Monday, March 7, 2011

Summer Sangria

Winter has seemed very long this year. Normally I love cold weather. I love bundling up in scarves, pea coats, boots and gloves. I also love Thanksgiving and Christmas and snow and cold air tingling against my face. As soon as I feel the first cool breeze of October and see the leaves starting to turn, I get excited. I always forget that by time March comes around, the novelty has began to wear off. The trees have been bare for a long time, the grass is yellow and dry and the sky is often grey and overcast. To make matters worse, we've had a few beautiful days with warmer weather and that has tempted me greatly. I have been longing for a sunny vacation, even just to the beach where I can sit by the water and clear my mind. Since that's not happening anytime soon, yesterday we had a vacation in the living room.

      I sent Witt an invitation online at work the day before for a Tapas party and he accepted. When evening came around yesterday, I put on salsa music, lit candles all around the room like an outdoor patio and put on my long flowy skirt and a flower behind my ear. We started off the evening with some Havarti and Gouda cheeses that Witt picked out. While the stuffed mushrooms were cooking, I made a summery sangria. As I stirred the pitcher and the smell of the mint and citrus twirled around the room I felt myself swaying to the music, my skirt moving to an imaginary breeze and it was almost easy to imagine we'd just spent the day in the sun, that we both had glorious tans and that we were, in fact, drinking sangria under the stars breathing in warm air. Almost.

 It was silly, I know, but lots of fun.

Gypsy Slow Down

 Summer Sangria:

1 bottle white wine, I used a chardonnay
1 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups all natural Apple Juice
1 lemon
2 limes
1 cup tonic water
1/4 sugar or splenda (or to taste)
2 tablespoons mint leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups white grapes, sliced in half and frozen

(If I had had it in the cabinet, I think a half cup of brandy would have been good in this as well)

In a tall pitcher, combine both wines and apple juice. Slice up the lemon and limes and add to pitcher, squeezing the juice of a few into the mixture. Add the tonic water, sugar and mint leaves. Let sit in fridge for at least an hour. Add frozen grapes a few minutes before serving.

We had to do a bit of taste and add with this, so modify the ingredients as you need. And don't forget a colorful, summery pitcher.

Gypsy Slow Down

Stuffed Mushrooms:

I tried making these using leeks this time instead of onions like I normally do, as an experiment. It gave the stuffed mushrooms a nice earthy taste but it took away a lot of the sweetness from the onion. I prefer it with onions I have decided, but the leeks are an interesting twist as well.

2 leeks, chopped and washed or 1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 carton baby bella mushrooms, whole
Olive oil for drizzling
1 clove garlic
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Wash the mushrooms and carve out center, setting the centers aside. Place mushroom caps on a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350 for about ten minutes, or until they start to release their juices. Meanwhile, saute onions or leeks in butter until they start to brown. Chop the mushroom centers finely and add to onions. Add garlic and saute until mushrooms become soft, about 7 minutes. Add wine and simmer for 5 minutes or until the wine is mostly cooked off. Add the cheese and salt and pepper to mixture and combine. Blot any water from the mushroom caps and fill with the mixture. Sprinkle the tops with cheese and bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Gypsy Slow Down

Gypsy Slow Down

The mushrooms, right before going into the oven.

Gypsy Slow Down

Witt gets into the Spanish mood, will he get up and salsa?

Gypsy Slow Down

Harvarti cheese with dill and smoked Gouda.  


Sitting on my pretend beach.

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