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Archive for June, 2010

JULY 4th: Red, White & Blue Cupcakes

Make red velvet cupcakes like these from
Magnolia Bakery. Photo courtesy
MagnoliaBakery.com.

 

One special dessert for July 4th is red, white and blue cupcakes.

These cupcakes from New York City’s Magnolia Bakery combine red velvet cake, white frosting and a blueberry garnish.

  • You can also create a tray of cupcakes, lined up in red, white and blue “stripes,” by tinting 1/3 of the frosting red, 1/3 blue, and leaving 1/3 of the tops white.
  • More options: Use blue decorating sugar (sanding sugar) to sprinkle the tops; cut out blue stars from fondant; or use stripes of red and white fondant over a thin layer of icing, topped with a blueberry.
  • If you prefer something other than red velvet cake, look for red cupcake liners.
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    TIP: Make mini cupcakes instead of full-size ones. With all the food that revelers will have consumed before dessert, smaller is better.
     
    Take a look at our easy cupcake decorating ideas, good for 365 days a year.

    See our Gourmet Cakes Section for more cupcake ideas and recipes.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Slowly Defrost The Meat & Seafood

    Cool before refrigerating. Photo by Edward
    O’Neil | IST.

    Why does cooked meat have to cool down before it is refrigerated? Why should meat be defrosted in the fridge instead of on the countertop? For the same reason: to avoid bacterial growth. Extreme temperature changes abet bacterial growth in meat, poultry and seafood.

    That’s also why thawing and refreezing of uncooked or cooked meat and seafood is not recommended. You increase your risk of bacterial contamination when the item goes through several temperature changes.

    • Defrost frozen meat/seafood overnight on the lowest shelf or in the meat drawer—you don’t want raw drippings contaminating other foods.
    • Let cooked meat sit in a room-temperature container for half an hour; then cover and immediately refrigerate it. Meat that is already at room temperature or just slightly warm can be refrigerated as is.
    Find our favorite meat products, glossaries, tips and recipes in our Gourmet Meats Section.

     

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    PRODUCT: LunchSkins Reusable For Kids’ Lunch Bags

    Disposable plastic food bags were introduced in 1964. Overnight they changed the way people carried their sandwiches and carrot sticks to lunch. (The prior options were aluminum foil, paper bags and wax paper.)

    Baggies and the variations that followed made it easy to transport food and keep it moist. But flash forward to the present: Every day, more than 20 million sandwich bags from school lunches alone end up in landfills.

    Three green moms with a mission designed an alternative kids’ lunch bags. Their solution, LunchSkins, are a fine work of engineering: The plastic-lined bags are made from pastry bag material and go straight into the dishwasher for cleaning. The colorful designs have a velcro closure. There’s even a place to write the owner’s name with a permanent marker.

    Reduce landfill waste: Pack sandwiches
    and snacks in LunchSkins.

    Reduce landfill waste, save money, eat healthy and look stylish while you’re doing it: LunchSkins kids’ lunch bags are the answer to plastic baggie pollution. Buy them at LunchSkins.com.

    Find more of our favorite kids’ products.

     

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    TIP OF THE DAY: July 4th Ice Cubes

    Make star-shaped ice with an inexpensive
    star-shaped ice cube tray.

     

    Make your ice cubes special for July 4th. It’s easy!

    Just freeze 2 blueberries and a raspberry in each compartment of your ice cube tray.

    For an extra-special presentation, make “star” ice cubes.

    You can order a star-shaped ice cube tray from Amazon.com.

     

      

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    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: MaryAnna’s Sweet Tea

    Cool off this summer with a refreshing beverage, like the bottled tea made from this week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize-sponsor: MaryAnna’s Sweet Tea.

    As we noted last week, MaryAnna’s all-natural bottled sweet tea tastes like fresh-brewed. The teas are made with filtered water, premium tea and cane sugar.

    The Summer Sweet Tea has just the right amount of lemon juice to brighten the flavor without making it “lemony.” The Berry Sweet Tea is flavored with raspberry; the effect is one of fresh, infused berries.

    Both flavors will be hits with your family and guests. Grown-ups can also enjoy MaryAnna’s Sweet Tea as a mixer, with gin, tequila or vodka.

    Cool off this summer with MaryAnna’s sweet
    tea. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

    • THE PRIZE: One winner will receive a mixed case of MaryAnna’s Sweet Tea, which includes six bottles of each of the two flavors. Approximate retail value: $24.95.
    • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Gourmet Tea Section and enter your email address for the prize drawing.
    • To learn more about MaryAnna’s Teas, visit MaryAnnasTea.com.
    • Here’s a review of five more of our favorite bottled teas.

     

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