Saturday Sippers: Sangria

June 7, 2014

Sangria

Summertime. Hot weather. Sunny days. Blue skies. Relaxing with friends. Fresh, juicy fruits. Sitting by the water. Sipping chilled drinks. And do I have one of the best chilled drinks for you. The classic sangria. You can whip it up by the pitcher or by the cooler, depending on how big your crowd is. Sit out glasses and an ice bucket, as well as a ladle for the fruit, and you’ve got a self-serve cocktail that packs enough of a punch to enjoy, but not so much that your friends will be teeter-tottering into the pool.

The wonderful thing about sangria is there are so many options, and you can make do with whatever you have on hand. Red, white, rosé, sparkling – all make a wonderful sangria. Pick your fruit, pick your juice, pick your liqueur, and pick your soda. Balance it out with a little pre-punchbowl taste test, adding a bit more of this or that to bring a harmony to the flavors – not too sweet, not too fruity, not too alcoholic, but Goldilock’s-approved ‘just right’.

This Goldilock’s has already found her ‘just right’ however for the classic red wine sangria, so she shall share her secrets with you forthwith. (more…)

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Spanish picnic, part 3: Zucchini cakes

August 16, 2013

Zucchini Cake

The final recipe from the Spanish picnic I enjoyed with friends a couple of weeks ago, the zucchini cake is a pretty versatile recipe that’s simultaneously at home for a chi-chi dinner party or low key enough for popping a couple in your mouth as you run out the door in the morning heading for work. It can be made in a pie plate or a muffin tin, and it makes great use of that proliferous summer vegetable, the zucchini.

For our picnic, I chose to make individual versions in a muffin tin, so I could only take with me what was needed for the day. These can be eaten warm, cold, or at room temperature, so it was a perfect food for a picnic. (more…)

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Spanish picnic, part 2: Goat cheese stuffed piquillo peppers

August 9, 2013

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers

Last week I told you about my fabulous Spanish themed picnic, and gave you the recipe for a killer gazpacho that packs a tomato punch but is tempered with some roasted red pepper. Well, continuing in that vein, today I have the recipe for the stuffed piquillo peppers I made for the picnic.

Stuffed piquillo peppers are not the first thing that comes to mind when I think picnic food. Stuffed with softened goat cheese, I wasn’t even sure I could make this work, but they’re so good that I was willing to give it a try. I often make these for appetizers at home, or just as a great little finger food for company. They always get rave reviews, and they never last long.

How did they hold up for the picnic? (more…)

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Picnic time: Spanish style

August 2, 2013

Gazpacho

Heeeeyy Boo-boo! Whadya think they got in that pic-a-nic basket?

I’m guessing Yogi never expected to get a basket full of Spanish goodies such as gazpacho, zucchini cake, lima bean salad, and piquillo peppers, but had he stumbled upon our party, that’s certainly what he would have found. Along with a pitcher or two of sangria!

A couple of weekends ago we decided to head out to a new park for a picnic and some light hiking. I was a little perplexed as to what to make, because at the time my husband and I were doing a gluten-free diet, and a friend of ours that was going is also gluten-free. So gone was the usual pressed sandwich meal, but I needed something that would not go off in the sun (no mayo or raw anything) but also wouldn’t be too heavy since it promised to be a warm day, and I knew the alcohol we would consume would already drain our energy a bit. Then it hit me – a Spanish-themed meal. Sangria is the perfect summer time drink, and with foods like gazpacho and stuffed peppers, we would be filled up and satisfied, but definitely not stuffed. And all the items could be served either room temperature or cold. And almost everything was vegetarian. While no one in the group was vegetarian, it’s always good to have some go to recipes that are meat-free for friends that don’t eat meat. (more…)

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The Spanish tortilla

August 4, 2011

Spanish Tortilla

Continuing with the tapas this week, the Spanish tortilla is a super-duper easy dish to make, and it can be served warm, cold, or room temperature. One of the best things about the tortilla is I usually have all of these ingredients on hand – eggs, onion, garlic, potatoes, olive oil – all staples in my kitchen. The key to a good tortilla is making sure your potatoes absorb a lot of flavor from the spices and garlic/onions. (more…)

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