Archive for May, 2010

Sweet (Sweet) Sangria

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

It’s sweet. In case the title didn’t give it away. I like my Sangria sweet. You might not. I’ll give you a couple adaptations along the way in the event that you prefer it not as sweet, but then it’s no longer this recipe so I can’t promise it will be as good. Or sweet. Did I mention sweet?

Shut up and get to the booze, lady, I bet you’re saying.

What to Gather: Red wine (mine is Zinfandel, you can use whatever red you have in the house. I had this kind.), Frozen Orange Juice and Lemonade concentrate (my cans got all frosty and ugly while I was getting ready to take the picture, so I put them in that little bowl to save myself the embarrassment), Gingerale, Apricot Brandy, Grand Marnier, A Crap Load of Fruit.

Now we put it all together. This isn’t as complicated as it seems. Or as complicated as I’d always imagined it.

Start by dumping all your liquids into a glass pitcher (or bowl, but that makes it hard to pour into glasses later). You can use orange juice instead of the concentrate if you want a little less sweetness and orange KERPOW to it. In fact, depending on the type of wine, sometimes the OJ concentrate IS a bit much. Also, if you let the concentrate thaw first (or use orange juice instead), it’s easier to stir later. Continue on adding the brandy (you can use regular brandy also) and Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec to save a buck. Notice my expensive Grand Marnier alongside my grocery store brandy.), and the wine. The whole thing, just go for it.

Now start to slicing up your fruit. You can use whatever fruits you want/have/like/saw/found. I used orange, lemon, lime, cherries and a sour apple. Just slice em up and dump em in. I did cut my apple slices in half because they seemed disproportionate to the other slices, but eh whatever. Do whatchoo want.

Andddd, dump it in there. Refrigerate this overnight, or at least for several hours to allow the flavors to permeate. Or whatever happens in the dark of the refrigerator. Some fruity hanky panky, or whatever.

Oh look, through the magic of these series of tubes we call the internet, it’s the next day!

All that’s left to do now is add the fizzy stuff. I use ginger ale, because I like it sweet. Also, I’m from Michigan, and Vernors is the state beverage or something. They put you to death if you use any other ginger ale, I think. Lucky for me they carry Vernors here on planet Ohio, or I’d be in big trouble. Maybe even extradited.

You COULD add a splash of it to each glass. OR, you could just dump the whole thing in the pitcher and commit to finishing the whole thing with rapidity. Guess which one I do.

Mmm ya.

Pour some yummy Sangria into a glass, fish out some fruit to float around in it so you feel fancy and fruity and stuff, and enjoy!

Sweet Sangria

1 (750ml) bottle dry red wine
1/2 cup Apricot Brandy
1/2 cup Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec)
1/4 cup orange juice (or frozen concentrate)
1/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
1 lemon; sliced
1 lime; sliced
1 orange; sliced
1 granny smith apple; halved and sliced
maraschino cherries
16oz bottle ginger ale

In a pitcher or bowl, combine red wine, liquors and juices. Add sliced fruit and stir to combine. Refrigerate over night or for several hours. Immediately before serving, add ginger ale.

KISS: Baked Apples

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

You won’t believe this, y’all.

This is so ridiculously easy, I’m almost embarrassed to post it.

But, what the heck. I hope you’ll still respect me in the morning.

The funniest part of this? I STILL managed to forget one of the ingredients in the ingredient shot. My brain, its like a sieve. Get the cooking pun there? Har!

What to gather: apples, cinnamon, sugar, BUTTER

First, we take a bit off the bottom of the apples, so they’ll sit flat on the plate. The flatter they are, the better they’ll hold the goop in the middle. It’ll leak out no matter how flat, but still, flatter = better. In abs and in apples. Don’t feel compelled to make 3, I just was making these at a time when my 2 teenagers were due home, so I made one for each of us. Make 1, make 20, feel empowered.

Now remove the cores. I have this “handy” little device for that. Not once in my entire life have I ever gotten it to go straight through and get the core out right the first time. So, I end up shoving it back in there 2 or 20 more times until I am sure I have the entire core out. Hopefully you’re better at this than me. I have accepted my limitations, and I eat baked apples with giant caverns in the middle. I’m ok with it.

Once you get them all flattened/cored/caverned/, make your cinnamon sugar. Unless you already have the premixed cinnamon sugar, then you get to skip this step. I, however am cheap, and the price of the premixed cinnamon offends my delicate sensibilities. Plus, I like my Penzey’s cinnamon. Dump some cinnamon into your sugar all willy nilly and stir.

Add more cinnamon until it looks like cinnamon sugar. This is very exact as you can see. This time, I got it right the first time. That’s why I get paid the big bucks (ie: $0) to run this site.

Now, game on. Fill the hole in each apple with cinnamon. Don’t worry if it gets everywhere, it’s all going to end up there eventually anyway. Don’t be shy, really fill it up.

And top with a couple pats of butter. Mmm butter.

That’s pretty much it, right there. Now, we put them in the microwave. I start with 3 minutes. At the end of 3 minutes, mine looked like this:

I take this opportunity to scoop up the yummy cinnamon goodness and pour it back in and over the apples. Back in for another 3 minutes; repeat. You’ll know when they are nearing completion when they start to cave in a bit.

At that point, you’ll want to take it a minute at a time until you can stick a fork in and know that they are tender. (You kinda have to stick the fork in the middle, because the peel isn’t going to be tender, only the inside fleshy part. Mine took about 8 minutes, but they were small. The total time for yours will depend on the size of the apples, the power of the microwave, and what day of the week your birthday falls on this year. Or maybe not that last part.

Once again, I have no idea where that ice cream came from. That keeps happening here. It’s a mystery.

Baked Apples
for the microwave!

cinnamon sugar

Remove a small slice from the bottom of each apple to flatten. Core apples. Place on microwave-safe plate and fill with cinnamon sugar. Top each with 2 small pats of butter. Microwave for 3 minutes; scoop sauce back over top of apples. Microwave 3 minutes more and check for tenderness on inside. Check after each additional minute until done to your liking. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Beer Roast

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I feel a bit slackery with all these “easy” recipes but… well I am. This isn’t your mom’s fancy food blog. I’m just keepin’ it real over here. As much as I appreciate a fancy meal, with 5 kids and a dog and all my hobbies and oh look there’s the internet, it just doesn’t happen much around here. Just saying.

Anyway, here’s one of my old standbys. It’s quite possible I make this just so I can have the gravy, but I’d never admit that. Try not to get overwhelmed at the sheer number of ingredients, I know it’s a lot to take in at once.

Also, I cooked and photographed this meal over 2 months ago and am just now getting to the typing part. Good thing this is the internet, because it hasn’t spoiled while we waited!

What to gather: 2-3lb chuck roast (or could be labeled as pot roast), 1 bay leaf, 2-3 (or 4 or 5) cloves of garlic, 1 bottle of beer, olive oil. If you are taking a picture, try to take it as cockeyed as possible so you can be like me.

I know. Very complicated and diverse shopping list.

Lets begin. Hopefully you slept well last night, because this prep is going to take literally minutes. You might need a nap after we’re done, so clear your calendar.

Chop up some garlic. Or mince. Or slice. Or smash like the Hulk. Who cares, just make it smaller.

Now, heat up your cooking vessel with some olive oil and brown the roast on all sides. Even the side sides. Err. All sides.

See, all of them. I mean it!

Dump some beer in there. 1 bottle is a good start. Don’t drink it. Luckily they come in 6 packs, so if you really WANT to drink one, you can. It’s ok to drink whatever alcohol you’re cooking with while you cook, I think I read that somewhere.

Now toss in a bayleaf. Except, it would be better if it were in the beer and not just sitting on the top of the roast all beached and sad. Don’t be like me.

Simmer all of this on low. After one hour, presumably at the end of your post-prep nap, turn the roast over.

Let it go for 2 more hours. You can add more beer if needed, provided you didn’t drink the other 5 bottles already. I’m sure you haven’t, you’re not like that. At the end of the 3 total hours, you should have this:

Now we can make some gravy, if you’re so moved. I normally can’t be bothered, but the gravy from this beer/beef/happiness combo is just too good for me to pass up. I gotta have it. So, pour what is left in the pan aside from the roast, which you’ve removed, and the bay leaf, which you do not want to eat. Not tasty.

You will notice that the fat will conveniently float to the top for easy removal. You can use a turkey baster if a) you feel like cleaning it after and b) your boys haven’t stolen it for some science experiment that you really really don’t want to know about. I don’t ever find myself experiencing a) and b) seems to happen to me far more often than I care to think about, so I use a spoon. I’m very high tech.

Now pour a small amount of the drippings back into the pan. And add some flour. Roughly the same amount as the drippings, but no one is counting here.

Now we are making roux. Do you feel french and fancy? Me either. Whisk this together until it combines and cooks and thickens and whatever else it wants to do. The Roux is the boss of you. Poetry, my friends.

Once that is all worked out, we slowly add the rest of the drippings while whisking. If you whisked your roux right like I said, you will have no lumps. I really mean it! This is the same basic way I make my Thanksgiving gravy and it comes out perfect every time! Just keep adding and whisking until it’s the consistency you desire. Once it boils, it’s reached it’s thickening power, so you can add if it’s too thick, and repeat.

At this point you’ll want to taste it and see if it needs salt and pepper, but I doubt it will. Definitely not salt, it should be plenty salty.

Hopefully you experience what I did: the magical appearance of mashed potatoes.


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