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Archive for July 4th/Independence Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Starfruit For July 4th

Native to Southeast Asia and India, starfruit was brought back to Europe by sailors and traders in the late 1700s. Rare and costly, it became popular among wealthy Europeans.

Starfruit was brought to Hawaii by Chinese traders in the late 1800s. Yet, it was introduced to mainland America—Florida—only about 75 years ago. Today the state is the largest producer of American-consumed starfruit. Puerto Rico and Hawaii are the other major producers. These domestic fruits are sold in the U.S., because of import restrictions due to potential pests that often accompany the fruit.

The closer you are to the orchard, the better. Like most fruits, starfruit has much more flavor and sweetness when it is allowed to ripen on the tree or vine.
 
WHAT ARE STARFRUIT?

Starfruit or carambola (star fruit is an alternate spelling) is the fruit of a species of tree (Averrhoa carambola) that is native to Southeast Asia. The tree is now cultivated throughout the subtropical belt.

Named for the five-pointed star shaped slices it yields when cut horizontally, the pale yellow, juicy flesh with a distinctly tropical orange-pineapple flavor contains a few small, flat seeds. If the fruit is greenish, it isn’t fully ripe but will have white flesh and a tart apple flavor and texture.

  • The thin, edible skin is lime green on the tree and ripens to a bright yellow with a shiny/waxy sheen and a fragrant aroma.
  • You will often find the fruit in a greenish-yellow state. Although it will ripen further, it is fine to use.
  • Not only is starfruit attractive; it’s healthful, too: rich in vitamin C antioxidants and low in sugar and acidity.
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    HOW TO USE STARFRUIT

    For July 4th, Christmas or any other starry occasion, these “edible stars” can be used just about everywhere, with savory as well as sweet foods.

  • With any breakfast food.
  • A garnish on anything, from drinks to cupcakes and other desserts.
  • As a “star” ingredient in fruit salad, on fruit and cheese skewers, or served with a sweet yogurt dip.
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    BUYING TIPS

  • At the market, pick yellow or yellow-orange fruits that are firm, not soft to the touch.
  • Avoid buying fruit that is turning brown.
  • If you are ripening greenish fruit on the counter, be sure to turn it at least once a day.
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    NEED RECIPES FOR JULY 4TH?

    Here are “patriotic” recipes for everything from breakfast to after-dinner drinks.

     

    Ripe Carambola

    Sliced Carambola Starfruit

    Starfruit Cake

    July 4th Drinks

    [1] A ripe starfruit (photo S. Masters | Wikipedia). [2] Greenish, but still fine to eat (photo courtesy Melissas.com). [3] A starfruit upside-down cake (here’s the recipe from Noshon.it). [4] Starfruit drink garnish (photo courtesy HWTM.com).

     

      

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    JULY 4TH RECIPE: All-American Cheesecake In Red, White & Blue

    Slice of fruit pie

    Cream Cheese

    [1] Bake this patriotic cheesecake from scratch, or decorate a purchased cake with fruit (photo courtesy Melissas.com). [2] Good news for lactose intolerant cheesecake lovers: Green Valley Organics makes delicious lactose-free cream cheese, as well as lactose-free sour cream and yogurt (photo courtesy MyLilikoiKitchen.com.

     

    This All American Strawberry, Banana and Blueberry Cheesecake recipe was developed by Tom Fraker, Corporate Chef at Melissas.com.

    You can use the decorating theme on a custard pie, cream pie, or cake.

    Don’t want to turn on the oven? Purchase a plain cheesecake and add the fresh fruit.

    Before you start, check out the history of cheesecake.

     
    RECIPE: JULY 4TH CHEESECAKE IN RED, WHITE & BLUE

    This recipe makes a tart-size cheesecake, meaning that it’s not as tall as a conventional New York-style cheesecake. The benefit: fewer calories per slice!

    Ingredients For 12-14 Servings

  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) fresh blueberries
  • 9-10 strawberries, stems removed, halved
  • 1-½ ripe bananas (see note in Step 6)
  • 1 large orange
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    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325ºF.

    2. COMBINE the graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons of sugar and the melted butter in a bowl. Press the mixture into a tart pan or springform pan.

    3. ADD the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar and vanilla extract to the bowl of a standing mixer. Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape the pulp into the bowl. Whisk until well combined.

    4. ADD the eggs one at a time, allowing them to completely incorporate before adding the next egg. Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top. Bake in the oven for 60-75 minutes, or until completely set.

    5. REMOVE the cheesecake from the oven, let cool and then chill for at least 4 hours.

    6. DECORATE the top: Run a row of the blueberries around the outside edge and then fill the center with alternating rows of strawberries and bananas. Before you slice the bananas, keep them from turning brown by squeezing the juice of an orange or other citrus fruit into a bowl. Slice the bananas into the juice. Toss gently with your fingers to coat all sides, and drain away the juice before topping the cake.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Plan Some Red, White & Blue Food

    With July 4th Weekend starting in a week, plan to make something red, white and blue.

    Even if you’re spending a quiet weekend at home, you can celebrate our Independence Day with a patriotic bite or two. Here’s a group of recipes to bite into, and we’ll be showcasing more between now and the 4th.

    Some are so easy—no cooking—that all you have to do is put the pieces together.

    JULY 4TH BREAKFAST RECIPES

  • Red Velvet Pancakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blueberry Muffins (recipe)
  • Poached Eggs or Egg White Omelet With A Side Of Red & Blue Berries
  • Yogurt Parfait With Star-Shaped Toast (recipe)
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    JULY 4TH SIDE & MAIN DISH RECIPES

  • Apple Ginger Cole Slaw (recipe)
  • Blue Cheese & Red Vegetables (recipes)
  • Chilled Raspberry Soup With Blueberries(recipe)
  • Firecracker Macaroni & Cheese (recipe)
  • Patriotic Cheeseburger (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Potato Salad (recipe 1 and recipe 2)
  • Star-Shaped Sandwich Skewers (recipe)
  • Tomato & Mozzarella Skewers (recipe)
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    JULY 4TH SNACK RECIPES

  • American Flag Crudité Plate (recipe)
  • American Flag Fruit Skewers (photo)
  • Bacon Flag Pizza (recipe)
  • Cheese American Flag (recipe)
  • Marshmallow Pops (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Pops (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Popcorn (recipe)
  • Stuffed Celery (recipe)
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    Red, White & Blue Yogurt Parfait

    Red, White & Blue Fruit Skewers

    COULDN’T BE EASIER: [1] Yogurt plus berries. For fun, cut star-shaped toast with cookie cutters (photo courtesy Smuckers). [2] American Flag fruit skewers (photo courtesy Stix Mediterranean Grill | NYC).

     

    Red, White & Blue Lemonade

    Red, White & Blue Cupcakes

    COULDN’T BE EASIER: [1] Red, white & blue pink lemonade (photo courtesy Blueberry Council). [2] Red and blue berries on store-bought cupcakes (photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter)

     

    JULY 4TH BEVERAGE RECIPES & PRODUCTS

  • American Amber Ale
  • Chandon July 4th Limited Edition Sparkling Wine
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Cubes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layered Cocktail (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Sangria With Cocktail Option (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layered Shooter (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Lemonade & Hard Lemonade (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Sorbet Float (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tequila Shooters (recipe 1 and recipe 2)
  • Spicy Hot Lemonade (recipe)
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    JULY 4TH DESSERT RECIPES

  • American Flag Cookies (recipe)
  • American Flag Brownie Ice Cream Cake (recipe)
  • American Flag Pie (recipe)
  • Blueberry Cherry Pie With Stars & Stripes Top (recipe)
  • Oreo Cookie Balls (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cheesecake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Frosted Layer Cake (recipe 1, recipe 2,
    recipe 3)
  • Pavlova (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Grilled Angel Food Cake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Parfaits (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Shortcake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tartlets (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Whoopie Pies (recipe)
  • Starfruit
  • Triple Berry Biscuit Shortcake (recipe)
  • Stars & Stripes Toll House Cookies (recipe)
  • Strawberry & Blueberry Parfait (recipe)
  • Red Velvet, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
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    MORE JULY 4TH RECIPE IDEAS

  • More Recipes 1
  • More recipes 2
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    PRODUCT: Rogue Ale’s American Amber Ale For Independence Day

    Oregon craft brewer Rogue Ales toasts America with the annual release of its American Amber Ale.

    It’s the brew’s 28th year, and has been our beer of choice for July 4th celebrations since we first came across it.

  • Another Independence Day favorite is Liberty Ale (center photo), an IPA from San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company.
  • Hell Or High Watermelon, which we haven’t been able to get hold of, shows the Statue of Liberty dipping her toes in the Golden Gate Strait (bottom photo). The brewer: 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco. We can’t wait to drink a can of this wheat beer, brewed with fresh watermelon…with a slice of fresh watermelon!
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    AMERICAN AMBER ALES

    American Amber Ales are a beer category known for being balanced and refreshing, with toasted malt characteristics and a light fruitiness. (See the differences between beer and ale below.)

    Rogue’s American Amber Ale is tawny amber in color and medium- to full-bodied. It has a toffee/caramel aroma, a nice malt accent and a pleasantly bitter, smooth finish.

    Celebrating the “ideals of the Revolution,” Rogue brews the beer with “Rebel hops” (they’re actually Kent Golding and Cascade hops) and “Dare and Risk barley,” not to mention what the company calls “free range coastal water.” (Get it?)
     
    Rogue’s American Amber Ale is now available in 22-ounce serigraphed bottles (the image is screened onto the bottle, a nice gift for party hosts or for a party favor) and 12-ounce bottles with the same label design on paper, and can be found draft at establishments that feature Rogue Ale.

    Rogue makes world-class ale, kolsch, lager, mead, porter and stout, along with excellent spirits:

  • Gins: Spruce Gin and Pink Spruce Gin
  • Rums: Dark Rum, Hazelnut Spice Rum
  • Vodkas: Oregon Single Malt Vodka, Voodoo Bacon Maple Vodka
  • Whiskeys: Chipotle Whiskey, Dead Guy Whiskey, Oregon Single Malt Whiskey, Rogue Farms Oregon Rye Whiskey
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    We haven’t had them all, but what we’ve tried, we really liked.

    For more information about Rogue products, visit Rogue.com.
     
    FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEER, visit THE NIBBLE’s BEER GLOSSARY.
     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEER & ALE

     

    Rogue American Amber Ale

    Liberty Ale Anchor Brewing

    Hell Or High Water Watermelon Beer

    Top: Toast to the U.S.A. with American Amber Ale (photo courtesy Rogue). Center: Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company (photo courtesy HiConsumption.com). Bottom: The Statue Of Liberty graces the cans of Hell Or High Water (photo courtesy 21st Amendment Brewery).

     
    Although most of us use “beer” to refer to all suds, three parts of the brewing process actually define what is a beer—illustrated by the lager style of beer—and what is an ale.

    Ales tend to be fruity-estery in aroma and flavor, while lagers are clean-tasting and crisp. These differences are created by:

  • The Yeast. Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast strains, which means exactly that: The yeast ferments at the top of the fermentation tank (they typically rise to the top of the tank near the end of fermentation). Ale yeasts tend to produce esters, chemicals that can affect the flavor of the beer. Lagers use bottom-fermenting yeasts, strains which do not typically add much flavor (the flavor comes from the other ingredients, especially hops and malt).
  • The Temperature and Time. Ale yeasts ferment best at warmer temperatures—room temperature up to about 75°F. They ferment faster than lager yeasts. Lagers ferment at colder temperatures, 46°F to 59°F, and typically ferment over longer periods of time. The combination of colder temperatures and bottom-fermenting yeast is responsible for the mild and crisp taste delivered by most lagers.
  • The Ingredients. Ale recipes often contain a higher amount of hops, malt and roasted malts; hence they typically have a more prominent malty taste and bitterness. Styles like India Pale Ale (IPA) are very hoppy. Ales have more room for recipe experimentation than lagers; thus additional ingredients (called adjuncts) can be added during brewing. Examples: fruits (cherry, pumpkin, raspberry, etc.), sugars (honey, maple syrup, molasses) and spices (allspice, coriander, clove, etc.).
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Creative Toppings For Burgers, Brats & Franks

    Memphis Burger With BBQ & Coleslaw

    Burger With Avocado & Salsa

    Cheeseburger Surprise

    Top: The Memphis Burger, with cheddar, barbecued pork and cole slaw (photo courtesy Cheesecake Factory). Center: South Of The Border: avocado and salsa (photo courtesy Omaha Steaks). Bottom: Mac and Cheese Burger (photo courtesy Glory Days Grill.

     

    On Father’s Day, most people assume that dads wants to dine out. But a recent survey of 775 dads nationwide conducted by restaurant guide Zagat, says something different. While 80% of those surveyed say they love dining out in general, for Father’s Day more than half of them just want to stay home.

  • 52% of the dads claim they just want to stay home for a meal with their families.
  • 29% reveal that “having to go out at all” is their number one Father’s Day dining out complaint.
  • 14% “just want to be left alone.”
  • When asked about their ideal Father’s Day meal, only 14% prefer a high-end steakhouse.
  • 18% would enjoy going out to something easy and local.
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    Other complaints against include going out include dread of driving (traffic, parking), having to pay the bill at their own celebration, and having to dress up.

    The best path, of course, is to ask your dad what he wants. If that’s just burgers and franks in the backyard, you can still make it a special celebration with these ideas for creative toppings from ThePamperedChef.com, along with a few of our own.

    Pampered Chef is a great resource for high-quality kitchen wares and yummy recipes to make with them.
     
    SPECIAL TOPPINGS FOR BURGERS, BRATS, FRANKS & SAUSAGES

    It’s time to set aside the ketchup and mustard, says The Pampered Chef, and take burgers and hot dogs from meh to amazing.

    Whether dad prefers burgers made of beef, bison, chicken, pork, turkey or veggies—or prefers brats, classic hot dogs or sausages—plan a creative cookout.
     
    CREATIVE BURGER TOPPINGS

  • Bacon, Brie and grilled apples
  • Bacon, blue cheese and caramelized onions
  • Bacon and peach jam
  • Fried egg, pickled onions, baby arugula and barbecue sauce
  • Fried onion rings, queso (cheese sauce) and pickled jalapeños
  • Goat cheese, roasted red peppers and chutney
  • Grilled pineapple and teriyaki sauce
  • Guacamole, chunky salsa and tortilla chips
  • Hummus or spinach dip, crumbled feta cheese and Kalamata olives
  • Kimchi and wasabi mayonnaise
  • Mac and cheese with sliced tomato, onion and crumbled tortilla chips
  • Pimento cheese spread and grilled onions
  • Provolone cheese, marinara sauce and fresh basil
  • Potato chips and onion dip
  • Sautéed onions and mushrooms
  • Sautéed spinach and mushrooms
  • Snow crab, avocado and pickled ginger
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    CREATIVE TOPPINGS FOR BRATS, FRANKS & SAUSAGES

  • Apple-cabbage slaw
  • Baked beans, diced red onion, shredded cheese, cilantro, optional salsa
  • Baked potato “bun” (put the bun in a well-done, split baked potato), bacon, sour cream & chives (The “Boise Dog”)
  • Carrot, cucumber and radish salad with herb mayonnaise (The “San Francisco Dog”)
  • Carrot salad with raisins and optional walnuts
  • Dilled cucumber salad with fresh parsley garnish
  • Caramelized onions and bacon with melted Gruyère
  • Chili, diced onions and shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Green chiles, red onions, red jalapeños and sour cream (The “Denver Dog”)
  • Crumbled potato chips and onion dip
  • Guacamole, cilantro and diced red onions
  • Ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and spicy mustard
  • Muffuletta olive salad (The “New Orleans Dog”)
  • Mustard slaw (half sauerkraut, half mustard or blend to taste), sweet pickle chips
  • Pesto, fresh basil, diced tomatoes, and grated Parmesan (“The Italian”)
  • Sauerkraut, shredded corned beef, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing (“The Reuben”)
  • Queso (cheese sauce), pickled jalapeños, shredded lettuce, diced tomato and sour cream (“The Mexican”)
  • Pickled vegetables (giardiniera) and mustard slaw
  • Pineapple relish, lemon-garlic mayonnaise and starfruit (substitute diced mango) (The “Honolulu Dog”)
  • Pizza sauce, melted or shredded mozzarella and sliced pepperoni
  • Scrambled eggs and sautéed mushrooms (“The Brunch Dog”)
  • Sweet pickle relish and shredded pepperjack cheese
  • Vidalia onion and peach relish (The “Atlanta Dog”)
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    Mexican Hot Dog

    Fancy Hot Dogs

    Top: A Mexican Dog with shredded Cheddar, onions, tomatoes and jalapeños; chili optional (photo courtesy Body By Bison). Bottom: Brat with dill pickles, pepperoncini and cilantro (photo courtesy Kindred Restaurant).

    ANOTHER THOUGHT

    Ask guests to suggest creative toppings in advance of the event. Create them and let everyone vote for the winner.

      

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