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Show Your Colors

Hooray for the red, white and blue.

There are plenty of patriotic American holidays, but none more patriotic than today, the Fourth of July. And on a day when we commemorate the country’s independence, how could we not consider independence from other types of bondage — such as long hours of cooking in a hot kitchen on a scorching Southern Nevada midsummer’s afternoon?

Herewith, some fun and (mostly) simple summer recipes — all in hues of red, white and blue.

 

SUMMER SHORTCAKE

 

For the biscuits:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into  1/2-inch pieces

8 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into 2-inch pieces

 3/4 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing

Raw sugar or fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

 

For the filling:

2 pints blueberries

2 pints strawberries, hulled (small berries left whole, large berries halved lengthwise)

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the biscuits, in a food processor pulse flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until largest pieces are the size of peas. Add cream cheese and pulse again until largest pieces are the size of peas. Add buttermilk and pulse until dough comes together. Transfer to a bowl and gently knead into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator at least 1 hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Divide dough in half. Working with one portion at a time on a lightly floured work surface, pat into a disk, then roll into a 10-inch round. Transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Brush biscuits with buttermilk. Generously sprinkle raw or sanding sugar over tops and sides. Brush off sugar from parchment. Bake until dough has risen slightly and is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes (if bottoms brown too quickly, reduce temperature to 400 degrees). Leave biscuits on sheets. Using a 2 1/2-inch star cutter, cut out (but do not remove) 7 stars from one biscuit while it is still warm. Let cool.

Using a paring knife, carefully remove star shapes. Reserve for snacking or another use. (Biscuits can be made as far as 8 hours ahead; store on wire racks, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.)

To make the filling, combine blueberries, strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar and let macerate until juicy, 10 minutes.

Just before serving, beat cream to medium peaks with remaining tablespoon sugar and the vanilla.

To assemble the cake, place uncut biscuit on a large plate. Spoon half the berries and their juices on top of biscuit, then spread the whipped cream over berries. Top with all but about  1/2 cup berries. (Make sure surface is even; it will support the top biscuit and prevent it from breaking.) Carefully place cutout biscuit on top. Fill star cutouts with reserved berries. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, uncovered, for as long as 3 hours.

Serves 12 to 15.

— Recipe from Martha Stewart Living

 

THE SANCHOS NACHOS

Four or five handfuls of blue corn tortilla chips

1 can refried beans

1 whole diced tomato

1/3 cup chopped white onion

1 chopped serrano chili pepper (use more chili peppers if desired)

 1/2 lemon

 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, or other white cheese of your choice

Warm up refried beans. Meanwhile, mix the diced tomato, onion and chili pepper in a small bowl with a pinch of lemon juice to prepare the salsa. On a larger oval plate, place one layer of blue corn chips, spread a few spoonfuls of refried beans over the chips, pour the chili sauce over the chips and beans. Top with the shredded cheese. Keep layering until there are no more chips or refried beans left. Serve immediately.

— Recipe from FamilyFun.Com

 

RED, WHITE AND BLUE

POTATO SALAD

 

For potatoes:

4 sprigs fresh thyme

3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 bay leaf

1 cup dry white wine

2 cloves garlic, smashed

 1/2 pound small, red-skinned potatoes, such as red thumb, scrubbed

 1/2 pound small, white-skinned waxy-style potatoes, such as German butterball, scrubbed

 1/2 pound small, blue potatoes, such as Peruvian fingerling, scrubbed

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

 

For dressing:

 1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley

2 scallions (white and green), thinly sliced

To make the potatoes, tie the thyme, parsley, rosemary and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine. Put the bundle in a medium saucepan along with the wine and garlic. Slice the potatoes into  1/4-inch-thick rounds and add to the saucepan. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch and the salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and discard the herb bundle.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a large bowl combine the vinegar, mustard and salt and season with pepper to taste. Gradually whisk in the oil to make a smooth dressing.

Add the warm potatoes to the dressing and toss very gently to combine, taking care not to break up the potatoes. Add the celery and set aside to cool.

When ready to serve, carefully fold in the parsley and scallions. Serve.

Serves 4.

— Recipe from the Food Network

 

RED, WHITE AND BLUE

CHICKEN SALAD

 

1 package (6 ounces) baby spinach, (6 cups)

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup blueberries

1 package (10 ounces) honey-roasted chicken breast strips

 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts, toasted

 

Dressing:

 1/4 cup canola oil

 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate

2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

 1/4 teaspoon salt

Place spinach in large bowl or on large platter. Top with strawberries, blueberries, chicken strips and macadamia nuts.

To make salad dressing, whisk together oil, orange juice concentrate, mustard, poppy seeds and salt in small bowl until well blended.

Drizzle salad dressing over salad.

Serves 5.

— Recipe from Razzle Dazzle Recipes

 

STARS AND STRIPES

 

1 quart (4 cups) boiling water

1 package (8-serving size) blueberry gelatin

1 package (8-serving size) strawberry-flavor gelatin

2 cups cold water

1 cup blueberries

1 12-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 cup strawberries, sliced

Stir 2 cups of the boiling water into each flavor of gelatin in separate medium bowls at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir 1 cup of the cold water into gelatin in each bowl. Refrigerate blue gelatin 1 1/2 hours or until thickened (spoon drawn through leaves definite impression). Stir in blueberries.

Pour into a 4- to 6-quart glass bowl. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until gelatin is set but not firm (gelatin should stick to finger when touched and should mound). Spread 3 1/2 cups of the whipped topping evenly over blue gelatin. Refrigerate until ready to use. Meanwhile, refrigerate strawberry gelatin 1 1/2 hours or until thickened. Stir in strawberries. Gently spoon over whipped topping layer.

Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. Top with the remaining whipped topping. Garnish with additional fruit, if desired. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

Serves 16.

— Recipe from Jell-O

 

HENRIETTA’S DUMP CAKE

 

1 can cherry pie filling

1 small can blueberries or 1 cup fresh blueberries

1 box white cake mix

2 sticks butter, melted

1 cup nuts, chopped

In a 9-by-12-inch greased pan, layer the ingredients in the order listed. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Serves 4.

— Recipe from FamilyFun.Com

 

PATRIOTIC TWINKIE PIE

 

1 (6-ounce) package blueberry gelatin

3 cups boiling water

1 (16-ounce) bag frozen blueberries

1 (6-ounce) package strawberry gelatin

1 (16-ounce) bag frozen sliced strawberries in syrup

6 to 7 Twinkies, broken or torn into 1-inch pieces

2 (5.1-ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix

6 cups milk

1 (12-ounce) container frozen nondairy whipped topping, thawed

In a bowl, combine the blueberry gelatin and 1 1/2 cups of the boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add the blueberries and stir until blended and slightly thickened. Allow to cool completely.

In another bowl, combine the strawberry gelatin and remaining 1 1/2 cups boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add the strawberries and stir until blended and slightly thickened. Allow to cool completely.

Place half of the Twinkie pieces in a 6-quart glass bowl or trifle dish. In a separate bowl, combine the pudding mix and milk and stir according to the package instructions. Spoon half of the pudding over the Twinkies.

Spoon the blueberry mixture over the pudding, spreading evenly. Top with the remaining Twinkie pieces. Spoon the remaining pudding over the Twinkies, spreading evenly. Spoon the strawberry mixture over the pudding, spreading evenly.

Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, until completely chilled and set. Top with the whipped topping just before serving.

Serves 16.

— Recipe from The Twinkies Cookbook

 

BERRY BLISS CAKE

 

 3/4 cup cold milk

1 package (4-serving size) vanilla flavor instant pudding and pie filling

1 1/2 cups thawed frozen whipped topping, divided

1 package (10 3/4 ounces) frozen pound cake

 1/4 cup orange juice

2 cups mixed raspberries and sliced strawberries

 1/4 cup blackberries

Add milk to dry pudding mix in medium bowl. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping.

Cut cake horizontally into three layers; brush with juice. Place bottom layer on serving plate; top with  3/4 cup of the mixed berries, half of the pudding mixture and middle cake layer. Repeat layers of mixed berries and pudding mixture; cover with top cake layer. Top with  1/2 cup whipped topping and all remaining berries; cover loosely with foil.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Store any leftovers in refrigerator.

Serves 8.

— Recipe from Jell-O

 

WAVE YOUR FLAG CAKE

 

1 quart strawberries (about 4 cups), divided

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 package (8-serving size) or 2 packages (4-serving size each) red gelatin, any red flavor

Ice cubes

1 cup cold water

1 package (12 ounces) pound cake, cut into 10 slices

1 1/3 cups blueberries, divided

1 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Slice 1 cup of the strawberries; set aside. Halve remaining strawberries; set aside.

Stir boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add enough ice to cold water to measure 2 cups. Add to gelatin; stir until ice is melted. Refrigerate 5 minutes or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites).

Meanwhile, line bottom of 13-by-9-inch dish with cake slices. Add sliced strawberries and 1 cup of the blueberries to thickened gelatin; stir gently. Spoon over cake slices.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Spread whipped topping over gelatin. Arrange strawberry halves on whipped topping for "stripes" of "flag." Arrange remaining 1/3 cup blueberries on whipped topping for "stars." Store leftover cake in refrigerator.

Serves 18.

— Recipe from Kraft Foods

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