Monday, June 11, 2012

Lazy Hazy Days of Summer AND Spicy Sangria!

Did you know that in Spanish the word sangría means bleeding?  Well, this version of sangria is hearty red. And, since it's summertime I was thinking of this as the perfect cocktail to drink to enjoy outside. Summer time heat and sangria go so well together. Not just a regular sangria, but a spicy grilled fruit sangria full of the Foodgasmic "wow" factor. And it has a dash or two of my favorite hot sauce, Cholula

You can use whatever seasonal and/or local fruits that you enjoy.This is perfect to add to your summertime cookouts or just to slip with sitting outside watching the sun go down with your sweetie. It can be a Foodgasmic moment with your friends, a romantic one with your honey or enjoy a pleasurable adult beverage to slip alone. Cheers!

Spicy Grilled Fruit Sangria

750ml bottle of a spicy red wine (Syrah, Shiraz, Tempranillo)
4oz orange liqueur
4oz brandy (plus additional for fruit to soak in)
4oz-5oz. spiced simple syrup (recipe below)
2 cups grilled chopped fruit (see below) macerated in additional brandy and/or liqueur
2-4 dashes of hot sauce ( I prefer Cholula hot sauce)
ice

In large pitcher, pour in the wine, orange liquor, brandy, and spiced simple syrup. Add in the grilled fruit, a few dashes of the hot sauce and refrigerate till cold. To serve, pour sangria over ice in wine glasses and enjoy!

Fruit for grilling
(These are just suggestions, feel free to enjoy any local and/or seasonal fruits that you like)
Lemons, oranges
Mango
Plum
Pear
Apple

Cut your choice of fruit into slices. Put into oiled grill or greased grill pan. Grill the fruit till it has nice grill marks. Take off of grill and chop into bite sized pieces. Put fruit into bowl with some additional brandy. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight in the refrigerator. This will let the fruit soak up the brandy.

Spiced Simple Syrup
1 stick cinnamon
2 full pieces star anise
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
½ tsp. chopped crystallized ginger
½ c honey
½ c water

Put all the ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Strain, then use as desired.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Spinach Salad with Something Special

There is always time for a delicious and fun salad. But before you can start with the salad, you need an amazing dressing. Here is a fun fruity one that I love to use for spinach salads. It’s a Balsamic Fig Dressing that uses fig jam and balsamic vinegar. I love the sweet savory taste in this dressing and since you make it in a food processor it emulsifies and gets nice and creamy.

My favorite salad to serve this on is: baby spinach salad with pieces of fresh mango, toasted pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese. It’s a perfect spring and summer salad great for any occasion. It’s even fantastic to eat alone. Because you know, even though Foodgasms are best shared with others, they are just as tasty when dining alone.

The ingredients
Balsamic Fig Dressing

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fig jam
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • ½ teaspoon honey or agave syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoon minced shallots
  • salt/pepper to taste

Put all of the ingredients into a small food processor or blender and pulse till it's well combined.
Toss with or drizzle over salad.