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Blood Oranges for Valentine’s Day

Blood Oranges for Valentine’s DayRed is the color of love. For Valentine’s Day, I like to cook something that captures that beautiful color and represents passion on a plate. I found the perfect ingredient in blood oranges. Its deep-red juice, garnet flesh and red-speckled skin is as vibrant as it is delicious.

This is an easy recipe that uses the cooking technique of braising. It’s one of my favorite ways to cook during the winter months. Braising requires high searing heat at the beginning and low and slow heat to finish. It was created for tough cuts of meat or meat that is still on the bone.

After searing the meat on all sides until browned but not cooked through, liquid is added to the pot. The heat is lowered, and the dish continues to cook slowly at a moderate temperature.

This technique creates tender and juicy meat. You can also add vegetables such as onions, potatoes and carrots to cook alongside the meat. Add some broccoli, asparagus or peas at the end of cooking, and you have a complete meal.

Because most recipes for braising have heavy flavors and cuts of meat that contain more fat, I wanted to create something that is just as warm and comforting as a stew or a roast, but has lighter flavors and a leaner cut of meat.

The blood oranges and chicken are perfect for this dish. It has bright flavors, a beautiful light sauce and juicy meat that is completely satisfying.

Citrus-Braised Chicken & Blood Oranges

2 large bone-in chicken breasts or 4 skinless thighs
salt and pepper, for seasoning
3 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, for juicing
4 blood oranges, 3 sliced and 1 reserved for juicing
1 Tbs herbs de Provence
2 cups chicken broth (approximate)

Rub the chicken with salt and pepper. Add oil to a wide-bottomed stockpot. Heat to high, and sear the chicken until browned on both sides. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon and the blood orange. Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the broth and herbs; bring to a boil. Scatter the sliced blood oranges over the top. Cover and transfer to a 350° F oven for 20 to 40 minutes, or reduce heat to low and finish cooking on the stove. Keep an eye on the level of the liquid, and add more broth or water, if necessary. When the chicken is cooked through, remove to a serving plate. Spoon the sauce and blood orange slices over the top.

Serves 2

WINE CLUB Varietal of the Month: Sparkling Wine

Gloria Ferrer Sonoma BrutSparkling wine, or champagne as it is better known, is a favorite for celebrations and romance.

Sparkling wine is made by taking the simple formula for fermentation (sugar + yeast = alcohol and CO2), and not allowing the resulting gas to escape. When you ferment wine in a closed or sealed environment, the carbon dioxide (CO2) returns into the wine, only to be released in the form of tiny bubbles after opening.

Not all sparkling wines are made using the same method or grape varietals. They also vary in sweetness and carbonation. To better explain, let’s break down some of the most popular varieties of sparkling wine.

Champagne (Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut): 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 Meuner. 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 Sweet.

Brut (Gloria Ferrer): Brut is a classification of sweetness in sparkling wine. The Brut style contains 6 to 15 grams of sugar per liter of wine. The wine is dry, but there is just a hint of sweetness. In this sparkler, the winemaker stopped the fermentation process just before the yeast ate all of the sugar, leaving a tiny amount behind in the wine.

Extra Dry (Mumm Napa Cuvee): Extra Dry is slightly sweeter than Brut and contains a few more grams of sugar. This type of sparkler is dry, but not as dry as Brut or Extra Brut, meaning it retains a slight sweetness. It’s not sugary sweet, although they are noticeably sweeter than Brut wines.

Prosecco (Santa Margherita): Made in Italy in the region of Veneto, it is made from Prosecco grapes, also known as Glera, and is produced using the “tank method,” which means its second fermentation takes place in a tank rather than individual bottles. It is then cooled and clarified, and it receives its sugar dosage in the tank. Prosecco is typically Extra Dry.

Moscato d’ Asti (Castello del Poggio): A sparkling wine produced in the style of the Asti region of Italy. It is typically semisweet, lightly carbonated and low in alcohol.

Rose/Blush (Bottega Sparkling Rose Gold): Also known as pink champagne, the wine is made from a red grape, which can vary by region and country, and it was produced in the rose or blush methods of limiting the grape’s contact with its skin or blending a red wine with a white wine. They can vary from sweet to dry and generally have more fruit and floral flavors.

Blanc de Blancs (Francis Coppola Sofia): Made entirely from white grapes (typically Chardonnay), Blanc de Blancs are 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.

Spumante (Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante): Spumante simply means sparkling wine in Italian. It does not identify sweetness level or type of grapes used. Another Italian sparkling wine that is well-known is Lambrusco, which is a red sparkling wine made from the Lambrusco grape of the Emilia-Romagna region. They are traditionally sweet, but some producers are now creating dry versions.

Wine of the Month: Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut
Aged for a minimum of 18 months, the Sonoma Brut shows delicate pear and floral notes with persistent effervescence and an effortless finish, making it a tremendously versatile sparkling wine.

Carefully crafted from hand-harvested Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. This brut is dominated by Pinot Noir, enabling the complex aromatic and palate profile that this red-skinned grape contributes.

On the nose, pear and floral notes are backed by toasty almond. On the palate, lively citrus, toast and apple flavors are overlaid with persistent effervescence, a creamy mid-palate and toasty finish.

Winemaker: Gloria Ferrer
More than 30 years ago, Jose and Gloria Ferrer created the Gloria Ferrer vineyards and winery in Sonoma County. It was the first to specialize in sparkling wine. Coming to California from Spain, the Ferrers relied on their family’s heritage as Spanish winemakers to develop their dream in America.

They acquired Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clone grapes from the Champagne region to begin creating their sparkling wines using the tedious méthode champenoise.

Gloria Ferrer is also known for her extensive collection of vintage wine and champagne glasses. Each glass was carefully selected from their travels to many countries and regions and is unique in design and craftsmanship.

“I remember very well when I began to collect glasses. It was in Venice in 1956 that my uncle gave me the idea while sitting at the dinner table in the Piazza San Marco. My father quietly got up and went into an antique shop near Saint Marco’s Cathedral and returned with a beautiful red Murano crystal glass with a golden dauphine in the stem. He gave me the glass and a kiss. The collection had begun.

In my collection, numbering around two thousand, there are all types of glasses. They vary in age and color. They are engraved and cut, painted and enameled, simple and ornate, transparent and opaque, molded and blown, antique and modern. Although we are convinced that the ideal glass for drinking cava is transparent crystal and the most suitable shape is the flute or tulip, I believe that in a collection there should be a little bit of everything. I confess that my favorite pieces are those with braided stems or serpentine interiors (perhaps trapped inside for centuries) or those ornate glasses with a white laticinio forming filigree in their stems or in the base. Those that have a teardrop of air on the knot of the base are my weakness, without forgetting those glasses of green, blue or ruby color from the beginnings of the sixteenth century.

For years, I’ve been roaming through antique shops all over the world. My husband has, with loving patience and graceful generosity, accompanied me the majority of the times. We have searched endlessly for the hard-to-find glasses in between knick-knacks and odds and ends, discovering them forgotten and lost in the most unlikely places in the world. It is these glasses, with their unknown history and their romantic toasts, which form my own collection.” – Gloria Ferrer

Food Pairings for Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut:
A tremendously versatile wine that is equally delicious with shellfish, crab, roasted chicken or sushi. Seasoning affinities include lemon grass, fennel and white pepper. Look to hard-aged and triple-cream cheeses with Meyer lemon compote for the cheese course.

Beet Bruschetta with Goat Cheese & Microgreens

1 bunch baby beets
1/2 cup spreadable goat cheese
1 cup microgreens
1/2 loaf FRESH Ciabatta bread
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, additional oil for grilling bread
2 tsp balsamic glaze
pinch of salt and black pepper

Remove the stalks, leaves and root tip of the beets. Place in a saucepan filled with water; bring to a light simmer. Let cook for 30 minutes or until fork-tender. Remove the beets from the water, and use your thumb to rub off the skin from the outside of the beets. Thinly slice the beets on a mandoline.

Brush the slices of the ciabatta bread with olive oil. Grill the bread in a grill pan or place under the broiler for 2 minutes or until golden. When bread is cool, spread the goat cheese over the slices. Top with a handful of microgreens and 4 slices of beets. Drizzle each slice with olive oil, balsamic glaze, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


Makes 8 to 10

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Posted in: Beer & Wine, Recipes

Full Circle Goes Back to School

Full Circle Goes Back to SchoolAfter a long holiday break, getting back into the school routine can be a little tough. Cold and gray mornings sometimes mean a late start, but that’s no reason for an unhealthy breakfast.

For a quick and easy breakfast, I like to spread toast with Full Circle Almond Butter and the delicious Full Circle European Apricot Spread. Pair that with a glass of Full Circle Almond Milk, and my day is off to a great start.

The milk is rich and creamy with a delightful nutty flavor. It is free of lactose, dairy, gluten, peanuts, casein and eggs. Enriched with calcium, as well as vitamins A, D and E, it contains no saturated fat and is cholesterol-free. It’s a delicious alternative to traditional dairy milk and can be used as an ingredient in favorite recipes.

The almond butter has a similar rich flavor and is made with organic dry-roasted almonds. Each two-tablespoon serving has 190 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat and 5 grams of protein. Spread the top with the delicious apricot spread, and you have a flavorful breakfast that will keep you satisfied throughout the morning.

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Posted in: Grocery, Organic

BREW CLUB Brew of the Month: Nine Band 28th State Stout

Nine Band 28th State StoutBrewery: Nine Band
Brewed in Allen, Texas, the malt and hop magic happens with every step of the crafting process. The Nine Band brewmaster brings award-winning experience to every carefully crafted style. Each beer is made with high-quality ingredients for the ultimate taste experience.

The Nine Band philosophy says, “Texas brews the legends, and it’s the inspiration for every craft beer created by Nine Band Brewing Company. Every sip serves up a tip of the hat, a nod of the head and a taste infused with the distinctive twang of our distinctive state.”

Brew of the Month: Nine Band 28th State Stout
Nine Bands brewers use oatmeal and flaked barley to give the 28th State Stout smooth creaminess and rich body. Made with specialty hops specifically chosen to represent Texas history, its dark roasted qualities are highlighted by chocolate malt and bring deep layers of flavor.

Food Pairings:
Pair this beer and other oatmeal stouts with fruity/creamy desserts, chocolate, game meats, pork or grilled items.

Classic Cheesecake with Cherry Sauce

For the cheesecake:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbs sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs

For the sauce:
2 cups whole frozen cherries, thawed
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs granulated sugar
2 Tbs brandy
2 tsp cornstarch

Heat oven to 325° F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust. Bake for 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen crust; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate cheesecake for 4 hours.

To make the sauce, place cherries, brown sugar, granulated sugar and brandy in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until cherries begin to break down and juices release, stirring frequently. Cool to room temperature and then serve with cheesecake.

View this recipe to print or add items to your shopping list.

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Posted in: Beer & Wine, Recipes

Cold winters mean bright citrus!

Cold winters mean bright citrus!I’ve always wondered why the brightest, sunniest fruit is so abundant during the darkest, coldest time of year. Citrus is at its peak of flavor, and January is definitely the month to indulge.

A stroll through the produce department offers an array of citrus just waiting to be juiced or eaten. There are plenty of lemons, lime, oranges, tangerines and grapefruit, but there are also some wonderful varieties that are unfamiliar.

When it comes to choosing citrus, the best flavor comes from fruit 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.

FRESH is offering a variety of citrus, including seedless lemons, blood oranges, kumquats and three varieties of grapefruit, as well as several types of tangerines, clementines and other oranges.

Many of the types of citrus listed below are available at FRESH but are very seasonal. So, hurry in before you’re left waiting for next year.

Pummelo Grapefruit: Larger than typical grapefruit, the pummelo’s skin ranges from yellow to bright green. It has a very thick rind and a light pink flesh. It is juicier and sweeter than other varieties of grapefruit.

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 as their skin darkens in color.

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: 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. They are best enjoyed when peeled and eaten in sections.

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

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Posted in: Produce

WINE CLUB Varietal of the Month: Rhone Valley Red Wines

Morgan Cotes du CrowWine has been produced in the Rhone Valley for over 500 years with some of its steeply terraced vineyards among the oldest in France.

The Rhone Valley produces some of the world’s greatest red wines, but the valley is divided into two distinct regions. The Northern Rhone produces powerful, complex and age-worthy red wines, generally in very limited quantities, from the noble Syrah grape.
The Southern Rhone is a nearly bottomless source of more rustic and often richer blends based on the Grenache grape. They offer a richer mouth feel with more roasted and sometimes liqueur-like fruit character, plus notes of wild herbs and spices. More than 90 percent of the Rhone Valley’s production comes from the South, and this area is one of the world’s great sources of red wine value.

French AOC laws (Institut National des Appellations d’Origine) establish the geographic limits of each appellation, permissible grape varieties, methods of production, minimum alcohol level and maximum crop yield per hectare.

Rhone Valley wines are divided into four levels:

  • Cotes du Rhone AOC: Accounting for 50% of the valley’s production, this is the entry-level classification. Most are red blends based on Grenache or Syrah, and the vineyards are planted on a variety of different soils. Production rules are not as strict as other levels, but wines must have a minimum of 11 percent alcohol and be made from the 21 sanctioned grape varieties. These wines are easy drinking, food-loving wines that are perfect for every day.
  • Cotes du Rhone Villages AOC: The next step up are the village wines that are a bit more complex with lower yields and slightly higher alcohol. These wines are great for aging.
  • Cotes du Rhone Named Villages AOC: The next level of exclusivity includes Rhone village wines with labels bearing the name of one of the 18 villages that are allowed to declare their names.
  • The Crus: These 18 distinctive regions – eight on the north side of the valley and 10 on the south – truly express their individual terrain and are responsible for only 20 percent of the Rhone’s production.

Morgan Cotes du Crow
Although this wine is grown and produced in Monterey County, California, Cotes du Crow’s is a unique blend of the two noble, predominant red varietals of France’s southern Rhone Valley: Syrah and Grenache.

The wine was fermented in open top tanks and received manual punch-downs. This enabled good extraction and structure development with pleasant tannins. After fermentation, the wine was transferred to French oak barrels. The 12 percent new oak gives the wine subtle spice and vanilla characters without overpowering the elegant fruit profile.

This Rhone-style blend has a rich ruby-red color highlighted with purple edges. Coffee cake, dates and raspberry aromas jump out of the glass. The wine is medium-bodied with soft tannins; it offers a mouthful of pomegranate, black cherry and cranberry. Its weight and balance make it a perfect pairing with anything off the grill.

Grilled Stuffed Chicken Thighs

8 boneless chicken thighs
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
several toothpicks, soaked in water

Squeeze excess water out of spinach, and add to a bowl. Add goat cheese, breadcrumbs, parmesan, mushrooms, garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir to combine; season with salt and pepper.

Lay chicken thighs flat on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Add a small amount of stuffing to the middle of a thigh and roll tightly. Do not overfill or the stuffing will fall out during grilling. Season outside of thighs with salt and pepper.

Heat grill to high. In a small bowl, combine remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Place thighs on grill, seam-side down. Turn grill to low; close the lid. Watch for flare-ups. Periodically baste with olive oil and lemon juice. Cook for about 10 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through completely.

Serves 4

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Crosse & Blackwell, not just for Holiday Ham

Crosse & Blackwell, not just for Holiday HamBaked ham is a staple at holiday meals, beautifully studded with cloves and glazed with a traditional sauce like the Cross & Blackwell Ham Glaze. I remember my grandmother using it when I was a kid. I can still taste the fruity, spicy combination of pineapple, cherries, cloves and mustard.

The Crosse & Blackwell brand has been a beloved British tradition since 1706. Their sauces bring out the best in ham, beef, lamb or other meats as a bold and flavorful accompaniment. Spicy, sweet and tangy notes are ideal complements to almost any roasted meat.

The sauces also possess a versatility that lends their flavor to so many recipes. Delicious as a sandwich spread or added to stuffing, I like to use the Crosse & Blackwell Ham Glaze to make cocktail meatballs.

It’s a great recipe for holiday parties, and it captures some of that familiar flavor that everyone knows from delicious glazed ham.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs soy sauce
1 jar Crosse & Blackwell Premium Ham Glaze
1 cup chili sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp freshly grated ginger (do not substitute dry ginger)

Heat oven to 400° F. Combine meat, onions, breadcrumbs, garlic and soy sauce in medium bowl. Mix thoroughly. Roll into 1 1/2-inch meatballs, and place in baking pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. While meatballs are baking, combine ham glaze, chili sauce, red pepper flakes and ginger. Heat until hot and bubbly. Remove meatballs from oven. Toss with sauce and serve hot.

Note: There are a few whole cloves in the jar of ham glaze. You may want to remove the cloves before serving, so your guests don’t bite down on them.

View this recipe to print or add items to your shopping list.

Attention Valued Blue Cross/Blue Shield Customers!

You may have received a letter from Prime Therapeutics dated October 24th that contained incorrect information. You should be receiving a corrected letter, letting you know that your Brookshire’s, Super 1 Foods & FRESH by Brookshire’s pharmacies CONTINUE TO BE IN THE NETWORK. Below is a copy of the template that was used for the correction.

We value your business, and want to continue to serve your prescription needs.


BREW CLUB Brewery: True Vine Brewing Company

True Vine Brewing CompanyMore than just an East Texas brewery, True Vine strives to create true, authentic community through integrity. From artistically driven beers that are growing in availability throughout the East Texas region to their OPEN TAPS events in their BackYard, their goal is to produce each with excellence. Every specialty handcrafted beer at True Vine represents depth of concept and flavor, and it is meant to be enjoyed around a table with old friends and new.

Founded in 2011 by friends with a passion for life, quality crafted beer and creative expression, True Vine is a family-based microbrewery. With over 12 years of combined brewing experience and countless years of entrepreneurism, the True Vine team has been on a relentless mission to hone their craft and help build the craft beer scene in East Texas. They began in a garage brewing 10-gallon batches, transitioned to a 1,400-square-foot space and started brewing 50-gallon batches of beer. The first official True Vine kegs were sold in January of 2014.

Just West of downtown in Tyler, their tiny beer factory has been in production mode since the fall of 2013. They began with a 1.5-barrel system and 3-barrel fermenters, and they cranked out many small batches of True Vine beer.

In the summer of 2015, they were able to finish a 10-barrel brewhouse expansion. New brewhouse, tanks, cold room and the works are now fully functional and capable of brewing 1,200 percent more than before.

In the summer of 2016, they began canning some of their brews and started distribution throughout the East Texas region. Their future plans include a redesigned BackYard space at the brewery.

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Posted in: Beer & Wine

WINE CLUB Varietal of the Month: Red Blends

Red BlendsBlended reds are wines created by combining two or more red varietals. They are typically complex in taste and structure and often express the creativity of the winemaker. There are no regulations that restrict how the blends are crafted or labeled.

Blends usually consist of 40 to 50 percent of one varietal and then a small percentage of one or more other varieties of grapes. The grapes used in a blend are often chosen because of where they are grown, their particular flavors or aromas, their body, concentration and finish.

Blending adds complexity to each chosen grape varietal and results in a wine that is more well-rounded and complex than the one varietal could have been on its own.

Food Pairings
Red blends pair well with many types of food. Because the aromas, flavors and body of the wine vary depending on the type of varietals in the blend, it is best to check with the individual winery to find recommendations. The typical red pairings of grilled meats, sharp cheese or pasta with a heavy sauce are always a good choice.

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Posted in: Beer & Wine

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