom
    You are the most awesome, enthusiatic chef if ever had the privilege of knowing. Just reading your blog adds mucho calories to this already caloric body, but that having been said, I intend to make every one of your 4th suggestions and more. Thanks for the Green Godess dressing without mayo, now our dear friend Burt can taste that fab. dressing. Whats cooking this fall???

    1. hey! Great to hear from you, and thanks! I had a tomato salad this morning with your amazing olive oil, so good. Please let me know what you think of the recipes (and have fun with the Green Goddess, play around with it… a little of that homemade worcestershire would be good in it as well.) And yes to the fall! Where and when?? 🙂

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