Monday, June 23, 2014


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I will admit, I have only had Sangria in Spain.  I sipped it on the beach in Cadaques, with my mom, on the Dali trip of a lifetime.  I was shocked when I spoke to the hostess, and she said it was made with Triple Sec.  In the US, the Triple Sec must have something different and funky, because I am deathly allergic to it.  One sip of a rogue margarita and I can feel my body temperature soar.

Cadaques, Spain
I have thought about making a home version of Sangria, and the opportunity presented itself this weekend.  It was the perfect answer to my summer drinking.  I have been cutting my wine with club soda with some refreshing results.  Zinfandel, Pinot Grigio, Chard they are all lovely with a little effervescence.  So I knew my Sangria would have to sparkle.

There are a jillion recipes out there, and lots of interesting additions and variations.   I  knew after reading Bobby Flay's  that I would add pomegranate juice. Many of the recipes I saw added sugar, simple syrup or lemon lime soda. I wasn't keen on that.  My hope is that the fruit will make it sweet enough.   And, the last site I went to suggested rose wine.  That, I was really loving.  I would direct you there, but there are too many pop up advertisements that lock you in for a set amount of time before you can peruse the site.  I object.  I am all about making money, but some of these sites are nothing but ads.  Anyway, I set about using my likes from these folks and making Sangria the SweetiePetittti way.  Here's how it went.

Sweetie Petitti Sangria

1 bottle Spanish Red Wine (I used Protocolo)
1 bottle rose (mine was Portuguese)
1 cup Brandy
1/3 cup Grand Marnier
1 cup pomegranate juice
3 oranges, washed well, and thinly sliced
3 limes,  washed well, and thinly sliced
2 lemons, washed well, and thinly sliced
bunch of grapes (I used red)
small can pineapple rings, drained
1 half liter bottle club soda

In a large vessel, pour in wine, liquors, and the sliced fruit.  I reserved a few slices for serving tomorrow.  Along with some grapes.  Refrigerate for a good 24 hours so everybody can introduce themselves.  I did a little muddling about 6 hours before serving.  Right before the party, I added a chilled bottle of club soda.  Now, there is really nothing sweet about this.  It is like a fruity red wine.  I love it.  I have been sipping on it for about 3 days now.  And even with the huge amounts of alcohol, it really doesn't send off the deep end!  I can see that there is plenty of room for whatever fruit may be in season, how dark you may prefer it, how bubbly and certainly, there is a lot of room for sweetness if that's what you prefer.
So, what are you waiting for?  Get in there and make Sangria!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Graduation Season Winds Down!

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A very gifted boy is heading to Duke...

It seems like all my friends are in the graduation age group right now.  The weddings are trickling in, but my group of friends has high school and college grads hitting the streets, and I have cookies to send them off properly!

A friends daughter heading to Bama.  When I gave her the platter I may have hidden a few Boomer Sooner and OU cookies in there.  I just can't seem to shake off that Sugar Bowl victory!

A young lady from my daughter's alma mater heading to Ole Miss...Hotty Toddy!

My dear friend's daughter following in her parents footsteps and heading to Villanova!  She is going to need snow boots!

A young girl who will study music at Elon.

A neighbor's daughter headed to Fayetteville.

A couple more grads heading to Chattanooga.  Whew!  Makes me want to go back to school myself!  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Beer Can Chicken....Yes Please!

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Anyone who knows me, knows I cook pretty much every day. The thing is I forget to blog about the savory stuff, mainly because it usually isn't very pretty, tasty, but not always pretty. After a long day last week, I was really in the mood for a flavorful dinner. There is nothing that will rock the gastronomy world here, but it is a testament that good food is sometimes the simplest to prepare.

It started with a lovely organic chicken. I gave him a quick bath, tied his wings together and seasoned him well with some blend from Penzey's. I basically grabbed a few different jars from the pantry and shook them in my hand and slathered them on the bird. No oil, butter or extra fat here. I opened a cold one and took a nice long sip...the first sip is always the best! You can use any kind of beer. My husband worked for Coors in college as a campus rep, so you usually find that in the fridge around here. Stick the opened can where the sun does not shine and balance him on the hot grill. I heat the grill on high and keep it in the med range while cooking. I stick some onion in the neck cavity and lightly cover the top with foil so the steam from the beer is sort of caught. You can see what he looks like about a half hour into it, and note the grill needs to be smoking pretty good. You can see by the lead picture what he looks like in an hour. How perfect is that? Need I try and tell you how delicious it was?  And simple (the only dirty dish was the serving platter!)  I have a brand new Big Green Egg, and can hardly wait to load it with a few chickens and try it out!

So while the bird was smoking away on the grill, I boiled up some wheat berries. I buy them at Whole Foods, and discovered them making an amazing salad I found in a Martha Stewart magazine years ago.  That is another blog. But I love these little wheat nuggets, they are delicious and have a chew to them. So I bring them to a boil and then simmer for about 40 minutes. Check for doneness, but I like them a little al dente.
I chopped up some pepper, tomato and scallions and made a mustard vinaigrette and tossed them with the wheat berries. Delicious. I have been eating it for days, and just sprinkle a little more dressing on when I serve it.
6 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 c white wine vinegar
4 tea dijon mustard
1 ½ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
1 T sugar
½ t. celery seed
1 cup olive oil

And finally, I really was in the mood for something sweet. We love frozen yogurt, but the craze here is serve yourself. Don't even get me started on this. I was reprimanded on another blog for complaining about these stores, and was accused of not supporting local businesses. Nothing could be further from the truth. I do not eat public food. Period. Those bins of topping and the hoards of kids are a major turnoff to me. And then you pay, holy moly, they charge .40-.50 cents an ounce. It adds up in a hurry. I am happy to pay more for a superior product (it isn't), great service (I have to do it all myself) or even a great atmosphere (um, nope). So I made my own frozen yogurt. I took 2 cartons (16 oz. each) of Oikos 0% fat, plain Greek Yogurt. I mixed in a tablespoon of vanilla paste and ¾ cup of sugar. I ran it in my Krups ice cream maker for 20 minutes and had a creamy, tangy frozen yogurt.

This is not like TCBY, this is like Pinkberry. I love the tang, but it is not for everyone. I have plans to try other flavors. But what a delicious dinner, and easy. So what are you waiting for? Get in there and cook!