It’s become a tradition at Food Safety News to take a break on major holidays by hosting a virtual potluck or picnic, held entirely online for our far-flung staff.


So we’re celebrating Independence Day 2011 by once again sharing our dishes – Mary’s farmers’ market veg dip, Cookson’s garden-fresh potato salad, Suzanne’s Aunt Sandy’s spinach and strawberry salad, Helena’s apricot-rosemary halibut, Andy’s Everyman’s Gumbo, Dan’s Fried Ice Cream Cake Sticks and Gretchen’s coconut berry lime cake.

We’re often asked if writing about foodborne illness makes us reluctant eaters. Far from it. We relish good food and all the healthy choices available. To us, food freedom means the right to spend our grocery dollars with growers and producers who see safe food-handling practices not as an inconvenience or cost, but as a responsibility to protect their customers and the public health, and therefore an essential part of doing business. Independence Day is a good day to think about freedom from fear.

Have a food-safe Fourth of July.

The Food Safety News team 


Summer always seems to start on the Fifth of July in the Pacific Northwest, but this year has been so unusually cold and damp that I may not have much luck growing warm-weather greens in my own veg patch this season.

Fortunately the Port Townsend Farmers Market – one of the best in the country in my opinion – has abundant produce, so I’ll be shopping there to get ready for our Fourth of July cookout.  I’ll pick up several bunches of cilantro and basil, and use them to make dip to serve with my homegrown carrots, radishes and snap peas. 

This recipe was copied from an old Martha Stewart magazine, an edition so old, apparently, that I couldn’t find it in the Martha Stewart database to provide a link to the original. In addition to being a fine vegetable dip, it also makes a great marinade for grilled shrimp and fish.


1 small lime

4 cups tightly packed basil leaves

2 cups tightly packed cilantro leaves

2 larges cloves garlic, peeled

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed

1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt


Grate the zest from the lime. Squeeze juice from lime into bowl. In a food processor combine lime zest, lime juice, basil, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno pepper, ginger, salt and pepper; process until finely chopped, about 1 minute. Add yogurt and process to combine, about 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.