Friday, July 1, 2016

Classic, Cool Family Fun

Enjoy summer favorites from classics of the past

Summer is the season when many of the best childhood memories are made. That’s why introducing future generations to treasured pastimes is an ideal way to ensure classic summer moments live on for years to come.

Though the world has changed over the years, the simple pursuits of summers past can and should still live on. The long, warm days of the season are meant for making memories, and there’s no better way to do so than by revisiting “throwback” summer pleasures.

Reminiscing on the Road
Whether traveling across the country or state, a road trip is a terrific way to bond with family while exploring the world away from home. When parents take their children on a road trip to their favorite childhood vacation spots, they can explore how the sites have changed over time, and gain a whole new experience through their kids’ eyes.

Long trips on the road don’t have to require the latest technology like cell phones and tablets. To relieve boredom, parents can teach their kids classic road trip games from their youth like I spy, 20 questions or the license plate game. These timeless activities are a great way to have fun, pass time and encourage family bonding.

Nearby Neighborhood Fun
Closer to home, there are undoubtedly various ways to fill the steamy days of summer, which many of today’s parents remember fondly from their own youth. As shocking as it may be for kids today to learn that summer fun can exist beyond video games, tablets and other electronic devices, “unplugged” family fun may be just what the season calls for.

In many areas, families can find fun summer activities right in their own backyards. The joys of entrepreneurship with a lemonade stand at the end of the driveway can be just as fun for today’s children as they were for their parents. Making and sharing “summer camp” style friendship bracelets creates memories. Creating a colorful world in the driveway or on the sidewalk with chalk can also bring out a child’s artistic side, and can lead to other summertime favorites like hopscotch with friends.

Refreshing Summer Snacks
Nothing says summer like enjoying a frozen treat on a hot day, and many generations have fond memories of chasing the Good Humor Man driving that iconic Good Humor Truck down the street. Known as the original ice cream truck brand, Good Humor has been reimagining America’s favorite candies and desserts as frozen treats for more than 90 years.

Just as other classic summertime traditions have modernized over the years, so has Good Humor. This year, the brand is introducing a new six-pack of Good Humor Girl Scouts Thin Mints bars, inspired by the classic Thin Mint cookie, which is available in grocery stores nationwide. Other classic favorites have also been updated to offer fans more of what they love, from more strawberry flavor in the Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake bar to more OREO pieces in the Good Humor OREO bar to more peanut butter swirl in the Good Humor REESE’S peanut butter cup.

A Tradition of Cool Summer Fun
On a warm sunny day, not much can beat the cool taste of a delicious ice cream bar. It probably even harkens memories of your youth, but the origins of this favorite frozen treat date back much further.
It all started in 1920, when Harry Burt created a delicious chocolate coating compatible with ice cream. After his daughter said it was too messy to eat, Burt froze sticks into the ice cream to make a handle, creating the first Good Humor bar, which was also the first ice cream on a stick.

That year, Burt outfitted a fleet of 12 street vending trucks with freezers and bells from which to sell his creations, and the original ice cream truck was born. Operators of those trucks — and many other mobile vehicles for years ahead — came to be known as the beloved Good Humor Man. In those early days, they were required to undergo a rigorous three-day training, in which they learned to tip their hats to ladies and salute gentlemen.

Today, the line of classic Good Humor sandwiches, bars and cones are available in several varieties nationwide in individually-packed single servings at convenience stores, drug stores, newsstands, parks, trucks, kiosks and entertainment venues, or in multipacks at grocery stores.

Learn more about summer’s favorite frozen treats at or on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE: Unilever

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Chilly Treats for Every Summer Occasion

After splashing in the pool, rooting on your favorite team or playing in the backyard, nothing beats the end of a long summer day like a cool, classic treat. So grab the kids, some bowls, spoons and the trusty old ice cream scoop - and dig in.

July is National Ice Cream Month, and aficionados agree that when it comes to the best tasting ice cream, "fresh" is the must-have ingredient. For nearly 80 years, Blue Bunny has been making premium ice cream using only the best, locally-sourced milk from within 75 miles and turning it into out-of-this-world ice cream in less than 24 hours.

Dial up your summer fun with the freshness of ice cream and fruit with these recipes, and find more recipes at

Honey-Peach Frozen Yogurt Sundaes

Preparation Time  15 minutes
Serves 4 servings

  • 1/3 cup walnut halves
  • 2 medium fresh peaches, sliced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 4 scoops (1/2 cup each) Blue Bunny Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt
  • 2/3 cup fresh raspberries

    1. In medium skillet over medium heat, cook walnuts until toasted, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool. When cool enough to handle, chop very coarsely. Set aside.
    2. In same skillet over medium heat, combine peaches, honey, cinnamon and cloves; cook and stir until peaches soften. Cool several minutes before spooning equally over frozen yogurt.
    3. Top each serving with about 4 raspberries. Serve immediately.

 Cool Party Cubes

    Preparation Time  30 minutes
    Freeze Time  at least 1 hour
    Serves  4 servings

  • 2 squares (2 ounces) white chocolate baking squares
  • 1/2 cup prepared vanilla frosting
  • 4 Blue Bunny Premium Birthday Party Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • 2 medium firm kiwi, peeled
  • 1 3/4 cups halved small strawberries (or large strawberries cut into chunks)
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons peach preserves (pineapple, mango or apricot could be substituted)

    1. Grate or shred white chocolate with box grater onto large plate. Thinly spread frosting on one side of one ice cream sandwich, keeping remaining sandwiches in freezer. Press frosting side into white chocolate, spread frosting on unfrosted side, turn and press into white chocolate.
    2. Return to freezer; repeat with remaining ice cream sandwiches. Freeze at least 1 hour, until solid. (May be kept covered in freezer overnight.)
    3. Thirty minutes before serving, cut kiwi into thick slices, then cut slices into quarters. Place in medium bowl along with other fruit. Heat preserves in microwave-safe bowl, just until melted (20 seconds in a 1250 watt microwave), breaking up large pieces of fruit. Pour over fruit and toss to coat; chill 15 to 20 minutes.
    4. Remove prepared ice cream sandwiches from freezer, cut each into bite-size squares; arrange with glazed fruit in 4 dessert bowls or plates.

Fruit Salsa Sundaes

    Serves 4

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 6 medium fresh strawberries, diced
  • 1 large kiwi, peeled and diced
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 small firm bananas, cut in half lengthwise
  • 8 1/3 cups Blue Bunny Premium Banana Split Ice Cream
  • Fat-free whipped topping, optional
  • Chocolate sprinkles, optional
  • 4 maraschino cherries, optional

    1. In medium skillet over medium-low heat, cook pineapple and brown sugar just until pineapple is softened, 5 minutes. Add strawberries, kiwi and cumin; cook several minutes until fruit is heated through.
    2. Arrange 2 banana halves in each of 4 dessert bowls; top each with 2 scoops ice cream. Spoon glazed fruits equally over ice cream. Garnish with whipped topping, chocolate sprinkles and a maraschino cherry, if desired. Serve immediately.

Cherry Vanilla Crumble Squares

    Preparation Time  25 minutes
    Freeze Time  at least 8 hours
    Makes: 9 servings

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (rolled oats)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 package (12 ounces) frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed and well drained
  • 1/3 cup all fruit black cherry fruit spread
  • 4 cups Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream, softened

    1. In medium bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar and butter; mix thoroughly. Remove 1/2 cup and set aside; pour remaining crumb mixture in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish.
    2. Coarsely chop cherries and transfer to medium bowl. Add fruit spread, stirring to blend. Pour over crust, gently spreading evenly in bottom. Spoon ice cream over top, gently spreading evenly. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
    3. Cover and freeze at least 8 hours. Cut into squares to serve

    SOURCE: Blue Bunny Ice Cream

4th of July Grilling Tips and Recipes

Grilling Tips and Tricks from the Pace Kitchen

Savory Skewers:
Use large toothpicks or small wooden skewers to present complementary food for entrees, salads or soups. For example, arrange one or two small skewers of cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and cubes of fresh mozzarella on a salad.

Meat Matters:
Drain marinated meats well before grilling. Excess marinade or oil can drip into the flames, causing flare-ups and scorching on the surface of the meat.

Always slice cooked meats across (against) the grain. The "grain" is the direction the muscle fibers run, and cutting across the grain shortens the fibers, making the meat more tender.

Produce Pointers:
Ripen hard avocados or green tomatoes by placing in a paper bag with an apple. The apple emits a gas that helps speed ripening.

When cutting corn off the cob, it's easiest to do it on a rimmed baking sheet. That way, the corn kernels aren't as apt to fly all over the work surface.

Use the right tools:
Always use tongs, not a fork, when turning food, to keep juices from escaping.

Find the right Pace:
For marinating with Pace, the Pace Kitchen recommends either Picante Sauce or Salsa Verde.

Grilled Skewered Shrimp

Prep: 20 minutes
Grill: 10 minutes
Makes: 6 servings (2 skewers each)

2/3 cup Pace® Picante Sauce
1 can (about 8 ounces) tomato sauce
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1. Stir the picante sauce, tomato sauce, sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add
the shrimp and toss to coat.
2. Thread the shrimp on 12 skewers.
3. Lightly oil the grill rack and heat the grill to medium. Grill the shrimp for 10
minutes or until they're cooked through, turning and brushing often with the picante
sauce mixture. Discard any remaining picante sauce mixture.
Tip: For even easier preparation, you can buy frozen large shrimp already peeled and
deveined. Just thaw and use instead of the fresh shrimp.

Pace® Rib Eye Steaks

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 beef rib eye steaks (about 1 pound each), 1-inch thick
1 jar (24 ounces) Pace® Picante Sauce
1 package (8 ounces) Monterey Jack cheese (2 cups)
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 small tomato, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1. Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and cook for
about 10 minutes or until medium-rare, turning the steaks over halfway through
2. Add the picante sauce and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10
3. Divide the cheese between the steaks. Cover and cook until the cheese melts. Top
with the onion, pepper and tomato.

Simply Spicy Grilled Chicken

Prep: 5 minutes
Grill: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

3/4 cup Pace® Picante Sauce
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 pounds chicken parts, skin removed
1 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
2 green onions, sliced (about 1/4 cup)
Orange slices (optional)
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)

1. Stir the picante sauce and barbecue sauce in a small bowl. Reserve 3/4 cup for
the rice.
2. Lightly oil the grill rack and heat the grill to medium. Grill the chicken for 20
minutes. Brush the chicken with the remaining picante sauce mixture. Grill for 20
minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, turning and brushing often with the
picante sauce mixture. Discard the remaining picante sauce mixture.
3. Cook the rice according to the package directions without salt. Stir in the reserved
3/4 cup picante sauce mixture and the onions. Serve the rice with the chicken.
Garnish with the orange slices and thyme, if desired.
Serving Suggestion: Serve with grilled zucchini and sliced ripe tomatoes topped with
chopped fresh basil. For dessert serve pineapple chunks.

Nutritional Values per Serving : Calories 552, Total Fat 14g, Saturated Fat g,
Cholesterol mg, Sodium 736mg, Total Carbohydrate 51g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Protein
49g, Vitamin A %DV, Vitamin C %DV, Calcium %DV, Iron %DV

Grilled Tomatillo Tuna Steaks

Prep: 20 minutes
Marinate: 30 minutes
Grill: 10 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

1 1/4 cups Pace® Salsa Verde
6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tuna steaks (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1. Stir 3/4 cup salsa, 2 tablespoons cilantro and lemon juice in a 3-quart shallow,
nonmetallic dish or resealable plastic bag. Add the tuna steaks and turn to
coat. Cover the dish or seal the bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Lightly oil the grill rack and heat the grill to medium. Grill the tuna steaks for 10
minutes or to desired doneness, turning them over once halfway through grilling
and basting often with the marinade. Discard the remaining marinade.
3. Stir the remaining salsa, cilantro, avocado and green onion in a small bowl. Serve
with the tuna steaks.

Firecracker Flank Steak

Marinate: 1 hour
Prep: 10 minutes
Grill: 10 minutes
Serves: 8

1 jar (16 ounces) Pace® Picante Sauce
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 beef flank steak  (about 2 pounds)
Hot cooked rice
Chopped fresh parsley


Stir the picante sauce, orange juice, oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, mustard and ginger in a shallow, nonmetallic dish or gallon size resealable plastic bag. Add the beef and turn to coat. Cover the dish or seal the bag and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

Lightly oil the grill rack and heat the grill to medium. Grill the beef for 10 minutes for medium-rare or to desired doneness, turning the beef over once during grilling and basting often with the picante sauce mixture.

Heat the remaining picante sauce mixture in a 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes or until the mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally.

Slice the beef and serve with the picante sauce mixture and rice.  Sprinkle with the parsley.

For a flavor twist, substitute 1 can (about 20 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained, for the orange juice.

Source: Pace

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bringing Your Food Focus to Summer Freshness

Enjoying a taste of summer extends beyond ice cream, hot dogs and barbeque. There are many ways to partake in the season’s healthiest flavors, and the best place to get nutritious inspiration is your local farmers market.

If you want to fuel your summer activities in a healthy way, there are tools to help you get there. After all, the best meals are the ones that taste great and make you feel even better – so where should you start? Whether your focus is on mindful eating in general or if you are trying to eat low-carb or reduce sugar, there are a rainbow of options available to you.

Maintaining a low-carb lifestyle includes a colorful variety of seasonal produce picks. There is a fresh low-carb option for every taste, all summer long, if you know what to look for. Some of the best choices to add flavor to your summer menus include berries, cantaloupe, honeydew and vegetables such as salad greens, cucumbers and fresh herbs. A reliable low-carb option available through the entire season is summer squash, which can be prepared in a variety of ways - including being used as an alternative to pasta for a light summer meal.

Zucchini Pasta with Almond Pesto

Preparation Time  5 minutes
Cook Time  10 minutes

  • 1/3 cup whole roasted and unsalted almonds
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds zucchini
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

    1. In food processor, process almonds until finely ground. Add garlic, parsley and cheese; pulse 4-6 times. Add in 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste) and pulse again a few times. Set aside.
    2. Spiralize zucchini or use grater with zucchini lengthwise for longer strands. Preheat large skillet or wok over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook zucchini 4 minutes using tongs to stir and rotate until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
    3. Toss warm zucchini with pesto, sprinkle with pepper flakes (optional) and divide into pasta bowls. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

    Notes, Tips and Suggestions
    To roast raw almonds, heat oven to 350°F, toss nuts on sheet pan and roast for 10 minutes. Cool before using.


SOURCE: Atkins


"On the Road" Picnic Recipes and Travel Tips

from Award-Winning Chef and Mercedes-Benz USA

Few things are more reminiscent of summer than enjoying the perfect outdoor picnic. With the summer season in full swing, Mercedes-Benz sets the stage for the perfect escape with an “On the Road” picnic menu created by renowned chef Michael White, Executive Chef and Partner of Alto, Convivio and Marea in New York City. Marea, his most recent restaurant, was awarded the 2010 James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant.

A pioneer of American-style gourmet cooking, Beard was an avid lover of picnics.  Mercedes-Benz and The James Beard Foundation have turned to Chef White to create an innovative menu that inspires food lovers to hit the road.  

This fruitful partnership aims to incorporate the James Beard Foundation’s mission of preserving and celebrating America’s culinary heritage alongside Mercedes-Benz cultural heritage as the inventor of the automobile - a fusion of the finer things in life, namely travel and enjoying good food!

In addition to White’s delicious, yet easy to prepare recipes, Mercedes-Benz offers the following tips and checklist to enjoy the ultimate “On the Road” picnic:
Picnic Checklist:
o   Picnic basket or cooler
o   Bottled water (tip: freeze overnight and use as an ice pack)
o   Outdoor dinnerware
o   Flatware or plastic silverware
o   Napkins / paper towels
o   Sturdy glassware
o   Corkscrew and/or bottle opener
o   Tablecloth or blanket
o   Trash bag
o   Hand sanitizer or wipes 
o   Salt and pepper
o   One sharp knife (consider using a Swiss army knife)

Optional Items
o   Portable speakers and iPod (don’t forget to charge!)
o   Camera
o   Sunscreen (depending on day or evening picnic)
o   Bug spray or citronella candles (don’t forget matches for candles)
o   Decorative centerpiece (a cup of freshly plucked wildflowers, a beautiful dessert)
o   Candles or lantern (evening picnic)
o   Bug net

Location and Planning:
·         When choosing a location for your outdoor meal, you should consider all types of scenic options -- parks, beaches, concerts or open fields are great places.
·         Plan the menu based on the number of people, how much you can carry, and how long the trip will be, factoring in when food will be ingested.

·         Pair wines based on the menu, but for a picnic, you should chill the wine you choose, white or red
·         Rose wines and Reislings have broad appeal, and go well with picnic food - such as chicken and grilled meats
·         Cheese and meat plates can pair well with a Cabernet or Beaujolais

The ultimate picnic menu features the following items:

Insalata di Mare

Serves four

¼ cup Taggiasca olives
¼ cup caper berries
2 tbsp chopped Parsley
½ cup olive oil
Celery leaves for garnish
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 ounces calamari, cleaned and rinsed
4 ounces mussels, de-bearded
4 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined

Blanch all seafood in boiling salted water. Mix all ingredients together and dress with olive oil and lemon juice. Season and garnish with chopped celery leaves.  


Serves four

1 large head napa cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, seeded, de-ribbed and julienned
1 large carrot, grated
1 tbsp coarse salt
1 tbsp sugar

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sour cream
1 green apple, washed and grated
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp celery seeds
1 tbsp coarse salt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Salad: In a colander set over a large bowl, combine the cabbage, peppers, carrot, salt, and sugar. Toss to combine. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Dressing: Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Cook, whisking constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes
Remove salad from refrigerator and discard any liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. Add the salad to the bowl. Add dressing and toss to combine.

Insalata Cruda con Parmigiano

Serves four

2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
6 large radishes, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 pound asparagus, thinly sliced on the bias
1 large carrot, finely julienned
1/2 small seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 head of Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp shredded basil leaves
1 tbsp coarsely chopped tarragon
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, whisk the white balsamic vinegar with the Dijon mustard and the 1/4 cup of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Add the radishes, fennel, asparagus, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, basil and tarragon and toss gently to coat. Serve the salad right away.

Gemelli e Heirloom Tomatoes e Basil

Serves four

3⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 eggs, hard-boiled, finely chopped

1 pound gemelli, cooked al dente, rinsed to prevent sticking
6 ounces pecorino, shaved
3 mixed heirloom tomatoes
1 small bunch of basil, leaves torn
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vinaigrette: Add all ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth. If necessary, add more vinegar to adjust the acidity.
Salad: Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss together with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Potatoes con Bagna Cauda Vinaigrette

Serves four

1 lb. baby red bliss potatoes, pre-cooked

6 anchovy filets, packed in oil
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed and soaked overnight
3 tbsp heavy cream
freshly ground black pepper

Potatoes: Bring 1 lb. of potatoes in cold, salted water up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender. Drain and chill. Once cold, quarter potatoes and store in refrigerator.
Vinaigrette: In a food processor, combine anchovies, garlic and capers. Puree until smooth. Add lemon juice and oil. Process until smooth. Pour in the cream and process until smooth. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Assembly: Toss quartered, chilled potatoes with the vinaigrette and serve.

Gamberoni alla Piastra

Serves four

2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs rosemary, stemmed
½ cup and 1 tbsp olive oil
16 large head-on shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups mixed cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 cups arugula
1 lemon

Mince garlic and rosemary together and place in a large bowl. Pour in 1/3 cup olive oil and combine. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
After the shrimp has marinated, combine red wine vinegar, shallot, 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper in the bottom of a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Add the tomatoes and arugula and toss gently to coat. Put the mixture aside. Next, heat the grill. Once hot, remove the shrimp from the marinade and skewer shrimp (two per skewer) and place on grill. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 ½ minutes. After 90 seconds, flip to the other side, season with salt and pepper and cook 90 seconds more. Once cooked, remove from heat and place 4 shrimp on each of the four plates.

To serve, divide the tomato salad onto four plates and top each with two shrimp skewers. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of remaining olive oil and serve immediately.

Grilled Tagliata con Rucola, Parmigiano e Ciabatta

Serves four

1 whole flatiron steak, cleaned and trimmed
1 ciabatta loaf, sliced
1 bag arugula, rinsed
4 ounces parmigiano
olive oil to drizzle
lemon juice
rosemary, chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Season meat with salt, pepper and olive oil. Grill until desired temperature. Allow to rest.
Combine fresh, chopped rosemary with sea salt.

While meat is resting, brush sliced ciabatta bread with rosemary salt and olive oil. Grill each slice until slightly toasted.

Thinly slice meat and assemble steak atop grilled ciabatta. Top with arugula and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Serve.

Italian Tuna Insalata

Serves four

4 cups canned white beans drained, rinsed and chilled
1 1/2 6-ounce cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained, broken into chunks
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Place beans in large bowl. Add tuna and onion; drizzle with oil. Toss gently to combine. Season with salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.

Strawberries with Honeyed Marscarpone and Balsamic Vinegar

Serves four

2 pints strawberries, stems removed
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
1 cup marscarpone cheese
2 tbsp honey
1 bunch of fresh mint
aged balsamic vinegar, for garnish

Wash strawberries. Pat dry. Place 1 cup of strawberries in a blender with the water and sugar. Set aside. Marinate remaining whole strawberries in pureed strawberry mixture. Allow to sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Mix honey and marscarpone. Divide the strawberries and 2 tablespoons of the strawberry puree in four high ball glasses. Layer a spoonful of the honeyed marscarpone mixture between each layer of the strawberries until glass is ¾ full. Drizzle aged balsamic atop each glass. Garnish with fresh mint.

Gianduja Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies

2 cups and 3 tbsp all purpose flour
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
10 ounces gianduja, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Do not spray sheets.
Using an electric mixer and paddle attachment, cream the butter and all sugars (granulated, light and dark brown) until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until combined, followed by the vanilla extract.

Combine all the flour, salt, and baking soda and whisk to remove lumps. Add dry ingredients to the above mixture and stir just until combined. Fold in gianduja chunks.

Place small spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are lightly golden brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Let cookies rest for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Simple, Sunset Happy Hour

Happy Hour. A time of day renowned the world over for relaxing just before dinner with small bites and small pours. To create your own happy hour at home for family and friends, try a bite-sized menu like this one that pairs light, flavorful dishes with food-friendly wines, such as Mirassou Winery's red blend, Sunset Red. This Pinot Noir-based red blend features fresh, dark fruit flavors of black cherry and blackberry with notes of caramel and brown sugar. The wine's deep red color reflects shades of a bright California sunset and provides a perfect sipping experience as the day winds down and your happy hour begins.

To explore more wine pairing options, visit

Sunset Sliders

Preparation Time  20 minutes

Cook Time  6 to 8 minutes

Serves  8


  • 1 pound lean ground beef (preferably grass fed)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped baby portabella mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots or red onion
  • 1/4 cup Mirassou Sunset Red
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded aged Gouda cheese
  • 8 brioche, ciabatta, or other small slider rolls
  • 8 thin Roma tomato slices
  • 4 strips cooked cherry wood or apple wood smoked bacon, broken in quarters
  • 5 to 6 baby arugula leaves

  • Preparation
      1. Using your hands, mix beef, mushrooms, shallots, wine, rosemary, Dijon, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Shape into 8 very flat patties.
      2. Grill, broil or pan fry for 3 minutes. Turn and top with cheese; cook for 2 minutes more. Serve on lightly toasted rolls with tomato, bacon and arugula.

    Sweet Potato Fries with Spiced Aioli

      Preparation Time  20 minutes
      Cook Time  25 minutes
      Serves  8 to 10
    Spice Mix

    • 2 teaspoons garam masala
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon curry
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

    • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste
    • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
    • 2 pounds yams
    • Vegetable oil for frying
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt

      1. Stir together all spice mix ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
      2. Drop garlic cloves into a blender or food processor with the motor running. Add egg yolks and lemon juice and process briefly. Add oil in a slow, steady stream until mixture becomes thick and creamy. Stir in 2 teaspoons of spice mix and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
      3. To prepare fries, peel potatoes and cut into long 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick strips; place in a large bowl of ice water to keep from browning. Remove a handful at a time and pat very dry between paper towels.
      4. Drop into 1 inch of hot oil (oil is hot enough when a few drops of water added start to pop) and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Drain well on paper towels and repeat with remaining potatoes. (Keep warm in a 300°F oven.)
      5. Place in a large bowl and toss with remaining sea salt and spice mixture. Serve immediately with aioli.

    Cherry Bread Pudding

    Preparation Time  20 minute
    Standing Time
      2 to 8 hours
    Cook Time 
    30 to 35 minutes

      8 to 10

    • 3 1/3 cups half and half
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 4 eggs
    • 8 cups (1-inch cubes) Challah or other sweet, eggy bread, lightly toasted
    • 1 can (15 ounces) pitted sweet cherries, well drained
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons coarse sugar

      1. Whisk together half and half, sugar, extracts and eggs until well mixed. Place in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and add bread cubes. Stir lightly and push cubes down to coat completely with mixture; cover and refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours.
      2. Preheat oven to 325°F and lightly butter 8 to 10 small (about 1 cup) ramekins.
      3. Fold cherries into bread mixture and spoon into ramekins; sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

    SOURCE: Mirassou Winery