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Stars and Stripes Sizzle!

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Northwest Cherry Bomb Margaritas
Red, White and Blue Cherry Salad
Fantastic Fireworks Cupcakes

(Family Features) - Get fired up for a fabulous meal on the Fourth! While you sip refreshing cherry margaritas, start the grill for the all-American favorite - thick, juicy beef burgers. When they're grilled to perfection, partner them with a cooling salad brimming with fresh cherries and a splash of honey-lime dressing.

For dessert, cupcakes explode with red, white and blue inside and out. Patriotic sprinkles stirred into the batter create interior fireworks while Uncle Sam bobbles atop this special dessert.

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Perfect Burgers

Easy, versatile, and with the great taste everyone loves, burgers are the perfect choice for a fabulous Fourth of July celebration or any time you fire up the grill.

To make the best burgers, follow these foolproof directions.

  1. Gently shape into patties as directed in chart below. Season with herbs or spices, as desired.
  2. Prepare grill (charcoal or gas) according to manufacturer's directions for medium heat. Place patties on cooking grid.
  3. Grill according to chart, turning occasionally. After cooking, season with salt, if desired.

Burger Basics

  • Grill over medium heat. For gas grills, set controls to medium. For charcoal, cautiously hold the palm of your hand above coals at cooking height. Count the number of seconds you can hold your hand in that position before the heat forces you to remove it; about 4 seconds for medium heat.
  • Turn patties with a spatula. Do not press. Pressing causes loss of juices and results in a dry burger.
  • Grill to medium doneness (160°F), until no longer pink in center and juices show no pink color. Use an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center of burgers to check temperature. Do not char or overcook.

Celebration Cupcakes!

Wilton's new "Cupcake Fun!" book offers dozens of easy ways to make festive cupcakes to celebrate the Fourth!

  • Decorate iced cupcakes with ready-to-use, star-shaped icing decorations, flag party picks, red and blue cake sparkles or patriotic confetti.
  • Use tube decorating gel or decorating icing to write a message or draw stars and stripes on iced cupcakes.
  • Serve red, white and blue iced cupcakes from the Cupcakes 'N More stand.

Northwest Cherry Bomb Margaritas

Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups pitted fresh dark sweet Northwest Cherries
  • 2 cups bottled nonalcoholic margarita mix
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) tequila
  • 1 cup cracked ice, plus additional for serving
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Mint leaves, optional
  • Fresh Northwest Cherries with stems, optional

Preparation
    1. In blender, place pitted cherries, margarita mix, tequila, 1 cup ice and the lime juice; process until smooth. Pour over additional ice into 4 glasses. Garnish with mint leaves and cherries, if desired.

Serves
Makes 4 servings

Red, White and Blue Cherry Salad

Ingredients
  • 4 cups pitted Northwest Cherries (fresh dark sweet cherries, Rainier or combination)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup cored, diced apples
Honey-Lime Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Preparation
    1. In large bowl, combine cherries, blueberries and apples. In small bowl, combine dressing ingredients; mix well. Pour dressing over fruit; toss gently to coat.

Serves
Makes 6 servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Cook's Tip: Fresh blackberries, raspberries or halved strawberries may be substituted for blueberries. Fresh pineapple or orange may be added to salad.

Fantastic Fireworks Cupcakes

Ingredients
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) yellow cake mix
  • 1-1/3 cups water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons patriotic sprinkle sparks
  • White ready-to-use decorator icing or homemade buttercream icing
  • Uncle Sam bobbling cupcake toppers, patriotic sprinkles, red and blue colored sugars

Preparation
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin pan with patriotic baking cups.
    2. In large bowl, combine cake mix, water, eggs and oil; beat with electric mixer 2 minutes. Fold sprinkle sparks into batter; spoon into baking cups. Bake 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before decorating.
    3. Using a spatula or butter knife, ice cupcakes with icing. Or, create an icing swirl using a decorating bag fitted with a 1M Tip. Immediately sprinkle as desired with sprinkles or colored sugar; add topper.

Serves
Makes 24 cupcakes

SOURCE: Wilton Industries, Inc.
The Beef Checkoff
Northwest Cherry Growers


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