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Archive for Food Holidays

RECIPES: Dessert Pasta For National Pasta Month


Award-winning dessert lasagna by Chef Michael Stambaugh. Photo and recipe courtesy of the National Pasta Association.

November is National Pasta Month—a holiday we’d like to celebrate with a different delicious pasta dish every day. While most of us have tried the many different types of pasta, from long cuts (fettuccine) and short cuts (penne) to stuffed pasta (ravioli) and casseroles (lasagne), who has had dessert pasta? But we’re about to change that!

  • Treat your friends and family to the dessert lasagne in the photo plus 12 other dessert pasta recipes. (Lasagne is the correct Italian spelling—lasagna is the Americanized word.)
  • See our Pasta Glossary for all the different types of pasta.
  • Visit our Pasta Section for recipes, how to pair pastas and sauces, the history of pasta and much more.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Blue Mold = Good Mold

It’s Moldy Cheese Day—yes, it’s an officially declared food holiday—so it’s time for a little mold education. If a blue mold develops on your cheese, that’s good and natural (think blue cheese). You can eat it; or if you aren’t into blue, scrape it off and enjoy the rest of the cheese. Red or black mold, however, indicates a cheese that’s past its prime. Cut it away. The rest of the cheese is still fine, though.

  • Learn all about blue cheese.
  • Celebrate Moldy Cheese Day with some delicious blue cheese: in an omelet, in your salad (crumbled into the salad or into the dressing), on your burger or steak, on a sandwich, or for dessert with a glass of sweet dessert wine.


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TIP OF THE DAY: The Right Fluff

Today is National Fluffernutter Day, which honors the classic peanut butter and marshmallow creme sandwich. The original Marshmallow Fluff was introduced more than 75 years ago and is still made by Durkee-Mower Inc. But gourmet marshmallow cremes can be had. Our favorite, Tiny Trapeze Marshmallow Creme from Whole Foods Markets, is a must! For a special fluffernutter sandwich, cut thick slices of challah, spread with crunchy peanut butter and marshmallow creme and toast in a panini press. For a fancier fluffernutter, use slices of banana bread, or plain bread with P.B. Loco’s Jungle Banana peanut butter. For sheer opulence, use chocolate pound cake as the bread.


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TIP OF THE DAY: Kings of Coffee Liqueur

September 29th is National Coffee Day, so celebrate not with an everyday cup of Joe, but with a coffee cocktail. For generations there was Kahlua, an ingredient of the Black Russian and the Mudslide. More recent challengers are Starbucks and Illy liqueurs and the elegant Patrón XO Café, which comes from a small, family-owned distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, home of tequila (the liqueur is tequila-based). All three newcomers are more sophisticated than the old standby. Starbucks liqueur is sweeter, Illy and Patrón liqueurs are espresso-like. Try them straight; or for a Black Russian, mix 1 ounce of coffee liqueur with 1 ounce of vodka and pour over ice. For a Mudslide, shake together 1 ounce each of vodka, coffee liqueur, Irish cream liqueur and light cream and pour over ice in an old-fashioned glass.

  • After your celebratory cocktail, visit our Coffee Section for great articles about coffee, product reviews, recipes, and everything you want to know about coffee terminology and tasting coffee. 

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RECIPE: Cherries Jubilee

Cherries Jubilee

Cherries Flambe

[[1] A modern take on Cherries Jubilee, originally created by Escoffier for Queen Victoria. Photo courtesy Victoria Glavin | Tiny New York Kitchen. Check out her recipe, too. [2] Queen Victoria ate Cherries Jubilee from crystal bowls, but you can use whatever dishes you like (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma). [3] The cherries are flambéed in a pan and spooned over dishes of ice cream (photo courtesy


September 24th is National Cherries Jubilee Day.

Cherries Jubilee is an easy flambéed dessert that is presented with much fanfare. A sauce is made of cooked, pitted cherries and cherry liqueur (Kirschwasser—brandy can be substituted), which is flambéed in a chafing dish and ladled over a dish of vanilla ice cream at the table.

It’s great entertainment for guests, many of whom have never had flambéed food.

You can elaborate on the dish by serving the flaming sauce over an ice cream and angel food cake, pound cake or sponge cake, or over custard or puddings. Cherries and chocolate or lemon pudding are a delicious combination.

Famed chef Auguste Escoffier created the dish for Queen Victoria: Either for her Golden Jubilee celebration in 1887, her 50th anniversary as queen, or her Diamond Jubilee (1897). Hence the name, Jubilee.

Was it the Golden or the Diamond? Were the cherries flambéed with brandy or kirschwasser (cherry eau de vie)? The record isn’t clear.

But you can serve this queenly dish at home, or “jubilee” other any cooked fruit using any 80-proof spirit. It’s an impressive yet easy to make dessert.

While Escoffier’s team pitted and cooked fresh cherries and made the ice cream from scratch, you can elect to save time with canned cherries. We used Oregon Fruit Pitted Red Tart Cherries in Water.

You can elect to flambé the dish or not. Tip: If guests ask to help, put them on flambé duty.

When you serve it to guests, tell them the Escoffier-Queen Victoria story.

Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 can (16 ounces) best-quality pitted bing cherries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Kirschwasser or brandy
  • Premium vanilla ice cream
  • Optional garnish: 1/2 cup slivered almonds

    1. DRAIN. Drain cherries, reserving the juice.

    2. MIX. Combine sugar and cornstarch; mix in the juice, a little at a time.

    3. WARM. Warm the Kirschwasser or brandy, in a sauce pan on the stove or in the microwave in a flame-proof dish.

    5. IGNITE. Ignite with a long kitchen match. Scoop a serving in a ladle; let flame burn out and ladle over ice cream.


    Tip #1: To keep the ice cream from melting, it helps to pre-scoop the balls and let keep them in the coldest area of the freezer. If you have room in the freezer, chill the dishes, too.

    Bring the ice cream and the pan of cherries to the table, ready to flame and pour immediately. If you don’t have an attractive pan, place the cherries in your vessel of choice before lighting the flame.

    Tip #2: You can make your Cherries Jubilee even easier with a jar of Chukar Cherries’ Cherry Jubilee sauce, but at $9.75 for 14 ounces, it’s best for 2-4 servings..

    You may be surprised. Check out our Cherry Facts for the history of cherries.

    How many types of sweet and tart cherries can you name?

    Check that out, too.


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