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