Before the summer of 2020, it seemed Juneteenth was observed only by a small minority of African Americans. But in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, commemoration of Juneteenth has become more common , as a growing number of people observe the end of slavery in the United States, and emphasize the history and contributions of Black Americans.
Juneteenth, which is sometimes called Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, and Liberation Day, originated in Galveston, Texas. It is observed on June 19 and marked with celebrations, picnics, and family gatherings.
Red foods are among the dishes that are critical to these celebrations. Red velvet cake, watermelon, strawberry pie, crimson hot links, and hibiscus tea have come to symbolize the blood and resilience of enslaved people. According to culinary historian Michael W. Twitty, this tradition can be traced to people from such countries as Benin, Uganda, and Congo who served red foods during special occasions.
These three recipes incorporate ingredients, including red peppers, kidney beans, tomatoes, and strawberries, to honor that tradition.
Stuffed Red Peppers
Serves 4 to 6
Red bell peppers offer a sweet and slightly herbal vibe. The rice is flavorful and features bites of spicy sausage, red beans, and summer squash. It can become a vegan/vegetarian dish by swapping the sausage for more summer vegetables like eggplant, okra, corn, or green beans.
6 medium to large red bell peppers
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
8 ounces spicy pork sausage
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium zucchini, finely diced
1 medium yellow summer squash
1 cup chicken stock
1 (14-oz.) can red kidney beans
Red pepper flakes, as needed
1 cup cooked long-grain and wild rice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the tops off the peppers. Remove and discard the stems, then finely chop the tops; set aside. Scoop out the seeds and as much of the membrane as you can. Place the peppers cut-side up in a baking dish just large enough to hold them upright.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up the lumps until the meat is cooked through and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and chopped peppers and cook until just softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, chopped zucchini, and yellow squash and cook for another minute. Add the chicken stock and kidney beans and season with salt and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes.
Cook until everything is heated through and liquid is reduced, then stir in the sausage and rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Fill the peppers with the rice mixture. Pour a small amount of water into the bottom of the baking dish and drizzle the peppers with a bit of olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the peppers are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Finish the peppers with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.
I had a summer berry tiramisu at a food festival in Phoenix over a decade ago. The play between the richness of the mascarpone and the tartness of the berries still haunts me. There’s no heating up your oven, and you can make this a day ahead, giving the flavors a chance to dance together. Ever since that festival, I’ve made fruit tiramisu in the spring and summer instead of the traditional espresso and cocoa. I regret nothing.
1 ¼ cups strawberry preserves
⅓ cup plus 4 tablespoons prosecco
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
1 pound mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 ⅓ cups heavy whipping cream
⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
52 (about) crisp ladyfingers (boudoirs or Savoiardi)
1 ½ pounds strawberries, divided
Whisk preserves, ⅓ cup prosecco, and lemon juice in a 2-cup measuring cup.
Place mascarpone and two tablespoons prosecco in a large bowl; fold just to blend.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream, sugar, vanilla, and the remaining two tablespoons of prosecco in another large bowl to soft peaks. Stir 1/4 of whipped cream mixture into mascarpone mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining whipped cream.
Hull and slice half of strawberries. Spread 1/2 cup preserve mixture over the bottom of a 3-quart oblong serving dish or a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.
Arrange enough ladyfingers over strawberry mixture to cover the bottom of the dish. Spoon 3/4 cup preserve mixture over ladyfingers, then cover with 2 1/2 cups of the mascarpone mixturer. Arrange 2 cups sliced strawberries over the mascarpone mixture.
Repeat layering with remaining ladyfingers, preserve mixture, and mascarpone mixture. Cover with plastic and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Slice remaining strawberries. Arrange over tiramisu and serve.
Admittedly, baking isn’t my preference, especially when the weather gets warm. However, I love making galettes — they are versatile and rustic. A tomato galette feels like a play cousin to the Southern tomato pie. It’s summery and fresh and is perfect for that al fresco dinner with the group of friends you want to break your COVID-19 quarantine with. I use a premade pie dough for this recipe, but if you have a favorite pie dough recipe, this is a perfect vehicle.
1 package premade pie dough or puff pastry (about 10 ounces), thawed if frozen
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved and quartered
1 pound plum or roma tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups (4 oz.) firm cheese (such as asiago, cheddar, or gouda), finely grated
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Gently toss tomatoes, garlic, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Let sit for five minutes (tomatoes will start releasing some liquid). Drain tomato mixture and transfer to paper towels.
Unwrap dough and roll out on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper to a 14-inch round about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer on parchment to a baking sheet. Scatter cheese over dough, leaving a small border. Toss the tomatoes and garlic with the nutmeg and black pepper, then arrange over the cheese layer. Bring edges of the dough up and over filling, overlapping as needed to create about a 1 ½-inch border; brush dough with egg. Sprinkle tomatoes with the remaining salt. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Bake galette, rotating once until crust is golden brown and cooked through, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheet. Finely grate the zest from a lemon over the galette; sprinkle with chopped basil.
To serve: Slice the galette, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.
Pro tip: Salting the tomatoes releases some of their liquid, ensuring the crust stays flaky, and tomatoes caramelize for a jammy finish.