HOME PLATE: New flag waves color amid patriotic food flair

HOME PLATE: New flag waves color amid patriotic food flair

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Our yard holds a new U.S. flag. Protected under eaves, it sits prominently atop blocks to be seen by anyone in our backyard. It was delivered by a friend and her husband who made it.

A lover of Americana items, she fell in love with a wooden flag that cost several times the amount it would cost her husband to craft it from barn wood and paint it. She thought hers looked great with its blue stars and red stripes, so she asked him make more than one. Lucky me! I found it resting on my front bench one day last winter.

Fourth of July celebrations come easily. The holiday arrives with fireworks ablaze and bright colors streaming.

The blue in the handy triumvirate of patriotic colors comes naturally to the table with ripe blueberries. The color in blue cheese, a strain of penicillium, varies in hue while growing in its creamy environment. In other foods like beverages, cereal pieces and frozen treats its starkness comes with added coloring.

Of course, red, white and blue sprinkles are simple food fun for patriotic colors on mostly any sweet — chocolate sauce over ice cream, the tip of an ice cream sandwich, rice cereal squares, icing or any sort of shimmering red gelatin.

High-protein blue corn tints hearty blue tortilla chips. For a colorful combination in Fourth of July spirit, line them up with a salsa ranch dip and all-red vegetable strips.

Start with a recipe base from McCormick seasonings. Combine 1 pint (16 ounces) sour cream, 1/2 cup salsa, one package ranch dip/salad dressing mix and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder until well blended. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour. Stir just before serving with blue tortilla chips. To perk up the dip's complexion, stir in or sprinkle the top with chopped red bell pepper or tomato. The tasty topping also is wonderful atop Mexican dishes or dressing taco salad.

Red fruits are easiest in hand: strawberries, cherries, red raspberries, red-skinned apples. For non-fruit red options, try tomato-based barbecue sauce and baked beans.

On Saturday, June 30, the produce departments at all Schnucks Markets will hold Frieda's Produce University from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature gourmet melons: Honey Kiss, Golden Kiss and Sugar Kills. The melons are all orange, an accent color to the patriotic flair on the holiday table.

Of course, Fourth of July is for honor and for play, so in mid-summer it requires persistence to keep its tasty foods safe for those who eat it. Feel free to tint ice cubes red, white and blue for a chilly tribute!

This easy "freezie" from Aldi's is a patriotic finale to whirl in a blender, allotting more time in a pool or cool breeze than in a kitchen.


RED, WHITE AND BLUE STRIPED FREEZIES

8 oz. fruit punch made with fruit juice

8 oz. variety juices — blue raspberry

8 oz. lemonade

3 cups ice

In blender, whirl fruit punch and 1 cup ice. Pour evenly into 4 cups. Rinse blender.

Whirl lemonade and 1 cup ice in blender. Layer over fruit punch in each cup. Rinse blender.

Blend blue raspberry juice and 1 cup ice in blender. Layer over lemonade.

Serve immediately with straws.

Makes 4 servings. Amounts can be doubled for more or larger servings.

Note: Brand suggested is Aldi's Nature's Nectar — Variety Fruit Juices.

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