The holiday week's food festivities continue with Saturday's Coke Zero 400 NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway. I think cola cuisine is the best tailgate theme for the 2013 stock-car race. Call it pop culture or perhaps pop cuisine, but cooking with soft drinks is a time-honored tradition of home cooks. The beverages substitute for sweet syrups in sauces, cakes and more. Today at my blog, OrlandoSentinel.com/the dish, you will find recipes for a swell spread including Coca-Cola Cake (pictured). All colas can be used in these recipes. I especially like the flavor root beer adds to baked beans and barbecue glazes. But before the drivers start their engines, let's dish:
Calling all makers of Southern specialties. Garden & Gun magazine's "Made in the South Awards" is looking for Southern artisans and entrepreneurs looking to tell the story of his or her brand.
Businesses must be based in the South and fall under one of the following five categories: Food, Drink, Style & Design, Outdoors, and Home. For drink, think artisanal distilled spirits. For food, think pickled okra or beans, relishes, barbecue sauces, cheese straws, benne wafers and more.
A panel from the magazine will judge and select five winning entries in each category for publication in the December /January issue.
The official call for entries ends Aug. 1. Entry forms and more details are at gardenandgun.com/madeinthesouth. The first-round judging will be based on photos and entry forms. Any Southern artisan or business with a product that will be available through January can apply.
Shopping alert. Heart of Christmas Farms will host a producer-only farm market from noon-4 p.m. July 14 at its East Orange County hydroponic farm.
Vendors include Crispy Farms (chicken, jams, breads), Baked from Scratch (baked goods, including gluten free), Lineage Brewers (fair trade coffee), Chews Naturally (dog treats and toys) and more. Heart of Christmas is at 21310 Fort Christmas Road in Christmas; call 407-512-2004 for details.
Good read. "Fifty Shades of Kale" by Drew Ramsey and veteran cookbook author Jennifer Iserloh is a fun cookbook with 50 decadent recipes.
Published by HarperWave, the book takes a wry approach to the health benefits of kale. From breakfast to cocktails — yes, cocktails — there are delicious twists on the green theme. My favorite recipes include Kaleonnaise, Thai'd Up Roughage and Kale Chicken Enchiladas. Also, there's information on how to make kale chips.
What's in season. As the heat cranks up Florida harvests and catches wane a bit.
In the produce bins, look for Florida avocado, specialty bananas, carambola, guava, longans, lychees, mango, mushrooms, passion fruit, peanuts and watermelon.
At the seafood counter, Florida finds include alligator, blue crab, clams, flounder, oysters, snapper, shrimp, tilapia, tilefish, and yellow-fin tuna.
Heather McPherson can be reached at 407-420-5498, Twitter@OS_thedish and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow daily food news at OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish.
Get the dish
Check out the Morning Mix with Scott McKenzie recipe of the week, Peach & Berry Cobbler, at OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish.