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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Elk Steaks with Chipotle Potato Puree

June 17, 2013

Elk steak with okra and chipotle potatoes

A few weeks ago I found a surprise on my doorstep – a cooler full of elk! A friend who has enjoyed more than a couple of dinners from the Madd Hatter’s kitchen thought I would enjoy this bounty from the Rocky Mountain states, and he was right. Surprisingly, it’s not a meat I’ve had the privilege to try before, so a little research was needed before I decided to embark upon my elk feast.

Elk is a very lean, red meat. At first glance when I opened the cooler, the coloring of the meat reminded me of bison or venison, both of which have little fat to add flavor to the meat, and the latter having a much more gamey taste. After a little reading through the information Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Company sent with the elk, I decided it must be more similar to bison meat. Thus I developed a flavorful marinade that would bring in some extra flavor where the fat was missing, but wouldn’t mask the mild, sweet flavor of the meat, which might have been needed if it were more gamey.

I recently added a new flavor to my lineup of olive oils from the Olive Bar – a chipotle olive oil that has a definite kick to it! With this as my base, I began to build on the flavors that I thought would pair nicely with a syrah, as I had decided this is what I would serve with the elk. What I ended up with was one part Southwest, one part Southern, with a sprinkling of Asian spice thrown in for good measure. And might I say, I wouldn’t change a thing about this marinade. (more…)

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Sunday Suppers: Venison Osso Buco & Brunello

December 2, 2012

Venison Osso Buco with La Fiorita Brunello

Two years ago, I bought a half case of La Fiorita’s riserva brunello di Montalcino. Last year we spaced those bottles out, two over the course of the year, one spring lamb meal paired with the 2001, and one late summer meal of venison and blackberries paired with the 2003. The idea being for a special wine, there must be a special meal!

Most of this year went by, and then bam! I landed some wild boar and venison shanks at the same time. Game pairs amazingly with this wine, and I couldn’t really imagine having anything else with these two meats. So within the course of a month, we enjoyed a wild boar pappardelle, again with the 2003, and then this meal. And this meal may be the hands down best wine pairing I’ve done yet. (more…)

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Tropical flavors, crisp wine, sunny afternoon

May 17, 2012

Upon receiving my bounty of salmon last week, I knew just what I wanted to make with it. Earlier in the week I had picked up a copy of Saveur magazine on a whim. It promised delightful Corsican foods and bread recipes that I could make. Buried deep inside the issue, though, was a gem of an article on Senegal feasts, with recipes ranging from fritters and stews to magnificent salads. Upon seeing these salads I headed right back out to the store, picking up the ingredients and making them that evening. (more…)

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Wine Pairings: Brunello and Lamb

February 22, 2011

Braised Leg of Lamb with Brunello

When my husband and I were in Venice on our honeymoon, we stopped into a small restaurant for lunch just off Piazza San Marco. We were the first people in the door for lunch, and we were the last to leave, with the waiters sweeping up around us after closing up until dinner. We enjoyed many great foods that day, but the wine was what really stuck out in our head. We enjoyed a bottle of La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino that day, and when I was at a loss for what to buy my husband for his birthday this year, I decided to stock up on this memorable wine. (more…)

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