Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pick Your Cherries and Eat Them Too

How to pick the best cherries and make them last longer

Now that sweet cherry season is officially here, these summertime rubies are a must-have for any barbecue or party, whether they’re baked in a pie, crushed into a cocktail or eaten as a fresh out-of-hand snack. But first things first, what should someone look for when searching for the perfect cherry?

The Perfect Cherries
Cherry enthusiasts should keep an eye out for firm, shiny and smooth skins. In general, the darker the cherry, the sweeter, and with most varieties darkness is a sign of ripeness. The stems should be green and flexible. Northwest cherries, in particular, are known for their extraordinarily sweet flavor, due to the area’s excellent growing conditions. There are a wide variety of sweet cherries, ranging up to the extra-sweet, yellow-fleshed Rainier cherries. Though so similar they’re often sold as their collective “dark sweet cherries,” the most common varieties include Bing, Sweetheart, Chelan, Lapins, Tieton and Skeena.

Keeping Your Cherries Fresh
Fresh cherries should be kept in a tightly sealed bag or container and can keep for approximately two weeks in the fridge. While this cherry season will be short, you don’t have to limit these tasty, healthy treats to just the summer. Buying an extra bag (or two, or three) to freeze allows you to have sweet cherries all year long.

To create festive cherry dishes for the summer season, try this Cherry Martini or Cherry Almond Pie and find more recipes and cherry tips at

Cherry Martini

Servings: 4
  • 2     cups pitted, halved Northwest fresh sweet cherries, divided
  • 1/4  cup almond liqueur
  • 2     teaspoons sugar
  • 12   lady fingers, split in half lengthwise
  • 4     whole Northwest fresh sweet cherries with stems
  • 1/4  cup whipped lowfat cream cheese, divided
  1. Mix halved cherries, liqueur and sugar; marinate 1 hour or longer.
  2. Arrange lady fingers against sides of 4 martini glasses. Before serving, spoon 1/2 cup cherries over lady fingers and swirl 1 tablespoon cream cheese over cherries in each glass. Garnish with whole cherry and serve.
Substitutions: Orange liqueur may be substituted for almond liqueur. Angel food cake or pound cake, cut into 3-by-1-by-1/2-inch strips, may be substituted for lady fingers. Lightly toast strips, if desired. Sour cream or creme fraiche may be substituted for cream cheese.

Cherry Almond Pie

Servings: 8
  • 1/2  cup sliced almonds, divided
  • 1     pastry (9 inches), for double crust pie
  • 1     egg, beaten
  • 4     cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries
  • 1/3  cup sugar
  • 3     tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1     teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 2     tablespoons red wine

  • Red Wine Glaze
  • 2     cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3  cup red wine
  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Finely chop 1/4 cup almonds.
  3. Roll dough into circle approximately 16 inches in diameter and sprinkle chopped almonds over top; roll gently to embed nuts in dough.
  4. Transfer dough to lightly greased baking sheet lined with parchment paper, if desired. Brush with beaten egg.
  5. Mix cherries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and wine. Spoon cherry mixture onto dough, leaving 4-inch border. Lift edges of dough over fruit, leaving 5-inch circle of cherries showing in center. Fold in edges of pastry to form circle.
  6. Brush pastry with remaining egg mixture; sprinkle with remaining almonds. Bake 30 minutes, or until pastry browns and filling bubbles.
  7. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. If desired, serve with Red Wine Glaze to drizzle over each serving.
  8. To make Red Wine Glaze, mix together powdered sugar and red wine.

SOURCE: Northwest Cherry Growers

Friday, July 29, 2016

Transported by Taste

Ripe vegetables, fresh herbs and fragrant spices all lend vibrant, bold flavors to mouthwatering meals that are worth lingering over with friends. This is what Mediterranean cooking is all about.
Add some Mediterranean inspiration to your everyday meals with these recipes using Crisco(r) olive oils to help you turn an ordinary meal into a memorable one.

Use extra virgin olive oil to add a full-bodied flavor to salads, vegetables and meats. Pure olive oil offers a mild, subtle olive flavor with a hint of fruit to sautés and stir-fries. Light tasting olive oil is ideal as an all-purpose cooking oil that can be used for sautéing, roasting vegetables or in baked goods like muffins, cakes and brownies. For more recipes, visit

Roasted Lemon-Garlic Chicken

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Crisco(r) Olive Oil No-Stick Cooking Spray
1     tablespoon Crisco(r) Pure Olive Oil or
        Crisco(r) Light Tasting Olive Oil
1/2     teaspoon oregano
1     teaspoon minced garlic
1     (4 to 5 pound) whole chicken, rinsed with
        neck and giblets removed
Salt and pepper

1/2     cup cold water
1/4     cup milk
1     (0.87 to 1.2 ounces) package chicken gravy mix
1/2     teaspoon oregano
1     teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2     teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray a shallow roasting pan with rack with no-stick cooking spray.
2. Mix oil, oregano and garlic. Brush mixture over entire chicken. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Place in prepared pan, breast side down; let stand 30 minutes. Turn chicken breast side up.
3. Roast 65 to 70 minutes, basting occasionally. Chicken is done when meat thermometer registers 170°F or when juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pricked. Transfer chicken to carving board; tent with aluminum foil. Allow to rest 10 minutes.
4. Skim grease from the pan drippings. Place 1/4 cup skimmed pan drippings into small saucepan. Add water, milk, gravy mix, oregano, garlic and lemon juice to pan. Cook, stirring constantly until gravy thickens.
5. Carve chicken. Place on serving platter. Serve with warm lemon-garlic gravy.

Lavender Olive Oil Cake with Honeyed Ricotta

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Pillsbury(r) Baking Spray with Flour
1 3/4     cups Pillsbury BEST(r) All Purpose     
1 1/2     teaspoons baking powder
1/2     teaspoon kosher salt
1     cup sugar
1     tablespoon finely grated orange peel
1     tablespoon culinary lavender, crushed,
        plus additional 1 to 2 tablespoons
        for garnish
1/4     teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3     cup plain yogurt
3     large eggs
2/3     cup Crisco(r) Pure Olive Oil
1     teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4     cup heavy cream
3     tablespoons honey
3/4     cup ricotta cheese, at room temperature

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan generously with baking spray; set aside.
2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Whisk together sugar, orange peel, lavender and pepper in a large mixing bowl until evenly distributed. Add yogurt, eggs and olive oil; continue whisking until smooth. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture and gently whisk in until just combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely.
4. Whip cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add honey and continue to whip until stiff. Add ricotta cheese, a dollop at a time, and beat until fluffy. Slice cake. Top slices with honeyed ricotta and sprinkle with lavender.

Mediterranean Linguine with Basil and Tomatoes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

1     1-pound box linguine pasta
1     tablespoon salt, or to taste
1/2    up Crisco(r) 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
 2     pints grape tomatoes (4 cups), cut in half
1     tablespoon minced garlic
2     tablespoons red wine vinegar
1     teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
18 to 20 basil leaves, cut in thin strips
3/4     cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus
        additional for garnish

1. Heat 6 quarts water to boiling. Add pasta and salt. Cook for the minimum recommended time on package directions. While pasta cooks, prepare sauce.
2. Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add tomatoes and garlic. Cook and stir 2 minutes or until tomatoes are soft. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar and pepper flakes.
3. Drain cooked pasta. Add to skillet. Cook and stir 1 minute or until pasta is coated and hot. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in basil and cheese. Serve with additional cheese, if desired.

Mediterranean Essentials

Fresh and flavorful ingredients are the key to great Mediterranean cooking, so keep some of these essential ingredients on hand:

-Vegetables - tomatoes, onions, shallots, peppers, carrots, spinach, eggplant
-Grains - pasta, couscous, oats, barley, corn, rice
-Dairy - yogurt, unsalted butter
-Beans and legumes - chickpeas, cannellini beans, lentils
-Fresh herbs and spices - cumin, garlic, rosemary, fennel, oregano, basil
-Cheese - Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino, ricotta, Manchego, feta
-Condiments - olive oil, balsamic vinegar, olives, capers, honey

Source: Crisco

5 Tips for Fueling Like a Champion

Whether your goals are big or small, the path to success begins with the first step. When it comes to fitness and nutrition, champion athletes can attest that small, everyday lifestyle changes can make a big impact.

Get inspired to tackle your ambitions with these tips from 20-time World Championship medalist and 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin, who knows first-hand the roles that hard work, dedication and a nutritious diet play in achieving the extraordinary. To motivate others who are looking to achieve greatness in their own lives, Coughlin joins top U.S. rugby players Zack Test, Carlin Isles and nationally known sports nutritionist Cynthia Sass – through a partnership with the Almond Board of California – to provide their top tips and life hacks to help reach your fitness goals.
  1. Be prepared: When you’re on the road, or just after a workout, you may find the need to refuel and keep your energy level high until the next meal. Carrying quick snacks can help keep hunger at bay, Coughlin said. Some simple ideas for portable snacks include: herbal teas, fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and a handful of almonds.

  2. Drink more water: Not only is water essential for moving oxygen and nutrients throughout your body, it also serves many other vital purposes, including converting food into usable fuel and regulating your body temperature. Avoid empty calories from beverages such as energy drinks or juices with added sugar. Your personal needs may vary slightly, but Sass recommends aiming for at least two cups of fluids two hours before exercise, one to two cups 15 minutes before exercise and one-half cup to one cup every 15 minutes during exercise.

  3. Don’t skip breakfast: Breakfast kick-starts the day and helps you to stay alert and energized. Make sure you always eat a nutritious breakfast, even if it means preparing it the night before. Before training each morning, Isles has a hard-boiled egg, steel-cut oatmeal topped with sliced almonds along with mixed fruit. He recommends making each meal count and emphasizes the importance of giving your body the proper nutrients to reach your goals.

  4. Recover properly: Strength is gained through proper nutrition and allowing the body to heal from the wear and tear of workouts, Sass said. That’s why post-exercise is a prime time for delivering the right raw materials with smart recovery meals that deliver the protein and energy your body needs to refuel.

  5. Fuel like a champion: For peak performance from morning until night, proper nutrition is a must. Utilizing quick, energizing recipes, such as Coughlin’s Almond Cherry Recovery Smoothie, can help you crush your goals and conquer the day.
For more tips and recipes to help you reach your goals, visit

Almond Cherry Recovery Smoothie

Recipe courtesy of Natalie Coughlin

Servings: 1
  • 1    cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1    tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1    cup frozen dark cherries
  • 1    tablespoon almond butter
  1. In blender, combine almond milk, chia seeds, banana, cherries and almond butter, and mix until smooth.

Almond Board of California

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Why Kids Need Protein and How Milk Can Help

Making sure kids eat nutritious meals is often a parent’s top priority. Moms know good nutrition is essential for their child’s health, since developing and maintaining healthy habits as a kid can lead to lifelong benefits.

That’s why it’s important to make sure kids get enough protein. Not only that, but it’s also important kids choose good-for-you protein foods, like milk. In addition to being a good source of high-quality protein, milk offers eight other essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium, which are three of the four nutrients most Americans – including children – are most likely missing in their diets.

It’s important for kids to get protein at every meal, especially breakfast. Getting enough protein in the morning can help kids feel fuller, longer, so they can start the day off right. Beyond helping the body build and repair lean muscle, protein also impacts many different functions in growing bodies. For example, protein works together with key bone-building nutrients like calcium and vitamin D to help build healthy bones.

Each 8-ounce serving of milk provides 8 grams of high-quality, natural protein. Milk is a complete protein, which means that every glass contains a full mix of the essential amino acids our bodies need.

Without milk in their diets, it’s hard for kids to get nutrients they need to grow up strong. For kids 9 and older, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three servings of lowfat or fat free milk and milk products each day and two and a half servings daily for children ages 4 to 8.

You can feel good serving milk to your family since it’s one of the original farm-to-table foods and a wholesome, naturally nutrient-rich choice. Almost all U.S. households have dairy milk in their refrigerators and kids are some of the biggest fans. According to a survey, nine out of 10 kids age 8-12 said they love to drink milk for reasons such as because it’s good for them, it will help them grow and they love the taste.¹ With nine essential nutrients in each 8-ounce glass, milk is a delicious and simple way to give kids a natural source of high-quality protein plus other nutrients they need.
Try pairing this kid-friendly recipe for breakfast sushi with a glass of milk for a fun way to start their day with milk and protein. For more kid-friendly, nutritious recipe ideas, visit  

Breakfast Sushi

Servings: 1
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup crisp rice cereal
  1. Spread peanut butter over the outside of the banana and then roll in cereal until coated. Cut into thick slices and serve with a glass of milk.
Nutritional information per serving: 390 calories; 15 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 16 g protein; 51 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 290 mg sodium; 305 mg calcium (30% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on including an 8-ounce glass of fat free milk.

¹The National got milk? Milk Mustache campaign June Dairy Month survey was conducted between April 26 and May 6, 2013, among 519 parents of 8-12 year olds and 519 8-12 year olds.


Brazilian Grilling with Medal-Worthy Skewers

With all eyes on Brazil this summer, what better way to celebrate the games than to recreate the flavors of the host country? Create your own backyard Brazilian barbecue with traditional meat skewers that pack a bold flavor punch.

“Skewers are an easy food to serve friends and family during a Rio-themed viewing party,” said McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter. “A Brazilian marinade pairs great with steak or pork, so grill up both and let guests choose their own meat and complementary sauce. My favorite is a red chimichurri, which gets fiery flavor from smoked paprika, crushed red pepper and jalapeno.”|

For more easy tips and recipes to host an award-winning Rio-themed party this summer, visit and Also, check us out on Pinterest and Facebook.

Brazilian Meat Skewers

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8
  • 1       package McCormick Grill Mates Brazilian Steakhouse Marinade
  • 1/4    cup oil
  • 1/4    cup water
  • 1       tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1       pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1       pound boneless New York strip steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  1. Mix Marinade Mix, oil, water and vinegar in small bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons for brushing. Place pork and steak into separate large resealable plastic bags or glass dishes. Divide remaining marinade evenly among pork and steak; turn to coat well.
  2. Refrigerate 15 minutes or longer for extra flavor. Remove both meats from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Thread pork and steak onto skewers.
  3. Grill skewers over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until meat is to desired doneness, turning occasionally and brushing with reserved marinade.
Kitchen Tip: If using wooden skewers, soak thoroughly in water for at least 30 minutes before threading with meat. This prevents them from burning when on the grill.

Red Chimichurri Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12 (2 tablespoons each)
  • 1       red bell pepper, stemmed and cut into large pieces
  • 1/2    cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 1/2    cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/4    cup red wine vinegar
  • 1       jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2       teaspoons chopped fresh garlic
  • 1       teaspoon McCormick Ground Cumin
  • 1       teaspoon McCormick Oregano Leaves
  • 1/2    teaspoon salt
  • 1/2    teaspoon McCormick Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4    teaspoon McCormick Crushed Red Pepper
  1. Place all ingredients in food processor or blender; cover. Process just until finely chopped.
  2. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to blend flavors.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Spicy, Sweet or Zesty

New Pickle Flavors to Preserve

Spicy, sweet or zesty, it's never been easier to enjoy the crisp, tangy taste of homemade pickles. And with recipes like these you can preserve perfect pickles for any palate.

Here are a few tips from the pickling pros at Mrs. Wages to help you give your cukes a kick of great homemade flavor:
  • Choose pickling cucumbers, not slicing cucumbers. Pickling cucumbers are short and blocky - about 4 inches long. They should be firm and green in color with no blemishes.
  • For pickles, you must cut off 1/16 inch from the blossom end to help prevent soft mushy pickles. The blossom end contains an enzyme that will cause softening.
  • Keep the cukes cool in the refrigerator until you have enough to make a batch, but do not hold them too long or you will end up with shriveled pickles.
  • Use real canning jars. Don't use jars that once contained peanut butter, pickles, mayo, etc. Clear canning jars are what you need. Use flat lids (called either lid or flat) and a ring to seal the jar. Also check for nicks and cracks - these may cause seal failure.
Find more tips, canning recipes and the Mrs. Wages Canning Guide at

Spicy Pickles


  • 9 to 11 lbs pickling cucumbers (about 50 - 3 to 4 inches)
  • 3 1/3 cups Mrs. Wages White Distilled Vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 7 1/3 cups water
  • 1 pouch Mrs. Wages Spicy Pickles Mix (Medium or Hot)

    1. Prepare and process home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer's instructions for sterilized jars.
    2. Wash cucumbers and remove blossom ends; drain. Leave whole, cut into spears or slice.
    3. Combine vinegar and water into a large non-reactive pot. Do not use aluminum. Bring mixture just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, add pickle mix and stir until dissolved.
    4. Pack cucumbers into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Evenly divide hot pickling liquid among the packed jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles and cap each jar as it is filled. If more liquid is needed for proper headspace, add a mix of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water (this mixture should be boiling hot).
    5. Process pints 5 minutes, quarts 10 minutes, in a boiling water bath canner. Test jars for airtight seals according to manufacturer's directions. If jars do not completely seal, refrigerate and consume within one week.
    6. Product is ready to eat after 24 hours. Before serving, chill to enhance flavor and crispness.

Yield 7 quarts

Zesty Bread and Butter Pickles


  • 9 to 11 lbs pickling cucumbers (about 50 - 3 to 4 inches)
  • 1 pouch Mrs. Wages Zesty Bread & Butter Pickles Mix
  • 8 3/4 cups Mrs. Wages White Distilled Vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 7 cups sugar

    1. Prepare and process home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer's instructions for sterilized jars.
    2. Wash cucumbers and remove blossoms; drain. Cut into thin slices. Whole cucumbers are not recommended.
    3. Combine mix, vinegar and sugar into a large non-reactive pot. Do not use aluminum. Bring mixture just to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture dissolves.
    4. Pack cucumbers into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Evenly divide hot pickling liquid among the packed jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles and cap each jar as it is filled. If more liquid is needed for proper headspace, add hot vinegar.
    5. Process pints 5 minutes, quarts 10 minutes, in a boiling water bath canner. Test jars for airtight seals according to manufacturer's directions. If jars do not completely seal, refrigerate and consume within one week.
    6. Product is ready to eat after 24 hours. Before serving, chill to enhance flavor and crispiness.

Yield 7 quarts

Sweet Pickle Relish


  • 6 to 8 lbs pickling cucumbers (about 25 - 3 to 4 inches)
  • 1/2 cup Mrs. Wages Canning and Pickling Salt
  • 1 pouch Mrs. Wages Sweet Pickle Relish Seasoning
  • 2 1/2 cups Mrs. Wages White Distilled Vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 2 cups sugar

    1. Prepare and process home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer's instructions for sterilized jars.
    2. Wash cucumbers and remove blossoms; drain. Cut into 1-inch pieces and place in a food processor. Process into small pieces (1/8 inch or smaller is best) and place into a bowl. Stir in salt and mix well. Cover and let sit for 2 hours. Drain out excess juice by placing in a fine strainer.
    3. Combine pickle relish seasoning, vinegar and sugar into a large non-reactive pot. Do not use aluminum. Bring mixture just to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add prepared cucumbers and simmer 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
    4. Evenly divide hot relish into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rim and cap each jar as it is filled.
    5. Process pints 15 minutes in boiling water bath canner. Test jars for airtight seals according to manufacturer's directions. If jars do not completely seal, refrigerate and consume within one week.
    6. Product is ready to eat after 24 hours. Before serving, chill to enhance flavor.

Yield 5 pints

SOURCE: Mrs. Wages
  (hot dog with relish photo) - Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Summer Snacks that Pop

Whether you're gathering the neighborhood kids for a backyard celebration or going on a weekend hike with family, you can make fueling up for the fun easy with snacks the whole family can enjoy.
Everyone loves popcorn, and this tasty treat is easy to incorporate into a wide range of nibbles perfect for summer. Popcorn's wholesome taste makes it an excellent partner to ingredients that tease your taste buds with flavors that are sweet, salty or even zesty.
Creating a delicious trail mix to carry on an adventurous hike is a cinch when you combine fresh popcorn with your favorite sweet dried fruits and lightly salted nuts. Or, if you're staying closer to home, use popcorn treats as a more nutritious alternative to traditional party desserts. 

Each of these recipes features freshly popped popcorn paired with common ingredients that appeal to both kids and adults for summery snacks that are big on both flavor and fun.

For more creative recipes that give some pop to your summer, visit

Sweet N Salty Popcorn Pretzel Sticks


  • 6 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 6 large pretzel rods
  • 3 cups popped popcorn
  • Sugar sprinkles
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

    1. Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter over each pretzel, leaving a two-inch "handle" without peanut butter.
    2. Press and roll popcorn onto peanut butter to coat. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.
    3. For optional chocolate drizzle, place chocolate chips in small sealable plastic bag and seal. Microwave 30 seconds or until chocolate is melted. Clip small corner from bag and squeeze to drizzle chocolate over popcorn.
    4. Sprinkle with additional sugar sprinkles. Allow chocolate to harden before serving.

Serves 6 sticks

Chili Lime Popcorn Snack Mix  

  • 1 quart popped popcorn
  • 1 teaspoon brewer's yeast powder
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

    1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
    2. Spread popcorn on baking sheet. Sprinkle yeast powder, lime juice, chili powder and salt over popcorn.
    3. Heat about seven minutes and toss just before serving. Serve warm.
Serves  1 quart

Blueberry and Pomegranate Power Bars

  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped whole natural almonds
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 6 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate

    1. Line 13-by-9-inch pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.
    2. Combine popcorn, oats, blueberries, pomegranate seeds and almonds in large bowl.
    3. Combine honey, brown sugar and butter in small saucepan. Cook over low heat to boiling; boil two minutes. Pour over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
    4. Using damp hands, press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about two hours. Cut into 12 bars.
    5. Dip bottoms of bars into melted chocolate. Place on wax paper-lined pan. Store in tight covered container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serves 12 bars

Popcorn Trail Mix  


  • 1 quart popped popcorn (air popped)
  • 6 ounces diced, dried fruit (apricots, apples, etc.)
  • 8 ounces raisins

  • Preparation
      1. Place freshly popped popcorn in large bowl. Add diced fruit and raisins. Toss popcorn and fruit until combined thoroughly.

    Serves 5 cups
    Notes, Tips and Suggestions
    Add whatever fixings your family enjoys: dried fruits, seeds, nuts, etc.

    Popcorn S'mores

    • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
    • 1/2 cup corn syrup
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 10 cups freshly popped popcorn
    • 1 package (10 1/2 ounces) miniature marshmallows
    • 2 cups mini graham cookies (teddy bears)
    • 1 cup chocolate chips

      1. Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in medium saucepan. Cook over high heat for five minutes; remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
      2. Combine popcorn and marshmallows in large bowl. Pour sugar mixture over popcorn to coat.
      3. Gently stir in graham cookies and chocolate chips.
      4. Spread mixture evenly into greased 15-by-10-inch pan. Let cool completely, then break into pieces. Store in airtight container.

    Serves  20 pieces


    Tuesday, July 26, 2016

    Summer Soirees

    Bring friends together around the table

    There are no better reasons for outdoor entertaining than good friends, good food and good weather.
    "I've made a lot of friends around the table in my life," said Rebecca Lang, food writer, television personality and author of such cookbooks as "Around the Southern Table."

    Lang's favorite dishes are those that are easy on the cook and incorporate Southern specialties, such as Vidalia onions. Whether you're planning for several dozen guests or inviting over a few close friends, impress them with delicious dishes in a comfortable setting.

    Two Way Vidalia Onion Sliders with Toasted Pecan Mayonnaise

    "These little burgers pack a big punch with both caramelized and grilled Vidalia onions," Lang said. "They're gloriously dressed up with blue cheese, fancy mayonnaise and pickled okra. Look for slider buns in your local bakery or bread section of larger grocery stores or use small dinner rolls."Recipe submitted by Rebecca Lang


    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    • 2 Vidalia onions, divided
    • 1 pound lean ground beef (7% fat)
    • 1 pound ground chuck (20% fat)
    • 5 ounces crumbled blue cheese (1 1/4 cups)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 16 slider buns or round dinner rolls
    • 24 pickled okra pods, sliced lengthwise in half
    • 2 cups baby arugula
    • Wooden picks, optional

      1. Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, cayenne and paprika. Stir in pecans. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
      2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cut 1 onion into half-moons. Cook onion 18 to 20 minutes, stirring often, until caramel colored. Cool and chop into 1/2-inch pieces.
      3. Preheat grill to medium heat.
      4. Slice remaining onion into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Rub with remaining tablespoon olive oil. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes per side, flipping carefully with spatula, or until softened and grill marked. Cut each slice into 3 or 4 wedges. Set aside.
      5. Combine lean ground beef, ground chuck, blue cheese, caramelized onion, salt and pepper. Divide beef mixture into 16 equal portions (scant 1/3 cup each); gently shape each portion into 3/4-inch-thick patty.
      6. Arrange patties on lightly oiled grill rack; grill 7 to 8 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
      7. Place buns, cut sides down, on grill rack. Grill for 1 minute or until toasted.
      8. Spread about 1 teaspoon mayonnaise on bottom half of each bun; top with 1 patty. Top each slider with another teaspoon mayonnaise, grilled onion wedge, pickled okra halves, and about 2 tablespoons arugula. Top with bun tops. Secure with wooden picks, if desired.

    Servings 8 (makes 16 sliders)

    Salmon with Mango, Ginger and Vidalia Onions

    "Topping an impressive side of salmon with a refreshing blend of citrus-kissed mangos and Vidalia onions simply screams summertime," Lang said. "The fish can be served hot or cold, so it makes the rest of the menu a breeze." Recipe submitted by Rebecca Lang

    • 2 mangos
    • 2 Vidalia onions
    • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons Gourmet Garden Ginger
    • 1 (3-pound) whole side of wild salmon with skin
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
    • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
    • Lime wedges, optional

      1. Peel and slice mangos into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Slice onions into 2 x 1/8-inch slices (julienne). Combine in large glass mixing bowl.
      2. Whisk lime juice, lemon juice, honey, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and ginger in a small bowl. Pour over mango mixture. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
      3. Preheat grill to medium heat. Rub top of salmon with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill fish, skin side down (without flipping), over indirect heat for 16 to 18 minutes, or until easily flakes with fork. Use an extra large spatula or rimless baking sheet to gently lift salmon off the grill, leaving skin on the grill rack.
      4. Stir mint into mango mixture. Allow salmon to cool for about 5 minutes. Use slotted spoon to top salmon with mango mixture, arranging down the center of the fish. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

    Servings 8

    Tacos with Lime Marinated Vidalia Onions and Grilled Italian Sausages

    "Tacos loaded with color and flavor spice up a summertime cookout like nothing else," Lang said. "Arrange all the ingredients on a platter for tacos that are pretty and easy for guests to put together."
    Recipe submitted by Rebecca Lang

    • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch strips
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch strips
    • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch strips
    • 2 Vidalia onions, sliced into half-moons
    • 3 jalapeño peppers, sliced into very thin strips
    • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Cilantro
    • 2 teaspoons Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1 (19-ounce) package Johnsonville Italian Mild Sausage Links
    • 10 (6-inch) corn tortillas
    • 2 Avocados from Mexico, sliced
    • 5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
    • 2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half
    • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

      1. Combine bell peppers, onions and jalapeño peppers in large bowl. In small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper.
      2. Pour over bell pepper mixture. Marinate for 45 minutes.
      3. Preheat grill to medium heat (about 350°F). Add sausages and grill, covered, 15 to 20 minutes, turning often, until browned and cooked through. Cool slightly and cut in half lengthwise.
      4. Use slotted spoon to transfer bell pepper mixture to a grill basket. Grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until slightly charred. Discard marinade.
      5. Grill tortillas until warm, about 1 minute per side.
      6. Arrange a large platter with bell pepper mixture, sausages, avocados, goat cheese, tomatoes and tortillas. Serve with lime wedges.

    Servings 4 to 6

    SOURCE: Vidalia Onion Committee