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Red and white and delicious — recipes for Flag Day celebrations | columns

Flag Day was adopted by Congress on June 14, 1777. The resolution was made following the report of a special committee which had been assigned to design the flag’s design. A flag of this similar design had been carried into the battle on September 11, 1777, in the Battle of Brandywine. The American flag was first saluted by a foreign naval vessel on February 14, 1778, when the ranger bearing the stars and stripes under the command of Captain Paul Jones arrived in a French port. The flag was first flown over a foreign territory when the Americans captured a Nassau fort operated by the British in 1778. Both President Woodrow Wilson, in 1916, and President Coolidge, in 1927, issued a proclamation making June 14 nationally recognized as Flag Day.

But it was not until August 3, 1949, that Congress approved, and President Harry Truman signed this day into law. I remember as a child coloring a paper with a blank flag and putting the correct number of stars as states joined the union and putting in the correct number of stripes. We pledged the flag in the morning at the opening of the school day — what an honor it was to be chosen as the “flag holder” and to roll it up and place it away for the next school day. Generation after generation of American children learned about our great country and our flag. Those values ​​of honor and respect have only slightly faltered through the years but friends and fellow countrymen, my flag still proudly flies every day!

There are many recipes using the red, white and blue theme, so today let’s explore them.

Two 15-ounce cans refrigerated beans, 2 cups guacamole, one 16-ounce container sour cream, 4 scallions, thinly sliced, light green and white parts only, 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, 1/4 cup chopped black olives, 1 cup crumbled queso cheese, 1 1/2 cups salsa corn chips, for serving (I like Fritos scoops).

Evenly spread the refrigerated beans on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spread the guacamole over the beans and then spread the sour cream over the guacamole. Sprinkle with scallions and then the shredded cheese.

To make the shape of a flag, arrange the black olives in the top left corner of the dish. Sprinkle with a dusting of cotija cheese. Spoon salsa in stripe formation on the rest of the dish. Sprinkle the remaining queso cheese between the salsa to create white stripes.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with corn chips for dipping.

PATRIOTIC BERRY CHEESECAKE

For the crust: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup pecans, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

For the filling: 1 2/3 cups whole milk. 4 large egg yolks. 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

For the topping: 5 cups mixed fresh berries, such as raspberries and blackberries, 2 tablespoons sugar.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Make the crust. Pulse the flour, pecans, sugar and salt in a food processor until the pecans are finely ground. Press in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoons of ice-cold water and pulse until the dough just comes together. Turn out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, form into a disk, wrap and refrigerate until slightly firm, about 15 minutes. Put the dough in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press into an even layer over the bottom and up the sides. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges of the crust begin turning golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights and continue baking until the crust is golden brown, 15 to 20 more minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

Make the filling. Whisk 1 cup milk, the egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and the cornstarch in a medium bowl. Heat the remaining 2/3 cup milk and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. While whisking, slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble and is very thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the cream cheese, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth. Pour into the cooled crust and refrigerate until set, about 1 1/2 hours.

For the topping, toss the berries and sugar in a bowl and let sit at room temperature, 20 minutes. Top tart with berries.

RED, WHITE AND BLUE JELLO PARFAIT

1 cup finely diced fresh strawberries,1 3-oz. package red Jello (I used strawberry-lemonade), 1-pint heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 pint blueberries, 1 pint blackberries, 7 half-pint mason jars. Divide the diced strawberries evenly among the 7 mason jars; set aside while you prepare the Jello. Prepare the Jello according to the manufacturer’s directions on the back of the box. Pour it evenly among the 7 mason jars. Let the Jello sit in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight. (Can be made a day in advance.)

When ready to serve, remove from the fridge and make the whipped cream. Using a hand mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream in a medium size bowl until it’s stiff but not over whipped. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the whipped cream to the top of the jello in each container using the back of a spoon or your finger to even the whipped cream out and get it all the way to the sides of the jar.

Garnish the whipped cream with fresh blueberries and blackberries. Cool until ready to serve.

RED, WHITE AND BLUE DEVILED EGGS

1 dozen hard-boiled eggs, 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise ( I prefer Hellman’s), 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, salt and pepper. I prefer Americolor food coloring; the colors are vibrant and there is no taste. I used super-red, red-red is another option, and I used navy blue. Cut eggs in half and take out yolks and place them in a medium bowl. Use a pastry cutter or fork to break up yolk until it’s super fine. Add yogurt, mayo, mustard, s&p, and whip up with a spatula until smooth and creamy. Place mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 2D tip.

Mix 1 cup hot water and 1 teaspoon Americolor food coloring and 1 tablespoon vinegar. The vinegar helps the color stay bright. Place egg whites into the colored water and let sit until the desired color is achieved about 1-2 minutes. Take out egg whites and place on a paper towel to allow the excess color to drip off. Then arrange eggs on a platter. Pipe the egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves. I also highly recommend gloves when dipping the eggs unless you have extra utensils!

RED, WHITE AND BLUE WATERMELON FETA SALAD

2 cups watermelon cubed,1 cup blueberries, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons honey pinch of chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup fresh mint chopped, 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled. Mix watermelon and blueberries in a large bowl. Mix the lime juice, honey, chili powder and salt in a small bowl and pour over the watermelon mixture. Add mint and more salt to taste and top with feta cheese crumbles. Chill for 30-60 minutes before serving.

While you have the food coloring out you can try RED, WHITE AND BLUE SPAGHETTI. For the sauce if you don’t have time to make homemade, I prefer Rao’s basic marinara sauce. Cook 1 lb. spaghetti, rinse 2/3 of the spaghetti in water, then separate the spaghetti in half into a two-gallon size zip closure bag with 1 teaspoon Americolor red food coloring, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 4 teaspoons water in one; repeat with navy food coloring in the other.

Last but not least, one more for those with a sweet tooth. RED, WHITE AND BLUE DESSERT BARS. 1 box white cake mix, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 large egg (beaten), 1/4-1/3 cup milk, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, food gel, frosting and sprinkles. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the first three ingredients. Slowly incorporate milk, starting with 1/4 cup and add more if necessary. The batter should be thick. Add white chocolate chips. Transfer about 1 cup of batter to a small bowl. Add red food gel and mix until fully incorporated, add blue food gel to remaining batter and transfer to a parchment lined 8×8 baking dish. Spoon red batter on to the blue batter and use a knife to create a swirl design. Bake for 25 minutes then cover with aluminum foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. Once the blondies have cooled, use a pastry bag or baggie to drizzle frosting and add sprinkles.

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