Broccoli Salad, Ladygating Style
I’ve been in a rut. Not a rut I’m complaining about – eating out in restaurants with friends or cooking here at the house – but after a ridiculous blast of a day yesterday, I realize that I’d needed someone to kick my rutted butt into the great outdoors, with some fire, meat, and beer.
Yes! Thanks to a kind invitation to attend a Minnesota United FC soccer game, Joy Summers, Tracy Morgan, Stephanie March (Smarch), and I set out for the National Sports Center in Blaine with excited plans for tailgating. What began as a craving for old-school brats, beer, potato chips, and mayonnaise-y salad blossomed into Butcher and the Boar smoked cheddarwurst sausages, Thousand Hills grassfed hot dogs, gluten-ful and gluten-free buns, three kinds of mustard, two kinds of potato chips, fresh fruit with fresh lime juice and pomegranate seeds, real and gluten-free beer, champagne, bourbon, margaritas, gin with fresh berries and grapefruit juice, and German chocolate.
For four adults.
Overheard: This is like Outstanding in the Field…except in Blaine!
Smarch won ladygating with 1) a pickup truck named Clyde, 2) an umbrella to attach to Clyde, 3) portable chairs, 4) her son’s boombox (thank you Matt!), 5), the cutest little grill I’ve ever seen, and 5) pickle-cream cheese-ham roll-ups made with mascarpone. (Joy won the first half of the day by riding a camel and taking the most obscene photo of a corn dog I’ve ever seen.)Fire + pedicure + jewelry = ladygating.There were loads of families tailgating with their kids. The parents grilled and chatted, the kids played catch, there was all sorts of good fun. If you’re a soccer family, you should go to a game! If you’re not the tailgating type, there are always a couple of food trucks in the park.If you do tailgate, watch your fire better than we did. Our sausages got a bit hot. Not that we much cared……because the end result was snappy-salty-killericious anyhow. I, for one, am all about the char. Also, we were way too busy talking to notice. Luckily Tracy had sparkly garnishes for the salad……and toothbrushes! She is well-accessorized and always prepared.We came out of the game and wondered aloud where we’d parked. And then we all spotted this beautifully lit sight at the same time. Right! We have the only car with an umbrella mounted to it. I laughed harder than I’ve laughed in months. Until……Smarch proclaimed our ladygating a success. And then I died laughing. Yes, Joy would like some pamplemousse with her mousse.Here’s my contribution to our feast, my last-century recipe for good ol’ broccoli salad updated for new-century palates. I do love this salad!
And I love my friends. Thank you all for a hilarious, delicious day. Muah!
1 c. Hellman’s mayonnaise
1/4 c. coconut sugar (available at co-ops and many grocery stores) or 3 Tbsp. granulated white sugar
2-3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (to taste; I like it zingy)
1 lb. thick-sliced bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3 1/2 lbs. whole broccoli heads, trimmed and broken into 1-inch florets (about 1 1/2 lbs. after trimming)
1/2 red onion, diced small
1 c. toasted, salted cashews
1/2 c. dried cherries
In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, coconut sugar, and vinegar. Set aside. The sugar will dissolve while you cook the bacon.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and saute, stirring frequently, until bacon pieces are evenly browned and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. (Save bacon drippings for another use.)
Combine the broccoli florets, red onion, bacon, cashews, and dried cherries in a large bowl. Stir the dressing thoroughly, then pour half of it over the salad. Stir to coat the salad with dressing. Add more dressing to taste (you might not use it all; cover and refrigerate leftover dressing and use for other salads). Cover broccoli salad and chill thoroughly, at least two hours.