Awesomely American: Must-have ingredients for summer celebrations

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(BPT) - Summer is the season of patriotism. There’s no better way to celebrate America during this time than with fresh, flavorful food and memorable gatherings. There are endless ways to relax and pay tribute to our nation with family and friends, from Flag Day beach parties to Memorial Day garden picnics to Fourth of July barbecues.

Nothing beats the flavors of summer, so whether you're hosting a holiday or simply getting people together for some warm weather fun, don't forget to stock up on the very best ingredients to create recipes that will leave everyone asking for seconds. Here are five must-haves for your next summer get-together:

Fresh fruit

Often referred to as “nature's candy,” seasonal fresh fruit is versatile for any summer gathering. Visit a farmers' market or produce stand to buy local and enjoy regional flavors picked at the peak of freshness. Whether it's sweet strawberries, juicy peaches, plump melons or another summer fruit, stock up and enjoy. Once you’ve brought home your bounty, cut it up to make fruit salad, fruit kabobs or even chilled fruit soup. It's also great to have on hand to elevate your summer baking for pies, tarts and cakes.

Better butter

There’s butter, and then there’s better butter. High-quality butter brings out the best in your summer cooking and is a must-have for baking, basting, barbecuing and more. For sensational summer creations, stock up on Minerva Dairy butter, perfected over six generations of family ownership. With 85% butterfat, it makes for a richer, creamier and more flavorful base ingredient for summer essential recipes. Made in the USA, Minerva Dairy is America’s oldest family-owned creamery, using farm-fresh milk from pasture-raised cows to create slow-churned, small batches that maintain that flavor and texture, making a higher quality product. Learn more at minervadairy.com.

Corn on the cob

The quintessential summer side dish, corn on the cob is delicious whether steamed, boiled or grilled. Keep it hot and serve it immediately after cooking it, or keep it warm in a slow cooker or insulated cooler. Don't forget, classic American corn on the cob isn't complete without high-quality salted butter to bring out the sweetness of each kernel. If you want to try something new, add garlic herb butter as an option to guests.

Refreshing drinks

Few things are more satisfying than sipping ice-cold lemonade on a hot summer day. Make a batch in a pitcher or serving dispenser and keep chilled with ice cubes. Add festive color by placing red and blue fruits, like raspberries and blueberries, directly into the container or use as a garnish on glasses. Another option is to freeze a berry into each section of an ice-cube tray so when you add them to a drink, you get a splash of color in each frozen cube.

Red, white and blue desserts

A colorful dessert that incorporates the hues of the American flag not only satisfies the sweet tooth, but provides an eye-catching focal point on a table or buffet. Try this recipe and make your summer celebration even sweeter:

Berry Upside Down Cake

Recipe and Images Courtesy of 2 Cookin’ Mamas
Prep Time: 70 Minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients:

Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup strawberries, diced

Cake:

  • 1/3 cup Minerva Dairy unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/3 cup vanilla coffee creamer
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease 10″ round cake pan with butter or nonstick spray.
  3. Cut parchment paper to fit bottom and place in pan.

Topping:

  1. Melt butter and pour into bottom of cake pan.
  2. Sprinkle light brown sugar over butter evenly.
  3. Place berries in your preferred design, such as spirals or rows. Set aside.

Cake batter:

  1. In mixing bowl, cream butter and both sugars about 2 minutes.
  2. Add egg and extract and mix well.
  3. Continue beating as you add yogurt/sour cream and creamer.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Add to batter and mix just until blended.
  5. Spoon batter gently over fruit so as not to dislodge the pattern. Smooth carefully.
  6. Bake 50 minutes. Check at the 35- or 40-minute mark to see if the cake is getting too brown. If it is, cover with aluminum foil for remainder of baking time. Note: Don’t worry if it sticks to the cake a little, as the top will become the bottom when it is done.
  7. Test to make sure the cake is done by inserting a toothpick in center. If it comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs, the cake is done.
  8. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Place serving plate on top of pan and, holding sides of cake pan and dish, flip over so fruit is on top. Gently lift off cake pan and allow to cool.

Optional: Prior to serving, decorate with whipped cream. You can also add some additional berries or a sprig of mint, if desired.

Note: This cake is best served 1-2 hours after baking and before refrigerating. The cake will keep three days in the refrigerator. Freezing is not recommended.

For more recipes ideas, visit minervadairy.com/recipes.