3 ways to upgrade your summer sipping routine
(Family Features) Rosé slushies. Spiked seltzers. Boozy ice pops. Has young adults’ quest for the next party gimmick led to soulless substitutes for real, quality wines?
It’s not hard to find wines with well-balanced natural flavors, according to Leslie Sbrocco, author of “The Simple and Savvy Wine Guide.” She recommends looking for wine from different international regions, like Wines of Sicily, which guarantee value and quality, and are made from more than 400 wineries across the island.
Sbrocco also recommends these wines and entertaining tips to make your spread the center of the party for all the right reasons.
- Bring a balanced red to the barbecue. It’s an art to craft a truly balanced wine that needs nothing more to be enjoyed than a wine opener and an open mind. In fact, Sicilian red wines are crafted to be as lively and bold as the island itself. The icon of Sicilian wine-making and hero red grape, Nero d’Avola, balances elegance with drinkability and can range from royal ruby with aromas of strawberry and sour cherry to a more full-bodied red with sweet spices and cocoa. Whether it’s a ribeye or a spicy rack of ribs, Nero d’Avola can elevate a weeknight summer dinner on the patio to an elegant event.
- Freshen up summer whites. Grillo, Sicily’s most famous indigenous white grape, with an aromatic bouquet and lively citrus notes, is like a pair of fresh linen pants. When paired with delectable bites like bruschetta, ceviche or a well-crafted charcuterie board, Grillo pulls out the salinity and savory notes that come from grapes grown in close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. The other predominant yet fuller-bodied white wine grape from Sicily is Catarrato. With notes of ripe citrus and herbal flavors, it makes for a delicious counterpart to a seasonal vegetable spread.
- Act like a sommelier. Frappato, Sicily’s cult-favorite answer to pinot noir – served chilled – is an upgrade to the ubiquitous rosé routine. It’s easy to pronounce and even easier to pair with light summer fare like these simple-to-make Open-Faced BLT Sandwiches. With its fruit-forward, lighter style, Frappato is a sommelier’s secret weapon that many people classify as pinot noir’s cool cousin. Pouring this sets the tone for even your most sophisticated set of friends.
For more food and wine pairings, visit winesofsicily.com.
Open-Faced BLT Sandwiches
Prepare an easy, seasonal appetizer with fresh produce from your local farmer’s market. Take this summertime classic sandwich up a notch by topping it with capers and pairing it with a chilled Grillo or Frappato from Sicilia DOC.
Recipe courtesy of Wines of Sicily
- 6-8 strips bacon
- 1 loaf country bread
- 1 cup arugula leaves
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional to drizzle
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- kosher salt
- ground pepper
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- Place bacon on baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes depending on thickness of bacon. Remove bacon from oven and transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Using bread knife, slice bread 1/3-inch thick into single-serving slices; toast lightly.
- Add arugula leaves and cherry tomatoes to medium bowl. In separate bowl, whisk olive oil and balsamic vinegar; add to tomatoes and arugula, and gently toss to coat.
- To assemble, drizzle olive oil on one side of toasted bread. Arrange arugula, bacon and tomato mixture on top. Finish each sandwich with sprinkle of salt, ground pepper and a few capers.
Source: Wines of Sicily
(Family Features) Easter is a time to celebrate with friends and family. You can create a crowd-pleasing brunch with affordable, high-quality ingredients, wine and tablescape decor.
Elevate your holiday brunch beyond an egg casserole with a Spiral Ham with Red Wine and Citrus Glaze as the centerpiece for your table.
Finish the meal with a Mini Blueberry Chocolate Tart for a dessert that’s perfect for spring. Combining sweet and fruity notes, this treat can leave your guests craving more.
Find ingredients for these recipes at ALDI, which offers high-quality, fresh and affordable foods to help you put together a vibrant spread. From brunch essentials and beverages to fruits, veggies, snacks and more, you can make Easter pop. Plus, there are chocolates, candy and flowers to add a splash of color to your table or any Easter basket.
Find additional recipes at ALDI.us.
Spiral Ham with Red Wine and Citrus Glaze
Recipe courtesy of Rebecca Gallop (@adailysomething) on behalf of ALDI
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes per pound of ham
- 1 Appleton Farms Spiral Cut Double Glazed Brown Sugar Ham (about 4 pounds), reserving liquid
- 1/2 cup Intermingle Red Blend wine
- 1/4 cup Nature’s Nectar orange juice
- 1/4 cup Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup
- 1/2 cup Simply Nature Organic Light Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 dash salt
- 2 tablespoons Burman’s Dijon Mustard
- To make ham: Heat oven to 325° F. Place ham in roasting pan on rack. Pour reserved liquid over ham and cover tightly with foil. Bake 10-12 minutes per pound.
- To make glaze: In small pan, combine wine, orange juice, syrup, brown sugar, rosemary and salt. Heat to boil then lower to rapid simmer until mixture begins to thicken and reduce, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard.
- When ham is 10 minutes from being done, remove from oven and increase temperature to 400° F. Remove foil and brush ham thoroughly with glaze.
- Place ham back in oven, uncovered, about 10 minutes, or until ham reaches internal temperature of 140° F.
- Remove ham from oven and let sit 10 minutes. Slice and serve.
Mini Blueberry Chocolate Tart
Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 17 minutes
- 1 Bake House Creations Pie Crust
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Sweet Additions Stevia No Calorie Sweetener
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 Choceur Dark Chocolate Bar (2.64 ounces), chopped
- Heat oven to 400° F. Cut 1-2 sheets of parchment paper into 5-by-5-inch squares. Line each cup of 12-cup muffin pan with one square of parchment paper.
- Roll out pie crust and cut 12 circles, 2 inches each, with cookie cutter. Press each circle into lined muffin cup.
- In medium bowl, combine sweetener, blueberries and chocolate. Divide mixture among pie crusts.
- Bake 17 minutes until chocolate melts. Allow to cool and serve.
(Family Features) If chocolate for dinner sounds too good to be true, it’s because chocolate is usually associated with decadent desserts. However, it can also take comfort food to a whole new level when paired with savory ingredients like red meat.
A bit of bittersweet cocoa powder helps balance out the richness of red meats like duck. Although it’s leaner and lower in saturated fat than other red meats, duck has a bold flavor and texture similar to steak.
In this Mocha-Rubbed Duck Breast recipe, cocoa powder, ground coffee and savory spices are rubbed onto the meat before it’s seared and smothered with a luscious sweet cherry and red wine sauce. The toasty, nutty flavor of coffee complements the cocoa while dark sweet cherries, red wine and toasted almonds complete the sweet and savory dish.
Find more comfort food recipes and tips for cooking with duck at mapleleaffarms.com.
Mocha-Rubbed Duck Breast with Cherry and Red Wine Pan Sauce
Prep time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coffee
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 4 Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breasts, thawed
Cherry and Red Wine Pan Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons reserved duck fat
- 1/2 cup minced shallots
- 3/4 cup dry red wine
- 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 5 ounces frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed and halved
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- toasted sliced almonds, for garnish
- To make Mocha Rub: In small bowl, mix brown sugar, paprika, coffee, salt, pepper and cocoa powder. Set aside.
- Pat duck breasts dry and score according to package directions. Use half of rub on meat side of breasts. Cover breasts and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
- In cold saute pan, place duck breasts skin-side down. Place pan over low-medium heat 8-12 minutes, or until fat is rendered and skin is crisp and brown.
- Turn breasts over and sprinkle remaining rub on skin side. Cook breasts 1-2 minutes skin-side up. Turn breasts back to skin-side down 1-2 minutes to caramelize rub. Reserve approximately 2 tablespoons duck fat for sauce.
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Place duck breasts skin-side up on rimmed baking sheet; bake 5-6 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 155° F. Let breasts rest 4-5 minutes before slicing. Temperature will rise during resting period to reach 165° F.
- To make Cherry and Red Wine Pan Sauce: Place saute pan with reserved duck fat over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened. Add wine to pan to deglaze. Stir in balsamic vinegar, sugar, cherries and thyme sprigs; simmer until reduced. Remove thyme sprigs. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve sauce over cooked duck breasts. Garnish with toasted almond slices.
Source: Maple Leaf Farms
(Family Features) Whether it’s a semi-full bottle of crisp white or a half-empty bottle of leftover red, there are creative ways to make the most of unused wine after all the holiday parties come to an end.
The World Wine Guys and Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits offer these ideas to help you put your leftover wine to good use this holiday season:
Make Red Wine Vinegar
Impress your guests by adding homemade red wine vinegar to your next dish. Add one part raw vinegar to two parts leftover red wine then store your mixture in a dark, cool place. Monitor periodically and keep testing until you get the desired vinegar smell, strain and refrigerate. Use as desired on salads and in homemade sauces and marinades.
Create Wine Ice Cubes
If you can't use your leftover white wine right away, pour the remaining liquid into ice trays and freeze. Next time you’re enjoying a glass, add some of the cubes to your wine to keep it cold. This trick can also work with a rosé or sparkling wine like Josh Cellars California Rosé or Enza Prosecco. Using the frozen wine cubes instead of ice can prevent what you pour from becoming too watered down.
Both red and white wines can be used in a variety of different dishes from appetizers to desserts. Keep in mind that open bottles should be used within 2-3 days, so look to use your leftovers sooner rather than later. Try adding wine to a seasonal side dish like these White Wine Glazed Carrots. It can also be used as a savory addition to main courses such as this classic Red Wine Tomato Sauce.
For more information on wines for the holidays, visit WineFix.com.
White Wine Glazed Carrots
Recipe courtesy of Deutsch Family and the World Wine Guys, authors of "Red Wine "
- 6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons Barone Fini Pinot Grigio
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- In large skillet, combine carrots and olive oil; add water. Cook over medium-high heat until carrots are tender. Add honey and white wine; cook and stir 2 minutes until carrots are glazed.
- Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Red Wine Tomato Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Deutsch Family and the World Wine Guys, authors of "Red Wine"
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can whole, peeled tomatoes
- 1/8 cup Villa Pozzi Nero D’Avola
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- In medium-size pot, heat olive oil. Add onion and saute 4 minutes then add minced garlic and saute 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes, wine, vinegar, red pepper, sea salt, oregano, thyme and basil; reduce heat and simmer about 40 minutes.
Source: Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits
Sides, drinks and leftovers perfect for sharing with friends
(Family Features) Friendsgiving is the perfect opportunity to celebrate your second family with festive, fun recipes that stray a bit away from traditional fare.
“Friendsgiving is often held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving,” said Chef Kevan Vetter of the McCormick Kitchens. “It’s more of a potluck party than a traditional Thanksgiving – everyone is usually assigned a dish. Instead of stuffing or a green bean casserole, bring a dish that’s a little more fun, like corn pudding with a dash of smoky heat from chipotle chili pepper.”
These recipes for a caramelized Brie and a chocolatey red wine from the McCormick kitchens are also sure to please. If your party falls after the big day, put those turkey leftovers to good use with a cheesy turkey crescent ring perfect for feeding a group of friends.
Find more recipes to share with friends this season at McCormick.com.
Chipotle Corn Pudding
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons McCormick Minced Onions
- 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Ground Mustard
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Chipotle Chili Pepper
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
- 2 cans (14 3/4 ounces each) creamed corn
- 1 can (15 1/4 ounces) whole- kernel corn, drained
- nonstick cooking spray
- Heat oven to 400° F. In small bowl, mix cornstarch, sugar, onions, mustard, sea salt and chili pepper until well blended; set aside.
- In large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Stir in milk, butter and all corn. Gently stir in cornstarch mixture until well blended. Pour into 2 1/2-quart baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
- Bake 1 hour, or until set, stirring halfway through cooking. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Slow Cooker Red Wine Hot Chocolate
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- 1 bottle (750 milliliters) red wine
- 8 cups whole milk
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 package (12 ounces) dark chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Ground Nutmeg
- 4 McCormick Cinnamon Sticks
- Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover.
- Cook 60-70 minutes on high, or until chocolate is melted and mixture is heated through, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low. Serve from slow cooker.
Pecan Pie Brie
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon McCormick Ground Nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Rum Extract
- 1 wheel Brie cheese, warmed
- In small bowl, mix brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg until blended. Set aside.
- In large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add pecans; toast 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low.
- Stir remaining butter, corn syrup, water, vanilla extract, rum extract and brown sugar mixture into skillet. Cook and stir until butter is melted and mixture is heated through. Remove from heat. Mixture will thicken as it cools.
- Spoon over warmed Brie.
Leftover Turkey Taco Crescent Ring
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 1 package McCormick Original Taco Seasoning Mix, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 cups shredded, cooked turkey
- 1 can (15 1/4 ounces) whole-kernel corn, drained
- 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and chilies, drained
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 container (8 ounces) whipped cream cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
- Heat oven to 375° F. Reserve 1 teaspoon taco seasoning mix in small bowl; set aside.
- In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion; cook and stir 3 minutes, or until tender. Add turkey, corn, tomatoes, garlic and remaining seasoning mix. Cook and stir 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cream cheese and 1 cup shredded cheese.
- Unroll crescent roll dough on greased or parchment paper-lined baking pan. Separate into triangles. Arrange triangles to resemble sun with center open. Press dough where bottoms of triangles overlap. Spoon turkey mixture in ring where dough overlaps. Fold triangle points over filling, tucking into bottom layer to secure. Continue until entire ring is enclosed.
- Bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- In bowl, stir remaining shredded cheese into reserved seasoning mix. Remove ring from oven. Sprinkle with cheese mixture. Bake 5 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted.
- Serve with desired toppings, such as shredded lettuce, sour cream or guacamole.
Red Wine Sangria
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 bottle red dry table wine
- ½ cup brandy
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 whole apple, sliced
- 1 whole orange, sliced
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- Add sugar and water to a small saucepan. Over medium high heat bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until sugar is fully dissolved. Allow to cool.
- Add red wine, brandy, pomegranate juice, apples, oranges, and strawberries to a large pitcher.
- Add in cooled simple syrup and stir. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for best results overnight.
Recipe courtesy of Chef Savvy
(Family Features) Romeo and Juliet. Antony and Cleopatra. Lamb and Potatoes (or Mint or Feta). The list of American lamb’s great loves goes on and on. This luscious protein entices any side or ingredient it touches.
A truly versatile meat in terms of texture and flavor, American lamb is an excellent choice for the cook who wants to spice things up, both literally and figuratively.
From a classic Rack of Lamb and rich Lamb Shank Osso Buco to Grilled Lamb and Feta Burgers, there are many reasons (and ways) to enjoy lamb. Take lamb’s versatility to the next level by pairing it with longtime loves like potatoes and pomegranates, but with little twists to give it a fresh taste.
As a delicious and nutrient-rich food, American lamb is a natural choice. There is a cut, loin or chop to tempt taste buds and spark culinary excitement for a romantic dinner for two or simply a gathering with friends. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out these six enticing couplings of American lamb and other favorite foods. For more tantalizing recipes, visit AmericanLamb.com.
1. Lamb and Pomegranates
Some say pomegranate seeds are the rubies of the orchard, so it’s only fitting that lamb is often adorned by one of nature’s precious gems. Think of pomegranate as the yin to the lamb’s yang. Its tart, clean flavor balances the richness of luxurious lamb dishes such as this Braised Lamb Shank with Pomegranates and Fennel.
2. Lamb and Rosemary
Lamb and mint have been bedfellows for centuries. However, there’s another herb that matches up well with lamb – rosemary. The fragrant woody aroma of rosemary infused into a grilled leg of lamb alongside charred lemons is what dreams (and dinners) are made of.
3. Lamb and Potatoes
A classic Irish love story with an American twist. The humble potato is drawn to the ever-mysterious cut of lamb, and the rest is history. Think American Lamb Chops and Fingerling Potatoes or Irish Stew. You’ll never go wrong with Shepherd’s Pie, and this one gets an added kick from horseradish.
4. Lamb and Pasta
Ground lamb is experiencing a renaissance in American cuisine. It’s one of those chameleon foods that can transform itself from a juicy burger to a flavorful ragu, and pasta is its ideal companion. Create your own “Lady and the Tramp” crossed with “Casablanca” moment with this Northern African-inspired riff on spaghetti and meatballs featuring Merguez Sausage prepared with American lamb.
5. Lamb and Garam Masala
There are some pairings that can create some serious heat in the kitchen. Take garam masala for example. “Garam” means hot or heating and “masala” means spice blend. Rub this popular blend, which often contains black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, fennel and more, onto a rack of lamb ribs before it hits the oven. Slather individual chops in a velvety bath like this Indian Coconut Feenugreek Sauce.
6. Lamb and Red Wine
Red wine pairs with lamb in many ways. Loin chops, roast or ribs, there isn’t a cut of lamb that doesn’t pair well with red wine. As an ingredient, red wine provides acidity to perfectly complement the lamb. The hardest part of this recipe is opening the bottle of wine.
Source: American Lamb Board