Celebrating with red and white foods on Canada Day

Tomorrow is Canada Day, a celebration of the nation’s 141st birthday. There will be much flag-waving and expressions of patriotic sentiments. The colours de jour will be red and white.

If you want to inject some patriotic zeal into your July 1st menu, consider the colour palate of the foods you plan to serve. It’s not too difficult to include some red and white foods. If you’re a little more adventurous, try creating an entire meal of just red and white foods. Think tomatoes, red peppers, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, spaghetti and meat sauce, bruschetta, barbecued ribs, strawberry shortcake, whipped cream, sour cream, cream cheese, red potatoes, mozzarella cheese, angel food cake, and on and on.

A simple red and white appetizer or snack can be made quickly by creating tiny kabobs of pesto-marinated mini-mini bocconcini and grape or cherry tomatoes. Mini-mini bocconcini are small balls of buffalo mozzarella. They can be found in tubs in the deli area of most major grocery stores. If you can’t find the mini-mini variety, purchase mini bocconcini and slice them into quarters or cut large balls of bocconcini into small pieces.

To make the kebabs, marinate the bocconcini in a couple spoonfuls of homemade or prepared pesto for at least 15 minutes, then poke a toothpick into a bocconcini and a grape or cherry tomato. If you use halved grape or cherry tomatoes, the kabobs will be able to stand and you can arrange them upright on a plate. These little mouthfuls are colourful, flavourful and make up very quickly, leaving you lots of time to enjoy Canada Day festivities and fireworks.

Ontario strawberries!

I was finally able to get my hands on some good-looking, sweet-smelling, fresh-tasting Ontario strawberries, so they’ll be on the menu in our house tomorrow. We’ll enjoy some berries fresh, then maybe in the strawberry-rhubarb sauce that follows, served over cake or ice cream. I’ve also bought ingredients to make strawberry ice cream, which would be served, of course, with fresh sliced strawberries.

Hmmmm…..since strawberry season is so short, we just might have to have both desserts!

Angel Food Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce
(Makes 12 servings)

Twelve individual mini angel food cake rounds, sponge cake flans or shortcakes can be used instead of the angel food cake slices.

3 cups (750 mL) sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb (cut in 1/2-inch/1 cm slices)
3/4 cup (175 mL) sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) water
2 cups (500 mL) strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 angel food cake (cut into 12 slices)
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

In a medium saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture just comes to a boil (about 7 or 8 minutes). Reduce heat to low; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is tender (6 to 8 minutes). Let cool.

Just before serving, stir in strawberries. Top each slice of cake with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream and about 1/4 cup (50 mL) strawberry rhubarb sauce.