Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Weekend BBQ -- and Kick-Ass Sangria

Had a great BBQ on Saturday with the gang.  Started out with hummus and chips, steamed artichokes with aioli (dang, they were VERY good!), olives and peppadews, and softened goat cheese with zatar on crackers.

Pasta with asparagus -- a spring favorite, even if it did feel like August outside.

Grilled skirt steak, grilled chicken thighs, with chimichurri to go alongside.  (Chimichurri is an Argentine condiment -- think parsley pesto -- parsley, garlic, olive oil, a bit of hot chili, and a squirt of vinegar, too, but no nuts or cheese as the Italians do with basil pesto.)

Potato salad, veggie slaw, baked beans, and deviled eggs as side dishes.

Desserts were banana pudding, pound cake with blueberry-cherry sauce and whipped cream, ice cream, coffee.

I made a kick-ass sangria, too.  Good sangria goes down like soda pop, but packs a wallop.  A tall glass over ice is the perfect outdoor drink.  The trick to great sangria is to make it sweet, and to make it potent.  Wine + fruit isn't sufficient, so you need to add a few things to bolster it.  See recipe below. 

Then of course there's always iced tea and mint iced tea.

 Patio all set up for the BBQ.  With the tree gone, it's a bit sunnier than we liked.

 Dewey and Munro.  

Carmen and your host.

Kick-Ass Sangria

1.5-L bottle of cheap red wine (use that bottle you got for Christmas last year that you'll otherwise never drink)
12-oz can of frozen concentrated apple juice
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup liquor -- I do 50/50 Grand Marnier and brandy (You can also use Cointreau, triple sec, or similar potent, fruit-flavored liquor.)
Assorted sweet fruits, cut up -- sweet oranges, apples, pears, dark sweet cherries or maraschino cherries, ripe peaches or nectarines.  (Don't use lemons or limes -- they're too sour for this.)

Pour the wine into a 1-gallon jug.  Add concentrated apple juice, orange juice, and liquor.  Add cut-up fruit.  Let it sit and macerate and hour or so.  Serve over ice.

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