A FRESH Take on Comfort Food

Cherry Tomato GratinWe’ve all been reaching for comfort food lately and recipes that easily feed the family. Casseroles are a favorite choice, but with warmer temperatures and summer on the way, lighter options are what we’re beginning to crave.

Spring produce like asparagus, tomatoes, local onions and squash are readily available in produce. With just a few ingredients you can create a delicious gratin or pie made from any of these vegetables. The recipe below is a tomato gratin that is really easy to put together. You can also do variations of this recipe with other vegetables or larger tomatoes cut into slices. Another alternative is to make it with cheeses like goat, gruyere or cheddar instead of Parmesan. Also, instead of a breadcrumb crust, bake everything in a pie crust, puff pastry or toss with cubes of French bread.

It’s a simple way to enjoy your favorite seasonal veggies and keep those comforting casseroles as part of the meal.

Cherry Tomato Gratin
3 (10 oz) packages cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon lightly chopped fresh thyme (optional)
1/4 tsp black pepper

 Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly oil a shallow 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Place tomatoes in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, balsamic and salt. Gently toss to combine and pour into the baking dish.

In another bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, remaining olive oil, thyme and black pepper.  Cover the tomatoes with the crumb mixture. Bake until the crumbs are nicely golden, 30 to 40 minutes.

Published 5/1/20

Brunch Ready with FRESH Bakery


Winter is at a close and there is no better way to celebrate spring than brunch in the garden. Something about the first signs of spring makes me want to clean up the patio and celebrate with an outdoor feast.

What I don’t want to do is wake up early and bake! That’s why I rely on FRESH for most of the menu. The bakery always has a vast selection of delicious breads and pastries that are made in-house and everyone will love.

Bread: Specialty breads that are rustic like White Chocolate Apricot, Pecan Apple Raisin, Cranberry Orange and traditional favorites like Challah. Also, sweet loaves of Cinnamon Raisin, Pumpkin or Zucchini are supremely moist, super soft and packed with sweet notes in each bite. Fresh-baked white, sourdough, whole wheat or honey wheat loaves are perfect for toasting.

Coffee Cake: Baked in small batches, the coffee cakes are buttery, golden and fluffy with flavors of brown sugar and vanilla then finished off with the perfect crumble of streusel topping. Look for blueberry and sour cream flavors.

Pastries: A vast selection will make your spread look plentiful. FRESH has scones in blueberry, cranberry and cinnamon. Everyone loves muffins with big chunks of chocolate, blueberries or cranberries. There are large and small croissants, plus decadent chocolate-filled croissants. Danishes with various fillings include cream cheese, peach and raspberry, plus super sticky cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. You could also create a bagel platter with our plain or everything bagels and everyone’s favorite toppings like cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onions, capers, caviar, hard-boiled egg and avocado.

Finish off your menu with FRESH-made tortillas for making breakfast tacos, a fruit platter from produce, handcrafted yogurt, organic granola and specialty tea and coffee. Mimosa bars are also a popular brunch attraction with a selection of FRESH squeezed juice and sparkling wine. Celebrate in style and make brunch easy when you let FRESH do the early morning work for you!

Published 3/09/20

Health & Wellness for the Whole Family


You might have noticed that FRESH’s Health & Wellness department has been refreshed! Now more than ever, FRESH is one stop shopping for everyday grocery needs, pantry specialties and healthy products for the whole family.

With an expanded selection of vitamins, hair and skin care, nutrition bars and baby products – at FRESH your greatest wealth is health.

All the Best for Your Baby: Easy access for moms looking for a large variety of baby products that are natural, organic, and for everyday use. Shop the expanded selection of baby food and formulas. FRESH has just what you need for each stage of your baby’s life.

CBD Alternative Care: Everyone is talking about CBD. FRESH has carefully chosen a variety of products that have topical benefits like fighting inflammation, calming joint discomfort, supporting exercise recovery, relieving aching muscles and promoting healthy skin. It is non-habit forming, non-toxic and does not contain any controlled substances.

Vitamins & Nutritional Supplements: Organic and specialty vitamins designed to meet individual dietary needs for women, men, seniors and children. Plus you can find nutritional supplements that can be added to smoothies and other recipes. Look for protein powders, plant-based supplements, healthy oils, seeds and liquid additives.

Nutrition Bars: Mix and match with a large selection of nutrition bars. Whatever your nutrition need – high protein, low carb, keto, gluten free and more – we have a bar for you. So many different brands in endlessly flavorful varieties. Mix and match to your heart’s content and save 15% when you buy twelve or more.

Hair & Skin Care: Your skin is the body’s largest organ, covering about twenty square feet of total area. Keeping your skin soft and hair shiny is an important part of your healthcare routine. Organic and natural skin and hair products, along with essential oils and other personal hygiene products, keep us looking and feeling good.

It’s easy to stay fit with FRESH when you shop the Health & Wellness department. We’ve done the legwork for you and sourced hundreds of new items in every category – skin, hair, dental, baby, vitamins, nutrition and more – it’s all the best for you and your family.

Published 2/25/20

Indulge in Mardi Gras Desserts

King Cake Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

Mardi Gras is a final chance to indulge in a culinary feast before forty days of sacrifice during Lent. What better way to commemorate the occasion than with a dessert mashup? We can’t resist two of New Orleans’ best known desserts - Bananas Foster and King Cake - but what a difficult decision.

Don’t worry, you can have both with a King Cake Bananas Foster Bread Pudding. King Cakes are available in the FRESH bakery, and this special dessert is easy to make and very decadent.

After one bite you’ll be ready to let the good times roll!

King Cake Bananas Foster Bread Pudding:

For the Bread Pudding:

1 King Cake (from FRESH bakery)
1 cup white chocolate chips
3 cups milk
2 eggs
2 bananas
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup banana liqueur
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Bananas Foster sauce:

2 tablespoons apricot jam
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup triple sec
1/4 cup banana liqueur
1/4 cup dark rum
4 bananas, sliced

To make the pudding, cut King Cake bread into 1-inch cubes and place on a baking sheet. Place in a cold oven overnight so the cake will dry out.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the bread cubes in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Scatter the white chocolate chips over the top of the bread. Place remaining ingredients in a blender and pulse to liquefy and combine. Pour over the bread cubes and let the mixture soak into the bread until liquid is absorbed and bread becomes very soggy. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly. This is best served warm.

To make the sauce, heat jam, orange juice and brown sugar in a saucepan. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add the alcohol and stir to combine. Cook over low heat until heated through. Stir in the sliced bananas and turn off the heat. To serve, cut bread pudding into two-inch squares. Top warm bread pudding with the sauce.

Published 2/11/20

Make Valentine’s Day Sparkle

Pink WineThey say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but it’s not the only thing that sparkles on Valentine’s Day. If you can’t spring for diamonds, sparkling wine with some flowers or chocolate is just as nice. But don’t let the selection in the wine aisle intimidate you. There’s something there for everyone in many different price points, levels of sweetness and varieties of bubbly.

Sweetness Level:

Extra Brut: Undetectable sweetness with 0 to 6 grams residual sugar per liter.
Brut: Very little sweetness with only 6 to 12 grams residual sugar per liter.
Extra Dry (Extra Sec): Some detectable sweetness with 12 to 17 grams residual sugar per liter.
Dry (Sec): Noticeable sweetness with 17 to 32 grams residual sugar per liter.

Varieties of Sparkling Wine:

Champagne: True Champagne is only produced in the Champagne region of France. It is usually a blend of grapes – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – and sometimes Pinot Meunier. They use the traditional method of bottling, which means it is bottle fermented. The wine has gone through one fermentation in the tank and then another in the bottle, which creates the bubbles. The second fermentation can take months to years and then the wine goes through a riddling process to remove yeast and sugar sediment. It is then given a sugar dosage that classifies the champagne style as Brut, Extra Dry or Dry.

Prosecco: Made from Prosecco grapes, also known as Glera grapes, in the Italian region of Veneto. This sparkling wine is produced using the tank method.  This means its second fermentation takes place in a tank rather than individual bottles. It is then cooled, clarified and receives its sugar dosage in the tank.

Moscato d’ Asti: A sparkling wine produced in the style of the Asti region of Italy. It is typically semi-sweet, lightly carbonated and low in alcohol.

Spumante: Spumante is a term used for sparkling wine in Italy. It actually means foaming. In Spumante, the sweetness level and type of grape can vary depending on the vineyard and region.

Lambrusco: Another Italian sparkling wine that is well-known is Lambrusco. It is a red sparkling wine made from the Lambrusco grape of the Emilia-Romagna region. Lambrusco is traditionally sweet, but some producers are now creating dry versions.

Sparkling Rosé: Also known as pink champagne, the wine is made from red grapes which can vary by region and country.  It is produced in the rose or blush methods of limiting the grape’s contact with its skin. They can vary from dry to sweet and generally have more fruit and floral flavors.

Blanc de Blancs: Made entirely from white grapes – typically Chardonnay – Blanc de Blancs is very different in flavor and lighter in color. Because champagne is typically made with Pinot Noir grapes that are light in flavor, Blanc de Blancs has a richly complex flavor with citrus notes that bring a lively acidic quality that is crisp and bright but finishes dry and creamy.

Published 2/3/20


Eat Better & Feel Better with Turmeric

TurmericIt’s a new year and a new decade and a great time to implement some new healthy habits. Recently, I decided to look for better ways to manage aches and pains rather than turning to over the counter painkillers. Turmeric is something I’ve heard a lot about and I was curious how this ancient root could make a healthy difference.

As part of the ginger family, turmeric has been used for hundreds of years in Eastern medicine as a remedy for numerous ailments. It is currently experiencing new popularity in Western culture and in the culinary world. It can be found as an ingredient in lattes, ice cream, smoothies, sauces, curries and even baked goods. It’s a common spice in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine and its bright yellow-orange color is noticeable in any dish for which it is used as an ingredient.

Turmeric is most often talked about as a natural anti-inflammatory, but it is also known for its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. There are a variety of turmeric supplements in the Health and Wellness department and studies have shown that turmeric can improve overall health and specifically help with arthritis, viral infections, mood, memory, digestion and managing cholesterol and blood sugar.

When cooking with turmeric, you can find it in powdered form in the spice aisle or fresh in the produce department. The fresh variety looks like a smaller version of ginger root. It should be peeled and then grated to use in a recipe. You can also freeze the root whole to use as needed. The flavor is warm, smoky and slightly bitter. When using it in baked goods or drinks, you can balance the flavor with an equal amount of honey. Fresh turmeric is best for flavor and health benefits, but dried is easier to use and more readily available. When using in a recipe, 1 tablespoon of fresh turmeric is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon dried turmeric.

Note: Please consult your physician before trying turmeric as a supplement or to treat a specific medical condition. Individual needs and results may vary.

Parchment-Steamed Flounder with Lemon-Turmeric Sauce

4 flounder filets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 lemons
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 cups cooked rice, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper into 12x12 squares. Place a filet in the middle of each square. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slice lemons into 12 round slices and place 3 slices on the top of each filet.

Bring the top and the bottom part of the parchment up over the middle of the fish. Begin folding the paper down towards the fish leaving some room for air circulation. Fold up the sides to create a packet. Repeat with all four pieces of fish. Place the packets on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, whisk together the cream and broth over medium heat. Stir in the turmeric and chile flakes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 5 minutes to thicken and reduce. Remove from heat and stir in the peas.

When the fish is ready, carefully unwrap the packets. Using four shallow bowls, spoon some sauce into the bottom of each bowl. Add some rice and place the filets on top of the rice. Drizzle with more sauce and top with the lemon slices.

Published 1/13/20

Citrus is Brightest during Winters Darkest Days

citrusBright, colorful, juicy and light – not exactly words that are associated with winter. But this is the time of year to indulge in all types of citrus.

A stroll through the produce department offers an array of citrus just waiting to be juiced or eaten. There are several varieties of lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines and grapefruit. All are in season and at their peak of flavor.

When it comes to choosing citrus, the best flavor comes from citrus that has a slight give when pressed and a bit of softness. Also, when choosing fruit for juicing look for citrus that has a smoother skin – a bumpy-skinned orange or lime will yield less juice than one with smooth skin.

Here are just a few of the varieties to look for and enjoy from the FRESH produce department:

Oro Blanco Grapefruit: Less acidic than a typical grapefruit, the oro blanco is covered in a thick rind that ranges in color from green to yellow and contains a white flesh. They are juicy with a sweet to tart flesh and can be enjoyed like a grapefruit.

Melogold Grapefruit:  This cross between a pomelo and a white grapefruit is extremely large with yellowish skin and pale-yellow flesh. The rind is thick, but the interior is extremely juicy. It is the sweetest grapefruit when compared to ruby red and oro blanco.

Blood Oranges: The skin of a blood orange darkens over time as the red juice from the interior begins to seep into the rind. They have a very sweet flavor and their juice is a popular ingredient in recipes. They will become sweeter and juicier as they ripen, and their skin darkens in color.

Cara Cara Oranges: Also known as red navel oranges, Cara Cara have a bright orange peel and pink-raspberry colored flesh. They have a low acid profile and undertones of cherry flavor. They are very juicy and great for sauces and drinks.

Meyer Lemons: Once grown only as ornamental garden lemons, Meyer lemons are now enjoyed for their mild, sweet, juicy flesh. Although still too tart to eat out-of-hand, the juice is a delicious additive in many recipes.

 Kumquats: Just a bit larger than an olive, the kumquat looks like a tiny oval orange. It is eaten whole – skin and all. The orange flesh is juicy, acidic and tart while the skin is fragrant and sweet.

Key Limes: Although they are small the juice from a key lime is more intense than the juice from a regular lime. Most often used in cooking, the key lime is also more fragrant and less acidic.

Tangerines/Mandarins: A member of the mandarin family, there are many varieties of tangerines that include honey, Minneola, neapolitan, satsuma and Ojai pixie. They vary in flavor from sweet to tart and typically have a sweet, clean fragrance. A bit larger than mandarins, the tangerines are easy to peel and often seedless.

Clementines: The smallest member of the mandarin family, clementines are often imported from Spain, North Africa or Morocco. Also called “Cuties,” this is a brand of clementines that are grown in California. They are small and easy to peel with less juice than most oranges and are best enjoyed when peeled and eaten in sections.

Oranges: Most popular varieties include navel and Valencia. The Valencia orange typically yields more juice. Navel oranges have a thicker skin and are great for eating. 

Published 12/30/19


Sweet Christmas Treats for the Whole Family

hot chocolateI have many fun memories of family time during the Christmas season, especially ones where we gathered in the kitchen or around the table to make holiday treats. Cookies, candy, gingerbread houses – we’d spend hours rolling out dough, decorating, stringing popcorn and wrapping up little bags of brittle or candied nuts to deliver to friends.

There would be hot chocolate for everyone and we’d sneak a bite of whatever was being made. By the time we were finished, sprinkles and flour covered the kitchen. That might be why Mom and Dad needed a little something extra in their hot chocolate!

Here’s a fun recipe the kids will love for a twist on Rice Krispy Treats and a special hot chocolate – just for the grownups!

Rice Krispy Candy Cane Pops
4 tablespoons butter
1 (10 oz) package of marshmallow
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or peppermint extract
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 (12 oz) bag white chocolate chips
1 (12 oz) bag dark chocolate chips
Assorted sprinkles
24 candy canes or lollipop sticks

In a large saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until melted. Stir in the vanilla. Turn off the heat and stir in the cereal.  Begin forming into balls using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture. Depending on size, you should be able to make 24 balls.

In the microwave or using a double boiler, melt the white chocolate chips. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. One at a time, drop 12 of the balls into the white chocolate and use a toothpick to roll and completely coat the balls with the white chocolate. Place them on the baking sheet and decorate with the sprinkles before the chocolate has dried. Repeat the process with the dark chocolate. Let the chocolate set for 1 hour. To insert the candy canes, use the tip of a sharp knife to make a hole in the bottom of each ball, wide enough for the candy cane to be inserted. If using lollipop sticks, the sticks can be inserted before the balls are dipped in the chocolate.

Spiked Hot Chocolate
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup hot cocoa mix
2 oz liquor
Whipped cream
Cocoa powder or sprinkles for garnish

In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat. When the milk is simmering, whisk in the cocoa mix. Remove from the heat and add the liquor of your choice. Choose from spiced rum, amaretto, Bailey’s Irish Cream, coffee liqueur, marshmallow vodka, bourbon, brandy or peppermint schnapps. Pour into 2 mugs or heatproof glasses and top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cocoa powder. Makes 2.

Published 12/16/19


Building the Perfect Cheese Platter

Cheese PlatterTis the season for holiday parties and one of the most popular things to serve at any event is a cheese platter. They’re also very trendy at the moment with photos everywhere of large cutting boards overflowing with cheese, charcuterie items, fruit, vegetables and crackers. They look like a large artistic arrangement and can sometimes appear intimidating to someone who wants to create their own version. But don’t worry! You don’t have to be a professional caterer to build a fabulous cheese platter. Just visit the FRESH Charcuterie & Cheese department and follow some of our basic guidelines. Soon you will be creating your own cheesy masterpiece, and everyone will be posting photos of your holiday platter.

Choose a Surface: Large cutting boards, ceramic platters, marble and glass. You can also do a grouping of small boards to separate cheese, fruit and vegetables.

Pick Your Cheeses: The standard rule is 4 types of cheese – old, new, stinky, blue. The old represents a hard, aged cheese like an aged cheddar, gouda, parmesan or gruyere. The new is a soft cheese like brie, goat, camembert or a cheese spread. The stinky is typically blue cheese – gorgonzola, Roquefort, artisanal American blue or stilton – also fontina and taleggio pack a pungent punch. For the wild card, it can be anything you enjoy. A flavored gouda, wine or beer infused cheese or a semi-soft cheese.

Charcuterie: Choose 3 types of meat with different textures and shapes. From the charcuterie case I usually pick Prosciutto di Parma or Speck Alto Adige, also a salami and some type of artisanal deli meat. In the FRESH case, Creminelli and Molinari have traditional Italian salami that can be bought by the slice or a whole link. Many are infused with different flavors like wine, truffles, garlic or fennel. The artisanal deli meats are things like Soppressata, Coppa or Capicola. All of these can be fanned out, rolled or loosely gathered in clusters on the platter.

Accompaniments: Other things to add to the platter are olives, nuts, fruit paste, honey, dried fruit, vegetables, dip, crackers and bread. It’s important to bring in elements with different textures, contrasting flavors and a variety of color. Fruit paste, chutney and honey are great to serve with strong cheeses. They balance the flavor with a contrast of sharp and sweet. A small bowl of hummus from the dip bar can be dressed up with olive oil, herbs or spices. Also, fruits and vegetables are, of course, there for eating but can also serve as a divider between the cheeses.

When it comes to crackers, I like to find a few with different shapes, textures and flavors. Panzanella crackers are perfect for any type of cheese and can be found near the salad bar, along with housemade flatbread that is thin and crispy. There is a great assortment of different crackers in the aisles and artisan crisps like Kii Naturals are an interesting visual element and delicious. Stop by the bakery, too, for fresh baked bread. Bakery staff will slice any loaf and then before serving brush it with olive oil and broil for 2 to 4 minutes.

Functional & Coordinated Accessories: Small bowls to hold olives, nuts, vegetables, dip or spreadable cheese can also anchor the board and create different sections on the platter. You can also put crackers or bread in a separate basket on the side. Remember to have multiple cheese knives, small forks, spoons or tongs. You can also have decorative picks or small signs that identify the cheeses and meats. Try to match the accessories to fit the character of the platter.

Building the Platter: Before you even unwrap the cheese, decide where you want your cheeses and larger accessories to be on the board. Space them out, but also recognize them as primary focal points on the board. Other things like meats, fruit, vegetables and accompaniments can gather around each cheese. Decide how much space each element will need and also take into consideration that height creates visual interest, so piles and clusters can make up for lack of space. Begin building your platter 1 hour before serving. This gives you time to create your arrangement and let the cheese and meat come to room temperature.

Garnish is the Final Touch: Once you’ve built the platter see where there are spaces that need to be filled between various elements. Pick a leafy garnish like thyme, bay leaves, savory, basil, rosemary or Italian parsley to fill in those spaces.

How Much to Buy: A general rule for portion size is 2 ounces per cheese per person plus various sides like olives, nuts, fruit paste and charcuterie items. When buying charcuterie, order by the slice rather than weight. Plan 3 to 5 slices per person total. So for a party of 10 people I would get 10 slices of Prosciutto, 10 to 12 slices of salami and 10 to 12 slices of artisanal deli meat. Be sure to ask for paper thin slices. Many of the nuances and flavors in these meats cannot be appreciated when sliced thick. Amounts will also vary depending if you are serving other food or a meal. Buy more of both cheese and meat if the platter is all that you are serving.

Published 11/25/19

Cheers to a Happy Thanksgiving!


It’s the season for gatherings and celebrations and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to toast the holiday with festive spirits. Some of our favorite holiday foods are not just for the table. Those same ingredients also go very well in cocktails.

Fresh Cranberries: Use these bright red berries as a garnish in cocktails or cook them down with sugar and water to create a simple cranberry syrup to use in sodas and cocktails. I like to make large batches of this syrup and freeze in ice cube trays for use all year round.

Pumpkin: Believe it or not, pumpkin flavored vodka is a thing. I’ve seen it for sale and it’s also easy to make. The subtle pumpkin flavor infuses the alcohol along with vanilla and cinnamon. I will be using it to make a Cornucopia Cocktail for my Thanksgiving guests. You can also mix it with white chocolate liqueur or Irish crème. Add a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin puree and a dash of pumpkin spice to the shaker and you have a spirited version of an iced-pumpkin latte.

Pecan Pie: If you don’t want to eat a slice, you can drink it in a glass. Yes, there is a pecan liqueur and when combined in a shaker with your favorite creamy liqueur and some maple syrup it tastes just like the dessert. If you like chocolate or bourbon in your pecan pie, the drink is good with that too. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and rim the glass with finely chopped pecans mixed with brown sugar.

Cornucopia Cocktail

1 ounce pumpkin-infused vodka (see recipe below)

2 ounces FRESH squeezed orange juice

1 ounce cranberry juice

1 teaspoon honey

Club soda, for topping

Rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Fresh cranberries, for garnish

In a shaker add ice, pumpkin vodka, orange juice, cranberry juice and honey. Shake to combine. Pour over a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with soda and garnish with a rosemary skewer of fresh cranberries.

Pumpkin-Infused Vodka

2 cups diced pumpkin flesh

1 cinnamon stick, broken in a few places

1 vanilla bean, split

750 ml bottle vodka

In a large jar (at least 6 cups) or sealable container, add the pumpkin, cinnamon stick and vanilla. Pour over the vodka. Seal the jar and let soak for 3 weeks. When ready to use, strain out vodka and discard remaining ingredients. Chill for best flavor.

Cranberry Simple Syrup

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

Place cranberries, water sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cranberries are falling apart, about 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl and let the strainer sit over the bowl until the syrup has cooled to room temperature, about 1 hour. Discard the solids and refrigerate the syrup for up to 2 weeks.

Published 11/15/19

Share the Season with FRESH

HolidayWe share a lot of things during the holidays – gifts, meals, good cheer and fun times. Here at FRESH, we want to share a secret – you don’t have to do it all yourself! Let us help you with the food.

Catering is not just for big parties. It can be for small family gatherings, holiday dinners with friends, meetings at the office or something to take to that potluck party.

Choose from ham, turkey or beef tenderloin dinners that come with assorted sides and feed 6 to 8 people. Or you can order side dishes, hors d’oeuvres by the dozen, party platters or specialty desserts.

Ordering is easy. Simply call the catering department at 903-747-3512 and our staff will help you decide what to order. Also, stop by the store and take a look at our new holiday catering guide. Once you see what’s on the menu, you’ll look for an excuse to have a party!

Here are some highlights of the delicious food we hope to share with you this holiday season.

Full Dinner: Feeds 6 to 8 people. Ham, turkey or beef tenderloin entrée. Comes with gravy and 4 sides.

A La Carte Proteins: Choose from smoked or roasted turkey, spiral-sliced ham or beef tenderloin.

Side Dishes: Two packages feature either 5 or 7 traditional side dishes. Or you can order a la carte sides by the pound.

Hors D’oeuvres: Choose from a mouthwatering selection of crab cakes, various potato sliders and other unique finger foods that are perfect for any occasion. Sold by the dozen.

Platters: Everyone loves a platter and we have several. Available in small or large – there’s shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, charcuterie/cheese or beef tenderloin. For dessert, a platter of artisanal bites are always popular with minis of cheesecake, eclairs, fruit tarts, opera bastille and lemon bars.

Sweet Treats: Order a dessert for your holiday meal or order one as a hostess gift. Choose from whole pies, pumpkin rolls, and the elegant Bûche de Noel.

Call the FRESH catering department at 903-747-3512 to place an order.

Published 10/28/19

For the Love of Pasta

pastaDid you really think we’d let National Pasta Day come and go without notice? Of course not! After all, here at FRESH, pasta is one of our favorite food groups.

On Thursday, October 17th, what better way to celebrate National Pasta Day than to try some of our fresh, handmade pasta? Adding fresh pasta to our charcuterie department has won over many people, but some still ask, “Why fresh pasta?”

Most importantly, the taste and texture are significantly different than dried pasta and you must try it yourself to realize the difference. Also, it’s made with only a few, very fresh ingredients and prepared in small batches to ensure quality and flavor.

Another significant bonus, it cooks in just minutes. To prepare the noodles, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook for 2 1/2 minutes. For the ravioli, cook for 3 1/2 minutes. The great thing about cooking fresh pasta is that you always know when it’s done because it floats to the top.

Another important tip is to salt the water liberally after it comes to a boil and before you add the pasta. This gives a great boost to the flavor of the noodles. It tastes so good plain you can easily enjoy it with just a drizzle of Italian extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. You won’t even miss the sauce.

Also, be sure to check the pasta aisle for a variety of dried pasta. We have some new pastas that come all the way from Italy and are made using traditional, authentic techniques. There’s also a good assortment of gluten free and flavored pastas that are made with alternative flours, whole wheat flour or have vegetable powders included for color and taste.

We’ve got you covered when it comes to sauce. Fresh sauce is available in charcuterie and in the aisles. We have endless options that will please any palate. Or you can make your own using Italy’s famous San Marzano tomatoes. That’s my favorite way to make sauce and I always keep a batch on hand in my freezer for pasta cravings.

Give it a try and celebrate National Pasta Day just like an Italian!

San Marzano Marinara
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
1-28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 handful of fresh basil, chopped (1 tablespoon, dried)

Over medium heat add oil to a large sauce pan. When oil is hot, add the onion. Sauté until soft but ot brown. Add garlic and sauté for one minute. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the onion and garlic. Let the paste caramelize slightly. Add wine and deglaze the pan. Begin adding San Marzano tomatoes and crush while adding with a wooden spoon. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.

Add the herbs, pepper and salt and stir to combine. Let simmer for 20 minutes to 1 hour. Taste with a piece of bread and adjust seasoning, if necessary. If you make adjustments, simmer for another 15 minutes. When desired flavor is achieved, remove from heat and add chopped basil. Note: If you think the flavor is too acidic you can add a pat of butter or 1 teaspoon of sugar. If adding sugar, let the sauce simmer for another 10 minutes and test again. Makes 6 cups.

Published 10/14/19

Mangiare Bene at FRESH

Taste of Italy logoFrom October 7th to 12th, eat well and live Italian during FRESH’s Taste of Italy.  Experience the cuisine and culture of Italy with great wine, food and fun inspired by our favorite international cuisine. Over the week-long period, let FRESH transport you to Italy with gastronomic selections from Northern Italy to the tip of the boot.

Chef Roberto Rossi from Locanda del Feudo in Castelvetro di Modena, Italy will be returning to FRESH and we can’t wait to taste some of his delicious specialties that will be featured. Joining him is his brother, Andrea, a master sommelier who will make sure we have the perfect Italian wines to pair with each of the dishes.

Make plans now to join us for some of the activities or just come by the store to shop for Italian food and wine that is molto delizioso!

Monday, October 7th: House Churned Gelato – Indulge in a medium FRESH-made gelato for only $2.

Tuesday, October 8th: Neapolitan Pizza Takeover – Buy one handcrafted pizza, get one for 1/2 off from 5pm to 8pm.

Wednesday, October 9th: La Notte Di Vino – Enjoy Chef Rossi’s handmade focaccia, plus Italian wine and food pairings accompanied by live music from 6pm to 9pm.

Thursday, October 10th: Pasta Fatta in Casa – Try our handcrafted pasta. Take home your favorite tonight!

Friday, October 11th: Chef-Inspired Italian Panini – Enjoy classic Italian paninis, local beer and live music from 6pm to 9pm.

  • Sip & Savor – Discover the regions of Italian wine paired with a variety of small bites. Led by Italian sommelier, Andrea Rossi. $35 per person. Limited seating available. Class time at 5:30pm. Email [email protected] to reserve your spot.

Saturday, October 12th: Passeggiata Italiana – Savor world-class Italian cuisine as you stroll through FRESH.

  • Sip & Savor – Discover the regions of Italian wine paired with a variety of small bites. Led by Italian sommelier, Andrea Rossi. $35 per person. Limited seating available. Class time at 4:30pm. Email [email protected] to reserve your spot.

Published 9/23/19

Who Loves Coffee?

cup of coffeeWhat a crazy question! Honestly, the question should be – what would you do without coffee? The answer: probably not much. Coffee gets us going in the morning, is a great break during the day and provides a culture that brings us together with friends or family.

Coffee is loved around the world and everyone has their unique way to create the perfect cup with a variety of beans, roasts, flavors and countless coffee drinks. So why all the fuss about coffee? September 29th is National Coffee Day!

At FRESH we’re excited to celebrate one of our favorite beverages. Of course, one of the best ways to honor our favorite brew is to put the spotlight on some local coffee companies that are dedicated to creating that perfect cup of joe!

Come see us and enjoy some of these East Texas purveyors. Who knows, you may discover a new favorite way to enjoy your first taste of the day!

FRESH selection: In our coffee bar come try our selection of coffee drinks. Made to order – drip coffee, Americano, cappuccino, latte, mocha, macchiato, iced coffee and more. Also, try our locally roasted selection of beans by the bag. Available in whole bean or a variety of grinds in more than 25 flavors.

Van Zandt Coffee Company: Veteran-owned and operated out of Athens, Van Zandt Coffee Co. is on a mission to create a coffee so rich in flavor that folks could enjoy it black.

Porch Culture Coffee Roasters: Small batch, craft coffee roasting company in Tyler, Texas.  Their focus is responsible sourcing, mindful roasting, and creative distribution of profoundly good coffee.

Texas State of Mind Coffee Company: Three gold old boys in Tyler created Texas State of Mind because of their love for coffee and Texas. Using high quality, organic beans that are first stored in handcrafted oak barrels, they skillfully roast to order in a signature craft air roaster. The unique process produces much bigger and better flavored coffee.

Published 9/16/19

Prost to Oktoberfest!

Apple StruedelRaise your stein, it’s time to celebrate Oktoberfest at FRESH! From September 9th to 14th the store will be transformed into a German paradise. You’ll find specialty German foods throughout the store, a week of celebratory events, and we’re even flying in a chef from Germany who will make sure the week is filled with the rich culture and traditions of German food, music and bier. Chef Andreas Stasch works in Schöneck, Germany, and he can’t wait to share some of his favorite dishes from home with everyone at FRESH.

Don’t miss out on the fun and flavor!

Monday, September 9th – Raise Your Stein: Discover an assortment of seasonal German bier varieties exclusive to FRESH. 

Tuesday, September 10th – Flammkuchen Pizza Nacht: From 5pm to 8pm, buy one handcrafted pizza, get one half off. We will also be featuring Flammkuchen – the most famous pizza specialty from the southwestern German border. Live music from 6pm to 9m by Das Ist Lustig along with a tap takeover by Franconia Brewing Co. at FRESH Grill + Patio.

Wednesday, September 11th – Brews & Brats: From 6pm to 9pm, sample the saison! Enjoy a brat, live music, and German bier samples throughout the store. Check-in located on the patio.  Live music by Flying Balalaika Brothers.

Thursday, September 12th – A Taste of German Traditionen: Take home our house-made brats tonight!  Did you know?  Germany is the world leader of bratwurst and offers over 1,500 varieties.

Friday, September 13th – Chef-Inspired Leberkäse Night: From 6pm to 9pm at FRESH Grill + Patio, savor a Leberkäse sandwich, local bier and live music. Leberkäse loaf consists of corned beef, pork and bacon. This deliziös sandwich is traditionally served with mustard on a Kaiser bun. Live music by Flying Balalaika Brothers.

Saturday, September 14th – Hofbräuhaus: From 11am to 2pm, enjoy German cuisine in a biergarten atmosphere (Hofbräuhaus) with live music by Czech Melody Masters. Also, live music by Alpine Village Band from 6pm to 9pm.

Here’s a favorite German dessert to make at home before the festivities begin. Prost!

Apple Strudel

2 large apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place apples in a large bowl. Add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and cinnamon. Toss to coat thoroughly.

Sprinkle the remaining flour on a clean work surface.  Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface. Roll the pastry sheet to get rid of seams and thin slightly. With the short side facing you, spoon the apple mixture onto the bottom half of the pastry sheet to within 1 inch of the edge.  Roll up like a jelly roll being careful not to tear the dough.  Tuck and fold under the ends to seal. Place seam-side down onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. 

Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Cut 4 deep slits in the top of the pastry. Bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let the pastry cool for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Published 8/26/19

Stock Up on Hatch Chiles

Hatch ChilesNew Mexico’s most famous chile is FRESH’s favorite! It’s Hatch chile season and we’ve been looking forward to it since last year. This most versatile pepper can go into anything. As you can see throughout the store that’s exactly what we’ve done.

Starting in produce you will find whole, fresh chiles and delicious Hatch guacamole. In the market, there are sausages made with Hatch, Hatch burgers and Hatch chiles stuffed with crab. In chef-prepared look for Hatch in macaroni and cheese, crusted onto the skin of a rotisserie chicken and anything else that sounds delicious with Hatch added to it. In the bakery there’s the artisan cheese loaf with pieces of Hatch scattered throughout the dough. In the aisles, look for Hatch salsa and other canned Hatch products.

Also in produce, you can find already roasted chiles or if you’d rather, it’s easy to do at home. Simply place the chiles flat on a foil-lined baking sheet. Position a rack 6 inches from the upper element and preheat the broiler to 450 degrees. Place chiles under the broiler and cook until well-charred, but not black, about 10 minutes per side. Remove from the oven and place in a plastic bag. Let the chiles steam in the bag for 15 minutes and then you can peel off the skin and remove the seeds.

After roasting, you can put them in stews or soup, stuff whole chiles with seasoned rice, put them on burgers, or puree and mix with mustard or mayonnaise to make a spread for sandwiches. You can also freeze the roasted chiles for up to a year.

I also like to dice the roasted chiles and add to salsa. Here is a quick recipe with lots of fresh flavor that is great for dipping or as a sauce on chicken, tacos or fish.

Published 8/12/19

When Life Gives You Lemons, Use Them to Beat the Heat!

Lemon Ricotta Ice CreamSummer is still here and the best way to beat the heat is grabbing a cool treat. Ice cream, gelato and frosty beverages will always do the trick. And when they’re enhanced with lemon it’s even better.

I’ve always loved lemon desserts because they taste light and refreshing. This lemon ice cream is one of my favorite treats. The ricotta and cream cheese give it a velvety, rich texture and it has the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Be sure to grab a couple extra lemons to use for serving. Hollowing out a lemon and using it as a bowl is a beautiful way to serve this sweet surprise.

Lemon Ricotta Ice Cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 large lemons, juice and zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup ricotta cheese
8 ounces whipped cream cheese

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, zest and salt. Set aside to cool.

Using an electric mixer, combine the ricotta and cream cheese.  When the lemon syrup is cool, slowly add to the ricotta mixture while beating. Place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour. Pour into an ice cream maker and churn the mixture according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to the freezer to freeze completely.

Published 7/29/19

August at FRESH

August Event BoardSummer heats up on the patio and on your plate at FRESH in August!

August 3rd – National Watermelon Day:  Summer’s favorite treat! Any way you slice it, we have the freshest local watermelons in town to celebrate this food holiday!

Hatch is Here:  Spice up your summer! Smoky, spicy and subtly sweet – grab a batch before they’re gone!​

August 8th – National Happiness Happens Day:  Pick up a gift from our floral department and spread a little joy to others!

August 10th – Community Beer Co.: Brewed in Dallas, Texas! Join us for a tap takeover with Community Brewing Co. at the FRESH Grill + Patio 6pm-9pm.

August 16th – National Bratwurst Day: Our brats are made FRESH in-house. Toss them on the grill and enjoy this summer!

Be sure to check the calendar throughout the month at freshbybrookshires.com for updates to the schedule and weekly specials. Also, follow FRESH by Brookshire’s on Facebook and Instagram for more featured products and updates.

And don’t forget our regularly scheduled activities that happen every week:

Tuesday Pizza Night: Buy one, get one half off on Pizza di Napoli, 5pm-8pm
Wednesday Taco Bar Happy Hour: Buy one, get one free tacos (Adobo Chicken or Picadillo), 5pm-9pm

Friday & Saturday Night: Live + Local Music at the FRESH Grill + Patio, 6pm-9pm
Saturday & Sunday: Breakfast at the FRESH Grill + Patio, 8am to 11am

Cool Down with Summer Sippers

different types of summer beveragesSummer heat is here to stay for a while, but don’t let that hot sun beat you down. Make the best of summer sun with tasty drinks to enjoy by the pool, in the shade or on the patio.

Any day of summer is a good day to cool off with one of these easy cocktails inspired by FRESH’s selection of beer, wine, hard cider, FRESH squeezed juice and sparkling water. Don’t forget some beautiful fresh summer fruit to garnish or serve on the side.

Hard Cider Spritz

1 (12 oz) bottle hard cider
2 oz Campari or Aperol liqueur
1/2 cup FRESH orange juice
Sparkling water
Orange and apple slices for garnish

Fill 2 tall cocktail glasses with ice. In each glass add 6 ounces of hard cider, 1 ounce Aperol and 1/4 cup of orange juice. Top with sparkling water. Stir and garnish before serving. Makes 2.

Rosé Sangria
2 small lemons, sliced thin
2 small limes, sliced thin
1 cup sliced strawberries or whole raspberries
1/2 cup brandy
1 cup sparkling water
1 bottle of Rosé wine

In a large sealable bag, combine the lemon, lime slices and strawberries. Add the brandy and close the bag. Let soak for 2 to 4 hours. After soaking add the contents to a large pitcher and top with the wine and sparkling water. Stir to combine. Pour into goblets filled with ice to serve. Makes 5 cups. (Can also be made with white wine or sparkling wine.)

Texas Summer Shandy

12 ounces lager-style beer
1 cup FRESH lemonade
1/2 cup ginger ale
lemon wedges, for garnish

In a pitcher, combine the beer, lemonade and ginger ale. Pour into ice-filled rocks glasses and garnish with lemon wedges. Makes 3 cups.

Sparkling Lemonade

3 cups FRESH lemonade
3 cups lemon-flavored sparkling water
1 lemon, sliced thin, plus more for garnish
6 mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish

In a pitcher filled with ice, add the lemon slices and mint. Using a long cocktail spoon, stir the ice, mint and lemon together. This will release some of the juices and oils from the lemons and mint. Pour in the lemonade and sparkling water. Stir again and serve over ice. For additional color and flavor, add fresh berries. Makes 6 cups.

Published 7/8/19

For the Love of Bacon

Bacon JamJust hearing the word “bacon” makes my mouth water. I think of the crunchy, salty, rich and decadent flavor as you pick up a piece and take a bite. When ranking favorite things to bite into, bacon is right up there with chocolate cake, ice cream or pizza.

So if FRESH needed a reason to celebrate bacon, the love that everyone has for this prized cut of pork is certainly a worthy cause. From July 15th to 20th, the store will be hosting a week of specialties that honor bacon.

And it’s not just about slices of bacon, although there are plenty of delicious varieties in the market. There’s also bacon used as an ingredient to flavor everything from salad dressings, sandwiches, mayonnaise, crackers and even chocolate.

From sweet to savory, bacon can probably make anything taste better. Whether it’s a steak or shrimp wrapped in bacon, or bacon that is chopped and sprinkled over a dish – you’ll see endless reasons around FRESH why bacon certainly deserves its own Bacon Fest!

When I feel like over-indulging in bacon, I like to make this recipe for Bacon Jam. It is easy to do in a slow cooker and the result is a sultry spread that is perfect on toast, sandwiches, cheese platters or stirred into potatoes. The options are endless when you love bacon.

Bacon Jam
1 pound bacon (cooked until crisp)
2 tablespoons bacon fat
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 smashed cloves garlic
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
1 teaspoon instant-coffee granules

Drain bacon on a paper-towel-lined plate. While bacon is cooling, add to a slow cooker all remaining ingredients. When bacon is cool, roughly chop and add to slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover cooker and cook on high for 2 hours, or until liquid has almost evaporated and mixture is syrupy. Let cool slightly; then transfer to a food processor and puree completely. Jam can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Yield: 1 cup bacon jam.

Published 7/1/19

Eat Local, Eat FRESH

Image of Texas beer, coffee, BBQ sauceTexans are very proud of their state and one of the things that makes it so great is all of the bold Texas flavor. From the tip of El Paso to the Louisiana border and from the Panhandle to the Rio Grande, Texas farmers are some of the largest producers in the country and more recently, Texas entrepreneurs are creating food products that are flying off the shelf.

It is amazing to think all of the craftsmanship and creativity that is showcased in this delicious food is right here in the Lone Star State. It’s a unique aspect of Texas culture and a great way to shop local and support the ever-growing Texas food industry.

From June 12th to 24th, we will be highlighting Texas products throughout the store during our Local Fest celebration. Experience the many flavors of East Texas, Dallas, Houston and all points in-between. Try some new things and discover the wonderful foods that are being created right here in Texas.

The event culminates on June 22nd from 11AM-4PM when many of the local vendors and others around Texas will be in the store offering samples of their product and information about what inspired their culinary endeavors.

It’s amazing to think that all of the craftsmanship and creativity that is showcased in this delicious food is right here in the Lone Star State. The selection of Texas-produced items can be found throughout the store. Look for a large variety of East Texas produce, cheese made in Longview, Texas-raised beef, wine and beer from East Texas and throughout the state, plus numerous items in the aisles like coffee, salsa, seasonings, sauces, candy and cakes. It’s a true smorgasbord of Texas flavor!

Published 6/10/19

101 Ways to Enjoy the Creamy Goodness of Yogurt

Yogurt with FruitIn recent years, yogurt has become a household staple. With an ever-growing interest in healthy choices for meals, snacks and breakfast, the popularity of yogurt has been on the rise. A walk down the dairy aisle offers a vast amount of choices. There are a variety of styles emerging on the market that include yogurts from across the globe, as well as dairy alternatives like lactose free, sheep, goat, plant-based and vegan options.

I was amazed when I took a closer look at the yogurt aisle at FRESH how many different types of yogurt are available. It made me wonder; what does all of it mean and how do all the various styles and alternative options compare in flavor, creaminess and nutritional value?

You could say that yogurt has become the dairy market’s cash cow! So, in honor of National Dairy Month, here is some information that will help you navigate all the choices.

Yogurts from Other Cultures:

Greek: Greek style yogurt is strained, so the protein and fats are concentrated, making it a richer, creamier yogurt. Slightly tangy with twice the protein and fewer carbohydrates. Can be a healthy substitute for sour cream, mayonnaise or butter.

European: Smoother, creamier consistency, often less sugar.  Seldom contains thickeners or additives. Contains important nutrients like protein, calcium and potassium.

Icelandic (Skyr): Thick consistency and tangy flavor like Greek yogurt. Low in sugar, high in protein and contains no fat. Made by incubating skim or nonfat milk with live cultures and straining the whey.

Bulgarian: Delicate tart flavor with creamy, loose texture. Retains all the calcium and nutrients from unstrained milk. Up to 90 billion probiotics per serving. Old World, 24-hour fermentation process helps utilize yogurt cultures and milk.

Australian: Creamy, velvety texture with rich flavor. Known for creative and unique flavors. Perfect combination between traditional and Greek yogurt consistency. Usually infused with honey or other ingredients for gourmet yogurt.

Yogurts for Unique Diets:

Goat & Sheep: Naturally thick, creamy texture. Similar nutritional profiles of cow’s milk but lower in sugar. Less lactose makes it easier on the digestive tract. Different fatty acids can vary the flavor profile. Best enjoyed with fruit.

Kefir: Bubbly, with a slightly acidic taste and smooth texture. One of the most probiotic-rich foods full of nutrients. Made from fermented milk that is easily drinkable and digestible. Derived from the Turkish word keyif or “feeling good.”

Organic: Perfectly smooth, thick and rich flavor. Higher level of omega-3 fatty acids. Made without toxic pesticides or GMOs, making it good for you and the planet. Also includes grass-fed. Healthy alternative for recipes that require sour cream, mayonnaise or butter.

Almond, Cashew and Coconut: Rich and creamy with delicate almond, cashew or coconut notes. Cultured alternative for lactose intolerance, dairy allergies and vegans. Heart-healthy fats, fibers and minerals from the milk sources. Helps with building immune system health.

Lactose Free: Slightly sweeter with similar texture as traditional yogurt. Made by breaking down the lactose in cow’s milk to aid those with a lactose intolerance. Offers the same healthy, nutritional benefits of other yogurt.

Aloe Vera Yogurt: Japanese style yogurt made with aloe vera gel pieces and creamy yogurt.

Published 5/27/19

Al Fresco Dining from the Grill

Grilled Shrimp Caesar SaladSpring showers have brought mild evenings and perfect weather for cooking on the grill. I can’t wait to have friends over for an al fresco dinner party, but I want to surprise them with a recipe you wouldn’t expect from the grill.

Of course, I will still get steaks, pork chops or burgers to serve, but a fun first course could be a Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad. I’m not just talking about grilling the shrimp. For this salad, I’ll also grill the romaine lettuce and croutons.

Large shrimp are marinated in Caesar dressing and loaded onto skewers for easy grilling. Then the romaine spears are halved, brushed with oil and placed on the grill until charred. You can even grill some garlic croutons to serve on top.

Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad with Garlic Bread Croutons

2 heads romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, for sprinkling
1 lemon, halved
12 jumbo shrimp
Caesar salad dressing
1/2 baguette
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish

Remove the outer leaves of romaine and slice 1/2 inch off the top. Slice the heads in half. Brush the inside of the romaine with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon juice over the romaine.

Place shrimp in a large bowl and add 1/2 cup Caesar dressing. Let shrimp marinate for 5 minutes. Thread the shrimp onto skewers and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cut the baguette into one inch slices and then into large cubes. Pour the melted butter into the bottom of a bowl and add the garlic powder. Stir to combine. Add the bread cubes and gently toss to coat. Thread the bread cubes onto skewers.

Light grill and heat to medium. Place the romaine on the grill, interior side down. Also add the shrimp and bread skewers. Grill the romaine until edges are charred and grill marks are visible. About two minutes. Remove from the grill and immediately brush with some of the Caesar dressing. Grill the shrimp on both sides until cooked through. About 5 minutes total. Grill the bread until golden and charred. About 4 minutes.

To assemble the salad, place a romaine half on a plate, add 4 shrimp and garlic bread croutons. Drizzle with additional dressing and top with Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. Makes 4 salads.

Published 5/6/19

Cajun Week at FRESH

Bananas Foster MartiniWe’re bringing the bayou to you May 1-14! It’s Crawfish season and FRESH is celebrating in grand style with plenty of Cajun flavor throughout the store. Look for seasonings, sauces and already prepared Cajun favorites. And don’t forget to check the market for in-house prepared Creole and Cajun seafood, seasoned meat and from-scratch sauces.

We’ll also have live music on the patio from Bayou Boogie 11 AM-2PM on May 4 during our Crawfish Boil. After that, we’ll have a Shrimp Boil on May 11. Both seafood boils are 10AM till we run out!  Check the calendar and Facebook page for more details.

If you would like to create your own Cajun celebration at home, here is a great recipe to get the party started.

Bananas Foster Martini
1 oz banana liqueur
1 oz rum
1 oz cream
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Banana slices, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, filled with ice, add the liqueur, rum, cream, honey and vanilla. Shake to combine. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread onto a small plate. Dip the rim of a martini glass in water and then dip it in the brown sugar mixture. Pour the ingredients from the shaker into the glass. Garnish with banana slices.

Published 4/22/19