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Getting personal with pizzas

| Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 3:33 p.m.
DiGiornio Design a Pizza kit

Frozen pizza options have at last realized something we've been doing at home for ... ever!

DiGiorno Design a Pizza kits introduce customized pizza without you going to the fuss of buying extra products. Each Design a Pizza kit includes a full-size cheese pizza with a variety of premium meats, vibrant veggies, shredded cheese and a seasoning packet — all packaged separately — allowing everyone to design his or her own perfect slice. They bake in the oven in 21 to 22 minutes.

Design a Pizza kits are available in grocery freezer sections in three varieties:

• Pepperoni and sausage with peppers and onions

• Spinach, tomato and red onion with pepperoni

• Chicken, green pepper and red onion with pepperoni

Ramen 101: Terms, ingredients to know

Here are terms and ingredients you'll see at ramen shops:

Shoyu: Ramen with soy sauce added to the clear brown stock, usually made with chicken. Widely available; consider it ramen's basic cheeseburger.

Shio: Ramen with sea salt added to the clear, thin broth; a light, delicate style.

Tonkotsu: Rich, cloudy broth made with long-boiled pork bones, whose collagen and calcium cause the milky color. Very flavorful.

Miso: Broth made with soybean paste; a thicker, more opaque bowl.

Fish cake: Mildly flavored white disks with a pink spiral in the middle, used as a garnish; made from pulverized white fish formed into a roll and sliced.

Chasu: Pork belly formed into a roll and braised with flavorful additions such as soy sauce and spices. Includes fat as well as lean meat; the presence of fat is not a flaw in chasu. Pork belly also can be served in slabs.

Tomago: Egg. May be whole or cut in half and hard-boiled or soft-boiled; stir the runny yolk into the broth for richness. Do not be concerned if the white is brown; it was marinated in a soy-sauce mixture.

Nori: Tissue-thin sheets of blackish-green dried seaweed, shredded or served in squares atop a ramen bowl.

Make your summer party sparkle

Parties, ultimately, are about people — but detail-conscious hosts set the stage for fun. Here, experts recommend simple ways to take a summer party from good to great.

Elevate your space. Today, party hosts have decor options that run far beyond the standard-issue picnic table. People are putting more effort into creating outdoor spaces they want to spend time in. Use dining and living sets created for outdoor space.

Offer a signature cocktail. Experts agree that offering a signature cocktail is a summertime party must. Tie the drink to the event, with an herbaceous cocktail for an herb-potting party, a pretty rosé wine for arranging flowers or a snow cone for a carnival theme.

Food bars are stars. Sundae bars are really fun in the summertime. Stock a dessert bar with ice cream and candy toppings. Or opt for a fun drink bar, like a sangria bar that includes three different types of the summery wine cocktail.

Anticipate needs. A basket holding outdoor party necessities will please your guests. Stock the basket with sunscreen, bug spray, citronella candles and activities like firefly catchers to keep kids entertained.

Hire experts. Hire both a professional musician and a bartender to help keep the party lively and moving, even for casual parties at home. Live music elevates any social environment. A bartender will impress your guests, will make the cleaning up way easier and get everyone what they want more quickly.

The trick to parchment paper

Parchment paper or plastic wrap can both help you roll out a thin dough without adding flour. To keep it in place, try the old kitchen trick of spreading out a thin dish towel, then place the paper on top. Make sure you use natural parchment that isn't coated with silicone. It isn't as slick as white parchment.

— Staff and wire reports

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