Hot dogs, baseball and apple pie make up the all-American summer trio. I say there's room to add ice cream to that combo.
Ice cream sales took a small dip in 2009 (the latest year the International Ice Cream Association has numbers for), yet the freezer cases at the grocery store continue to bulge with cartons of frozen treats.
And they're about to bulge even more with the introduction of Hudsonville to the suburbs.
If you've ever vacationed in Michigan harbor country or driven through the western part of that state, you've probably spotted Hudsonville ice cream in ice cream parlors along Route 31 or in blue-topped cartons in grocery freezer cases. The creamery, founded in 1926, is beginning to make inroads here, showing up at independent grocers like Angelo Caputo's (Addison, Naperville, South Elgin) and at festivals around the area handing out free samples.
Hudsonville relies on fresh ingredients (the cream is delivered on Monday and in the mix by Tuesday) and sources locally when possible -- ribbons of blueberries from Michigan fields burst in the limited release Blueberry Cobbler flavor and whole roasted pecans from Elgin-based Terri Lynn give the top-selling Butter Pecan its signature crunch.
Hudsonville's Regional Sales Manager Dave Seiffert of Palatine says the ice cream can be found in about 70 stores in the Chicago area and should be available in 100 locations by the end of the year.
Friend Hudsonville Creamery and Ice Cream Company on Facebook.com to get the latest availability info.
Patriot act: Kids 12 and younger who can recite the Pledge of Allegiance from memory will earn FREE ICE CREAM! from the folks at Capannari Ice Cream in Mount Prospect.
Beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, July 1, veterans will lead a patriotic ceremony, which will include the Pledge, to kick off the Fourth of July weekend. If you miss the opening ceremony, just pop into the shop, 10 S. Pine St. until 7 p.m.
Capannari's is one of 35 shops around the country participating in the "I Pledge" event that started in 2010 at Leopold's Ice Cream in Savanah, Ga.
The family fun continues on Sunday with an ice cream eating contest from noon to 2 p.m. Registration for the competition is closed, but you can show up to cheer for the competitors and watch to see how a bunch of 9-year-olds deal with a brain freeze. Find more info about Capannari's and its 10th anniversary celebrations at (847) 392-2277 or capannaris.com.
Cooking at the Taste: Food Network darling Giada De Laurentiis is among the celebrity chefs and local culinary lumaries demonstrating recipes and offering tips at the Taste of Chicago.
Cooking demonstrations run every hour on the half hour from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through Sunday, July 3, at the Dominick's Cooking Corner. The demonstrations are free.
De Laurentiis makes a return visit to the festival complements of Bella Sera wines. She will be showing audience members how to make Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Seafood, pictured, among other recipes at 2:30 p.m. Friday. Warming up the stage for her will be the charismatic team of Jimmy Bannos (Heaven of Seven) and Jimmy Bannos, Jr. (Purple Pig) who go on at 1:30 p.m.
The complete chef line-up is available at explorechicago.org.
Miso-stry solved: Earlier this month I ran a recipe for Miso Chickpea Sliders. The recipe calls for 8 tablespoons sweet white miso.
Turns out that ingredient stumped some readers who weren't familiar with miso. So for Howard of Mount Prospect and the others here's a primer:
Miso is fermented soy bean paste that originated in Japan. While that may not sound too appetizing, miso has a salty taste and butter texture (kind of like a nut butter). It's available in white, red and brown varieties (the lighter the color, the more mellow the flavor) and generally comes in a plastic tub. You find it in the refrigerated case at the grocery store.
The most traditional way to eat it is in Japanese miso soup (just add hot water and your favorite veggies), but you can also spread it on bread and top with avocado slices, use it in marinades, or mix it with olive oil, ginger and garlic for an Asian dressing.
Meatless Monday: For today's Meatless Monday recipe I direct you to Page where Eat in and Save columnist Marialisa Calta discusses famed food writer Mark Bitman's transition to a less-meat diet.
• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at email@example.com. Friend her on Facebook.com at Deb Pankey Daily Herald.