Monday, July 28, 2008

Sangria, Sangria

Tonight Jen and I are recovering from a late night as well as a long week last week. We are enjoying the leftovers from the meal we had last night with our dinner guests, Caolan, Paul, Joe, and Ryan. We are also watching the last stage of the Tour de France which is always the saddest day as we realize we need to wait 49 more weeks until we can start watching it again.

The following is what we had for dinner last night:

In an effort to continue cleaning out our pantry, fridge, etc,. we decided to make sangria.

The last time I made sangria it came out fabulously! This time was a little less impressive. The inspiration for this sangria came in the form of a $3.99 bottle of Gato Negro (one of the world's finest wines) that I picked up at Cabrini Wines the other day. Sangria is also a way to get rid of some other items we had in excess. It helped me to use up some of my Metaxa which I've had in my bar since 1998. It also used up the remaining Cointreau (which has also lived with me longer than Jen has). I also threw in a bottle of Pepperwood Syrah for good measure.

I used all this along with an apple, 3/4 of a navel orange and 1/2 a lemon. We poured it into glasses and topped with some sparkling water. It probably could have benefited from slightly better wine, much better brandy, and some sweetener in the form of either sugar or agave nectar.

This sangria would have been fantastic if it had been everyone's third or fourth drink of the evening.

The snack course was sort of a cop out in that it used up some crostini crackers and mini toasts we had in our pantry along with some corn chips and some less than impressive cheeses that were purchased last minute from the world's worst supermarket. We also had some hummus from a brand I'd never had before. While it was a bit strong on the cumin it was pretty good.

For the salad we tossed thinly sliced cucumbers and I originally had the intention of layering them like shingles alternating tomato and cucumber slices. After about 45 seconds of that I decided to go for a more "rustic" look of just dumping them in a giant pile. They were marinated in a little lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper. We topped the salad with a little crumbled feta cheese and served it on a bed of mixed greens from Satur Farms, a local farm on Long Island. We haven't had nearly enough greens from the farm share to last the week lately, so we've been supplementing with local greens wherever possible. I must say that the difference between Satur Farms and the "Big Organic" Earthbound Farms is very noticeable, probably because the Earthbound Farms lettuce is coming from several thousand miles away.

The main course for the meal was bison burgers -- burgers because we wanted to make coleslaw with our farm share cabbage and burgers are the perfect accompaniment, bison because we wanted to try something different. Bison is very lean so the flavor was much different than beef. I seasoned them very minimally to really capture the taste of the bison. Jen prefers her burgers a little more seasoned, what I like to call "Canadian style" with Worchestershire sauce, onions, etc.

Jen made the coleslaw. She used the farm share cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, a little balsamic mustard, red wine vinegar, some lemon, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Like most slaws, it was even better tonight after marinating for a full 24 hours.

Jen also made the potato salad with onion, celery, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, hot sauce, Old Bay seasoning and celery salt.

Then "we" knocked over our pitcher full of sangria mix into the recycling bin and shattered it. Most of the mix stayed perfectly inside the pitcher, even though it fell off the counter. We debated it for a while and decided not to serve the remaining sangria (now filled with shards of broken glass) to our guests. I think it was the right decision.

For dessert we had a little dish that I like to call "Cherries Taylor". It's my take on the classic dessert that killed our after the dessert that killed our twelfth president, Zachary Taylor.

And that does it! Tonight we had a pretty unsatisfying dinner of many leftovers (Jen's least favorite kind of meal) but it's our rest day in preparation for another week of farm sharey goodness. I keep hoping we'll get something extremely unseasonal and not native to this region like coconuts or papaya. It seems unlikely but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

This is Jen -- overall, the salads I made were fine. Nate is right in that the coleslaw is more delicious today: yesterday, it tasted a wee bit too lemony. The potato salad was good, but it ended up getting too smooshy in texture. I think I would have used red potato, more mustard, and more onion/celery. The hot sauce is a genius addition, however.

And yes, I broke the pitcher. It is a tradition in our home that I break glasses and pitchers (I broke the last pitcher we had), and Nate breaks plates and ramekins. However, I dropped every single other piece of cutlery yesterday as well. Part of the fault is that our new placesettings are oddly balanced and heavy, and when I rest them on a plate they fall. The other part of the fault is that I overpartook of the sangria.

But tomorrow is another day, and we get more share goodies! So that's quite exciting.


Lisa Marie said...

Gato Negro is by far the greatest wine ever. At first I bought it simply because I have 2 gatos negro of my own at home but then I realized that it is both delicious and always 4 for $12 at Meijer.

caolan said...

I thought everything was delicious! I didn't try the bison burgers (instead I got delicious stuffed cabbage) but I had all the salads and I thought the potato salad was not mushy in the least! It was very, very enjoyable, as was the Zachary-Taylor-killing cherry dish.

AND it's crazy that all Canadians like to put Worcestershire sauce on their burgers. If I came over to Jen's family's house for dinner, would someone have to run out to the store to buy me ketchup, and then would it live in the Ernst refrigerator for years and be called "Caolan Memorial Ketchup"? Because that's what happens in other Canadian families I know.