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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for July 4th

JULY 4TH FOOD: Star Crackers

Canapés with star quality. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

 

For July 4th celebrations, these star crackers add surprise and delight.

Turn them into red, white and blue canapés with raspberry jam, brie and a blueberry garnish anchored with a dab of blueberry jam.

Or, present the crackers in a basket with different spreads and dips, and let guests create their own snacks.

For a sweet treat, mix 3 tablespoons black raspberry liqueur into 8 ounces mascarpone cheese (don’t over-mix—the mascarpone becomes too soft). Spread or pipe the mascarpone onto the star crackers; top with two raspberries, a blueberry and a small mint leaf.

The crackers are made by one of our favorite companies, Valley Lahvosh Baking Co.

 

Lahvosh, also spelled lavash and lahvash, is an Armenian flatbread made with wheat flour, water and salt. When fresh, lahvosh is soft and thin like a tortilla, and is used as a sandwich wrap for kebabs and other foods.

The fresh lahvosh hardens into a crunchy cracker consistency, which is how it is most often found in the U.S.—typically sold in boxes of long strips topped with toasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic or other seasonings. It’s a very popular part of the bread basket in some restaurants.

Among other favorites in the Valley Lahvosh line are heart-shaped crackers (for engagement parties, Valentine’s Day, etc.) and Lucky Lahvosh, an assortment of crackers shaped like clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades.

  • Get the Star Crackers on Amazon.com
  • See the rest of the product line at ValleyLahvosh.com.
  •   

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    JULY 4TH FOOD: Goat Cheese Stuffed Celery

    Updated retro: goat cheese-stuffed celery
    with pomegranate arils. Blueberries not
    shown. Photo and recipe courtesy Pom
    Wonderful.

     

    An update of the 1950s classic, this stuffed celery recipe replaces the old school cream cheese and pimento-stuffed olives with goat cheese and capers.

    For July 4th, the white goat cheese is accented with red pomegranate arils and blueberries.

    For Christmas, switch out the blueberries and put extra green capers on top of the goat cheese.

    Stuffed Celery Ingredients

  • 6 large celery stalks, cleaned and trimmed of strings
  • 4 ounces mild goat cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons chopped green onion (shoots only, not tops)
  • 4 teaspoons chopped capers (optional)
  • 1/2 cup arils (the pomegranate seed sacs—from 1 fresh pomegranate, or a bag of arils)
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, washed and dried
  •  

    Stuffed Celery Preparation

    1. If using a whole fresh pomegranate, score and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate underwater to free the arils. The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top.

    2. Sieve the arils and place in a separate bowl. You only need half the arils (1/2 cup); refrigerate or freeze the rest. Or put them to work on the holiday menu: in a salad or cocktails, or as a tray garnish.

    2. Clean six stalks of celery; cut into four pieces each and set aside.

    3. Mix together goat cheese, green onion and optional capers, if desired.

    4. Using a knife, fill each piece of celery with cheese mixture.

    5. Divide the arils and blueberries evenly and press onto the cheese. Lightly press down the blueberries.

    6. Serve chilled.

      

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    JULY 4th FOOD: Red, White & Blue Angel Food Cake Recipe

    You can grill more than fruit for dessert. Have you ever grilled cake?

    While the grill is hot, toss on slices of pound cake or angel food cake. Serve them with grilled fruit and whipped cream or ice cream.

    Here’s an easy red, white & blue dessert for July 4th, courtesy of McCormick.com: Grilled Angel Food Cake with Peppered Berries & Vanilla Cream. With a luscious mascarpone topping instead of whipped cream and a touch of heat from black pepper, it’s memorable, festive and just right to celebrate the 235th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

    GRILLED ANGEL FOOD CAKE RECIPE
    Makes 6 servings. Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 5 minutes.

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • 6 slices angel food cake (1-1/2-inches thick)
  •  

    Red, white, blue & delicious. Photo courtesy
    McCormick.com.

     

    Preparation
    1. Beat cream, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gently stir in mascarpone cheese. Cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    2. Mix remaining 1/3 cup sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Stir in water and vinegar until well blended. Stir in blueberries. Stirring constantly, bring to boil on medium heat and boil 1 minute. Pour into medium bowl to cool slightly. Add raspberries and pepper; toss gently to coat.

    3. Grill angel food cake slices over medium heat 45 to 60 seconds per side or until golden brown grill marks appear. To serve, spoon berry mixture over each slice of cake. Top with a dollop of whipped cream mixture.

    Grill on!

      

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    JULY 4TH FOOD: Red, White & Blue Sorbet Float

    What happens the day after Father’s Day?

    We start planning our Independence Day menu.

    Tee up this Red, White & Blue Sorbet Float for July 4th or any hot summer day. The recipe is courtesy Van Gogh Vodka and uses Van Gogh Açai-Blueberry Vodka. But if you have another blueberry-flavored vodka at home (or a raspberry-flavored vodka), you can use it before buying more.

    RED, WHITE & BLUE SORBET FLOAT

    Ingredients

  • 2 ounces blueberry vodka
  • 1 scoop raspberry sorbet
  • 1 teaspoon coconut cream
  • 3 ounces milk (whole, lowfat or soy milk)
  • Fresh blueberries for garnish
  • Flaked coconut for garnish
  •  
    Preparation
    1. Add ingredients to blender and blend.
    2. Pour into a hurricane glass or other tall glass.
    3. Garnish with coconut flakes and fresh blueberries or other seasonal berries.

    More July 4th recipes are on their way!

  • Find more of our favorite sorbets and sorbet recipes in our Gourmet Ice Cream Section.
  •  

    Add a blueberry garnish to make a red, white
    and blue July 4th treat. Photo courtesy
    Van Gogh Vodka.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: American Flag Cocktail

    Serve a trio of red, white and blue drinks to celebrate Independence Day.

    Have a sip of blanco (white) Tequila, followed by a red sangrita, followed by a blue Margarita.

    Get the recipe and have fun!

     

    Drink the American flag! Photo courtesy
    Riazul Premium Tequila.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Patriotic Cheeseburger Recipe

    Millions of burgers will be grilled July 4th. But we eat burgers every day. How can you make them special for your July 4th celebration?

    Use a large star cookie cutter to create an Independence Day cheeseburger.

  • Using white Cheddar or other white cheese, cut out the stars. Place them on waxed paper for easier removal.
  • When assembling the cooked burger, place the red tomato slice immediately underneath the white cheese.
  •  
    Now we’ve got red and white, but where does the blue come from?
     
    Tint pickle slices with blue food color! Add one drop of color at a time until you get the desired result. Place a pickle slice on the center of the cheese star or put a few slices between the tomato and the cheese.

     

    Photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission.

     

    Everyone will be tickled red, white and blue with your presentation.

  • Need more inspiration? Here are more than 40 hamburger recipe ideas.
  • Take a look at these gorgeous gourmet cheeseburgers.
  •  
    Now for the potato salad:

    As fond as people may be of potato salad with mayonnaise, there are many great potato salad recipes waiting to be made. One we like from the Idaho Potato Commission—people who know how to cook with potatoes—includes a red wine Dijon vinaigrette that means no cholesterol, a heart-healthy fat and a potato salad that stands up better in the heat.

    The recipe is enlivened with green beans, cherry tomatoes, corn kernels, black olives, celery and parsley. You can add optional chopped red onion. Get the recipe.

      

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    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.
  •  

    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.

      

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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.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Red, White & Blue Recipes

    How many red, white & blue recipes can
    you devise? Share them here!

     

    Plan ahead for at least one red, white and blue recipe for July 4th.

  • You can start the day with plain or vanilla yogurt, topped with raspberries and blueberries.
  • For lunch, make red, white and blue potato salad (keep skins on red-jacket potatoes with your favorite recipe, sprinkle top with crumbled blue cheese) and decorate the bowl with a perimeter of blueberries.
  • Use blue and red tortilla chips with your regular nachos recipe, along with white Cheddar or other good white melting cheese. Sprinkle some blue cheese or goat cheese (it‘s very white) atop the red salsa.
  • For appetizers or snacks, make a white bean dip and garnish the perimeter of the bowl with a few raspberries and blueberries.
  • For dessert at dinner, top ice cream with strawberry or raspberry purée and whipped cream, sprinkled with blueberries. You can make a parfait by layering the ingredients in a sundae glass or wine goblet. (See our Ice Cream Glossary for ice cream terms.)
  •  

  • Or, add any red and blue berry combination to cake, cupcakes, sorbet and any white cheese. Use toothpicks to anchor berries for a red, white and blue “centerpiece cheese” on a cheese tray.
  • Instead of macaroni salad, make a pasta salad with white pasta, halved red cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes) and garnish with blue cheese and/or blueberries.
  • You can also find red and white-striped ravioli to serve with red sauce or white Alfredo sauce and blue cheese.
  • Serve pink lemonade with blueberries and raspberries. You can freeze blueberries and raspberries in the ice cubes, and sprinkle a few of each in the drink for a dramatic effect.
  • For dessert, how about a watermelon “napoleon?” cut slices of watermelon into squares. Make a three-decker napoleon, filling the layers with whipped cream and berries.
  • For more Independence Day food and beverage ideas, select the July 4th category in the column at the right.

    And please share your own ideas!

      

    Comments

    JULY 4th: Gifts For Deserving Hosts, Friends & Family

    Red, White & Blue Fruit Medley from
    Harry & David.

     

    Need a special July 4th gift?

    Harry & David has a couple of real cuties.

  • We love this box of cherries and blueberries displayed in the shape of the American flag. If you’re handy, you can make this yourself: Configure a white gift box or find a white tray and add the fruit.
  • There’s also an Old Glory Gift Tower: five keepsake red, white and blue boxes filled with different goodies—Moose Munch, cookies, Gummi stars and “patriotic” taffies.
  • We’re ready to start celebrating: Please pass the Moose Munch!

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