Labor Day Feast: A Real One This Time

In case you weren’t aware, it is Labor Day weekend, prime time for cook-outs and celebrating the last days of summertime fun (sorry if that’s a depressing thought). For a lot of kids, this means heading back to school; for a lot of adults, this means it’s time for some pumpkin beer. If you’re hosting a huge gathering this weekend or just spending some time in the company of friends or family, I have some suggestions for your Labor Day Feast!

On Independence Day, I was stuck on the New Jersey Turnpike and couldn’t make it home in time to whip up the meal I’d had in mind. But dog-gone it, I’m not going to miss a second summer feasting opportunity. Here’s what I’ll be serving up:

Cal-Asian Turkey Burgers


Courtesy of GOOP, these are some turkey burgers that are flavorful and DEAD simple to make. There are a few curious ingredients in the meat mixture, like hoisin sauce and a ton of cilantro, but you won’t even care after you’ve tasted how rich and juicy the resulting patties turn out. P.S., I won’t tell anyone if you use gluten-FILLED breadcrumbs.

Fancy-Ass Mac N’ Cheese


Ok, pardon my French. This is really called “Herbed Mac N’ Cheese” from a French cookbook called La Laiterie, but if a cheesy recipe includes both Brie and Gruyere, I consider it pretty fancy-ass. I might have to challenge my brother, my family’s mac n’ cheese master, with this recipe sometime! It is a crusty, funky casserole of sorts, and is not drowning in cheese as some people prefer. Regardless, I ate a ludicrous amount in one sitting.

Apple Pie Wontons


Now this one… mmm… this one I invented myself. See, there is nothing a Labor Day Feast needs more than an apple pie for dessert. But cutting a slice, transferring it to and carrying it around on a flimsy paper plate, perpetually in danger of sliding off… no, that’s not for me. “America needs a handheld version of this,” I muttered late last evening, and as the clock struck midnight, a delectable treat emerged from my oven: Apple Pie Wontons.

Here is the recipe:


serves 6-8

  • 1 pie crust, thawed if frozen
  • 3 apples
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Peel and core the apples. Slice into 1/4 thick slivers, and mix with the rest of the ingredients (aside from the pie crust) in a large bowl. 
  3. Roll out pie crust and cut into roughly 2.5×2.5 inch squares. Spray a cupcake tin down with vegetable or olive oil. Fit the squares into each cup, gently pressing the pie crust down around the edges so it forms a little bowl.
  4. Scoop the apple mixture into each cup, trying to avoid overflow.
  5. Once preheated, place the cupcake tin in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until sliced apples are soft and the edges of the crust are crispy in each cup.
At my Labor Day Feast, we paired all this with some new-batch Dogfish Head Punkin Ale and stuffed ourselves silly. I hope you get a chance to try one of these dishes this weekend, and make sure to let me know how it turns out in the comments!

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