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Archive for Memorial Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Holiday Ice Cream

Red White & Blue Ice Cream
[1] Mix in sprinkles for holiday-themed ice cream, like this patriotic flavor from OddFellows Ice Cream.

Red White & Blue Ice Cream Cones

[2] Make matching cones. Here’s the recipe from Sweet Estelle.

 

You can create special ice cream for any special occasion, using store-bought vanilla ice cream and mix-ins in holiday colors.

The easiest way is to buy sprinkles, confetti and confetti shapes (hearts, pumpkins, stars, etc.—photo #2).

For example:

  • July 4th, Labor Day & Memorial Day: red and blue sprinkles.
  • Halloween: orange and black sprinkles.
  • Thanksgiving: orange, red and yellow sprinkles.
  • Christmas: red and green sprinkles.
  • Valentine’s Day: red and pink sprinkles.
  • St. Patrick’s Day: dark and light green sprinkles.
  • Easter: pastel sprinkles.
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    Preparation

    1. SET the container on the counter until the ice cream is soft enough to mix in the decorations.

    2. RETURN to the freezer until ready to serve.

    TIPS: It’s easier to mix two separate pints than a quart or larger container. And it’s even easier than that to dip the edges of ice cream sandwiches into the sprinkles.
     
     
    JULY 4TH TRIVIA

  • The first independence Day. The Declaration of Independence was formalized on July 2, 1776, when Congress voted for independence from Great Britain. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, the final wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved, and the document was published. The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was on July 8, 1776. Delegates began to sign the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776. While John Adams wanted it to be July 2nd, Congress agreed on July 4th for the holiday.
  • The term “Independence Day” was not used until 1791.
  • The first description of how the holiday would be celebrated was in a letter from John Adams to his wife Abigail, on July 3, 1776. He described “pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations” throughout the United States.
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  • If July 4th falls on a weekend, the celebration is moved: to Friday, if the date falls on a Saturday; to Monday, if it falls on a Sunday. The date was maneuvered to provide federal employees (and subsequently, most of us) with a three-day weekend.
  • The Liberty Bell, housed in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, hasn’t rung in 171 years. Instead, it is tapped 13 times every July 4 by descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. It was ordered from England by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly (part of the state’s colonial government) to hang in its new State House (later known as Independence Hall). In arrived in 1751 and cracked at its first ringing—as had two prior bells tested in England. In 1846, when Philadelphia’s mayor requested that it be rung on George Washington’s birthday, attempts were made to repair an existing fracture and the bell reportedly tolled loud and clear at first, but then cracked beyond repair.
  • Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president, was born on July 4th, and three presidents died on it. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 50th anniversary of the holiday, in 1829; James Monroe died on July 4, 1831.
  • The annual July 4th hot dog eating contest, sponsored by Nathan’s Famous, began as a disagreement among four immigrants at Coney Island, Brooklyn, on July 4th, 1916. The fight was over who was more patriotic. They were overheard by Nathan Handwerker, an immigrant with a hot dog cart, who offered them a challenge: Whomever could devour the most hot dogs would win the argument. The winner was an Irish immigrant named Jim Mullen who consumed 13 hot dogs in 12 minutes (it is not noted whether Nathan donated the hot dog or if the challengers paid the going rate, five cents apiece). In 2016, Joey Chestnut devoured 70 hot dogs and rolls in 10 minutes—–watched by some 30,000 fans at Coney Island and millions around the world on ESPN.
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    JULY 4th: Red, White & Blue Greek Yogurt Pops & New Chobani Smooth Yogurt

    Why buy yogurt pops when it’s so easy to make these (photo #1), with a recipe from Chobani?

    You can use any berries you like, plus nonfat/0% fat Greek yogurt (photo #2). Blueberries and strawberries are brighter in color for red, white and blue pops.

    But vary the berries or use stone fruits (cherries, peaches, plums, etc.) and enjoy your favorite fruits, frozen on a stick, all summer long.

    RECIPE: BERRY-GREEK YOGURT POPS

  • 1-1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups plain 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt
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    Preparation

    1. PURÉE the blueberries and 1 tablespoon sugar in a food processor or blender. Transfer into a small bowl.

    2. RINSE the bowl of the food processor/blender and add the yogurt and the other tablespoon sugar. Blend and pour the yogurt mixture into the ice pop molds, filling them halfway. Add the strawberry slices and top off with the blueberry mixture. Repeat.

    3. Place the molds in freezer to harden; consume within 2 days. Running molds under warm water can help release the pops from the molds.
     
     
    NEW FROM CHOBANI: NON-GREEK CHOBANI SMOOTH

    Chobani, the nation’s top Greek yogurt maker, has just launched Chobani Smooth, a blended, 1% milkfat yogurt in five flavors:

  • Black Cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Peach
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
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    red-white-blue-yogurt-pops-chobani--230

    Chobani Plain 32 Ounce Container

    [1] and [2] Make red, white and blue yogurt pops with Chobani’s plain, 0% fat Greek yogurt (photos courtesy Chobani).

     

    Chobani Smooth Strawberry Cup

    Chobani Smooth Cartons

    [3] and [4] Meet Chobani Smooth, “American-style” yogurt in five flavors (photos courtesy Chobani).

     

    Each cup (photo #3) has about 11 grams of protein and 120 calories. A two-pack of 5.3-ounce cups (photo #4) retails for a SRP of $1.79.

    Chobani calls their new Smooth Yogurt line, “American-style,” but it’s actually European style. See our Yogurt Glossary for the different types of yogurt, including Australia-style, custard style (a.k.a. French style and Swiss style), Greek-style (a.k.a. strained yogurt) and sundae style.

    The majority of blended yogurts in the U.S. are made with artificial ingredients, says the company. Those that aren’t are the more expensive “premium” brands.

    The mission of Chobani Smooth is to offer the other segment of consumers—those who don’t like the tanginess of Greek yogurt—an option that has:

  • No artificial ingredients (plus no GMOs and no rBST).
  • Twice the protein of tradition yogurts and 25% less sugar.
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    CHOBANI GREEK VS. CHOBANI SMOOTH

    If Chobani became the #2 yogurt seller in the U.S. by selling Greek yogurt, why enter the European-style space?

    To attract the other half of the market!

    Greek yogurt is made like regular yogurt, but the liquid whey is strained out. The result is thicker and tangier, with more protein and fewer carbohydrates.

     
    Chobani Smooth is more fluid than Greek yogurt, and not tangy. It is a blended-style yogurt with the fruit blended into a smooth “custard.” Chobani further adds some small pieces of fruit for texture and eye appeal.

    Finally, Chobani Greek is available in 0%, 2% and 5% (whole milk) milkfat. The Chobani Smooth line is 1%.

    Greek yogurt accounts for about half of all cup and carton sales of yogurt. Given that Chobani is America’s largest Greek-style yogurt maker, will Chobani Smooth propel the company to become the largest yogurt maker, period?

    That’s the plan!

      

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    RECIPE: No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stars

    A patriotic dessert doesn’t have to be red, white and blue. And a cookie doesn’t have to be baked.

    This recipe from McCormick makes chocolate chip cookie dough stars.

    Since there’s no oven and no knives, you can delegate the task to a fledgling cook. Prep time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH STARS

    Ingredients For 24 Cookies

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup miniature chocolate chips
  • 4 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
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    Preparation

    1. PREPARE a 15 x 10 x 1-inch shallow baking pan by lining with foil. With an electric mixer…

    2. BEAT the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl at medium speed, until light and fluffy. Add the sugars, vanilla and salt; mix until blended and smooth. Stir in the vanilla wafer crumbs and chocolate chips.

    3. PRESS the cookie dough firmly into the pan, in an even layer. Freeze for 1 to 2 hours or until firm.

    4. FLIP the cookie dough onto a cutting board and remove the foil. Cut into star shapes with 2-inch star-shaped cookie cutter.

    5. PRESS the cookie dough scraps back into pan, refreezing it if too soft, to cut out more stars. (If you eat them, we won’t blame you: We’ll join you. You can eat them with impunity since there is no raw egg).
     
     
    IF YOU WANT SOMETHING SWEET IN RED, WHITE & BLUE…

    HERE ARE MORE DESSERT RECIPES

    Cakes & Cupcakes

  • Triple Berry Biscuit Shortcake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cheesecake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  • Red Velvet, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Frosted Layer Cake (recipe 1)
  • Red, White & Blue Grilled Angel Food Cake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layer Cake (recipe 2)
  • Red White & Blue Layer Cake (recipe 3_
  • Red, White & Blue Shortcake (recipe)
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    Cookies & Bars

  • American Flag Cookies (recipe)
  • Oreo Cookie Balls (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Whoopie Pies (recipe)
  • Stars & Stripes Toll House Cookies (recipe)
  •  
    Ice Cream

  • American Flag Brownie Ice Cream Cake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Parfaits (recipe)
  • Strawberry & Blueberry Parfait (recipe)
  •  
    Pies & Tarts

  • American Flag Pie (recipe)
  • Blueberry Cherry Pie With Stars & Stripes Top (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tartlets (recipe)
  •  
    More

  • Pavlova (recipe)
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    MORE PATRIOTIC FOOD

    For some red, white and blue recipes for other meals, head here.

     

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stars
    [1] No-bake cookie dough stars from McCormick.

    Red, White & Blue Pie Recipe
    [2] A frozen patriotic pie from QVC (recipe).

    July 4th Pie
    [3] Make a custard or cream pie with a berry top (photo courtesy American Pie Council).

    Flag Layer Naked Cake
    [4] A flag layer cake from Good Eggs, in the trendy naked cake style (no icing on the sides).

    July 4th Pound Cake

    [5] The easiest red, white and blue dessert: pound cake, whipped cream and berries (photo courtesy Knudsen Dairy).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Mashed Potato Bar

    Mashed Potato Bar

    Mashed Potato Bar

    Mashed Potato Martini

    Mashed Potato Bar

    [1] Who can resist a mashed potato bar (photo courtesy Betty Crocker)? [2] Use whatever dishes you have for the toppings. They don’t have to match (photo courtesy Hormel Foods).[3] If your guests can cope with glass, use your Margarita and Martini glasses (photo courtesy Hormel Foods). [4] Keep the potatoes warm in a slow cooker (photo courtesy Tip Hero).

     

    Whether you like to grill for Father’s Day or prepare everything in the kitchen, a fun, interactive addition to the festivities is a mashed potato bar.

    Our dad loved our cold green bean salad. With a bowl of that, and a cucumber salad or a special slaw, the only other side you need is the mashed potato bar.

    It’s a treat for guests to customize their toppings. For you, everything can be prepared ahead of time, including the potatoes, which are kept warm in a slow cooker or other device.

    Don’t want potatoes? Substitute mashed cauliflower.

    PREPPING THE MASHED POTATOES

    Make the mashed potatoes with or without skin, using your choice of red, white or golden potatoes.

  • Use a tried-and-true recipe.
  • If you like to load up the groaning board, offer mashed sweet potatoes as well.
  • If you don’t have a slow cooker to keep the potatoes warm, use aluminum foil pans with steam warmers underneath. For a fancier event, use chafing dishes. If you don’t have any of these, see what you can borrow.
     
    MASHED POTATO BAR TOPPINGS

    DAIRY

  • Butter
  • Cheeses: blue, cheddar goat, parmesan; crumbled, grated or shredded
  • Sour cream, plain Greek yogurt
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    PROTEINS*

  • Bacon
  • BBQ pulled pork
  • Chili
  • Sausage, sliced mini pepperoni or crumbled whole sausage
  • Anything else you like
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    SEASONINGS

  • Prepared seasonings
  • Salt and flavored salts
  • Heat: dried chipotle, hot sauce, red chili flakes, peppermill
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    VEGETABLES

  • Onions: caramelized, onion rings, sliced scallions
  • Mushrooms, sautéed
  • Steamed medley: broccoli, carrots, zucchini, etc.
  • Tomatoes: diced fresh tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped sundried tomatoes
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    TOPPINGS

  • Cheese sauce (if you can keep it warm)
  • Corn chips
  • Fresh herbs: chives, dill, shredded basil, parsley
  • Gravy
  • Olives
  • Sliced jalapeños
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    PARTY ON!
     
     
    MORE DIY FOOD BARS

  • DIY Bacon Bar
  • DIY Bloody Mary Bar
  • DIY Breakfast & Brunch Bar
  • DIY Dessert Bar
  • DIY Jambalaya Bar
  • DIY Stuffed Avocado Bar
  • DIY Taco & Wing Bar
  • DIY Wedge Salad Bar
  • 20 More Food Bars
    ________________

    *Assumes beef and chicken are main courses from the grill.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bruschetta From The Grill

    Firing up the grill this weekend? Make bruschetta (pronounced broo-SKEH-tuh).

    We love a DIY bruschetta bar. Just rub the bread with garlic, brush it with extra virgin olive oil, grill, and place the slices on a platter along with all the fixings.

    Even easier, brush the bread with garlic olive oil! You can buy it, or infuse your own in advance by dropping halved garlic cloves into a cup of olive oil (or however much you think you’ll need). Any leftover oil can go right into a vinaigrette.

    Bruschetta originated in the Tuscany region of Italy, where it is commonly served as a snack or appetizer. It may have been the original garlic bread.

    Plus, we have our own invention dessert bruschetta, below.

    BRUSCHETTA VS. CROSTINI: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

    There are two factors:

  • The size of the bread slice.
  • The cooking technique: grilling versus toasting.
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    Bruschetta slices are larger, three or four inches in diameter) and grilled. Crostini, cut from a ficelle, a thinner baguette about two inches wide (the word is French for “string”).

    You can use bread of a different diameter; but if it isn’t grilled, it isn’t bruschetta.

    Here’s how to remember the difference:

  • The verb bruscare is Roman dialect meaning “to roast over coals.” But there’s something simpler.
  • Think of crostini as crust or crouton (which is its literal meaning). Toast has a crust. That’s how we taught ourself to recognize the difference.
  • While Italians serve bruschetta as a snack, the smaller crostini can be served plain with soup and salad, like the original melba toast.
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    Note that some American manufacturers and others in the food industry misuse the term, selling jars of “bruschetta.” To be accurate, it should be labeled bruschetta topping). Bruschetta is the grilled bread, not the topping.

    RECIPE: DIY BRUSCHETTA BAR

    The simplest bruschetta topping is salt and pepper (i.e., seasoned garlic bread), but that’s for a bread basket.

    Almost any cheese, fruit, meat, spread or vegetable can be a topping. Toppings can be cooked, marinated, pickled, raw or smoked.

    For a DIY bar, offer at least three different toppings. We like everything, so tend to go overboard: Our toppings look like a buffet. Regarding bread, we prefer a crusty sourdough or rustic loaf.

  • Be sure the loaf will give you slices of a workable size.
  • If you’re not familiar with the particular loaf, ask to ensure that it doesn’t have holes for the toppings to fall through.
  • We have the loaves sliced at the store, then we cut the slices in half.
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    Along with the bread, make sure you have fresh garlic and check your olive oil for freshness.

    Ingredients

  • Baguette or other loaves of bread
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper and peeled, halved garlic cloves
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    For The Toppings

  • Avocado, mashed and seasoned (garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, etc.)
  • Caprese: quartered cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, balsamic glaze
  • Charcuterie: pâté, prosciutto, salume, etc.
  • Cheeses: ricotta, ricotta salata, soft goat cheese
  • Fresh basil, julienned/shredded
  • Fruit: sliced figs
  • Garnishes: capers, chopped herbs, chopped mixed olives
  • Greens: baby arugula or watercress
  • Heat: raw jalapeños slices, grilled chile peppers
  • Marinated artichoke hearts (chopped)
  • Mushrooms, marinated
  • Onions: caramelized, chives, chopped green onions (scallions)
  • Peppadews, sliced
  • Pimento, chopped or sliced
  • Raw and cooked veggies of choice: asparagus, grilled vegetables, sliced radishes, etc.
  • Spreads: bean, hummus, pimento cheese, tapenade
  • Tomatoes: sliced plain or marinated in oil and vinegar
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    More options: shredded mozzarella or other cheese such as thinly-sliced Brie, fish (we have a passion for anchovies and herring salad on bruschetta), other marinated vegetables, mostarda.

    We also like eggplant caponata, pesto and sautéed mushrooms, but tend to use them more in cooler weather.

     

    Bruschetta Bar

    Rustic Loaf

    Rustic Loaf

    Bruschetta Bar

    Strawberry Bruschetta

    [1] Who needs a burger? We’re heading for the bruschetta bar (photo courtesy What’s Gaby Cooking).[2] Buy bread that has a pretty solid crumb (photo courtesy The Stone Soup). [3] This loaf is beautiful, but not for holding toppings (photo courtesy Bake Street). [4] A bruschetta bar from Countryside Cravings. [5] Dessert bruschetta, here with goat cheese (the recipe from Emily Bites). We use mascarpone.

    Preparation

    1. SET out the toppings and teaspoons for serving. We use ramekins; you can use any bowls you have.

    2. SLICE the bread from 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick. Rub each side with cut garlic clove and brush each side with olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Grill to your desired toastiness.

    3. PLACE the bread on a platter next to the toppings and watch people create their appetizers.
     
     
    DESSERT BRUSCHETTA

    Most people won’t have seen dessert bruschetta. We don’t know if we invented it, but our sweet tooth gave us the idea years ago.

    Start with a loaf of bread with dried fruit, such as cherries or raisins. For toppings:

  • Artisan preserves
  • Flavored peanut butter (chocolate, cinnamon, maple, etc.)
  • Fruits: berries; sliced dates, figs, grapes and stone fruits
  • Honey
  • Mascarpone or sweetened sour cream
  • Nutella
  • Garnishes: chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, etc.
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