recipes

Meal Ideas 03 July 2019

Summer Wine Savvy

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
Servings: 4

  • 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
  • capers
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. 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.
  3. Using bread knife, slice bread 1/3-inch thick into single-serving slices; toast lightly.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Holiday 01 November 2018

A Sicilian Twist on Holiday Entertaining

(Family Features) When it comes to preparing a spread for a holiday gathering, some may look to traditional wine varieties such as Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. However, as holiday traditions become less traditional, you can also branch out in your selection of wines.

Produced from the indigenous grapes of Sicily, wines from Sicilia DOC offer fresh taste, quality and variety. The wines come to life when paired with a variation of holiday dishes.

These three tips can help you pair Sicilian wines with the dishes you may serve as part of your holiday spread:

For the Light White Wine Fan
With a low alcohol percentage and fruity notes, an option such as Grillo can be a fan favorite at any holiday gathering and makes for a perfect hostess gift. This white wine features notes of white peaches and grapefruit and can pair well with seafood appetizers, baked casseroles, vegetarian sides or a well-known Sicilian dish like this Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad.

For Guests Looking for a Graceful Red Wine
A modern take on Pinot Noir, Frappato is a light-to-medium-bodied wine with a lingering freshness that’s persistent and balanced with notes of cherry and strawberry. This wine pairs well with both white and dark meat of flavorful holiday turkeys as well as pastas, pizza, roasted meats, potatoes and cheeses.

For Friends Who Favor a Complex Red
For guests who favor Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, an option such as Nero d’Avola is a nice alternative, with aromas of ripe cherry, rose, sweet spices, licorice and cocoa. As a go-to red wine, it pairs well with a hearty charcuterie platter, roasted meats, lamb, pizza and pastas.

For more holiday wine pairings and recipes, visit winesofsicily.com.

Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad

Recipe courtesy of Wines of Sicilia DOC Servings: 8

  • Salt
  • 2 pounds thin green beans
  • 6 blood oranges
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • maple syrup
  • almonds
  1. Add salt to large pot of boiling water. Add green beans and cook until tender and bright green. Drain beans in colander and transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Once cool, drain and pat dry with towel.
  2. Peel four oranges and remove white pith. Working over bowl, cut between membranes to release sections into bowl. Zest one remaining orange and juice both uncut oranges; reserve zest. Transfer juice to saucepan and add vinegar, honey and pepper flakes. Bring to boil then simmer over moderate heat until reduced to syrup, 10 minutes. Season with salt.
  3. In large bowl, toss beans, orange sections and 3 tablespoons vinegar syrup. Transfer to serving platter; drizzle with maple syrup, almonds and orange zest.

Pair each serving with a glass of Grillo.

Source: Wines of Sicilia DOC

Meal Ideas 19 February 2019

Wonderful Weeknight Dining

(Family Features) With school, work and evening activities all spiraling in different directions, most families find that some things have to give. Make sure quality time around the dinner table isn’t one of them with these savvy solutions that can help make weekday meals a cinch.

One-dish wonders
Most busy families are well-versed in the benefits of slow cooker meals, but when you haven’t planned that far ahead there are other options, such as your oven’s broiler, that allow you to capture the convenience of single-dish meals. A cookie sheet filled with your favorite protein, veggies and a sprinkle of seasoning will broil in minutes. Just remember to cut your protein into small pieces that will cook through quickly and line your sheet with foil for easier cleanup. Another quick-fix idea: empty the odds and ends from the pantry and veggie drawer to make a stir-fry in minutes.

Go for the gold
When it comes to mealtime, Sunday dinner is the gold standard. It’s the one day of the week when you’re most likely to go “all out” and prepare a great-tasting meal. But you can achieve similar meals during the week using delicious, time-saving sides such as packaged Idahoan Signature Russets mashed potatoes, which can be made in just 5 minutes. The smooth flavor of Idahoan Signature Russets – like original homemade mashed potatoes with just a hint of butter and cream – makes any day taste like Sunday.

Quick-prep proteins
Every family has its favorite go-to meals that stand the test of time. Build your repertoire with a few recipes centered on proteins that take next to no time to prepare. Eggs don’t have to be restricted to the breakfast table, especially in preparations like a frittata or quiche. Or rely on seafood, which can be seared to perfection in minutes. A mild white fish is an ideal foundation for creating diverse, rich flavors, such as this Seared Halibut with Lemon Butter Sauce.

For more tips to increase family time and get quick meals on the weeknight dinner table, visit idahoan.com.

Seared Halibut with Lemon Butter Sauce

Serves: 4

Lemon Butter Sauce

  • 1/2       cup white wine
  • 1/4       cup fresh lemon juice
  • 8          tablespoons whipping cream
  • 3/4       teaspoon fresh garlic, chopped
  • turmeric, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • white pepper, to taste
  • 8          tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

Halibut

  • 4          teaspoons olive oil
  • 4          halibut filets (6-8 ounces each)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • lemon zest
  • herbs

Vegetables

  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 2          small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2          small yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2          small red peppers, washed, seeded and sliced into strips

Potatoes

  • 2          cups Idahoan Signature Russets Mashed Potatoes (from 16.23-ounce package)
  1. For lemon butter sauce, add white wine, lemon juice, cream, garlic, turmeric, salt and pepper to saute pan. Heat on high heat and reduce to half its original volume.
  2. While lemon sauce is reducing, prepare fish and vegetables.
  3. Once reduced, remove from heat and swirl in diced butter.
  4. For halibut, heat non-stick skillet on medium-high heat with olive oil. Season halibut with salt and pepper. Sear until deep golden brown, approximately 5 minutes each side. Remove from heat and cover with foil.
  5. For vegetables, add olive oil to skillet over medium-high heat. Saute zucchini, squash and pepper until crisp-tender, about 2-3 minutes. Keep warm.
  6. For potatoes, prepare mashed potatoes following package instructions.
  7. To serve, plate mashed potatoes, vegetables and halibut. Drizzle halibut with lemon butter sauce and garnish with lemon zest and fresh herbs.

Note: Haddock or striped bass can be substituted for halibut.

Hoisin Roasted Pork with Steamed Greens

Serves: 4

  • 2          tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2          tablespoons honey
  • 1          tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1          pork tenderloin filet (16 ounces)
  • 8          ounces fresh sugar snap peas
  • 8          ounces green beans
  • 2          cups Idahoan Signature Russets Mashed Potatoes (from 16.23-ounce package)
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In bowl, combine hoisin, honey and soy. In non-metallic bowl, pour marinade over pork and set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat medium nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add marinated pork and cook each side 1-2 minutes.
  4. Transfer pork to baking tray and cook 15 minutes, or until cooked to desired doneness.
  5. Steam fresh sugar snap peas and green beans together. Set aside.
  6. Prepare mashed potatoes following package instructions.
  7. To serve, plate mashed potatoes, sliced pork and steamed vegetables. Spoon pan juices over pork and enjoy.

Roasted Chicken Provencal

Serves: 4

  • 8          chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2       cup dry white wine
  • 1/4       cup chicken broth
  • 2          thyme sprigs
  • 2          garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2          cups Idahoan Signature Russets Mashed Potatoes (from 16.23-ounce package)
  • 1          cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2       cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4       cup pitted black olives, halved
  • sauteed green beans
  1. Sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, brown chicken thighs on both sides in hot oil. Add white wine, chicken broth, thyme sprigs and garlic.
  2. Over high heat, heat mixture to boiling. Cover and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare mashed potatoes according to package directions.
  4. In skillet, add mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and olives; cover and simmer 5 minutes longer until chicken is tender.
  5. Serve chicken thighs with mashed potatoes and sauteed green beans.

Source: Idahoan Mashed Potatoes

Meal Ideas 04 October 2018

Family Favorites from Tree to Table

(Family Features) Getting the whole family around the dinner table every evening can be hard. Feeding your family meals that incorporate high-quality ingredients and are also delicious can be even harder. Sometimes, though, that special ingredient you’re looking for can already be in your pantry.

Consider including bursts of flavor from an ingredient such as California Ripe Olives at your next family meal and take into account the versatility and taste made possible by the hard-working farm families who grow them.

Grown by his family for more than a decade, Rick Benson vividly remembers the day he convinced his father the next crop at Benson Farms should be California Ripe Olives, which are both heat- and salt-tolerant.

That was 12 years ago, and the Benson family has grown olives ever since. Though they are seasoned farmers, the Benson family members are new to olives, and they have brought an innovative way of harvesting to the decades old industry.

While California Ripe Olives remain a primarily hand-harvested crop, the Bensons’ young grove was planted with the intention of harvesting mechanically. As newer olive groves are planted, mechanical harvesting is slowly being implemented. 

“It’s a labor of love,” Benson said. “We view olives as our crop for the next generation.”

Whether you’re enjoying olives as a snack or using them in a new dish like this favorite recipe from a California Ripe Olive-growing family, consider the hundreds of farming families behind each can of olives.

Learn more about multi-generational farming families like the Bensons and find more recipes at calolive.org.
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Rustic Chicken with Ripe Olives

Recipe courtesy of Vincent Richutti, a third-generation California Ripe Olive grower
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30-35 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1/2       cup mixed, porcini or chanterelle dried mushrooms
  • 2          teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2    pounds baby yellow potatoes, halved
  • 3          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4          small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2    cups California Black and Green Ripe Olives
  • 1/4       cup chicken broth
  • 1/4       cup white wine
  • 1          lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. In small food processor, pulse mushrooms, fennel seeds, basil, salt and red pepper flakes until mixture is finely chopped and almost powder-like.
  3. Place potatoes on large, shallow-rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil; toss to coat. Sprinkle with half the mushroom mixture and toss lightly.
  4. Brush chicken with remaining olive oil and sprinkle both sides with remaining mushroom mixture.
  5. Nestle chicken and olives into potatoes. Drizzle with broth and wine, and top with lemon slices.
  6. Roast 30-35 minutes, or until chicken and potatoes are cooked through.
  7. Remove lemon slices before serving.

Source: California Olive Committee

Appetizers & Sides 27 October 2017

Tips for Using Leftover Holiday Wine

(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.

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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.

Wine-Based Recipes
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.

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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
  1. 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.
  2. 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
  1. In medium-size pot, heat olive oil. Add onion and saute 4 minutes then add minced garlic and saute 1 minute. 
  2. Add tomatoes, wine, vinegar, red pepper, sea salt, oregano, thyme and basil; reduce heat and simmer about 40 minutes.

Source: Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits

Meal Ideas 18 September 2017

Flavor Infusion

(Family Features) When your taste buds can’t settle on just one flavor, a fusion dish may be just the answer. Fusion dishes combine some of the best ethnic culinary traditions from around the world, and Asian influences are among the most popular building blocks for fusion cuisine.

One secret to achieving great fusion dishes is the use of cooking wines. For many chefs and home cooks alike, cooking wine is a go-to cooking essential because it can be used in everyday meals. With its versatile array of uses, an option like Holland House®, a line of flavor-enhancing, premium cooking wines, can boost any dish with one of five flavors including Marsala, Sherry, White, Red and White with Lemon.

In addition to these featured dishes, you can find more quick tips for boosting the flavor of your everyday meals on the label of each bottle and explore more recipes at HollandHouseFlavors.com.

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Sweet and Spicy Korean-Chinese Fusion Cauliflower Bites

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4, about 1 1/2 cups per portion

  • 6          cups fresh cauliflower florets
  • 2          tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1          teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4       cup Holland House Sherry Cooking Wine
  • 1/4       cup honey
  • 2          tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1          tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2          teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2          tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1          small fresh yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1          tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1          tablespoon Korean-style chili flakes
  • 1/4       cup chopped fresh green onions
  • 1          tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. In large bowl, toss cauliflower, sesame oil and salt until well coated. Arrange on nonstick baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.
  3. In small bowl, whisk cooking wine, honey, soy sauce, vinegar and cornstarch until well blended; set aside.
  4. In large, nonstick skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add yellow onions and garlic; cook 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in chili flakes and wine mixture.
  5. Return pan to stove and adjust to medium heat. Bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring 1-2 minutes, or until thickened. Add cooked cauliflower; stir gently to coat.
  6. Transfer cauliflower to serving dish. Top with green onions and sesame seeds.

Tips: The sauce mixture can also be used on chicken wings or grilled pork chops. In place of Korean-style chili flakes, use 1 teaspoon regular crushed red pepper flakes or 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper.

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Lettuce-Wrapped Korean Short Ribs

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus marinating
Cook time: 4 minutes
Servings: 4, about 6 ounces (pre-cooked) per portion

  • 3          tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 2          teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1          teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2       teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2    pounds thinly sliced, boneless beef short ribs
  • 1          cup Holland House Marsala Cooking Wine
  • 6          tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4       cup roasted garlic paste
  • 2          tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2       cup chopped green onions, divided
  • 1          teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1          head fresh romaine lettuce, separated into large leaves         
  • 1/2       cup sliced fresh red radishes
  • 1/2       cup shredded fresh carrots dipping sauce
  1. In small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons brown sugar, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle evenly over short rib slices, gently rubbing into both sides. Place in re-sealable plastic bag.
  2. In bowl, whisk cooking wine, sesame oil, garlic paste, soy sauce and remaining brown sugar. Pour half of mixture into bag with meat and add 1/4 cup green onions. To marinate, refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours.
  3. In small saucepan, whisk remaining wine mixture and cornstarch until smooth. Bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook 1 minute, or until thickened, stirring constantly. Set aside until cool. Stir in 2 tablespoons green onions.
  4. Heat grill to medium-high.
  5. Remove ribs from marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Discard marinade. Grill 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Cut ribs into 1-inch pieces. Serve with remaining green onions, lettuce, radishes, carrots and warm dipping sauce.

Tips: For fusion tacos, substitute corn or flour tortillas for lettuce leaves. In place of garlic paste, 2 tablespoons minced garlic can be substituted.

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Sizzling Asian Vegetable Fried Rice with Savory White Wine Glaze

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Servings: 4-6, about 1 cup per portion

  • 2          tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1          tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2       cup fresh chopped yellow onions
  • 1          cup fresh small white mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh carrots
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh zucchini
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh red bell peppers
  • 1/2       cup chopped fresh yellow bell peppers
  • 3          cups cold, cooked, long-grain white rice
  • 1/2       cup Holland House White Cooking Wine
  • 2          tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2       cup fresh green onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2          teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Heat heavy-bottomed, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add vegetable oil, garlic and onions. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, red bell peppers and yellow bell peppers; stir-fry 3 minutes. Add rice; stir-fry 3 minutes.
  2. Add cooking wine; stir-fry 2 minutes, or until dry. Add oyster sauce; stir-fry 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in green onions, sesame oil and black pepper. Transfer to dish or bowl and serve.

Tip: To turn into a main course, add cooked beef, chicken or pork and serve topped with a fried egg.

Source: Holland House

Appetizers & Sides 14 March 2017

Savory Honey Mustard Poached Pears and Figs

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Savory Honey Mustard Poached Pears and Figs

Submitted by Pamela V.
Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

  • 2 cups College Inn® Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 pears (firm variety such as Bosc), peeled, halved and cored
  • 6 ounces dried figs, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese
  1. Trace diameter of large saucepan onto parchment paper. Cut out and set aside.
  2. Combine broth, white wine, water, mustard, 2 tablespoons honey, lemon juice and bay leaves in large saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Add pears, core-side-up, and figs; cover with vented parchment paper so pears stay fully submerged.
  4. Simmer 20 minutes until pears are fork-tender.
  5. Toast hazelnuts in small, non-stick sauté pan over medium high heat, about 2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Quickly remove nuts from pan onto a separate plate.
  6. To serve, remove pears from poaching liquid and place onto individual salad plates. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon honey and sprinkle with nuts and cheese.

Source: College Inn

Holiday 20 January 2017

Happier Holiday Hors D’oeuvres

(Family Features) Holiday entertaining is all about food, wine and quality time with family and friends. This year, try a new approach to holiday get-togethers by hosting an hors d’oeuvres party.

Skip the hassle of preparing a full meal by serving a number of small bites, dips and spreads for your guests to enjoy. Most hors d’oeuvres can be prepared ahead of time so you can spend more time with your guests instead of in the kitchen, making it easy to entertain flawlessly.
The best part is you don’t have to break the bank to host a fabulous holiday gathering. By switching from national name brands to a grocer like ALDI, party essentials and seasonal must-haves, such as holiday gifts and baking necessities, can be as much as 50 percent less. Manufactured by many of the nation’s leading food producers, these exclusive brand items often meet or exceed the quality and taste of the national name brands.

Try these hors d’oeuvre serving tips from food stylist and loyal ALDI shopper Janice Stahl:

  • Rethink the regular: Surprise guests and get creative with classic recipes by changing the presentation. Square pizza bites, circular tea sandwiches or star-shaped fruit make entertaining fun.
  • Keep hors d’oeuvres simple: Serve foods that are bite-sized and easy to pick up. Try skewers to create festive kabobs, which are perfect for nibbling.
  • Presentation is everything: Experiment with serving pieces like vases, champagne glasses or appetizer cups that add special interest to bite-sized snacks from chips and dip to shrimp cocktail.

With these simple tips and recipes, you’ll be ready to throw a festive holiday hors d’oeuvres party that’s easy and affordable. Visit www.aldi.us for more entertaining ideas.

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Cranberry Shrimp Ceviche Cups

$0.58 per serving at ALDI
Recipe courtesy of Chef Alyssa, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Cook time: 3 minutes
Yields: 16 ceviche cups

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons iodized salt, divided
  • 16 ounces medium raw shrimp, thawed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 jalapeno, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 16 ounces tortilla chips
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • Fresh cranberries, optional
  1. Bring medium pot of water to a boil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Immediately plunge cooked shrimp into ice water bath. Peel shrimp and place in flat dish.
  3. In food processor, combine cranberries, red onion, parsley and jalapeno. Pulse until finely chopped.
  4. Add cranberry mixture to shrimp.
  5. Add lemon juice, lime juice, remaining salt, crushed red pepper and oregano. Stir to combine ingredients thoroughly.
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  7. To assemble, spoon ceviche, about 4 to 5 shrimp each, into small clear cups or glasses. Garnish with tortilla chips and lime wedges.

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Pistachio Lemon Truffles

$0.43 per serving at ALDI
Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Cook time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Yields: 24 truffles

  • 1 1/4 cups pistachios, shelled
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces plain goat cheese
  • 3/4 cup dried mixed berries, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped lemon zest
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  1. Roughly chop pistachios, place in bowl.
  2. With electric mixer, cream together remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Scoop tablespoon size balls of cheese mixture and roll in pistachios to coat.
  4. To serve, sprinkle platter with remaining pistachios and place truffles on top. Serve with crackers.
Signature Drink

A signature drink is a must at any holiday soiree. Get creative by offering guests a specialty cocktail that matches the color scheme for the event. An avid party hostess, food stylist Janice Stahl makes the occasion special by pairing white wine with a splash of cranberry-pomegranate juice, garnished with fresh fruit or herbs. Giving your signature drink an original name to reflect your personality is an added touch your guests will love. For a lasting impression, hand out recipe cards of your signature drink as party favors.

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Signature Drink

$0.58 per serving at ALDI
Recipe courtesy of ALDI Food Stylist, Janice Stahl

  • Sugar for glass rim
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup cranberry- pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cranberries
  • Fresh fruit for garnish
  1. Dip rim of glass in sugar.
  2. Pour wine and juice into glass, stirring to combine.
  3. Drop in cranberries, along with any additional fruit desired. Serve immediately.

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