Northwest NEWS

June 24, 2002

Home & Garden

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Dining In: Celebrate America

July 4th Cake
   Prep: 25 minutes
   Bake: 40 minutes
   1 star-shaped cake pan
   1 box (2-layer size) cake mix, any flavor
   12 cans (16 ounces) ready-to-spread white frosting
   1 quart fresh strawberries
   1 pint fresh blueberries
   1/3 c. currant or apricot jelly, melted (optional)
   Grease cake pan. Coat lightly with flour; set aside.
   Prepare cake mix as directed on package. Spread batter into prepared pan.
   Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.
   Place cake on serving plate. Ice cake with frosting. Cut strawberries lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange on top of cake as shown in photo.
   Pipe remaining frosting through star decorating tip to outline a smaller star shape on top center of cake. Pipe a second row of stars next to the first. Place blueberries inside frosting outline. Pipe additional frosting through star tip for border on cake as pictured. Brush fruit with jelly if desired. Makes 12 servings.
   How to Make Stars: Using disposable decorating bag and star decorating tip, hold bag straight up-and-down, 1/8 inch above surface. Squeeze until star is formed, then stop pressure and pull tip away. Stars will be neatly formed if you stop squeezing before you pull tip away.
  
   Grand Old Flag Cheese Spread
   Prep: 15 minutes
   1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
   1/4 c. shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack Mexican-style cheese
   2 Tbsp. sliced black olives
   1/4 c. salsa
   Crackers
   Place cream cheese between 2 pieces of wax paper. Roll out to 6x4-inch rectangle with rolling pin. Remove top sheet of wax paper; coat top and sides of cream cheese with shredded cheese. Invert onto serving plate. Remove wax paper.
   Arrange 4 rows of olives in top left corner of short side of cream cheese rectangle for "stars." Make 4 (1/4-inch deep) rows, using rounded end of 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon for "stripes," leaving 1/4-inch space between rows. Fill rows with salsa as shown in photo. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
   Serve as a spread with crackers. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.
  
   Strip Steaks With Basil Butter
   Prep: 5 minutes
   Grill: 8 to 12 minutes
   1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
   1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
   1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
   1/2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
   Salt
   Ground black pepper
   4 boneless strip steaks (10 ounces each)
   Mix butter, basil, lemon juice and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Shape into 3-inch round. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate until ready to use.
   Grill steaks 4 to 6 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 140 to 150F for medium doneness.
   Cut seasoned butter round into 4 wedges. Serve one wedge on each grilled steak. Makes 4 servings.
   Special Extra: Prepare butter mixture as directed. Press evenly into 4 small butter molds. Refrigerate until firm. Serve one on each grilled steak.
  
   Filet Mignon With Peppered-Herb Rub
   Prep: 10 minutes
   Grill: 12 to 16 minutes
   1/4 cup olive oil
   3 Tbsp. cracked black pepper
   1 Tbsp. garlic powder
   1 Tbsp. onion powder
   1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
   1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
   1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
   1-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
   Salt to taste
   4 beef filet mignons (8 ounces each)
   Mix oil and seasonings. Rub mixture evenly onto both sides of steaks.
   Grill 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 140 to 150F for medium doneness. Makes 4 servings.
  
   Spinach and Artichoke Spread
   Prep: 10 minutes plus refrigerating
   1 container (16 ounces) sour cream
   1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
   1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
   1-1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
   1/4 c. chopped red pepper
   1/4 c. chopped green onions
   1 envelope (0.7 ounce) dried Italian salad dressing mix
   Crackers
   Mix all ingredients except crackers until well blended; cover. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled.
   Serve as a spread with crackers. Makes 5 cups.
  
   American Cobbler
   Prep: 20 minutes
   Bake: 1 hour 10 minutes
   4 Granny Smith apples (about 1-1/4 pounds), peeled, cored and sliced
   4 Bartlett pears (about 1-1/4 pounds), peeled, cored and sliced
   1 pint fresh blueberries
   1 pint fresh raspberries
   2 Tbsp. lemon juice
   2 c. granulated sugar
   2/3 c. flour
   1 star-shaped cake pan
   2 Tbsp. butter
   1 c. chopped walnuts
   2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
   1 package (15 ounces) refrigerated pie crust (2 crusts)
   Whipped cream (optional)
   Toss apples, pears, blueberries and raspberries with lemon juice in large bowl. Mix sugar and flour. Add to fruit mixture; mix lightly.
   Spoon fruit mixture into greased cake pan. Dot with butter. Toss walnuts with powdered sugar; sprinkle over fruit filling.
   Cut out stars from pie crust dough, using assorted sizes of star-shaped cookie cutters. Arrange over fruit filling.
   Bake at 350F for 60 to 70 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is hot and bubbly.
   Serve warm with whipped cream. Makes 12 servings.
   Recipes provided by Family Features
  
   Appetizers
   Always keep cream cheese and sour cream on hand as they can quickly be combined with salsa, condiments, shredded cheese or seasonings to create delicious dips or spreads.
   To create visual appeal, serve prepared spreads in hollowed out fresh peppers, artichokes or cabbage heads.
   Steaks
   Grilling gives delicious flavor to steak as the high heat cooking seals in the juices. To determine the doneness of a steak, make a small slit near the bone and check the color or use a meat thermometer.
   When turning steaks, use long-handled tongs. Do not use a fork as piercing the beef allows flavorful juices to escape.
   Desserts and More
   To personalize desserts or party favors, use cookie cutters, cookie pop pans, candy or lollipop molds and single-sized baking pans to prepare individual portions. These can be arranged as your centerpiece before being enjoyed.
   For festive-themed food items, use shaped cake pans to make unique and spectacular desserts (cakes, gelatin or mousse), salads or sandwich breads.