Food for the Fourth Holiday: Make a red-white-and-blue splash as you serve food for the Fourth.

June 26, 1996|By Kim Pierce and Christine M. Carbone | Kim Pierce and Christine M. Carbone,UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE

While fireworks splash overhead, create your own Independence Day color with food sparklers you've made yourself.

Not burning objects atop food, mind you. But dishes, drinks, add-ons and add-ins that dash holiday meals with literal and figurative sparkle.

Edible glitter and Luster Dust (known as powdered edible gold) put a shine on anything -- from corn on the cob to cappuccino. Easy red, white and blue touches -- using red chili "flowers" and blue Gatorade -- add fun, even campy, patriotic flourishes. And before the day is over, you can make certain everyone sees stars -- chocolate stars, fruit-filled star pastry, red bell pepper stars and more.

All that glitters: Add holiday sparkle to any food -- popcorn to peach cobbler -- with a few shakes of blue and red edible glitter. Find quarter-ounce bottles at craft and cake decorating stores.

Red, white and blueberries: For a patriotic addition to any salad, toss in blueberries, onion slices and tomatoes.

Grand Jell-Old standby: Whipped topping or whipped cream in any combination with red and blue Jell-O yields a red, white and blue dessert kids love. Think Jell-O for star-shaped Jigglers. Or use star Crispy Moulds from a craft store.

Starry, starry tarts: These dazzling shells go together relatively quickly when you use frozen puff pastry dough. Fill them with something white and creamy, such as pudding, whipped cream or ice cream, then top with blueberries and strawberries or raspberries.

Patriot missile: This layered drink is made with Grenadine, blue Curacao and coconut rum schnapps.

Luster Dust: For a classier shine than that of glitter, use edible gold. It comes in two colors, gold and silver. Moisten dry food slightly with a damp paper towel before dry-brushing on Luster Dust. Or mix Luster Dust with an alcohol-based beverage, such as a clear liqueur or vodka, and wet-brush it on food surfaces. Color rolls, buns, corn on the cob, chicken. For red and blue hues, use Petal Dust, designed for coloring cake flowers.

Gold standard: Although edible gold is edible, use it sparingly.

Red hots: Garnish salads or drinks with red chili "flowers." Using a sharp knife, cut ripe red chili peppers lengthwise from the tip to within 1/4 inch of the stem to form petals. Remove seeds. Plunge into ice water for 10 minutes until petals open.

Red, white and blue chips: Line a platter with blue corn tortilla chips. In the center, place a bowl of bright red salsa. Using a squeeze bottle filled with sour cream thinned with a little milk, make a big white star on top of the salsa. For a veggie variation, add white jicama strips dashed with lime juice and red bell pepper stars made with cookie cutters.

Pick up the paste: Color icing for cookies and cakes with food-paste colors, which yield brighter reds and blues than you can achieve with food coloring ($2 for 1 ounce at craft stores). Or use colored sugar: Mix granulated sugar with food-paste coloring in a shaker; shake for one to three minutes.

Cut-ups: Use star cookie cutters (at craft stores and at some supermarkets and kitchen stores) to make everything from star-shaped vegetables (bell peppers, cucumber slices) to star-shaped cheese, luncheon meats, sandwiches and, of course, cookies.

Stars, any way you slice it: Anything you can cut or slice can be star-shaped -- even burgers and pizza. Cut a star out of a piece of cardboard, hold it in place with one hand and use the other to cut along the pattern with a sharp knife. (Do this with pizza dough after you've rolled it out and before you top and cook it.)

Cupful of blues: Blue drinks and drinks in cobalt bottles that fit the holiday spirit include raspberry-flavored Gatorade, some bottled waters, Skyy vodka, Kool-Aid drinks and more.

When you munch upon a star: Don't forget star-shaped pasta for a patriotic salad.

Grown-up dessert: And now, for a twist on the familiar whipped cream, strawberry and blueberry flag dessert, try Creamed Blue Cheese and Blueberry Dessert, adapted from "Wilton Gifts From the Kitchen."

Patriotic missile: This alcoholic beverage is a vision in red, white (clear) and blue. You'll need pourer spouts in each bottle. Slowly pour 1 ounce of Grenadine along the side of a slightly tipped glass. Then pour in approximately 1 1/2 ounces of blue Curacao, keeping the glass tipped. Repeat with 1 ounce of coconut rum schnapps (Koko Kanu brand). For a spectacular finish add a thin layer of 151 rum (highly flammable). Stand back and ignite with a match; a 4-inch flame will burn about two minutes. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on the flame and watch the fireworks. Use a thick, tempered glass -- not fine crystal, which could crack.

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