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This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
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Archive for July 4th – Independence Day

FOOD FUN: Pool Party Punch

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Match your cocktail to the pool (the miniature
beach balls
are plastic, made for doll houses).
Photo courtesy Pinnacle Vodka.


For your next pool party, make this Pool Party Punch, an tasty and fun idea from Pinnacle Vodka.

Pinnacle made it with their Original Vodka; you can make it your own with a flavored vodka. If you prefer, you can substitute gin or tequila.

Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 part vodka
  • 2 parts lemonade
  • Splash of Blue Curaçao (we used DeKuyper)
  • Garnish: fruit of choice (we used blueberries on cocktail picks)

    1. MIX ingredients and serve over ice. It’s that simple! Here’s a video with the full punch bowl recipe.


    Make a mocktail by exchanging the vodka for 7 UP, Sprite or white cranberry juice. Use blue food coloring instead of Blue Curaçao.

    And for garnish, perhaps a red Swedish Fish?

    Here’s the mocktail recipe.



    Curaçao is an orange liqueur made from the dried peels of the laraha (LA-ra-ha) citrus fruit, grown on the island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles (southeast of the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean).

    The laraha is a de-evolved descendant of the Valencia orange, which was brought over from Spain in 1527. It did not thrive in the Southern Caribbean climate. The oranges that the trees produced were small, fibrous, bitter and inedible. The trees were abandoned, and the citrus fruit they produced evolved from a bright orange color into the green laraha.

    When life gives you bitter fruit, distill it! It turned out that while the flesh of the laraha was inedible, the dried peel remained as aromatic and pleasing as its cultivated forebear. Experimentation led to the distillation of Curaçao liqueur from the peel.

    The distilled liqueur is clear. Some brands are colored blue or bright orange to create color in cocktails. The color adds no flavor.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/blue curacao dekuyper 230

    Blue Curaçao. The clear orange liqueur is colored blue. It is also made in an orange-colored version.


    Here’s how the different types of orange liqueur differ, including Curaçao and triple sec, which are generic terms, plus brands like Cointreau, Grand Marnier and Gran Gala.



    PRODUCT: Watermelon “Keg” Tap With Watermelon Agua Fresca

    A melon tap turns any large, seedless watermelon into an punch bowl, ideal for filling with watermelon-based beverages. Simply hollow out the melon, insert the tap and fill it with your beverage of choice. In addition to a refreshing drink, you give guests the fun of dispensing their drinks from a watermelon. (In the fall, you can do the same with a pumpkin.)

    For starters, fill your watermelon “punch bowl” with watermelon agua fresca. It’s a memorable finale to the summer.

    Agua fresca is Spanish for “fresh water.” In culinary terms, it refers to sweetened, fruit-flavored water. Like lemonade, it is noncarbonated and nonalcoholic.

    But you can keep a bottle of spirits next to the melon dispenser for guests who’d like a shot or two. May we suggest watermelon vodka? You can find watermelon-flavored vodka from Smirnoff, Three Olives, Pinnacle (Cucumber Watermelon), UV (Salty Watermelon) and others.

    The tap in the photo is the PROfreshionals Melon Tap, $9.99. It includes “feet” that insert into the bottom of the melon to keep it stable. Another variation, from Final Touch, is designed to look like a beer tap handle. It’s $19.99.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/watermelon kegger goodcook bradshawintl 230

    Turn a watermelon into a punch bowl. Photo of PROfessionals Melon Tap courtesy

    This agua fresca recipe was created by Cheeky Kitchen for Good Cook. Of course, you can also serve the drink from a standard pitcher.


    Ingredients For 8-12 Drinks

  • 6 pounds seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons agave or honey
  • Fresh mint for garnish
  • Optional: gin, tequila, vodka
  • Ice

    1. SLICE and discard a 2” piece from the top of a large, seedless watermelon. Carve out the red melon flesh from the inside of the watermelon and cut into large cubes (they can be as free-form as you like, as they’ll soon be puréed). Place in a large bowl and set aside.

    2. PREPARE the melon for serving by ensuring it can stand upright. Slice a small portion from the bottom of the melon to make it more stable. Place the tap about 3 inches from the bottom of the melon and push it through the rind to the inside. Set aside.

    3. PURÉE the watermelon flesh and all other ingredients in a blender in small batches, as needed. Pour the beverage into the prepared watermelon. Press the melon tap to dispense the drink into large glasses filled with ice.

  • Agua Fresca recipes: horchata (creamy almond), lychee, mango and pineapple
  • Apple-Cucumber-Lime Agua Fresca Recipe


    TIP OF THE DAY: The History Of Independence Day (& What They Ate)


    A federal holiday, Independence Day—also known as July 4th or the Fourth of July—commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, which met in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia.

    The legal separation of the Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, the day that the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution declaring the United States independent from Great Britain’s rule.

    Congress declared that the 13 American colonies were now a new sovereign nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.

    The Declaration of Independence, a statement comprising 1137 words, authored largely by Thomas Jefferson, was officially adopted by Congress on July 4th after two days of debate and revision.



    Happy Independence Day. God Bless America! Photo courtesy ESquared Hospitality.

    Nearly a month would go by, however, before the signing of the document took place.

  • On July 4th, only 12 of the 13 colonies voted to approve the Declaration. New York’s delegates didn’t officially give their support until July 9th, because their state assembly hadn’t yet authorized them to vote in favor of independence.
  • It took two weeks for the Declaration to be engrossed on parchment. Engrossing is the process of preparing an official document in a large, clear hand. Timothy Matlack, a Pennsylvanian who had assisted the Secretary of the Congress, Charles Thomson, was probably the engrosser.
  • Most of the delegates signed on August 2nd, but several signed on a later date. Two others never signed at all! (Source)
  • Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed on July 4th!
  • If you were a member of the Second Continental Congress in 1776, you were a rebel and considered a traitor by the King of England. You knew that a reward had been posted for the capture of certain prominent rebel leaders, and that signing your name to the Declaration meant that you pledged your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor to the cause of freedom.
    The Revolutionary War was a long, hard, and difficult struggle that began on April 19, 1775 with the battles of Lexington and Concord. It ended officially on September 3, 1783, when a peace treaty with Great Britain was signed. If you’ve forgotten your high school history, here’s a recap.

    From the outset, Americans celebrated their independence on July 4th, preferring to honor the approval of the Declaration of Independence over the July 2nd vote for independence.



    Baked ham was a colonial mainstay. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.



    Since THE NIBBLE focuses on food, we investigated what the delegates might have eaten.

    Working long hours, the delegates would have stepped out for nourishment at coffee houses, taverns and publick houses. These destinations were not known for their cuisine, but were venues for exchanging ideas, sharing news and conducting business (the restaurant business as we now know it developed later).

    People who could afford to eat meals in these establishments were generally of the wealthier classes. The food was often served buffet-style, on a sideboard. As was common into the 20th century, the food came free with the drinks. (Source)

    At the time, colonial Philadephia was a melting pot of English, French and West Indian cuisine influences.

  • Meals often featured baked ham with warm potato salad, meat pies (chicken or pork), oysters, stew and soup, including the traditional Philadelphia PepperPot Soup.
  • Also popular: terrapin (turtle) and tripe (animal stomach, typically from cows or pigs).
  • The bread included corn muffins, white and whole wheat rolls—buttered, of course.
  • Dessert could be fruit pies, sugar cookies, gingerbread, Sally Lunn (a pound cake) or ice cream. The confectionery in Philadelphia, including ice cream, was considered the best in America.
  • Beverages included beer, hard cider, rum, and other alcoholic beverages; alcohol was considered healthful. City water supplies were dangerously polluted; only rural folk drank water from clean sources, and bottled it to sell in the city. In 1790, government figures showed that annual per-capita alcohol consumption for Americans over age 15 included 34 gallons of beer and cider, five gallons of distilled spirits and one gallon of wine. (Source)
    Would you give up the modern July 4th standards for a colonial-era meal? If yes, start planning for next year!



    JULY 4th: Red, White & Blue Ice Pops

    Popsicle and other brands make red, white and blue ice pops. But we’re not in grade school, and we want something more flavorful (and natural!) on a hot summer day.

    So we trotted out our ice pop molds to make our own red, white and blue “firecracker” pops. The recipe is courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker, who adapted it from Everyday Food.

    The layers are made from strawberries (red), sweetened plain yogurt (white) and blueberries (blue). Very little sugar is added. Instead, a bit of lime juice heightens the flavors.

    Prep time is 2 hours. You can make them up to a week in advance.


    Ingredients For 6 Three-Ounce Pops
    For The Red Layer

  • 2 cups halved, hulled strawberries (or whole raspberries)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
    For The White Layer

  • ¾ cup full-fat plain yogurt
  • 4½ tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    For The Blue Layer
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons freah lime juice


    Delicious homemade red, white and blue ice pops. Photo courtesy



    Fresh fruit purée makes the best ice pops. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.



    1. MAKE the red layer: In a blender, combine the strawberries, sugar and lime juice. Purée, scraping down the sides as needed. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing the juice from the solids; then discard the solids. Fill the ice-pop molds 1/3 of the way. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. You may have some purée leftover—use it as a topping the next time you have a container of yogurt.

    2. MAKE the white layer: Whisk together the yogurt, cream, sugar and lime juice in a small bowl. Remove the molds from the freezer and top with the yogurt mixture, filling each another 1/3 of the way. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

    3. MAKE the blue layer: In a clean blender, purée the blueberries, sugar and lime juice, scraping down sides as needed. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing the juice from the solids; then discard the solids.

    4. REMOVE the molds from the freezer and insert the ice pop sticks through the white layer. Top with the blueberry purée (again, you may have some leftover), leaving ¼-inch of free space at the top of the molds. Freeze until solid, 3 hours or more. Just before serving, briefly run the molds under hot water to release the pops.



    JULY 4th: The Easiest Dessert Recipe

    Here’s the easiest July 4th dessert recipe: vanilla ice cream with blueberries and raspberries.

    Sure, you can find vanilla ice cream with blueberry and raspberry swirls and just scoop them into dishes. But with a recipe, the cook combines ingredients.

    To make the easiest red, white and blue dessert, you need:

  • Vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Optional: whipped cream
    You can substitute blackberries or strawberries, but blueberries and raspberries are a better size. If your market is sold out of fresh berries, head to the frozen foods case.



    The easiest red, white and blue dessert recipe. Photo courtesy Talenti Gelato.


    If you don’t want to scoop and serve individual dishes, place the ice cream in a serving bowl.

  • Scooping takes time, so just peel away the carton and plop the entire square or round contents into the bowl.
  • You can slice the bulk ice cream into halves or thirds to better fill out the bowl, and use whipped cream to fill empty spaces if you don’t like them.
  • Top with the berries and whipped cream, and let guests help themselves.
    That’s it!



    Another easy red, white & blue dessert. Photo courtesy Amanda Rettke.



    When you want to impress friends and family with a dessert that takes just minutes of prep, this is the one to prepare.

    Fresh berries are layered with mounds of whipped cream and angel food cake for a dessert that is be prepared ahead of time. It was created by Amanda Rettke from for McCormick, who used McCormick extracts in the recipe.

    The whipped cream—a special concoction of heavy cream, sour cream and orange extract—is a star. Once you taste it, you’ll want to use it on everything!

    Prep time is 25 minutes.

    Ingredients For 12 servings

  • 2 cups halved or sliced strawberries
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, divided
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure orange extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 cups angel food cake cubes
  • Preparation

    1. TOSS the berries, 1/4 cup of the sugar and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla in large bowl. Set aside.

    2. BEAT the cream, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and orange extract in large bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently stir in the sour cream.

    3. LAYER 2 cups angel food cake cubes, and 1/2 each of the berry mixture and whipped cream mixture in 2-quart glass serving bowl. Repeat the layers.

    4. COVER and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Garnish with additional berries, if desired.



    JULY 4th FOOD: Red, White & Blue Berry Trifle

    If you’re asked to bring something to a July 4th shindig, here’s a recipe that couldn’t be easier, no cooking required!

    In fact, the recipe is so easy that a tween or teen (or adult who “doesn’t cook”) can make it. It’s built in a springform pan instead of a traditional glass bowl.

    The recipe is courtesy Taste Of Home and Kaia McShane of Munster, Indiana, who advises, “This luscious trifle tastes best if made the day before serving. Keep additional blueberries and raspberries on hand for decoration.”

    If you’re going to make and serve it immediately, we prefer homemade whipped cream to the frozen topping.

    Total prep time is 20 minutes plus chilling.



    So easy to make! Photo courtesy



    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant lemon pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen pound cake, thawed and cubed
  • 1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed—or preferable—homemade whipped cream
  • Additional blueberries and raspberries, optional


    Homemade whipped cream is so superior to aerosols and frozen toppings. Photo courtesy Kuhn Rikon.



    1. WHISK together in a large bowl the condensed milk, 2% milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Fold in the sour cream.

    2. TOSS the blueberries and raspberries with lemon juice in another bowl.

    3. LAYER half of the cake cubes, half of the berry mixture and half of the pudding mixture in a greased 9-in. springform pan. Repeat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours before serving.

    4. SERVE: Remove rim from the springform pan. Serve with whipped topping and, if desired, additional berries.

    Find many more recipes at




    FOOD FUN: Patriotic Cookie Pizza For July 4th

    Show your colors this 4th of July with this or snack fun and festive dessert from Pillsbury. Raspberries, blueberries and creamy filling top an easy cookie crust.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, total time is 1 hour 35 minutes.


    Ingredients For 24 Servings

  • 1 roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup apple jelly, melted


    A cookie pizza for July 4th. Photo courtesy Pillsbury.


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Spray a 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray.

    2. CUT the cookie dough into 1/4-inch slices; place in the pan. With floured fingers, press evenly over the bottom to form the crust. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown. Cool completely, about 25 minutes.

    3. BEAT the cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon peel in medium bowl until fluffy. Spread over the baked crust. Arrange the raspberries in large star shape in the center. Arrange the blueberries around raspberries.

    4. DRIZZLE or brush with the melted jelly. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.



    JULY 4TH: Red, White & Blue Angel Food Cupcakes


    These angel food cupcakes are red, white and blue (with an optional touch of green). Photo courtesy Completely Delicious.


    Here’s a July 4th recipe based on that summer favorite, angel food cake: light and airy and just waiting to be topped with whipped cream and fresh berries.

    This recipe, from Annalise of via the folks at, spins angel food cake into cupcakes, with a lightened whipped buttercream topping instead of whipped cream.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 45 minutes.


    Ingredients For 12-18 Cupcakes
    For The Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup egg whites (from about 8 large eggs)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    For The Whipped Buttercream

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Fresh berries: blueberries and raspberries
  • Optional: candied mint leaves (recipe)


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

    2. SIFT together the powdered sugar and cake flour, three times. Set aside.

    3. BEAT the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on medium high speed until foamy, in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or with a hand-held mixer. Increase the speed to high and slowly add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, with the mixer running. Beat until glossy and soft peaks form. Then stir in the vanilla.

    4. SIFT the dry ingredients over the meringue in 3 additions and gently fold in after each addition. Do not over-mix or the meringue will deflate.

    5. SPOON the mixture into the prepared muffin pan, filling the cups all the way to the top. Bake until golden about 18 minutes, until the cupcake tops spring back when touched. Let the cupcakes cool completely.



    Angel food cake is always baked in a tube pan, which creates the environment best for a light-rising cake. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

    6. MAKE the frosting in the stand mixer or with the hand-held mixer. Beat the powdered sugar and butter together until smooth. Add the wcream, salt and vanilla and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Frost the cupcakes and top with the berries.

    Angel food cake is a light, flourless cake made with sugar, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla or almond extract, and a dozen or so egg whites, depending on the recipe. There is no leavening. It is typically baked in a tube pan, and popularly served with berries and whipped cream—although it is just fine plain or with a dessert sauce (caramel, chocolate, custard, fruit, etc.).

    Some historians think that the first angel food cakes were baked in the South by African-American slaves, due to the strength required to whip the air into the whites. Others theorize that the cake originated in Pennsylvania Dutch country in the early 1800s.

    October 10th is National Angel Food Cake Day. Here are recipes for a from-scratch angel food cake, and for a strawberry glaze. If you don’t want to bake from scratch, try a store-bought or cake mix.



    JULY 4th: Ice Cream Cones


    Impress your friends and family with these Independence Day ice cream cones. Photo courtesy Amy Miller Designs.


    Who wouldn’t want to be Amy Miller’s friend?

    The designer, crafter and baker created the best-looking July 4th ice cream cones.

    Head to for the step-by-step showing how she did it.

    In brief, you need ice cream cones, vanilla candy melts in red, white and blue, and sprinkles. You can use either cake cones (shown in photo), sugar cones or their big brother, waffle cones.

    The toughest part is deciding what flavor of ice cream to scoop into your cones. Vanilla works best, but keep an eye out for cherry vanilla, strawberry or blueberry swirl.

    How much do you know about the different types of ice cream and frozen desserts?

    Check ‘em out in our Ice Cream Glossary.




    JULY 4th: Patriotic Milkshake Recipe

    For a dessert or snack over July 4th weekend, serve these patriotic shakes. They were designed by QVC’s chef David Venable.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/4 cup + 4 teaspoons strawberry syrup, divided (recipe below)
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2-1/4 cups strawberries and cream ice cream
  • 1-1/4 cups quartered fresh strawberries
  • 1-1/3 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces whipped cream (you can substitute frozen whipped topping)
    *You can use leftover strawberry syrup in club soda, cocktails, iced tea, lemonade, on angel food cake and pound cake, ice cream, pudding, sorbet etc.

    1. PLACE the blueberries and 1/4 cup of strawberry syrup into a medium-size bowl. Mix until the blueberries are fully coated. Refrigerate until needed.



    Drink the patriotic colors. Photo courtesy QVC.


    2. DRIZZLE 1 teaspoon of strawberry syrup in a spiral design on the inside of four tall glasses (we used a squeeze bottle). Freeze until needed.

    3. PLACE the ice cream, strawberries and milk in a blender with a large pitcher. Mix until smooth, 40–60 seconds. Pour into the prepared milk shake glasses.

    4. TOP each glass with 1 ounce whipped cream and the blueberry mixture, dividing evenly among the 4 glasses. Serve immediately.



    Buy strawberry syrup or make your own. Photo courtesy Tide and Thyme; here’s their recipe.



    Cook time is 25 minutes, total time is 40 minutes. The syrup should last, refrigerated, for 4-6 weeks. You can substitute any berries in this recipe,

    Ingredients For 3-1/2 Cups

  • 2 pounds strawberries
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar

    1. RINSE, hull and pat dry the strawberries. Cut into small pieces and place in a medium sauce pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil.

    2. REDUCE to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, skimming any foam. After 20 minutes, the strawberries should be pale and the liquid should be a deep pink color. Remove the pan from the heat.

    3. STRAIN the strawberry liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot. DO NOT press down on the berries to extract more juice; it will make the syrup cloudy. Discard the berries.


    4. ADD 2 cups of sugar to the liquid and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes till the sugar is completely dissolved, skimming any foam.

    5. REMOVE from the heat and cool completely. Pour into a glass container, tightly cap and refrigerate.



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