Showing posts with label summer cooler. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer cooler. Show all posts

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Get Ready for Summer with Sangria Fruit Salad

When I was served a glass of sangria in a bar in San Sebastián, a small resort town on the coast of Northern Spain, I loved the way fresh fruit added flavor to the wine. Fortified with brandy and  sugar, sangria goes well with small sandwiches, salads and snacks.

Visit Spain and you'll see sangria pitchers wide at the base and pinched at the spout so when poured, the wine not the fruit fills the glass.

The result is a wine beverage that carries memories of the fruit but not the fruit itself. Sitting in that small bar, enjoying a relaxed afternoon, I wondered at this exclusion. Why keep the fruit out of the glass?
When peaches, apples, limes and oranges go into a sangria, they are sliced but not peeled. The thought that played around in my head was why not peel the fruit and cut everything into spoon sized pieces? Doing that would allow the wine and fruit to be served together. 

Place a dozen on a tray, with an espresso spoon in each glass and your guests will enjoy an appetizer and cocktail in one.

Sangria Fruit Salad

Using a bottle of quality wine to make sangria is a waste. The same goes for the brandy. Because so many of the flavors will come from other sources, select a drinkable, inexpensive red wine and brandy. Supermarkets and Trader Joe's sell good wines and brandies at a low price that work well. For the wine, I like Merlot, but the choice is entirely up to you. If you prefer white wine, fumé blanc and chardonnay are good. 
Use firm and ripe fruit that is in season. Stone fruit like cherries, peaches and nectarines, grapes, oranges, limes, strawberries, Fuji apples and pears work well. 

Cut up and add the fruits just before serving so they don't become soggy by absorbing too much wine.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 750 ml bottle red wine
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
Juice of one lemon or lime
3 oranges, preferably Valencia
2 Fuji apples, washed, peeled, cut into quarter sized cubes
2 white nectarines, washed, peeled, cut into quarter sized cubes
6 large strawberries, washed, stems removed

Directions

In a large pitcher, mix together the wine, brandy, sugar and lemon juice. Chill in the refrigerator. 

Using a sharp knife, peel the oranges, removing all the peel together with the rind. Hold the peeled oranges over a bowl to catch all the juice. Cut the orange sections free from the membrane. When all the sections have been removed, squeeze the membrane to capture the last bit of delicious juice.

Just before serving, add the orange sections, orange juice and cut up strawberries, apples and nectarines. Stir well.

Use a ladle to fill glasses with a good amount of the fruit. Top off with the sangria. Place an espresso spoon in each glass.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ice Cold Sangria Fruit Salad Keeps Everyone Cool and Happy

When summer temperatures go up, my appetite goes down. I want less to eat and more to drink.

Homemade lemonade with mint is a great favorite. Iced tea in a tall glass filled with cracked ice is a great way to cool down. On a recent trip to Spain, I rediscovered sangria, which might be the best remedy for double and triple digit heat waves.
In the summer, the Iberia Peninsula bakes under an unforgiving sun. Spaniards long ago learned that the best way to beat back the effects of hot weather is to eat small plates ("tapas") and drink wine flavored with fresh fruit.

When I was served a glass of sangria in a bar in San Sebastián, a small resort town on the coast of Northern Spain, I loved the way fresh fruit added flavor to the wine. Fortified with brandy and  sugar, sangria goes well with small sandwiches, salads and snacks. 

Visit Spain and you'll see sangria pitchers. Wide at the base, the large pitchers have a spout pinched at the end. When the pitcher is made, the potter narrows the opening, allowing the wine but not the fruit into the glass.

The result is a wine beverage that carries memories of the fruit but not the fruit itself. Sitting in that small bar, enjoying a relaxed afternoon, I wondered at this exclusion. Why keep the fruit out of the glass?

When peaches, apples, limes and oranges go into a sangria, they are sliced but not peeled. The thought that played around in my head was why not peel the fruit and cut everything into spoon sized pieces? Doing that would allow the wine and fruit to be served together. 

Place a dozen on a tray, with an espresso spoon in each glass and your guests will enjoy an appetizer and cocktail in one.

Sangria Fruit Salad

Nothing is better than a great wine that has matured so that its best qualities delight the palate with layers of flavor and a multitude of notes. Using a bottle of quality wine to make sangria is a waste. The same goes for the brandy. Because so many of the flavors will come from other sources, select a drinkable, inexpensive red wine and brandy. Personally, I like Merlot, but the choice is entirely up to you. If you prefer white wine, fumé blanc and chardonnay work well . 
Use firm and ripe fruit that is in season. Stone fruit like cherries, peaches and nectarines, grapes, oranges, limes, strawberries, Fuji apples and pears work well. 

Cut up and add the fruits just before serving so they don't become soggy by absorbing too much wine.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 750 ml bottle red wine
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
Juice of one lemon or lime
3 oranges, preferably Valencia
2 Fuji apples, washed, peeled, cut into quarter sized cubes
2 white nectarines, washed, peeled, cut into quarter sized cubes
6 large strawberries, washed, stems removed

Directions

In a large pitcher, mix together the wine, brandy, sugar and lemon juice. Chill in the refrigerator. 

Using a sharp knife, peel the oranges, removing all the peel together with the rind. Hold the peeled oranges over a bowl to catch all the juice. Cut the orange sections free from the membrane. When all the sections have been removed, squeeze the membrane to capture the last bit of delicious juice.

Just before serving, add the orange sections, orange juice and cut up strawberries, apples and nectarines. Stir well.

Use a ladle to fill glasses with a good amount of the fruit. Top off with the sangria. Place an espresso spoon in each glass.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Home Alone...Again: A Lime-Mint Cooler, Grilled Corn Salsa, and Carne Asada

A couple of days ago, Michael was at a Dodger's Game, Frank was in San Francisco, and Michelle was at Sundance so I was home alone. The last time I was left to my own devices, it took me a while to figure out what to make for dinner. This time I knew exactly what I wanted.

Carne asada.

When I'm cooking for myself I want something that's quick and easy. Carne asada was perfect because it only took a few minutes on the grill. Adding a corn salsa and a lime-mint cooler and I was completely happy.

For the recipes I expanded them to serve four (except for the cooler which should be made one at a time).

Lime-Mint Cooler

I wanted to find a use for a white rum from Guatemala called "Quezalteca - Especial". What I came up with is a close cousin to a Mojito.

Yield: 1 serving
Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

1 lime or 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
10 mint leaves (washed, crushed)
1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 tablespoons white rum

Method

Mix together the lime juice, mint leaves, powdered sugar and white rum, add 4 ice cubes and stir well. Let the ice cubes melt for a couple of minutes. Stir again. Taste and add more powdered sugar as needed.

Roasted Corn Salsa

Using several different kinds of cherry tomatoes gives the salsa a colorful presentation.

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 ear of corn (husks and silks removed)
1 basket cherry tomatoes (washed, stems removed, quartered)
1 garlic clove (peeled, finely chopped) optional
2 tablespoons red onions (finely chopped)
1 cup cilantro or Italian parsley (washed, stems removed, finely chopped)
1 small hot pepper (washed, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped) optional
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Method

Drizzle olive oil over the ear of corn and grill on all sides until lightly charred, remove, let cool and cut off all the kernels. Mix the corn with the tomatoes, onions, and cilantro and season with the hot pepper (optional), lemon juice (optional) , olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

For an Italian style salsa substitute the parsley for the cilantro, black pepper for the hot pepper, and don't use the lemon juice.

Carne Asada

Traditionally carne asada is served with a corn or flour tortilla. Sometimes I substitute lavash for the tortilla because the lavash is flakier and sweeter.

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound skirt or flank steak (washed, pat dry)
Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
Hot sauce (optional)
4 large tortillas or lavash
4 romaine leaves (washed, shredded)
1 avocado (washed, pitted, peeled, roughly chopped)
2 scallions or 1 small onion (washed, peeled, finely chopped)
2 cups grated cheddar

Method

Sprinkle olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and hot sauce (optional) on a plate. Dredge the pieces of steak through the seasoned oil until well coated and grill on a hot barbecue 5-8 minutes on each side until slightly charred.

Remove from the grill, put on a plate, cover with tin foil, let rest for 5 minutes. Lightly grill tortillas or lavash on the grill. Chop the meat into bite-sized pieces, spread on the tortillas or lavash. Sprinkle on the lettuce, onions, and cheese. Season to taste with sea salt and hot sauce. Top with salsa.

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