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WINE CLUB Varietal of the Month: Syrah Red Blends

The Syrah grape creates a wine that has a range of flavors that primarily depend on where they are grown. Cool-climate Syrah is light-bodied with more delicate flavors of soft fruit and earthy tones. They come from wine regions in cooler climates like Washington State, Northern Rhone, Sonoma and Chile. Warm-climate Syrah creates a full-bodied darker wine with heavier tannins, bold fruit flavor and notes of warm spice. These grapes are grown in warmer climates like Argentina, Spain, Napa, Paso Robles and Australia, where Syrah is known as Shiraz.

Petite Syrah is another hybrid grape from France. Despite its name, Petite Syrah is a distinctly different grape than Syrah. It possesses deep color and strong flavors of blueberry, sugar plum, black pepper, dark chocolate and black tea. It’s also a rare grape that is difficult to grow, and it’s primarily found in California and the French Alps.

Featured Wine of the Month: Freakshow Red Blend
Created by Michael David Winery, brothers Michael and David are fifth-generation grape-growers from the Phillips family in the Lodi region of California. They produce a variety of different wines, but the Freakshow lineup has been very successful.

The 2015 Freakshow Red is a blend of Lodi Syrah and Petite Syrah. “Very robust, this wine features aromas of campfire smoke and just a pinch of spice. Flavors of ripe plum, caramel and blackberry-infused maple syrup. Velvety smooth on the mouth with a bold finish. This wine is well balanced, just like a tight rope walker!” – Michael David Winery

Food Pairings:
Syrah grapes create bold, full-bodied wines with high tannins. They pair well with beef, pork, cured meats and vegetables with umami flavors like mushrooms, asparagus, sweet potatoes or winter squash. Pairing the wine with grilled meat helps match the intensity of the wine and smooth the tannins. The umami flavors also bring out the fruit in the wine.

Recipe:
Black & Bleu Burgers with Red Onion Marmalade

Ingredients:
4 FRESHmade Black & Bleu Burgers
4 FRESH Bakery Hamburger Buns
1/4 lb Point Reyes Bleu Cheese Crumbles
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs light brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water

Directions:
To make the red onion marmalade, heat oil over medium heat in a large cast-iron skillet. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid browning. Reduce heat if necessary. Add salt, brown sugar, vinegar and water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Continue to stir and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool before serving.

To serve the burgers, grill to desired doneness. Spread some of the bleu cheese over each burger. Top with some of the red onion marmalade. Place on the bun and serve.

Serves 4

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

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Posted in: Beer & Wine, Market




Celebrating the Tradition of Oktoberfest

Celebrating the Tradition of OktoberfestWho would’ve guessed that a wedding celebration in October 1810 would become a worldwide annual celebration? Of course, now it is known as the German beer celebration called Oktoberfest.

It was October 12, 1810. The Crown Prince Ludwig, who later became the King of Bavaria, was marrying Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. A little-known fact about the princess is that she was supposed to marry Napoleon Bonaparte in 1809, but she married Ludwig instead. If she had married Napoleon, there would be no Oktoberfest!

The wedding celebration was held outside the gates of Munich in the German state of Bavaria. The festivities included food, beer, horse racing and plenty of revelry. The celebration continued from year to year and began to grow. At some point, it was decided to hold the celebration in September because of better weather. The festivities last for 16 days and always end on the first Sunday of October.

In the beer tents at the Munich Oktoberfest, only six breweries are allowed to serve their Oktoberfest-Maerzen brews – each of them adhering to the strict beer-making requirements of the Reinheitsgebot (Bavarian Purity Requirements). They are Augustiner, Hacker Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwebräu, Paulaner and Spaten. Each one has been producing beer since before Oktoberfest began. The oldest one is Augustiner, founded in 1328, and the newest is Paulaner, started in 1634. Over the length of the festival, more than 7,000,000 people will attend and approximately 6,900,000 liters of beer will be served.

FRESH will be having their own Oktoberfest celebration, although on a slightly smaller scale. During the week of September 18 – 24, the store will be decorated for Oktoberfest, and plenty of themed food and beer will be served.

Thursday, September 21 from 6PM to 9PM will be the official Oktoberfest celebration. Several breweries will be there to sample some of their beers. Also, there will be games, live music and plenty of Oktoberfest fun.

Here’s a look at the visiting breweries:
Karbach
St. Arnold
Lakewood
Southern Star
Rogue
Samuel Adams
Real Ale
Community
Nine Band
Franconia





Tasty Ways to Enjoy Green Tea

Many people drink green tea for the health benefits or as a relaxing hot beverage, but did you know you can cook with it? Until recently, I didn’t either. I was planning a Chinese food cooking class and trying to decide what to serve for dessert. I really couldn’t think of any desserts, other than fortune cookies, that represent Asian cuisine. I started to search and found several recipes for sweet treats that had green tea powder as an ingredient. I was skeptical about the flavor but was feeling adventurous.

I learned that for culinary purposes you couldn’t buy green tea bags or loose green tea and just add it to the recipe. Instead, you use a finely milled green tea powder called matcha. That’s when I discovered Matcha LOVE® Culinary Matcha in the tea aisle at FRESH. While Matcha LOVE® makes many types of green tea drinks, tea bags and powders, it is the Culinary Matcha that is milled finely enough to use in recipes.

What is matcha and how does it differ from other green tea? It is a powdered version of the whole green tea leaf and is native to Japan. From its ancient origins in Japanese teahouses, matcha is thought to enhance mood, help promote cardiovascular health and bone strength, and have anti-aging properties.

As an ingredient in recipes, the Culinary Matcha can be used in many ways. If you’re not a hot tea drinker, using green tea in recipes is a great way to enjoy its health benefits without the brew. I used the matcha powder to make a green tea ice cream. It was delightful. The creamy texture of the ice cream combined with subtle sweetness and the earthy flavor of the green tea was something everyone in my cooking class really enjoyed.

On the Matcha LOVE® website, they had several other recipes and ideas for using the Culinary Matcha in recipes.

Here are just a few suggestions:

Smoothies, Parfaits and Granola

Combine 1/2 teaspoon of matcha with 1/4 cup almond butter and 1 tablespoon honey. Spread on 2 pieces of toast to enjoy for breakfast.

Add 1/2 teaspoon to salad dressing, and use on a salad or for dipping vegetables.

Add 1/2 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of herb blend, and use as a rub on chicken breasts or pork chops.

Stir matcha into milk or yogurt for smoothies, parfaits or granola.

 

Green Tea Ice Cream

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
3 Tbs matcha green tea powder
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Directions:
Begin by mixing 1/4 cup sugar with the matcha green tea powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the remainder of the granulated sugar with the egg yolks. Then, add the matcha powder/sugar mixture. Stir well to form a thick, green paste. Gently heat the milk and cream in a medium saucepan to a low simmer without letting it boil. Remove from heat. Mix a small amount of warm milk with the matcha mixture until it becomes a smooth paste.

Gradually, add the milk to the rest of the paste while keeping the mixture smooth, and then return it to the heat. Before the mixture boils, remove again from the heat. Strain the whole mixture through a fine sieve to remove any impurities. Leave the mixture to cool completely by insetting into a large bowl of ice. Cool to at least 55° F. Then, follow ice cream maker instructions to finish off with churning and then freezing for a few hours to solidify.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

Go to matchalove.com for more ideas.

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Posted in: Grocery




BREW CLUB Brewery of the Month: 903 Brewers

903 BrewersEast Texans Jeremy and Natalie Roberts created 903 Brewers in 2011 with a goal of making a great beer for a great community. After a lot of experimentation with different flavors and beer recipes, 903 Brewers opened in Sherman with two beers: The Chosen One Coconut Ale and Roo’s Red Ale. Since then, they have added many year-round beers, seasonals and special releases.

Their beers have won many awards, but the most prestigious one came in September 2015 when the Sasquatch Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout won a silver medal from the Great American Beer Festival in the aged beer category. Their brewery in Sherman is a great place to visit, and they have beer tastings, trivia nights and Saturday tours. Look for several year-round and seasonal selections from 903 Brewers at FRESH.

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Posted in: Beer & Wine




So Long Summer

Sometimes I think that Labor Day is my favorite holiday of the year. I am usually thinking that in July and August when it is 100 degrees outside, and I am growing weary of long, hot summer days.

Then, I see that it’s almost Labor Day, and that means fall is on the way. So long summer, it’s time for a cool down! Even though it’s still a bit warm, I start getting excited about eating outside and grilling – all things I avoid during the dog days of summer because who wants to stand over a hot grill when it’s just as hot outside.

That means the last long weekend of summer deserves a proper celebration. Now I know it will still be hot, but this recipe has two big advantages: quick cooking and closing the lid of the grill.

When I was a kid, we used to visit my cousins in New York for Labor Day. They lived on Long Island, and they’d always throw a clambake party. That’s not exactly possible here, but this recipe for Scampi-Style Grilled Shellfish comes close.

What goes in it really depends on what’s available in the FRESH seafood market, and typically everything in this recipe should be there. Shrimp, scallops, crab legs, claws, mussels and clams are all great choices. You can also get a few fish fillets and cut them into cubes to add to the mixture. The key is that all of your fish and shellfish cook at the same rate. You don’t want overcooked shrimp or undercooked fish. Consider the size of things and their typical cooking times.

Also, remember to discard any clams or mussels that are already open prior to cooking and any that did not open during cooking. Those little guys are not edible. If you’re feeling indulgent, you can also grab a couple of lobster tails to cook directly on the grill grate. All you need on the side is lots of melted butter and some crusty baguettes to soak up all the sauce.

Scampi-Style Grilled Shellfish

Ingredients:
4 dozen assorted shellfish (large shrimp, sea scallops, crab claws/legs, mussels or clams)
1/2 cup butter
2 cups white wine
1 cup water
juice from 3 lemons
1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
disposable aluminum roasting pan

Directions:
If using mussels or clams, clean and scrub outside of shells. Rinse off grit and sand. Discard any that are not completely closed or have a cracked shell. Do not debeard mussels until right before cooking. Peel and devein shrimp.

Heat grill to high heat. Place roasting pan on grill. Add butter and let melt. Add wine, water, lemon juice, lemon rounds, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and salt. Close grill and allow liquid to heat until steaming.

Place all shellfish in pan. Stir everything together with a large spoon. Close the lid; turn grill heat down to medium. Let steam for about 2 minutes, and then stir again. As shellfish open or finish cooking, remove from the pan to a large serving bowl. The shrimp will cook fastest, and the clams will take the longest to open. Shrimp should be pink and curled, scallops opaque, and clams and mussels opened. Discard any clams or mussels that do not open. Do not try to pry open.

Pour the liquid from the pan over the cooked shellfish. Add parsley. Serve with rice or toasted baguette slices.

Serves 4

Note: Purchase clams and mussels no more than 24 hours in advance of cooking. Fill a colander with ice, and place the mussels and clams on top of the ice. Place the colander in a larger bowl, discarding melted water periodically. You want your shells to stay on top of the ice and not be floating in water.

Calories per Serving : 360, Fat: 24 g (15 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 90 mg, Sodium: 771 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 9 g

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





WINE CLUB Varietal of the Month: Blended Reds

Blended reds are wines created by combining two or more red varietals. They are typically complex in taste and structure, and they 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, their concentration and their finish. Blending adds complexity to each chosen grape varietal, which results in a wine that is more well-rounded and complex than the one varietal could have been on its own.

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Posted in: Beer & Wine




Back-to-School FRESH Meal Solutions

Back-to-school means busy schedules and less time to cook during the week. On those nights when you’re on the run, FRESH is here to help. We can help you feel ReFreshed with some of our new offerings in the chef-prepared section and satisfy every appetite with selections from a variety of cuisines.

With more than 80 fresh-made menu items, anything you purchase from Chef Prepared is guaranteed to be handmade in the store with the freshest ingredients. We’ve also ReFreshed some of our recipes and added many new items to the case.

Green Plate Special: One meat and two sides from the Chef Prepared case, plus a brioche roll.

Lil’ Freshie Plate: In kid-friendly portions, choose one meat and two sides from the Chef Prepared case, plus a brioche roll.

Sides Plate: Any three sides from the Chef Prepared case, plus a brioche roll.

Hot Bar: Featuring a rotating selection of meats, entrées and sides, these items are served hot. They are the perfect solution for a last-minute dinner at home. Help yourself to a protein and side dishes. We weigh and price items at checkout.

Grab & Go: Seasonal soups, sandwiches and salads are made daily and ready to go. Also available, a selection of chicken, pasta or tuna salad; pimento cheese; hummus and other dips. Plus, family meals and kid’s meals, quiches, family packs of tamales, casseroles, spaghetti & meatballs, mac & cheese, and rotisserie and smoked chickens.

FRESH for 2: Take-home dinners featuring the menu of the day. (View our monthly menu.)

FRESH Grill + Patio: Patio dining through November, featuring a seasonal menu. Perfect for casual dining with friends and family.

Sandwich, Pizza & Taco Bar: Enjoy hot and fresh, made-to-order sandwiches, tacos and pizza just the way you like them. Ready in minutes, you can enjoy your meal at home, in the store or on the patio.

Sandwiches are made with bakery-fresh breads, specialty spreads and house-roasted meats with a variety of fresh toppings and spreads.

Tacos are made with your favorite fillings, house-made salsas and flour tortillas. Plus, roasted poblanos, avocados, beans, rice and all the fixings are available. You can also get quesadillas, burritos, nachos and taco salads.

Our newest addition is an authentic Neapolitan pizza oven. What’s the best part? Could it be the handmade dough? Maybe it’s the roaring hot oven, freshest possible ingredients or the delicious combination of toppings. Whatever you decide, you’ll keep coming back to enjoy more of this Neapolitan-style pizza. Pizza is available Monday through Thursday from 11AM to 8PM and Friday through Sunday from 11AM to 9PM.

Ramen, Pho & Sushi: Who needs Chinese takeout when we offer a great selection of daily-made sushi rolls, pot stickers, ramen and pho? Choose from our available menu items, and enjoy your meal on the go, in the store or on the patio. Ramen and pho are also available cold, so you can take it home to reheat and enjoy later.

Each day, our sushi chefs prepare the day’s menu with the freshest, highest quality seafood and other ingredients. Our menu offers modern trends on sushi rolls, plus traditional sushi, pot stickers and freshly made dipping sauces.

Ramen is not just a cup of noodles. With a delicious miso broth, fresh vegetables and a variety of other spices and ingredients, our four varieties of ramen will become your new favorite soup.

Our Pho is made with the freshest ingredients and available in two varieties: Pho with Shrimp and Pho with Chicken. Additional ingredients like soft-boiled eggs, kimchi and pork chashu are also available.





BREW CLUB Beer of the Month: Stiegl Radler Grapefruit

Stiegl Radler GrapefruitThe Stiegl brewery in Salzburg, Austria, creates the Radler Grapefruit by combining 60% Stiegl-Goldbrau, a mild but full-bodied lager, and 40% grapefruit soda. Their website’s description states that the grapefruit lends “a naturally cloudy appearance and a tangy fruit flavor, creating a succulent and fruity taste sensation with a refreshing finish.”

Its effervescence combined with the citrus flavors gives it a champagne-like characteristic that is reminiscent of a mimosa cocktail. Slightly sweet, yet bitter from the grapefruit, makes it easy to drink and refreshing. (3.2% ABV)

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Posted in: Beer & Wine




WINE CLUB Varietal of the Month: Amarone della Valpolicella

Amarone della ValpolicellaItaly is known for many fine wines like Barolo, Brunello and Barbaresco, but another varietal to add to the list is Amarone della Valpolicella.

It’s a special-occasion wine that has earned its place as an elite red because of its scarcity and difficulty to make. From the district of Valpolicella in the Veneto region near Verona, Italy, Amarone is the top red wine made in that area. It achieved DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllato e Garantita) status in 2009, which means that the winemakers followed strict quality guidelines while making the wine. It is a government-controlled guarantee that designates geographical authenticity. Only 74 wines from designated regions qualify for DOCG status.

This wine is traditionally made with Corvina grapes (45% to 95%) and blended with other varieties such as Corvinone (up to 50%), Rondinella (5 to 30%) and, possibly, small amounts of Molinara. The grapes are picked late in the season to ensure full ripening and perfect conditions. They are then laid in a single layer on bamboo racks in a large, low-humidity drying room where the grapes dry for 3 to 4 months. This process lowers the level of moisture and acidity in the grapes, and it concentrates the sugars, glycerin and other components such as resveratrol. The grapes are then crushed, and the fermentation and aging processes begin. Amarone must be aged a minimum of 2 years, and reserve varieties must be aged a minimum of 4 years.

High-quality Amarone wines will contain a higher percentage of Corvina and Corvinone grapes. The Corvina grapes offer notes of cherry, almond and spice, while the Corvinone grapes, which are very rare, possess similar flavors. Rondinella and Molinara grapes are also used in smaller quantities. Rondinella adds a floral note and helps balance the tannins. Molinara offers high acidity. Because the drying process lowers the acidity in Corvina and Corvinone, Molinari helps balance those components.

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Posted in: Beer & Wine




Dinner Made Easy with Veggie Noodles

Spiralizing vegetables is all the rage in the culinary world. So many diets are looking to noodles made out of vegetables as a way to eat gluten-free, cut calories and add more vegetables to a meal.

Basically, you take a dense vegetable like butternut squash, zucchini or potatoes and put it through a gadget called a spiralizer. The spiralizer will cut the vegetable into long noodles. They can be eaten raw, sautéed, parboiled or fried. There’s just one problem. I’ve tried a few spiralizers, and the results were not as successful as I expected. The noodles were flimsy, broken or oddly shaped.

When I saw the spiralized noodles from Veggie Noodle Co. at FRESH, I couldn’t wait to try them. It’s a great company out of Austin, and they do the spiralizing for you. The noodles are perfect, and the packaging comes with quick, easy recipes and cooking instructions. Plus, there is a variety of vegetables to choose from: butternut squash, sweet potato, zucchini and beet. I can’t even begin to imagine the mess that I would have made if I had tried to spiralize a beet!

Having all these options allows you to get creative with recipes. All of them can be made so quickly. It’s the perfect solution for weeknight dinners.

The butternut squash spirals can be sautéed for a few minutes and then tossed in pesto and olive oil. The sweet potato spirals are really delicious when fried. It’s a bit like sweet potato fries. The beet spirals are beautiful and can be sautéed, fried or boiled. Toss them with olive oil and a few drops of balsamic, and then top with some goat cheese crumbles for a nice pasta substitute.

 





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