Blueberry Port Wine Sauce

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Now that September is here and all the kids are back in school, I’m starting to notice a shocking amount of fall items popping up all over the place. You know what I’m talking about: pumpkin spice lattes, autumn-inspired wreaths, and Halloween costumes on every store shelf. Although autumn is my favorite time of year, it’s hard for me to think about fall when we’re still experiencing 100° temperatures here in Texas. Now, with that being said, I’m fully aware that many parts of the world (like my drizzly home state of Washington) are already feeling the change in seasons, so I’m willing to strike a compromise, ya’ll. But, instead of going full bore with the cinnamon & nutmeg and carving out a big, fat, orange pumpkin, I’ve decided to take a summer fruit (blueberries) and combine it with subtle, warming flavors like cloves, coriander, and port wine to create a sauce that you can serve hot or cold – making it perfect for any climate! Continue reading

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Fireside Mussels

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Almost two years ago my parents decided to add a deck onto the back of their kitchen, and somehow in the planning process, my dad miraculously talked my mom in to allowing him to build a brick pizza oven along with it. I don’t know how he managed to convince her, but I’m pretty sure a bottle of Merlot was involved. Regardless, I was delighted. By association, I became the proud owner of a beautiful cooking device that I use almost of every time I’m home. In addition to crafting homemade pizzas (of which we’ve made dozens), we use it to cook calzones, empanadas, and, just recently, mussels. Now, I realize that a brick oven isn’t something you can just go out and buy, like a waffle iron or a ice cream maker, so I’ve also included cooking instructions for these Fireside Mussels using a regular outdoor grill (which is how I cook them whenever I’m not visiting my parents). No matter what vessel you use to bake these succulent bivalves, they’re going to taste amazing! Just promise me you’ll serve them with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the extra cooking liquid – believe me, you’ll thank me for it! Continue reading