Give: The Gift of Chocolate

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The season of giving conjures thoughts of chestnuts roasting on open fires and stockings all in a row, but there are also the not so pleasant images of lists of presents that must be purchased and, of course, it has to be unique and fun and something the recipient doesn’t already have!  Combining two loves of mine, and surely many others, wine and chocolate, Brix has come up with a solution!!  Grab a gift bag or basket, a list of your favorite wines for each category (or ask a trusted expert at your local wine shop) along with a box of Brix Collection wine tasting chocolates!  The box includes a booklet to walk the lucky recipient thru the wine and chocolate tasting as well as 4 bars of chocolate geared towards different varietals.  It may very well end up a gift that you give to yourself as well:)
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Cook: MM Warm Quinoa Seasonal Salad

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Give this Warm Quinoa Seasonal Salad a try on this Meatless Monday before Thanksgiving! It’s hearty and healthy, will give you that boost you need to prepare for the onslaught of guests and you won’t have a twinge of guilt for the over-indulgence that is to come in a few days! Bon appetit!

Warm Quinoa Seasonal Salad                                                                                             

Yield: 2 servings

Cook Time: 12 minutes

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup red or white quinoa

½ cup water

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 cups stemmed and roughly torn green kale (such as curly or dinosaur kale)

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons dried blueberries

1 small shallot, finely chopped

½ cup sliced cremini mushrooms

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 tablespoons crumbled Greek feta

DIRECTIONS

1. In a fine mesh sieve, add the quinoa and rinse under running water for 2 minutes. Add the rinsed quinoa to a medium saucepan and pour in the water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside, covered, for 5 minutes. Use a fork to fluff the quinoa and set aside.

2. In a small saucepan set over high heat, add ½ cup balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thick and reduced by half, 2 to 4 minutes. Once the vinegar looks slightly runnier than honey, remove it from the heat (it will continue to thicken as it cools; stir in a drop of water if it is too thick to drizzle).

3. In a large bowl, add the kale and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Use your hands to massage the oil into the kale for 1 minute. Mix in the dried blueberries.

4. In a large skillet set over high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat until the oil is shimmering, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the remaining 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked quinoa and the feta and heat, stirring frequently, until the feta melts slightly, about 3 minutes.

5. Add the mushroom mixture to the kale and toss to combine. Drizzle in the reduced balsamic vinegar and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss to coat. Season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and serve. Calories per Serving: 376; Sodium: 784mg; Total Carbohydrate: 42g; Fiber: 4g; Fat: 20g

 

Cook: Pumpkin Spice Cake with Taylor Fladgate LBV Port Sauce

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Dessert with a glass port wine isn’t nearly as common as dessert with a cup of coffee, but it’s certainly a delicious indulgence one must have especially during the holidays.  How about combining your dessert and port onto one plate with winemag.com’s Pumpkin Spice Cake with Taylor Fladgate LBV Port Sauce (feel free to use whatever port you prefer or have on hand).  This would be an oh-so-decadent way to end Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner or a fall/winter dinner party!  Bon appetit!