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Chef Ryan McQuillan’s wood-fired Margherita pizza is one of the dishes served at The Exchange at the Lancaster Marriott. McQuillan stands in the open kitchen at the rooftop bar and eatery.

The food color most associated with your heart is one that can be helpful to your health.

Red produce, including tomatoes, pomegranates, beets, cherries, raspberries and strawberries, are filled with such healthy nutrients as beta carotene, lycopene and vitamins A and C. And the wide variety of red foods in nature offer plenty of options for making appetizers and main dishes, desserts and beverages. We continue LNP’s six-week “Color Palate” series — exploring foods in various hues — with the color red this week. (You can revisit the previous two LNP food color stories online at: and

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If you like your red food and beverages served 12 stories in the air, you might want to order a pizza, salad or cocktail at The Exchange in the new expansion at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square.

At the new rooftop restaurant, Executive Chef Ryan McQuillan and Beverage Director Frank Fontaine serve up casual American food and cool cocktails with expansive views of Lancaster city.

(An affiliate of LNP Media Group, publisher of LNP and operator of website LancasterOnline, is a limited partner in Penn Square Partners, the hotel’s owner and operator.)

We asked McQuillan and Fontaine to prepare some red food and drink from the menu and to share the recipes with our readers.

McQuillan serves up three kinds of wood-fired pizza, one of them being the Margherita.

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Chef Ryan McQuillan holds his wood-fired margherita pizza, left, and watermelon and heirloom tomato salad inside The Exchange at the Lancaster Marriott.

“For the Margherita pizza, we’re using (Tipo) 00 flour and some bread flour,” McQuillan says. The 00 is a high-gluten flour that’s very powdery and very light, he says.

“We’re making Neopolitan-style dough,” he says. “The only difference with ours (is) we add bread flour for crispiness. That way, (the crust) is a little more cracker-like.

“We’re using San Marzano tomatoes, some olive oil and garlic, and some basil on top,” he says. “And we’re getting really good mozzarella in from Caputo Brothers, a creamery in York County.”

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Chef Ryan McQuillan’s wood-fired Margherita pizza is one of the dishes served at The Exchange at the Lancaster Marriott.



For Neopolitan dough (makes several pizzas):

• 500 grams 00 pizza flour

• 500 grams bread flour

• 20 grams honey

• 15 grams salt

• 80 grams yeast

• 50 grams extra-virgin olive oil

• 650 grams water

(To translate ingredients into smaller amounts, use these percentages: Bread flour, 50%, "00" flour 50%, honey, 2%, salt, 1.5%, fresh yeast, 8%, olive oil, 5%, water, 65%.)


Weigh ingredients and mix wet ingredients to dry ingredients.

Let proof (rise) at room temperature for 1 hour.

Roll into even balls and refrigerate for 72 hours.

Before baking let proof 1 hour.

For pizza topping:

• 1 (10-pound) can San Marzano tomatoes

• 25 grams sea salt

• 3 cloves garlic

• 5 grams sugar

• 3 ounces mozzarella cheese

• Basil, chopped


Combine the tomatoes, salt, garlic and sugar and let sit for 4 hours until the sauce is marinated. Assemble the pizza with slices of mozzarella and chopped basil on top.

Bake at 650 F or in the hottest oven available.

On a cast-iron pan or on a baking stone in a wood-fired oven, bake for about 2 minutes. At home, at about 500 F, it should take around 12 minutes.

Look for a dark golden crust and evenly melted cheese.

Another red food on McQuillan’s menu is an heirloom tomato and compressed watermelon salad.

He puts pieces of watermelon and an infusion of herbs and liquid in sealed bags and vacuums out the air in a Cryovac machine. That takes the air bubbles out of the fruit and gives it a denser texture.

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Chef Ryan McQuillan, right, and beverage director Frank Fontaine stand on the patio at The Exchange rooftop bar and eatery, at the Lancaster Marriott. 

“We’re using really good, different kinds of heirloom tomatoes from Lancaster Farm Fresh (Co-op),” McQuillan says, “and watermelon from Fifth MonthFarm in Mount Joy.

“There are sunflower shoots on top that we get from Fox & Wolfe (Farm)” at Lancaster Central Market. And he uses whipped feta from another market standholder, Linden Dale Farm.

“And then we do a little bit of a crumbled cracker on top with some sunflower seeds,” he says, along with “some black lava sea salt and some crushed oatmeal.”

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Compressed watermelon and heirloom tomatoes are part of this salad, served up by Chef Ryan McQuillan at The Exchange on Lancater Marriott’s rooftop.


Ingredients for infusion for Cryovac watermelon:

• 4-ounce pieces of watermelon

• 50 grams sherry vinegar

• 20 grams mint and basil

• 125 grams sugar

• 250 grams water


Put ingredients and 4-ounce pieces of watermelon in a Cryovac bag. Compress pieces of watermelon in Cryovac machine for maximum flavor.



• 3 cups feta cheese

• 1 cup heavy cream

• 2 sheets gelatin

• White pepper for seasoning


In a small skillet, combine the feta and cream and simmer over moderate heat until the feta is slightly melted, about 1 minute.

Stir in the softened gelatin and transfer to a blender. Puree until fairly smooth.

Season with white pepper. Scrape the mixture into a shallow bowl and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

Bring the feta mousse back to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Whisk the mousse until loosened.



• 1 cup old-fashioned oats

• 3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

• 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

• 1/3 cup sesame seeds

• 3 tablespoons chia seeds

• 3 tablespoons poppy seeds

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

• 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

• 3/4 cup water, room temperature


Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, poppy seeds and salt in a large bowl.

Stir oil, maple syrup and water in a medium bowl to combine.

Pour liquid over oat mixture and toss until mixture is completely soaked. Let sit 10 minutes; mixture will absorb water and thicken.

Form oat mixture into a ball and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Press a second sheet of parchment paper directly on top and, using a rolling pin, flatten to 1/8-inch thick (the shape doesn’t matter). Remove top layer of parchment.

Bake cracker until golden brown around edges, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn out, parchment side up.

Place a fresh sheet of parchment on baking sheet.

Remove parchment from cracker, carefully turn cracker over and return to baking sheet.

Bake until firm and golden brown around edges, 15-20 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet, then break into pieces with your hands.



• 6 red onions, julienned

• 1/2 head red cabbage (leave as is)

• 1 quart red wine vinegar

• 1 quart water

• 1 cup sugar

• 1/4 cup salt

• 1 sprig thyme


Bring salt, sugar, vinegar and water to a boil. Place in a container with thyme, red onion and red cabbage.

Directions for assembling the salad:

Slice 2 ounces of compressed watermelon into uniform cubes.

Slice 2 ounces of sungold and baby heirloom tomatoes in half.

Place feta mousse on plate and spread.

Pick fresh marjoram and place it and pickled red onion on plate.

Place tomato and watermelon on top, and dress with 1 ounce Frantoia (or other brand) extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 ounce Pedro Ximenez aged sherry vinegar (or an aged balsamic vinegar), sea salt and espelette (powdered red pepper).

Finish with the sunflower seed cracker pieces, smoked sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower sprouts.

Frank Fontaine, beverage director for The Exchange, serves up a red cocktail with a blue ice cube.

Once it melts, the cube turns the drink purple.

The Mood Swing, is “one of those ultimate summer coolers,” Fontaine says. “It’s basically a raspberry lemonade at the end of the day,” he says.

“So, it’s clean, simple, easily approachable,” he says. “It catches the eye. It has become, no doubt, our No. 1 seller in no time.

“We’re such visual animals,” Fontaine says. “We like pretty things. People see that blue ice cube and say, ‘What is that? I want that.’ ”

The blue ice cube is filled with dried butterfly pea tea flower, which turns liquids blue.

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Frank Fontaine’s red Mood Swing cocktail, featuring a butterfly pea flower ice cube that will eventually turn it purple, is served at The Exchange.



• 2 ounces Keystone vodka

• 1 ounce raspberry simple syrup (see recipe below)

• 1 ounce lemon juice

• 1 butterfly tea ice cube (recipe below)

• 2 ounces club soda


Add first 3 ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain over a butterfly tea ice cube in a double rocks glass.

Top with club soda. Garnish with a raspberry skewer.



• 1 cup water

• 1 cup sugar

• 2 cups raspberries


Combine sugar and water to saucepan over medium heat.

Stir until sugar dissolves.Add raspberries and bring to simmer. Cook 10 minutes, remove from heat and let steep 10 minutes.

Strain syrup and store in airtight container.



• 2 cups hot water

• 10 butterfly pea tea flowers


Add together and steep 15 minutes. Strain and pour into large ice cube trays and place in freezer.

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Other recipes for red food

This recipe comes from the Fleurs de Prairie vineyard, and features its Cotes de Provence Rose'.


Makes 4 servings.


• 3 small red beets, peeled and divided

• 1 cup rose wine, room temperature

• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

• 1 onion, diced

• 1/2 orange, zested and juiced

• 1 cup Arborio rice

• 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, room temperature

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

• 1 tablespoon butter


Cube 2 beets and add to a small blender or food processor with 1 cup wine. Puree until smooth, set aside. Using a sharp knife or mandolin, thinly slice remaining beet and set aside for garnish.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add onion, stirring and cooking until translucent, 5 minutes. Add orange zest and rice and toast for 1 to 2 minutes. Then add orange juice and beet-wine mixture and stir until mostly evaporated.

Add stock, a half-cup at a time, stirring continuously until absorbed.

Season with salt, cheese and butter.

Serve while hot, topped with thinly sliced beets.

Spring and summer bring red fruits to our tables.

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This rose' and beet risotto is made with Fleurs de Prairie Cotes de Provence Rose'.

The University of Illinois extension offers this red and fruity salsa recipe.


Makes 1 1/2 cups


• 1 cup coarsely chopped strawberries

• 1 tablespoon orange juice

• 1 teaspoon grated orange peel

• 1 green onion, finely chopped, top included

• 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

• 2 tablespoons dried currants

• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Chill, serve with grilled chicken or fish.

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The next two recipes come from America’s Test Kitchen.


Makes 6 servings

Start to finish: 30 minutes


• 2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges

• Salt and pepper

• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• 1 teaspoon ground cumin

• 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 1 scallion, sliced thin

• 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano

• 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)


Toss tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain in colander set over bowl for 15 to 20 minutes.

Microwave oil, garlic and cumin in bowl until fragrant, about 30 seconds; let cool slightly. Transfer 1 tablespoon tomato liquid to large bowl; discard remaining liquid. Whisk in yogurt, lemon juice, scallion, oregano and oil mixture until combined. Add tomatoes and feta and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Food Column ATK Tomato Salad with Feta and Cumin Yogurt Dressing

This Tomato Salad with Feta and Cumin-Yogurt Dressing, from "The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook," is a vivid example of the use of red ingredients in dishes.


Makes 6 servings

Start to finish: 1 hour, 15 minutes


• 1 1/2 pounds beets, trimmed and halved horizontally

• 1 1/4 cups water

• Salt and pepper

• 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

• 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

• 1 shallot, sliced thin

• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

• 1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted and chopped

• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme


Place beets, cut side down, in single layer in Dutch oven. Add water and 1/4 teaspoon salt and bring to simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until beets are tender and can be easily pierced with paring knife, 45 to 50 minutes.

Transfer beets to cutting board to cool slightly. Meanwhile, increase heat to medium-high and reduce cooking liquid, stirring occasionally, until pan is almost dry, 5 to 6 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar, return to boil and cook, stirring constantly with heat-resistant spatula until spatula leaves wide trail when dragged through glaze, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Food Column ATK Braised Beets with Lemon and Almonds

Braised Beets with Lemon and Almonds is a recipe from the cookbook "Vegetables Illustrated." 

Once beets are cool enough to handle, rub off skins with paper towels and cut into 1/2 inch wedges.

Add beets, shallot, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to glaze and toss to coat. Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with almonds, mint and thyme, and serve.


• Braised Beets with Lime and Pepitas: Omit thyme. Substitute lime zest for lemon zest, toasted pepitas for almonds and cilantro for mint.

• Braised Beets with Orange and Walnuts: Substitute orange zest for lemon zest, walnuts for almonds, and parsley for mint.