The Weekend Gourmet F

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Citrus Recipes That Will Make You Smile #SundaySupper...Featuring Citrus-Glazed Scallops with Chunky Avocado Salsa

Bright and sunny citrus flavors are some of my very favorite. There's something about tangy lemon, lime, and orange that makes food come alive! This week, #SundaySupper is featuring Citrus Recipes That Will Make You Smile, and our hostess is my sweet friend Lisa from Jersey Girl Cooks. We're sharing recipes that feature the tangy zing of citrus -- which is perfect for warmer Spring temperatures! I had some gorgeous scallops in my freezer, so I used that as my starting point.

For this week's theme, I was inspired by a recipe in Cooking Light for my Citrus-Glazed Scallops with Chunky Avocado Salsa -- which features lemon, lime, and orange juices. The scallops are seared, then glazed in the sweetly tart citrus glazed. They're served over cilanto and lime-infused rice, and the quick homemade avocado salsa is spooned on top. It's a symphony of citrus flavors. Even better, this flavorful and healthy dish is ready to eat in about 45 minutes!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Weekend Gourmet Hits the Road...Exploring Fenway Park in Boston #boston #baseball #fenway

There are few things The Weekend Gourmet team enjoys more than cooking, eating, and traveling…but watching our hometown Houston sports teams play at home on the road ranks pretty close. Last season, Michael and I enjoyed a fantastic evening at Boston’s historic Fenway Park that brought all of these loves together! We enjoy visiting baseball stadiums around the country. So far, we’ve been lucky enough to see the Houston Astros play at Wrigley Field in Chicago, and at Shea Stadium and both Yankee Stadiums -- the original and the new one -- in New York! Last season, we decided to take a trip to Boston to watch the Astros play the Red Sox. For baseball fans, a trip to visit Fenway Park is definitely a must. It was built in 1912, making it the oldest active ballpark in Major League Baseball. That’s a lot of baseball history, folks!
We arrived at Fenway a 
couple of hours before first pitch to sample some of the ballpark's amazing food concessions and learn about its innovative rooftop garden. We were met by Fenway Park’s Executive Chef, who showed us around and helped us choose some signature food concessions to try. Michael and I were impressed with the festive pre-game atmosphere on the concourse just outside the ballpark on Yawkey Way. Fans were everywhere, so it was like a huge block party! The street is closed to vehicles 3 hours before each home game, and only pedestrian traffic is allowed. The atmosphere is incredibly festive. In addition to tons of great food, there’s live music and lots of great people watching! 
Food concessions are set up along the side of Yawkee Way, under canopies attached to Fenway Park, so Red Sox fans can mingle up and down the street and enjoy a pre-game meal or beverage. One of the best parts of visiting an out-of-town ballpark is sampling their regional food specialties. At Fenway, we sampled a range of delicious ballpark food – including an iconic Fenway Frank. We also tried some amazing fried clams, refreshing Del's frozen lemonade, a homestyle braised short rib grilled cheese sandwich, and an Asian-inspired grilled chicken skewer. Everything was full of the big flavors we love! 
After sampling the food offerings and exploring Yawkey Way a bit more, it was time to head inside the ballpark to check out the innovative Fenway Farms rooftop garden. In Spring 2015, Fenway Farms was planted on the third base side of the ballpark, above Yawkey Way. The wide array of seasonal produce and herbs grown at Fenway Farms are used in the food offerings prepared and served at the ballpark during the baseball season. Fenway Farms is located on a 5,000 square foot roof above the Red Sox Front Offices. 
The area was previously an underutilized black rubber membrane roof.  Thanks to this innovative idea, this unused space is now a thriving garden that grows an estimated 4,000 pounds of produce annually. Fenway Farms also offers key environmental benefits, including improved air quality.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Weekend Gourmet Travel...Featuring 24 Hours in Sonoma #WGTravel #winecountry #sonoma

Photo provided by Fairmont Hotels
At the end of last year, The Weekend Gourmet crew spent a week exploring the best food, wine, and attractions in San Francisco, Sonoma, and Napa Valley. It was an amazing trip from start to finish! Now that the weather is warming up a bit and thoughts turn to Spring and Summer travel, it's the perfect time for me to tell you about our amazing 24-hour visit to Sonoma. We arrived midday on a Sunday, visited three of the area's best wineries, had dinner at the girl & the fig restaurant...and explored the luxurious Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. If you've never been to Sonoma, it's a short 45-minute drive from San Francisco and located to the west of Napa Valley. The Fairmont was an ideal home base for our Sonoma adventure -- an easy drive from the wineries we visited and the Downtown Square and absolutely gorgeous! 

We dropped our rental car with the friendly Fairmont valet, and headed inside the homey lodge-type main building -- stopping to admire the gorgeous fountain in the courtyard. The check-in process was simple and quick, and we were on our way to our room. Of all the hotels and resorts in Sonoma County, only the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa offers guests an on-site luxury spa, championship golf course, and fine dining. You could truly drop off your car at the Fairmont at the start of a weekend getaway and never leave -- enjoying all of its amenities, spa, restaurants, and gorgeous decor! The mission-style architecture featured a mixture of light and dark-toned decor. Our room was spacious and also beautifully decorated in soothing tones.
Our room featured a comfy Queen bed, flat-screen TV, a large bathroom, mini-bar refrigerator, and comfy terry cloth robes. After dropping our bags and freshening up a bit, it was time to go explore some wineries! Our first stop was WALT Wine's cozy tasting room, located in a house just off Sonoma's main square. We participated in a private ROOT 101 food and wine experience. This hour-long in-depth Pinon Noir tasting gave us a unique opportunity to isolate the quality and variety of distinct wines from regional Pinot Noir appellations. The tasting included five single vineyard wines sourced from appellations in the WALT collection. Each wine was paired with delicious seasonal, Pinot-centric small bite pairings from the girl & the fig. 
Our Host & Wine Educator Dan was very knowledgeable, walking us through each wine and telling us which bite to pair with each wine. Our tasting included a bonus glass of WALT Chardonnay. All of the wines were excellent -- and you really could tell differences in flavor depending on the region where the wine grapes were sourced. Our favorite bite on our plate was the Butternut Squash Sformaa with Pinot-Poached Cherries -- which is in the little glass jar in the picture above. This fabulous wine and food tasting is a MUST for pinot lovers who visit Sonoma! The WALT ROOT 101 tasting is offered daily at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The price is $60/person, and all reservations must be made in advance by calling (707) 933-4440, ext 3102 or emailing tbromberger@waltwines.com.

Our next stop was Arrowood Vineyards in nearby Glen Ellen. This picturesque winery offers a welcoming tasting room and veranda that offer breathtaking views of the picturesque vineyards! One of my college roommates lives in Northern California and drove out to meet The Weekend Gourmet crew for Arrowood's Wine and Artisan Cheese Pairing experience. This enhanced wine tasting highlights the winery's limited-production single vineyard wines paired with locally produced artisan cheeses. Our tasting included a lovely Viognier and three different Cabernets, paired with amazing cheeses...and even a chocolate rosemary truffle. We spent the next hour or so discussing the pairings, catching up, and enjoying the gorgeous scenery. My personal favorite pairing was Arrowood 2013 Sonoma Valley Cabernet paired with Ewenique Sheep's Milk Cheese and Fig-Onion Marmalade. Face it...there are few better ways to spend an afternoon than drinking amazing red and white wine while enjoying gorgeous scenery!
Arrowood's excellent Wine and Cheese Pairing experience takes 60-90 minutes and is $45/person. Reservations are required and can be made for up to eight guests/party by calling  707-935-2636. Our third and final winery stop of the afternoon was to enjoy sparkling wine at the Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards as we drove back to Sonoma. We took part in the enhanced Bubbles and Bites Tasting, along with a tour of their caves!
The Bubbles and Bites tasting takes place in Gloria Ferrer's private Vista room, where our personal wine educator Samantha walked us through the sparkling wine and food pairings and shared some of Gloria Ferrer's history with us. The food bites were delicious, all of prepared by the in-house kitchen. Our tasting included four different sparkling wine varieties, each paired with a small bite. As the video below shows, we had a great time!

The Gloria Ferrer Bubbles and Bites tasting takes place daily at 10:00 a.m., noon, and 2:00 p.m. The price is $60/person and lasts approximately 90 minutes -- which includes a tour of the ground and caves. For a reservations, groups must include at least two people -- and a maximum of 14 people. Reservations for this and other amazing tastings can be made onlineAfter an afternoon of visiting wineries, we headed back to our home base at the Fairmont to take a brief nap and get cleaned up for dinner at the girl & the fig. Open on the Sonoma square since 1997, they offer French bistro-inspired dishes, wine, and cocktails in a relaxed, casual setting.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Wendy's Favorite Things for March #WFThings #GreatEight

It's time for the March edition of Wendy's Favorite Things. This month's Great Eight features some healthy food items, a refreshing fruity-floral beverage, and even an indulgence or two. So...let's get started!
(1) DOLE GO BERRIES!™! Strawberry Go PacksDOLE has a smart solution for San Antonio-area strawberry lovers who want to enjoy their berries on the go. DOLE recently introduced their innovative GO BERRIES!™. Each container has three snack-size packages that easily snap apart, making them easy to pack for lunches or on-the-go snacks! Each mini container contains 4 ounces of fresh DOLE strawberries, and the berry packs are ventilated for freshness and easy rinsing. This proprietary packaging is the first to provide “snap-rinse-go” convenience. I love this product! Each mini pack contains 4 ounces of strawberries and contains just 35 calories. They're perfect for an at-work breakfast -- I simply pack GO BERRIES!™ and a container of yogurt, and I have a healthy breakfast that’s less than 200 calories. San Antonio-area retailers are among the first to offer this product, which is being rolled-out regionally before expected national distribution later this year. Local residents can find DOLE GO BERRIES!™ at most H-E-B locations.

(2) Tim Tim Biscuits. Australia’s iconic chocolate Tim Tam biscuits made their U.S. debut earlier this year. I tried them the first time and was immediately hooked -- they're downright addictive! Tim Tams are a staple in Australia – where they eat more than 45 million packages each year! Tim Tam is quick to point out that it's NOT a cookie. It features a unique combination of three layers: a smooth chocolate cream filling is sandwiched between crunchy malted biscuits, then it’s coated in more chocolate. Tim Tam comes in four yummy varieties: Original, Chewy Caramel, Classic Dark, and a U.S. exclusive flavor: Dark Mint. In its native Australia, the Tim Tam Slam is considered the best way to enjoy this delicious treat. We especially love the milk chocolate Original flavor. To find Tim Tam near you, be sure to visit their online Store Locator.

(3) Blossom All Natural Essence Water. I’m always on the lookout for new beverages, and I recently discovered refreshing Blossom Water. This all-natural essence water combines a hint of fruit flavor with a subtle complimentary floral aroma. Blossom Water comes in four uniquely delicious flavors: Plum Jasmine, Grapefruit Lilac, Pomegranate Geranium, Lemon Rose -- my personal favorite. The first flavor I noticed was the lightly sweet lemon…and then a whisper of rose became apparent in the background. I enjoy drinking Blossom Water well chilled to fully enjoy the combination of flavors. Blossom Water contains no artificial flavors, preservatives, or GMOs. Every 16-ounce bottle is sweetened with a minimal amount of agave nectar and contains just 45 calories. To find Blossom Water at a retail location near you, check out their convenient online store locator. My Texas readers can find Blossom Water at Central Market.

(4) Mann Nourish BowlsHealthy food that also tastes great is high on my list of eating priorities. One of my favorite new good-for-you quick meals is Mann’s Nourish Bowls. Mann introduced broccoli slaw to the market 25 years ago as a way to reduce food waste. Today, Mann is introducing their new NourishBowls. Listen to these great flavors: Monterrey Risotto, Sesame Sriracha, and Southwest Chipotle. Each bowl can be heated and enjoyed on its own for a quick veg-friendly meal – or you can also add deli chicken or cooked shrimp for added protein. I love the spicy Sesame Sriracha, which contains broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage, carrots, snap peas, brown rice, and a robust sesame sriracha sauce. Simply add the cooked rice and sauce to the veggies, toss, and heat in the microwave. You'll have a healthy meal in minutes that has 310 calories and 8 grams of healthy fiber. Nourish Bowls can be found a major grocery stores nationwide -- including Super Walmart and H-E-B.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Announing Eggland's Best Foodtography Contest + a Giveaway...Featuring Tex-Mex Egg Bowls with Cheesy Chorizo Grits

I’ve got some exciting news --and a delicious brunch or breakfast-for-dinner recipe --to share with you today! Eggland’s Best is searching for a passionate egg fan who also has a keen eye for taking amazing photographs of their delicious Eggland's Best recipes! For the Eggland’s Best Foodtography contest, entrants will show how they celebrate Eggland's Best in eye-appealing and delicious recipes. It's the only egg brand that has provided better nutrition, better taste, and better quality for the past 25 years. To enter this fun contest, simply submit your best Eggland’s Best foodie photos by April 12, 2017 for a chance to win some fabulous prizes! Keep in mind that for your entry to be eligible, your recipe must include at least two whole Eggland’s Best eggs.
 
I love cooking with Eggland’s Best eggs in my recipes! Compared to ordinary eggs, Eggland’s Best eggs contain five times more vitamin D, 25% less saturated fat, more than twice the Omega-3s, 10 times more vitamin E, and three times more Vitamin B12. Eggland’s Best’s superior nutrition is due to its proprietary all-vegetarian hen feed that contains healthy grains, canola oil -- and wholesome supplements like rice bran, alfalfa, sea kelp, and Vitamin E. Not only are they more nutritious, but they taste amazing! I used Eggland’s Best eggs to create my comforting Tex-Mex Egg Bowls with Cheesy Chorizo Grits. A base of creamy grits flavored with spicy Mexican-style chorizo and jalapeno-cheddar cheese is topped with an over-easy Eggland’s Best egg, crumbled cotija cheese, and an avocado pico de gallo. It’s delicious, comforting, and full of spicy flavor!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Stonyfield Organic Certified as a B Corporation...Featuring B-Healthy Yogurt Parfaits

One of my very favorite blog partnerships is being a part of Stonyfield Yogurt's Clean Plate Club. I love using their delicious organic yogurt products for meals, snacks, and cooking and baking. I also love what Stonyfield stands for with their compan corporate culture! Stonyfield was originally founded as a farm dedicated to educating people about organic dairy farming practices – before they started making my favorite yogurt. They haven't lost sight of their original mission of “healthy people, healthy food, healthy planet, and healthy business.” In recognition of this philosophy, Stonyfield has been named a certified B Corporation! If you’ve never heard of B Corporations before -- I hadn’t until very recently -- here’s the scoop. B Corps are for-profit companies that have been evaluated and certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. A growing community of 2,000+ corporations from 50 countries and 130 different industries are working together to achieve a single, unifying goal: to redefine success in business. Simply put: B Corps are better companies -- better for workers, better for communities, and better for the environment. That’s something Stonyfield firmly believes in, and I fully support this achievement!

Individual B Corps, including Stonyfield, meet high standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. These B Corps also seek to use the power of the marketplace to solve social and environmental problems. Collectively, these B Corps are leading a growing global movement of people using business as a force for goodTM. By harnessing their collective voice, the hope is that one day all companies will compete to be best for the worldTM. -- with the end result that society will enjoy shared and durable prosperity for all. For me, the bottom line is that B Corps are companies I can feel good about supporting! Not only do they provide quality products and services that I love using, but they let me spend my dollars to contribute to the greater common good. In my personal opinion, we simply can’t have too much positivity these days.
Stonyfield celebrated their B Corp certification by sending me a B Corp Basket that contained items from Stonyfield and several other B Corp companies. I received rich and creamy Stonyfield Grass-Fed Greek Yogurt, King Arthur Sprouted Wheat Flour, a cool Preserve toothbrush with a handle made from recycled yogurt cups, Pukka Three Ginger tea, Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola, and Method Lemongrass Kitchen Gel Hand Wash. I decided to use a couple of these items to create a simple B-Healthy Yogurt Parfait that makes a fabulous breakfast or snack. 
This simple parfait features a base of creamy Stonyfield Grass-Fed strawberry yogurt topped with layers of dried cranberries, toasted coconut chips, Purely Elizabeth Blueberry Hemp Ancient Grain Granola, and a drizzle of honey. It has plenty of protein and healthy carbs to keep the hungries at bay for hours! Congrats again to Stonyfield for achieving B Corp certification. I am honored to be affiliated with a company that makes tasty organic food I can feel good about eating, while also focusing on contributing to a happier overall society!
Disclosure: Stonyfield sent me a B Corp Basket containing their yogurt -- along with items from fellow B Corps King Arthur, Preserve, Pukka, Purely Elizabeth, and Method. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

San Antonio Restaurant Week Recap...Featuring Bolo's Rotisserie Grill and Asado Seafood & Grill

After the holidays are, one of our most highly anticipated event in the new year is the Winter edition of Culinaria's San Antonio Restaurant Week! During this foodie event, restaurants all over the city offer diners special multi-course prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner. It's a great way to try a new restaurant for a total bargain! This year, we visited a trio of restaurants during Restaurant Week: Bolo's Rotisserie Grill, Asado Seafood & Grill, and Restaurant Gwendolyn. I'll share more about our dining experience at Restaurant Gwendolyn in this month's The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out feature, but today is all about the delicious three-course dinners we enjoyed at Bolo's and Asado. We were very impressed with both chefs' imaginative menus that featured a starter, entree, and dessert. 

Bolo's is located inside the Omni Colonnade Hotel. We were warmly greeted and shown to our table. While we sipped on water, we scoped out the menu. The three-course menu featured either a choice of two starters: tortilla soup or a garden salad with crumbled cotija cheese and a house-made chipotle ranch dressing. Both starters were delicious! The tortilla soup had just the right amount of spice, and it featured pieces of tender chicken. The salad was perfectly fresh -- and the chipotle ranch was creamy and just a touch spicy. Our dinner was off to a great start! Up next were our entrees.
We had our choice of a steak or a seafood entree. The steak entree was Grilled Ribeye with Chimmichurri, Mashed Potatoes, and Broccolini. The fish dish was Salmon with Chile Herb Crust, Roasted Potatoes, and Broccolini. Both were nicely seasoned and full of flavor!
The ribeye was tender and juicy, and the chimmichurri provided a nice herbal garlicky punch of flavor. The salmon was perfectly roasted and topped with the spicy, crunchy coating. We were really impressed with the quality of both dishes. Then? It was time for the grand finale: two beautifully plated and desserts with a delicious Latin flair!
The Pan de Elote was a lightly sweet corn-based cake with a custard-like interior. It was garnished with sweetened condensed milk that had been tinted gold and purple. This dessert wasn't the typical dessert, but it was absolutely delicious! The Dulce de Leche Flan Cheesecake was supremely creamy, with a rich dulce de leche topping. The garnish of blackberries provided a nice tartness. Both desserts were the perfect ending to a delicious meal! 

Two nights later, we enjoyed the second meal of our Restaurant Week itinerary: Asado Seafood & Grill at the San Antonio Airport Hilton. We were shown to our seats and served a duo of martinis to enjoy as we looked over the menu options. Both martinis were delicious -- especially the Blueberry Muffin, which contained vanilla vodka, fresh blueberries, curacao liqueur, and cream de cocoa. It tasted just like a grown-up blueberry muffin! As we sipped our martinis, the restaurant's chef surprised us with a bonus starter that was new on the menu: Seared Jumbo Shrimp with Avocado and Veggie Slaw. It was such a fabulous combination of flavors and textures!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Mardi Gras BBQ Shrimp...Featuring Groomer's Seafood

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras…one last big celebration before the Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday. Michael and I grew up in the Houston area, with family on the Texas-Louisiana border. We love New Orleans food, music, and spirit of celebration…so we love to celebrate Mardi Gras here in San Antonio. I like to put on some zydeco music and cook up a special Cajun or Creole dish to celebrate. I had a pound of jumbo Texas Gulf shrimp from San Antonio's Groomer's Seafood in the freezer just waiting for me to make a special recipe. These Mardi Gras BBQ Shrimp are perfect for any celebrations you might have planned for tomorrow. They’re full of the big flavors that we love, and they’re not at all complicated to make. Contrary to their name, they’re not actually BBQ’ed in the typical sense.

Traditionally, this New Orleans specialty requires head-on, unpeeled shrimp simmered in a spicy “BBQ” sauce. However, I recently found a refined version of this dish from Brennan’s of Houston that uses headless shrimp that are peeled and butterflied. This dish definitely delivers on flavor – with a robustly flavored sauce that includes lemon, Worcestershire sauce, and spicy Cajun seasoning. These BBQ shrimp can be certainly be served as an appetizer, but we made a meal from them by eating the shrimp and then dipping toasted French bread in the addictive, flavorful sauce!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for February...Featuring The Melting Pot's

Michael and I recently enjoyed a delicious and fun date night dining experience at The Melting Pot's San Antonio location. We enjoyed their signature four-course San Antonio Big Night Out experience that was a truly over-the-top dining experience! From the moment we were seated until we left completely stuffed a couple of hours later, everything tasted great. I can't wait to share the entire experience with you!!
The Melting Pot has locations nationwide and features cheese, entree, and chocolate dessert fondues -- as well as delicious cocktails and salads to round out your dining experience. Whether your're celebrating something special, looking for a romantic date night destination...or even a fun girls night out...The Melting Pot has you covered! When we arrived, we were warmly greeted and shown to our booth table. In the center was a heated insert where our fondue would be cooked. While we looked over the menu, a duo of delicious cocktails selected especially for us arrived for us to enjoy -- their classic Love Martini and the creative new The Melting Pot Mule. 
The Love Martini features Malibu Rum, peach Schnapps, cranberry juice, and fresh strawberries. It was sweetly tart, with a gorgeous red color...I definitely loved this martini. The Melting Pot Mule is a modern spin on a classic Moscow Mule that features classic mule Stolichnaya Vodka and Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur muddled with fresh mint, then shaken with lime and topped with ginger beer. It was refreshing and totally delicious. Then, it was time for us to enjoy tour San Antonio Big Night Out!

This four-course dining included a cheese fondue of our choice, salad, an elevated entree fondue experience, and a chocolate dessert fondue. We loved how personalized the entire experience was! For our cheese fondue course, we selected the delicious Italian-inspired Quattro Formaggio. It featured four different cheeses -- Butterkäse, Fontina, fresh mozzerella, and Parmesan -- melted with white wine, garlic, and basil pesto, and sun-dried tomato pesto. It was served with small chunks of different breads for dipping...and it was absolutely delicious. We loved how the flavors of garlic and pesto combined with the cheese. Our fondue experience for two was off to a great start!
Our second course was a refreshing salad. We opted for The Melting Pot House Salad, which featured crisp Romaine and iceberg lettuces, cheddar cheese, juicy diced tomato, crunchy housemade croutons, and slices of boiled egg. It was served with a delicious creamy peppercorn ranch dressing. 
This was such a great salad -- perfectly chilled and made with pristinely fresh ingredients. I especially loved the creamy ranch dressing, which is made in-house daily. We were having such a good time...and then our over-the-top entree fondue was set up for us!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Easy Pork Chop Recipes #SundaySupper...Featuring Spicy Maple-Glazed Pork Chops with Jalapeno Cheese Grits

One of my favorite quick-cook weeknight dinners is lean, boneless butterflied pork chops. They can be grilled or seared in about 10 minutes, and they're so versatile! This week, #SundaySupper is featuring Easy Pork Chop recipes. Our hostess is Shelby from Grumpy’s Honeybunch, who asked us to share our favorite easy-to-make pork chop recipes. My Spicy Maple-Glazed Pork Chops with Jalapeno Cheese Grits are a snap to make -- easy enough for a simple weeknight dinner, but fancy enough to serve to company.

This is my personal spin on a recipe that I saw in Southern Living awhile back. Lean boneless pork chops are sprinkled with an easy homemade spice rub, then seared and glazed with a spicy maple-infused BBQ sauce. These spicy-sweet pork chops cook up juicy and tender and are served over a base of creamy jalapeno cheese grits. This comforting dish is ready to eat in about 30 minutes, and it's so tasty. The spice level is moderate, but it can easily be adjusted to suit your family's preference.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Spotlight on Groomer's Seafood...Featuring Texas Crab Cakes with Cilantro-Lime Remoulad

Michael and I grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast, so we've been seafood lovers our entire lives. My favorite food -- hand's down -- is seafood! Whether it's fish, crab, or wild-caught Gulf shrimp...seafood is always my first choice when planning a special meal. Here in San Antonio, the best place to purchase fresh seafood is Groomer's Seafood. Since the late 1800's, Groomer’s has been offering local cooks the best in fresh seafood. Through the generations, Groomer’s Seafood has stellar reputation. In fact, every month they move 250+ tons of fresh fish and seafood -- making them one of the largest fresh seafood suppliers in the entire country! Three generations of the Groomer family currently run the business, providing loyal customers a wide range of pristinely fresh in-season seafood. 

Groomer's recently provided me with a sampler of seafood items to do a bit of recipe development. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing a trio of recipes featuring extra-large wild Gulf shrimp and scallops. First up are my decadent Texas Crab Cakes with Cilantro-Lime Remoulade. These crab cakes feature huge chunks of sweet jumbo lump crab and very little binder -- I wanted this high-end crab to be the star of the show! To accompany my crab cakes, I made a quick remoulade sauce flavored with cilantro and lime. I'm not kidding when I say these crab cakes are over-the-top good...and perfect for any at-home Valentine's celebrations you might have planned!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Fancy Appetizer #SundaySupper...Featuring Easy Caprese Puff Pastry Bites

With Valentine's Day in a couple of days...and awards season in full swing...it's the ideal time to add a few fancy appetizers to your culinary bag of tricks! For this week's #SundaySupper event, our hostess Wendy from Wholistic Woman asked us to share our favorite upscale appetizers. My go-to ingredient for easy, elegant appetizers is frozen puff pastry. Whether you use sheets, shells, or bite-size mini cups, they help make fancy appetizers truly effortless. 

My Easy Caprese Puff Pastry Bites are a snap to make, full of flavor...and veg-friendly to boot! Seasoned puff pastry cups are filled with a fresh mozzarella pearl, then topped with a pesto-cream cheese filling and a halved grape tomato. If you love caprese salad, you'll flip for these bite-sized appetizers. Simply add a nice bottle of wine, and you're ready to celebrate...the Grammy's, Valentine's Day, or the Oscars! Wait until you see how simple this appetizer is to make.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Crunchies Freeze Dried Fruit...Featuring Berry Colada Snack Mix #TheCrunchiesLife

Last year, I was introduced to a delicious and healthy food product that has been in heavy rotation on my grocery list ever since: Crunchies freeze-dried fruit. They have a line of 10 delicious varieties of freeze dried fruits -- and beets too! -- from farmers they know and trust. In fact, Crunchies is the only freeze dried fruit company that owns its entire supply chain, from field to fork. They directly source their produce directly from the farmers who grow it. I love that Crunchies tastes great…and it’s made from pure fruits and veggies! Their produce is harvested when it’s at the peak of ripeness, then quickly frozen. The frozen fruit or vegetable is then freeze dried with via a process that combines temperature and pressure. The majority of the frozen water turns directly to water vapor, resulting in a light and crispy snack! 

Even better, this process ensures most of the fruit or veggie’s color, flavor, and nutrients remain. Crunchies aren’t chewy like dried fruit…and they’re not hard like a chip. Instead, they’re light and crispy, with natural sweetness and no added sugar. I especially love the mango and banana varieties…and the freeze dried berries. I recently used Crunchies sweetly tart raspberries and strawberries to create a simple trail mix. My Berry Colada Snack Mix combines Crunchies strawberries and raspberries with nuts, dried pineapple, coconut chips…and some white chocolate chips for fun…to make a delicious on-the-go snack.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wendy's Favorite Things...Valentine's Gift Guide Edition! #WendyFaveThings #GreatEight #valentines

February is here...which means Valentine's Day is just around the corner. For this month's Wendy's Favorite Things, my Great Eight is featuring romantic and delicious Valentine's gift ideas for the special food and wine lovers in your life. There's something priced for every budget...and every type of Valentine. I love all of these items, and I'm so excited to share them with you today!

(1) Vosges Haute-Chocolat Valentine's Collection. An elegant heart-shaped box filled with beautiful chocolates is a classic Valentine’s Day gift. One of my favorite chocolate brands is Chicago's Vosges Haute-Chocolat. Vosges founder Katrina Markoff is known for her wildly creative flavor combinations that combine premium chocolate with a variety of delicious spices, flowers, roots, herbs, and liqueurs. This year’s Valentine’s collection features products in a range of prices for every budget. For just $10, you can buy your special someone their five-piece Dulce de Leche within Strawberry Hibiscus White Chocolate Hearts. Their delicate pink color is so feminine, and the flavors are perfectly balanced. If an upscale heart-shaped treat is your preference, Vosges has got you covered with a trio of creative offerings. 
The $15 petite purple heart contains 4 ounces of buttery Bapchi's Caramel Toffee topped with deep milk chocolate and chopped nuts. The Collection du Coeur heart boxes are filled with truffles, bonbons, and bites. The white heart box contains 17 pieces, including a delicious Rose Raspberry Truffle and a white chocolate Lemon Verbena Heart topped with red peppercorns. This beautiful Valentine’s gift is priced at $55. Priced slightly lower, at $35, is the nine-piece purple heart box. As a special Valentine treat, my friends at Vosges have provided The Weekend Gourmet readers an exclusive discount code to save 15% off online orders for the entire month of February -- and there's no minimum purchase required!! To redeem this special code, visit their online store and enter the code TWG15 at checkout. 

(2) Bissinger’s Chocolate Covered Valentine Cookies. Is your honey a cookie lover? Then, Bissinger’s chocolate has the perfect Valentine gift idea for you! Their Valentine's line features an elegant gift box filled with a dozen chocolate sandwich cookies that are dipped in creamy milk chocolate and embellished with seasonal Valentine décor. These yummy cookies are pretty to look at -- and they’re downright addictive. We had a hard time stopping at just one cookie! Creamy milk chocolate gives way to a crunchy chocolate cookie filled with cream filling. These cookies come ready to give in a pretty box, so you’re good to go! The 12-cookie box costs $32 and can be ordered directly from Bissinger’s via their online store.

(3) Papyrus Truly Madly Deeply Stemless Wine GlassIf your special Valentine is a wine lover, this pretty and sentimental stemless wine glass from Papyrus is a perfect gift idea! This stemless wine glass is decorated with pretty red and gold hearts, and it has the words “truly, madly, deeply” inscribed on it. It’s like a romantic Valentine card they can use all year round! It comes paired with a matching gift box, so it arrives ready to present to your sweetie. Priced at just $14.95, you can pair this adorable wine glass with a bottle of your sweetheart’s favorite wine for the perfect combo gift to celebrate this special day. This -- and other fun Valentine wineglasses can be purchased at the Papyrus website.
(4) JARDESCA Apertif. Speaking of wine…why not give your sweetheart a little something different this year? JARDESCA aperitif is definitely refreshingly different! Aperitifs are intended to be enjoyed as a prelude to a meal, to stimulate the appetite without overwhelming the senses like some cocktails or heavier wines can do. Made in Sonoma, JARDESCA is a blend of three different white wines that's fortified with grape brandy (eau de vie) and 10 different botanicals. JARDESCA is meant to be served chilled over ice to best enjoy its light flavor profile -- and it can be used as a mixer for a range of wine spritzers! JARDESCA retails for $30 and can be ordered online for Valentine gift-giving. For my Texas readers, JARDESCA will be available at all Texas Whole Foods locations starting in March.

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