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Product Talk: Mezzetta® Italian Mix Giardiniera


Mezzetta® Italian Mix GiardinieraIn my last blog, I mentioned that I’d been making a lot of charcuterie boards, which are fun for parties, appetizers and even, if you’re like me, an entire meal. Charcuterie is a French word for cured or smoked meats, but you can add anything that you like to the board.

I love adding Mezzetta® Italian Mix Giardiniera, a pickled veggie relish, if you will. The acid from the pickled vegetables complements the fats from the meats and cheeses perfectly to balance off your meal.

Giardiniera is a classic Italian relish made up of an assortment of vegetables. Mezzetta’s veggies are harvested at the height of the season in northern California, and then pickled for use throughout the year.

The typical combination includes carrots, cauliflower, celery, pickles, onions and peppers, and they are pickled in vinegar and sea salt.

This side dish, or topping, is low in fat and sugar, and it is also delicious on sandwiches. It comes in a “hot” variety as well, with peppers added to the mix.

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Family Matters: Baby Dove


Baby DoveOne of the softest things in the world is the feel of your baby’s skin.

It can also be one of the trickiest things to care for.

You don’t want to use anything on baby’s skin that wouldn’t be good for him, and that’s where Dove® comes in. With their long-standing commitment to quality products, Baby Dove is now a line you can feel confident about using on your precious child.

The Baby Dove Rich Moisture line features body washes, lotions and shampoos that keep your baby’s skin and hair soft and vibrant. You can even personalize the Tip to Toe wash and Lotion bottles with your baby’s name!

Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture is great for even the most delicate skin. Choose from body washes, lotions and shampoos. There are even bars and wipes to help meet all your needs.



Family Matters: Plants & Pets


It’s the most wonderful time of year to be outside!

Birds are singing, flowers are growing, gardens are planted, and pets are frolicking through thick grass.

However, not all plants are pet-friendly, including things you may be growing in your garden for you to eat!

Some plants, fertilizers and insecticides are highly toxic to your pet if ingested.

Call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number, (888) 426-4435, immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous.

Poisonous plants can include:

Aloe

Amaryllis

Apple Trees

Apricot Trees

Azaleas

Begonias

Boxwood

Caladium (Elephant Ears)

California Ivy

Calla Lilies

Carnations

Chives

Clematis

Daffodils

Dahlias

Daisies

English Ivy

Fig Plants

Gardenias

Geraniums

Holly

Hops

Hosta

Lavender

Leeks

Lemon Trees

Lime Trees

Marjoram

Mint

Milkweed

Mums

Oleanders

Onions

Orange Trees

Parsley

Peach Trees

Peonies

Plums

Rhubarb

Sago Palm

Taro

Tarragon

Wisteria

Yucca



Family Matters: Wine Pairings for Mother’s Day Brunch


Wine for Mother's DayMother’s Day is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to pick out pairings for your Mother’s Day brunch.

We all know restaurants fill up fast on Mother’s Day, so why not stay at home and make Mom a brunch to remember?

You can start the meal with a selection of seasonal fruits, like strawberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, honeydew, grapes and assorted berries. Serve them as they are, or whip up a fruit dip of 1 cup of mascarpone cheese, 2 cups of Cool Whip®, 1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon that you stir together until creamy and well-blended.

Mom will swoon over a sparkling rosé served alongside fruit, served chilled, with an extra strawberry or raspberry in her glass. Not all rosés are sparkling, you know. A dry rosé would also be a great accompaniment to a fruit course.

If you’re serving eggs, like a quiche or a breakfast casserole, white wines pair beautifully with these dishes. Choose a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio that isn’t sweet but can bring out the flavor of the eggs and whatever they are paired with, like sharp cheddar, savory sausage or roasted vegetables. You could also try a Chardonnay with a French toast casserole or Dutch baby.

If you’re serving a protein, like smoked salmon, I’d definitely go with an oaky Chardonnay that will play up but not overpower the fish. It’s also a good choice for chicken or pork dishes. If you’re serving red meat, like a filet mignon or tri-tip, go for a Malbec or Syrah to keep things lighter but still enhance the flavors of the meat.

For dessert, revisit the rosé! The expression, “Rosé all day,” wasn’t coined by accident, you know!

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Product Talk: Tony Chachere’s® Crispy Creole Fish Fry Mix


Fried FishIt’s spring. The weather is glorious. I have spring fever…badly, and it’s time for as much outdoor cooking as humanly possible.

I grill all the time, any meal of the day. Last year, we did a crawfish boil with friends (and may again this year). This spring while the temperatures for lounging on the back porch haven’t reached scorching, we’re going to have a fish fry. We already have the big, deep-fryer from the crawfish boil last year (we used it as a boiler), so this year, we’re going to try some crispy fish instead.

Not too long ago (a few years, I’d say), my fiancé convinced me to try his fried catfish at a local restaurant. I’d never really had it before, but I loved it the minute that crispy crust hit my taste buds. I want to be able to do that at home!

Tony Chachere’s® makes it easy. The brand’s Crispy Creole Fish Fry Mix is a combination of Tony’s famous spices and a cornmeal base, to give you crispy, restaurant-style fish at home. You can use it on any fish, and it’s super easy. You just pat your fish dry with a paper towel. Place the Tony Chachere’s® Crispy Creole Fish Fry Mix in a large, shallow bowl or pan. Dip fish pieces into mix, pressing lightly to coat both sides. Heat your oil to desired temperature. Test temps with a little bit of the fish fry mix. If it bubbles and sizzles, it’s ready for the fish. Fry fish for a few minutes or until golden-brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.

P.S. Tony Chachere’s® also makes a hush puppy mix. This would be a great side dish for your fried fish!



Product Talk – White Asparagus


Green and White AsparagusWhen I lived in Germany, white asparagus was the hallmark of the spring season. In fact, there were entire festivals dedicated to the albino vegetable. I’d walk through the streets with stalls selling paper cones of roasted asparagus drizzled with olive oil and doused with crunchy sea salt, or boats of asparagus in a light, tarragon-infused vinaigrette sauce. The smells were magnificent. In Germany, it’s called “spargel.” I’ve been thrilled each year when Brookshire’s carries this gem.

The basic difference between green and white asparagus is that the white variety is grown underground covered in dirt, so it lacks the chlorophyll that helps turn the other variety green. In that sense, it’s more like a root vegetable, but you won’t taste much of a difference between the green and white varieties. Some people also call this kind of asparagus “vampire asparagus” because it never sees the light of day. To cook the asparagus, snap off the woody stems, then go about preparation.

White Asparagus with Tarragon Cream

Ingredients:
2 cups bread cubes from day-old loaf, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp salt
4 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 lbs white asparagus
1 cup dry white wine
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
3 Tbs fresh tarragon, chopped
2 Tbs chives, minced
1/2 tsp white pepper
salt and black pepper, to taste

For the breadcrumbs, place bread cubes in bowl of food processor; pulse into fine crumbs. Heat olive oil in large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering and fragrant. Add breadcrumbs to pan, stirring constantly, until breadcrumbs are golden-brown (about 4 minutes). Remove to a bowl until asparagus is prepared.

Bring water to a boil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add salt and lemon juice. After stems are removed from asparagus, use a vegetable peeler to remove the thin outer membrane of asparagus, as if you were lightly peeling a carrot. Add peeled asparagus to boiling water; reduce heat to medium. Simmer asparagus until tender when pierced with tip of a knife, between 8 to 20 minutes depending on thickness. Drain asparagus; dry slightly on paper towels.

Bring wine to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots. Cook until wine is reduced by about three-quarters, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add cream and reduce again by half, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add butter to pan, 1 tablespoon at a time. Whisk until smooth. Stir in herbs; add salt and both peppers, to taste.

Arrange asparagus in a large serving bowl. Add cream sauce; toss to coast. Sprinkle with toasted breadcrumbs, and serve immediately.

Serves 6
Per Serving:
Calories: 310, Fat: 25 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 54 mg, Sodium: 975 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 5 g.



Product Talk: Amish Country Roll Butter


Amish Country Roll Butter on grilled cornI’m in love, and I’m shouting it from the rooftop.

Amish Country Roll Butter has my heart, and I’m not afraid to share my infatuation with this amazing product.

Hand-packaged in a wax paper wrapper, this fresh-tasting butter is a game-changer for baking, cooking and spreading. It literally tastes like it was just churned in a farmhouse kitchen next door.

Since 1946, Amish Country Roll Butter has been made using a family recipe that incorporates whey cream and sweet cream for a fresh taste and creamy texture.

It’s delicious on your morning toast, in the cookies you’re baking for the school bake sale and on your dinner baked potato.

It comes in a one-pound roll, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly you run out.

This recipe lets the flavor of the butter shine through on these simply dressed veggies.

Barbecue Grilled Vegetables
(Recipe from Amish Country Roll Butter)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup Amish Country Roll Butter
2 small potatoes, diced or sliced
3 large carrots, chopped
6 oz green beans
1 red bell pepper, quartered
1 yellow bell pepper, quartered
1 small onion, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced

Directions:
Heat grill to high heat. Add tin foil to dish you will be grilling the veggies in. Melt the Amish Country Roll Butter in the tin foil. Add veggies. Let cook on high heat for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from grill and serve.

Serves 4

Per Serving:
Calories: 244, Fat: 12 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 31 mg, Sodium: 129 mg, Carbohydrates: 33 g, Fiber: 7 g, Protein: 5 g.

View the original recipe here.



Family Matters: Snacks for Spring


Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® Treats™This time of year, the pace of life seems to increase exponentially. There are track meets, soccer games, spring musical rehearsals, band competitions, academic competitions, school dances, graduations, weekend trips…you get the idea.
That level of activity requires a lot of on-the-go and a lot of snacking on-the-go!

One of our favorites is the single servings of guacamole that are sold in the produce section of Brookshire’s. Paired with some baby carrots or celery sticks, these are portable and pack a lot of nutritional punch. You’re getting good protein that will keep you running and good fat that will keep you full in between meals.

Another snack we love is pre-sliced apples, also found in the produce section at Brookshire’s. Eat with some cheddar cheese and almonds or peanut butter (You can also get peanut butter in single-serving sizes at Brookshire’s), and you have a snack powerhouse. Protein bars, like Luna® brand, also come in handy in a pinch.

Hands down, my boys’ favorite snack is Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® Treats™. Also sold in single-serving packages (do you see a theme here?), these classic kid favorites are just fun and tasty. They even come in fun flavors now, like Cookies ‘N’ Crème, Birthday Cake, M&M’s® and Chocolatey Drizzle. They are made with the quality Rice Krispies that we have loved since our own childhoods. I love to see my kids enjoying something I loved so much as a kid, and they love seeing that Rice Krispies® Treats™ wrapper in their backpack or gym bag.



Product Talk: Bob’s Red Mill® Tapioca Flour


Bob's Red Mill® Tapioca FlourThis weekend, we ate at a new restaurant (for us) that we’ve been hyping up in our minds for the months since it opened. It did not disappoint. The salad bar was magnificent, redolent with all kinds of cheese such as an entire wheel of parmesan, dried meats like pancetta and soppressata, fresh vegetables, shrimp, smoked salmon and, of course, salad.

If the salad bar was magnificent, the meal offering was phenomenal. Waiters with skewers of roasted meats still dripping with juices milled about, offering diners a different delicacy every few minutes: lamb chops, bacon-wrapped filets, sirloin, pork tenderloin, beef and pork ribs, and spicy sausages. The miraculous meats just kept coming.

One of the truly unique and fun parts of the meal was the basket of Pao de Queijo, or Brazilian Cheese Rolls.

These light, airy, almost bite-sized rolls melted in our mouths as we popped them in, one after another. I was pleasantly surprised that when I got home, it was easy to find a recipe for these amazing, flavorful rolls.

I was interested to see that they were made with tapioca flour, which made sense when I thought about how light these cheese-laden rolls came out.

Bob’s Red Mill® Tapioca Flour is a starchy white flour that has a slightly sweet flavor to it. Tapioca flour can be used to help bind gluten-free recipes and improve the texture of baked goods, making them lighter and airier. Tapioca adds crispness to crusts and a chewy bite to other baked goods. One of the best parts is that it’s extremely smooth, which makes for a great thickener in sauces, pies and soups since it never discolors and contains no discernible taste or smell.

Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Rolls)

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup water
6 Tbs oil
2 tsp salt
4 cups tapioca flour
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Combine milk, water, oil and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring gently.

Add tapioca flour to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl that you can use with a hand mixer. As soon as the liquid mixture boils, carefully pour it over the flour.

Mix well on medium speed of an electric mixture. Expect the dough to be very white and very sticky. With the mixer still on, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Once the eggs are incorporated, add the cheeses, a little at a time, until fully mixed in. The dough will still be quite soft and sticky.

To shape the dough balls, wet hands with cold water. Using a large spoon, scoop some of the dough to shape balls a little smaller than the size of a golf ball.

Place the balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and puffy. Serve warm.

Makes 30

CHEF’S TIP: As soon as they come out of the oven, you can brush with melted butter mixed with some freshly minced garlic.

To prepare ahead and freeze, shape the balls, place them on the baking sheet, and place in freezer. Once they are frozen, transfer to a zip-top bag, and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 181, Fat: 12 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 43 mg, Sodium: 540 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 14 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

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Product Talk: Angus Ground Chuck Patties


Angus Ground Chuck Patty Burgers“What do you want for dinner tonight?” is a typical Saturday question at my house. I meal-plan carefully all through the week, but on weekends, we play it loosey goosey and eat according to our whims.

My kids wanted to grill something, which I’m always on board with, so we went to Brookshire’s to see what tempted our taste buds.

My younger son spotted them first: premade Angus Ground Chuck Patties in the meat section.

“Hey, look at these,” he said. “They’ve already done the work for you, and they’re already nice and flat.”

“Nice and flat” is a bit of a bone of contention with my homemade burgers, apparently. No matter what I do (poking a hole with my finger in the center of the patty, pressing them AFTER they’ve finished cooking), my burgers tend to take on a bit of a bulbous shape in the center. The boys prefer them flat.

These burgers did look good. They were an 80/20 mix of lean to fat, which is great for a burger in my opinion. You don’t want them too lean where all the good flavor is gone, and too much fat is also a cause of the burger bulge as you grill them. Plus, these were a great deal by weight, and as my son pointed out, they already did the work of shaping them for me. (No one likes the feel of ground beef on their hands, do they?)

We brought them home, and I grilled them over a medium-high flame until they were medium. They stayed perfectly flat, much to the boys’ delight, and they had great flavor, much to mine.

We’ll definitely be buying these agains for the wonderful, beefy taste and the definite ease of preparation.



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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

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