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Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS

Fire up jerk chicken with hot and spicy sides this Fourth of July

Entertainment / Entertaining /

July 4 is the No. 1 day for cooking out in the United States, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association. So someone near and dear has probably already been tasked with buying charcoal or making sure the propane tank is full, and tracking down red, white and blue party favors. The only big question this year is what to cook.

...Read more

Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS

Gretchen's table: Patriotic no-bake cheesecake with pretzel crust

Entertainment / Entertaining /

Everyone expects to see red, white and blue at a Fourth of July celebration. This creamy dessert takes that patriotic color scheme to heart by combining a no-fuss cheesecake with the fruits of the season — strawberries and blueberries.

I'm a reluctant baker, especially in summer because my kitchen is not air-conditioned. So I love this mix-...Read more

Dave Lobeck/Dave Lobeck/TNS

BBQ My Way: One-year review of our flattop grill

Entertainment / Entertaining /

My outdoor grilling, smoking and cooking gadgets have changed quite a bit within the last couple of years. First it was taking the leap to the world of pellet smokers. For the most part I have really enjoyed it. We’ve smoked about everything at this point, including pork butt, beef brisket, poultry, salmon and steaks. We have also found that ...Read more

Rick Nelson/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

It's grilling season, but for a better burger, use the stove

Entertainment / Entertaining /

To grill or not to grill? You may want to consider the latter, if you listen to chefs.

MINNEAPOLIS — It sounds heretical, particularly since the outdoor cooking season is getting started, but here goes: For a truly delicious burger, skip the grill, stay indoors and reach for a cast-iron skillet.

This advice is gleaned from interviews that I ...Read more

Hillary Levin/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

Picnic potluck: 6 simple, classic recipes

Entertainment / Entertaining /

Deirdre was invited to a picnic. Deirdre went to the grocery store and bought a plastic tub of potato salad. Everyone else brought homemade food and regarded Deirdre with barely concealed contempt.

Don’t be Deirdre.

It’s picnic season again. Even people who are not good cooks can take this opportunity to avoid embarrassment by making their...Read more

Dave Lobeck/Dave Lobeck/TNS

BBQ My Way: Smoked and cheese-stuffed pork loin

Entertainment / Entertaining /

There is so much going on with this dish I couldn’t fit all the elements in the title of the column. What’s missing? Well, this delicious pork loin was also wrapped in bacon and served with a pineapple and mango salsa. The dish can be prepared on a gas grill or a charcoal grill using the indirect heat method, but in my case I used my pellet ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

7 summer high-school-movie themed parties

Entertainment / Entertaining /

Summer marks a time for many high school graduation parties. But there’s nothing that says freshman, sophomores and juniors can’t have their own slice of celebration, too. After all, don’t some of our cinematic and streaming series favorites depict the singing, dancing and teen angst worthy of jubilation? Pick one of these seven movie/TV-...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

How to throw a pur-fect pet paw-ty

Entertainment / Entertaining /

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over 48 million households in the U.S. own dogs; almost 32 million own cats and over 3.5 million own birds. Pets can be therapeutic, entertaining and treasured members of the family.

Whether you have a furry, feathered, scaled or shelled pet as part of your pack, you can celebrate their...Read more

Dave Lobeck/Dave Lobeck/TNS

BBQ My Way: Cheeseburger with a fried green tomato

Entertainment / Entertaining /

I’ve been on a bit of a burger binge of late, trying to master the smash burger on our flattop outdoor griddle, and let’s just say it’s been an enjoyable and delicious project. I absolutely love burgers. If I were to think of a dish/meal that is viewed as purely American and awesomely iconic in its deliciousness, it would be the burger. ...Read more

Arthi Subramaniam/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS

Give Mom a colorful bouquet, make it edible

Entertainment / Entertaining /

Forget the roses, tulips, hydrangeas and daisies. Instead surprise Mom with a different kind of a bouquet — the kind she can feast on with her eyes and palate.

Present her a colorful and dramatic flat pack vegetable bouquet.

We are not talking about ordering a DIY vegetable kit from one of the many online companies that can cost a bundle or ...Read more