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Summer Cooking: Burgers and Pies

July 2, 2011

On Wednesday, June 29th, I became a quarter of a century old. 25 years old. Does that mean I need to be a real, functioning adult now? I certainly hope not!

I think one of the best things about birthdays is that you get to eat whatever you want and no one can say a darn thing. Indulgences are excused, even encouraged. I started the morning with an obscenely large sticky bun I made for myself at work, followed it up with a greasy piece of mushroom, spinach and gorgonzola pizza for lunch, and finished the day with a truly decadent and ridiculously delicious Build-Your-Own Sliders Bar with my friends.

Yes, I made my own birthday dinner and dessert. What can I say? I’m picky and I knew what I wanted and how I wanted it! Did you really think I would trust someone else to bake my birthday pie? By the way, birthday pie totally has birthday cake beat. Hands down. Especially when it’s a homemade Strawberry-Peach Crumble Pie served up with a healthy scoop of whipped cream.

As for the cute little burgers? Toasted potato buns, grilled grass-fed beef, and all the toppings you could hope for. Four types of cheese (cheddar, brie, bleu and goat), all the condiments (mayo, mustard, BBQ, ketchup), crispy bacon, sweet caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, arugula, pickles…you name it! I may have intimidated by guests with the sheer number of accoutrements on offer. “I’m watching what you do!” they said, as I piled the toppings onto two juicy sliders. They really had nothing to fear– you can’t go wrong with a burger fresh off the grill. Lay out this spread for the 4th of July and no one will walk away hungry!

Especially if you finish the night off with a slice of homemade pie. Find yourself the best local strawberries you can: dark red, ridiculously juicy and sublimely sweet. Toss them with some fragrant, ripe peaches, sugar, and aromatic vanilla for a truly fantastic filling. Top with a crunchy, buttery crumble of oats and almonds. Dollop with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream, letting it ooze into the crooks and crevices of the pie. Let the fireworks begin!

Build-Your-Own Sliders Bar

© Copyright 2011 Carly Sullivan, Tart to Heart

Yield: 16 patties, Serves: 6-8


  • 3 lbs ground grass-fed beef, 85% lean, 15% fat
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 onion, grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 16 slider-sized potato buns, toasted
  • Toppings of your choice- go wild!


  1. Preheat your grill to a medium-high temperature or preheat a grill pan or griddle inside over medium-high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, Worcestershire, grated onion, salt and pepper and mix gently with your hands. Divide the meat into 3-oz portions and shape into patties.
  3. Grill until seared on both sides and still a bit pink in the middle, flipping only once.
  4. Serve on toasted potato buns with all the fixins’! Enjoy!

Strawberry-Peach Crumble Pie

© Copyright 2011 Carly Sullivan, Tart to Heart

Yield: 8-10 servings


  • 1 9-inch pie crust


  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 4-5 large peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp cornstarch (use more if your fruit is very juicy)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract, or the seeds from one vanilla bean
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt


  • 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and place a rimmed sheet tray on the middle rack to get hot.
  2. Prepare your favorite pie crust and roll out to fit a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
  3. In a large bowl combine the strawberries, peaches, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, lemon juice and salt. Toss gently with a large spoon to combine. Let sit while you prepare the topping.
  4. In a food processor or a large bowl, combine the flours, oats, almonds, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Scatter the cubes of cold butter over the dry ingredients and pulse several times until crumbs form (or use your fingers if mixing in a bowl). Remove the crumble mixture to a bowl and use your fingers to press the crumbs together into small clumps.
  5. Remove your chilled pie shell from the refrigerator and add your filling. Top with the crumble mixture, packing down lightly over the filling. Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of raw sugar (optional, but pretty!).
  6. Bake until golden brown and the juices are bubbling around the edges, about 1- 1 1/2 hours. Remove and let cool for at least one hour (it’s brutal, I know, but it’s gotta be done or you’ll have a juicy mess on your hands). Serve with ice cream or whipped cream and enjoy!

*And so I leave you with the perfect 4th of July menu! Hopefully it will keep you satisfied for awhile, as I’m going off to Ireland tomorrow and won’t return for two weeks! In the meantime, enjoy the pie and wait in anticipation for a full recap of my culinary adventures abroad!*

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2011 6:07 pm

    Happy birthday! Those sliders look amazing. I love the idea of building them on your own.

  2. July 2, 2011 8:00 pm

    Oh, my goodness! Everything looks fantastic! My birthday was June 30th – but we won’t discuss age!

  3. July 2, 2011 9:22 pm

    Glad I got to be part of the feast!! So yummy and a fun communal way to celebrate your big day. Love you! mom

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