Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cocktail of the Week: Rose Sangria

If you're like me, when you think of sangria, you think of a warm summer evening on the patio. Probably not a beverage for the chill of winter. But you forget this is a special week. It's Super Bowl time. And if you're having a party, a pitcher of sangria is a perfect option for your non-beer drinking guests. Here's a nice recipe I ran across.

Rose Sangria
Serves 4-6. (You can easily double it for your big shindig.)

2 (750 ml) bottles rose wine
1/2 cup Spanish brandy (You can omit this, but it DOES add a nice boozy kick.)
1/2 cup orange liqueur
Juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries (frozen work just fine)
1/2 orange, cut in thin slices and then cut in half
1/2 lemon, cut in thin slices and then cut in half
1/2 plum, pitted, and sliced into thin wedges (couldn't find one in my grocery during winter so left it out.)
1/2 peach, pitted and sliced into thin wedges (I substituted a small bag of frozen peach slices)
1 (10 ounce) bottle club soda, chilled

Combine first five ingredients in a pitcher and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the fruit and stir well to combine.

Refrigerate until well-chilled, about two hours.

Right before serving, stir in the club soda.  Serve in large wineglasses over ice.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cocktail of the Week: The Paloma

It's that time of year when citrus fruits are plentiful.  Especially the gorgeous glorious ruby red grapefruit that comes from South Texas.  It's even been featured in our produce share. I've eaten it halved with a sprinkling of sugar (gilding the lily, dontcha know?) and incorporated it into salads, but it also is a star in this refreshing cocktail.

The Paloma
Makes one cocktail.

Combine 2 ounces freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice, 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice and 1 teaspoon sugar in a cocktail shaker and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in 2 ounces tequila.  (For a smokier drink, substitute mescal for some or all of the tequila.)  Pour into an ice-filled glass with a salted rim. Top off with club soda.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Chard/Garbanzo Fritters

Now THIS is not the kind of recipe you necessarily go searching for on the Internet.  But we have been "blessed" with a surfeit of greens in our produce co-op share. Not just lettuce and cabbage,  but kale, chard and mustard greens as well.  All. At. Once.

So as I felt guilty the other night about the greens wilting away and what the heck I was going to do with them, I was ecstatic to run across this recipe in Real Simple. Healthy combination of veggies and protein with just enough spice and a bit of cheese.  I will admit I adapted it slightly.  Scroll down for the delicious results.

Chard/Garbanzo Fritters
Adapted from Real Simple.
Makes four servings.

8 cups stemmed and torn Swiss chard (about 1 bunch) and/or spinach (I bet a combination of the two would be delicious.)
1-15 1/2 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
 1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped dill, mint or chives (optional)
Hot sauce

Combine the yogurt and chopped herbs and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the chard, garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Transfer to a large bowl and add the Feta, flour and beaten egg.  Mix until combined.  Form the mixture into eight 2 1/2 inch patties.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in  large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Working in two batches, cook the fritters until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Add the remaining oil to the skillet for the second batch.

Serve with the herbed yogurt and hot sauce.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vegetable Stock

Our produce share has been heavy on the greens lately, but also lots of onions and carrots.  So I've been making a big batch of vegetable stock almost every weekend.  It's a great base for soups (one way to use up all the aforementioned greens), but I've also been taking little bottles of it to work to heat up and sip out of a coffee mug as an afternoon snack.  You could also use it to poach fish for a nice additional bit of flavor.

Vegetable Stock
Adapted from Bon Appetit.
Makes 2 quarts

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
10 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces button mushrooms, halved if large
2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, 5-7 minutes. Add 4 quarts cold water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until stock is reduced by half, 1-1 1/2 hours.

Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; discard solids.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stir-Fry Beef and Broccoli

This is a great healthful recipe for the New Year. It could be even healthier (and just as delicious) if you used the same technique and sauce with shrimp, chicken, or just your favorite stir-fried vegetables. I will definitely be using the sauce recipe again. It is the perfect balance of salty and sweet with just enough spice.

Stir-Fry Beef and Broccoli
Makes two generous servings.

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sambal oelek
1 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch
8 ounces sirloin steak, thinly sliced and seasoned with salt & pepper
1 bunch broccoli, florets separated in to 1 inch chunks.  (Peel and slice the stems thinly or reserve for another use.)
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
1 large carrot, ribbon-sliced
1/2 cup sliced onion
(You could also add sliced mushrooms, sliced celery or sliced water chestnuts at your pleasure.)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds or 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped roughly

Combine soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sherry, vinegar, hoisin, sambal oelek, brown sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.

Whisk together 2 teaspoons sherry and cornstarch in a med bowl; add steak and toss to coat.

Steam broccoli in 1/4 cup water in a wok, covered over high heat until crisp tender (about 5 minutes). Transfer broccoli to a plate. Discard the steaming liquid and wipe the wok dry.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in wok. Add sirloin and cook until brown but slightly pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer steak to a plate and tent loosely with foil to keep warm.

Add remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil; stir in mushrooms, carrots and onions (and other vegetables as desired) and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add broccoli, beef and soy sauce mixture back to the wok; cook until sauce is thick and syrupy, about 1 minute.  Serve with rice or noodles and garnish each serving with toasted sesame seeds or chopped cashews.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cocktail(s) of the Week: Downton Abbey Cocktails

I was quite conflicted last night.  What to watch on TV? Downton Abbey...which we waited it seems like forever for.  The Good Sunday night date with the incredibly talented Juliana Margulies.  Or the once-a-year drunkfest that is The Golden Globes?

I ended up with the Golden Globes...couldn't miss Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and hopefully a gaffe or two.

But I multi-tasked and had this delicious cocktail inspired by Lady Sibyl I found on It's a mix of gin, St. Germain, and bubbly and as the author said, just like the character, it's "sweet, lovely, and stronger than you'd expect."

Next week I will be back to Masterpiece live.  And plan to kick back with either the Lady Edith (grapefruit juice and sloe gin) or the Lady Mary (with Lillet Blanc and basil).


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been. -Rainer Maria Rilke

May Life for you in 2013 be Beautiful!