Passover Sangria

If you are going to drink 4 cups of wine, let it be this! Passover wine, be it Manischewitz or Mogen David, is already sweet, and macerating fruit in it seems like a natural choice. This goes down easy, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. Enjoy! And Happy Passover!

Passover Sangria

Serves 1…um, I mean 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Passover wine (I used Blackberry Mogen David)
  • 2 tablespoon triple sec, or other orange flavored liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • ¼ of an orange, sliced
  • ¼ of an apple, sliced
  • 5 grapes, halved
  • ¼ cup lemon-lime soda, sparkling wine, or sparkling water, for topping
  • Ice

Directions:

  1. Put the wine, triple sec, brandy, and fruit in a small pitcher and let sit for one hour, and up to 24 hours.
  2. When ready to serve, pour over ice and top with sparkling beverage of your choice.

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For 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 750 ml bottle Passover wine
  • 3 cups fruit of your choice (apples, oranges, peaches, nectarines, grapes, plums, cherries), sliced or chopped
  • ¼ – ½ cup booze of your choice, or a mix (triple sec, vodka, brandy, rum)
  • 1 ½-2 cups lemon-lime soda, sparkling water or sparkling wine

Directions:

  1. Slice or chop fruit into small pieces and put into a large pitcher.
  2. Cover fruit with Passover wine and the booze of your choice.
  3. Let sit in fridge 1-24 hours.
  4. Immediately before serving, add sparkling beverage of your choice, and serve over ice.

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How I Hosted Thanksgiving Without Losing My Mind in 19 Steps

Cranberry Curd Tart from the New York Times Cooking Section

It’s over. But hindsight is 20/20. I’m posting this with the hopes that I can learn from a little self-reflection. More holidays right around the corner, after all.

Step One. Shop three times in three days and still forget 5 things. Buy half the amount of onions I meant to. Store is open on Thanksgiving, right? Oh, it’s not? Buy 4 pounds of cranberries instead of 2. They freeze, right?

Step Two. Make cranberry sauce. Put in fridge. Whew. My work is done and all of my labor and careful planning has already paid off.

Step Three. Have 2 kids make 2 pies, one from the back of the Libby’s pumpkin can, the other from the back of the Karo syrup bottle. I am officially not a snob and my kids are now very accomplished. Third kid is currently negotiating to help tomorrow instead of today. #studyingnotstudying

Step Four. Run down to basement with husband in tow. He’s there to carry assorted cooking gadgets–electric turkey roaster, bread machine, ice cream maker, instant pot, soup pot, tart pan, and serving platter–but he is also there because I shouldn’t have watched the first episode of The Haunting of Hill House and now I can never ever safely go to the basement alone again without thinking of “The Bent Neck Lady.” #shudder

Step Five. Make King Arthur Flour Cookbook recipe for stuffing bread. It calls for 13 ingredients and I planned on leaving out the sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and the bread dough enhancer. Realize that I am out of sage, cornmeal, potato starch. 7 out of 13 ingredients down. I momentarily wonder if it will taste as good? Is it even stuffing bread anymore??? Pause to have existential crisis. Decide to wing it and hope for the best since I refuse to buy a loaf of fancy bread to shred for stuffing. Spending pennies instead of dollars even if the stress costs me my health. 

Step Six. Spontaneously decide I will make the Cranberry Curd Tart from the New York Times Cooking website because I really am a snob. My supermarket doesn’t carry hazelnuts or rice flour. Improvise with almond flour from Costco leftover from Passover and some unbleached white flour, but decide to otherwise follow the directions meticulously.

Step Seven. Realize that I didn’t follow the directions at all and have made 2 substitutions and 1 big fat mistake. Proceed anyway. Doesn’t quite look like the picture, but I am sure it will taste good.

Step Eight. Open bottle of wine that was meant for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a white blend from Pop Crush and was on clearance at the grocery store for $5. The joke is on them because it’s so good they could have charged three times the price. It would be GREAT paired with food. Turkey especially. Oh. the joke’s on me. It’s gone and now I am too drunk to follow directions meticulously. I think I will call it a day.

Step Nine. Thanksgiving morning. Wake up and hit the ground running. Well, actually, sleep in, go to Jazzercise, do some online shopping, make some phone calls, and oh shoot, better start cooking. Set the table instead. See procrastination blog post

Step Ten. Cut stuffing bread into cubes and toast in oven. Saute leeks, celery, apples, thyme. Chop chestnuts and parsley. Stuffing looks picture perfect. Makes a lot but should have doubled this anyway–it’s everyone’s favorite! 

Step Eleven. Vaguely notice family as they lounge nearby while I wrestle 18 pound Trader Joe’s turkey out of wrapper and hoist into roaster. Watch family recoil in fear of salmonella. Husband stands on guard with bleach bottle in hand. Meanwhile, I dump random spices from the cabinet on top of the turkey, stuff a bunch of random things from the crisper to the cavity, drizzle with olive oil, and add onions and broth to the pan. Close lid. Pray. Should have had more of a plan, but turkey always tastes like turkey, no matter what fancy things I do to it. I stare into space and have flashbacks to Thanksgiving 2008 when I lovingly massaged the turkey with homemade herb butter and left the skin to crisp for 3 days in the fridge, all for nothing. It tasted good but just like every other turkey. Feeling better about my decision, or lack of decision.

Step Twelve. Ask husband and kids to help peel potatoes. Watch husband pretend sweet potatoes are manatees swimming off the coast in Florida and act out entire watery scenario. Wonder if he is losing his mind. Decide he is just very hungry and his blood sugar is low.

Step Thirteen. Sheesh, step thirteen?!?! What kind of crazy holiday is this? Thank god I only have to do this once a year. Pry sweet potato from husband’s hands for cooking. Does he look a little tearful? Did he just quietly say, “Goodnight sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest?” Make mashed potatoes. Bake stuffing. Chop kale for our favorite salad.

Step Fourteen. Turkey is done. Husband lifts cooked turkey out of roaster with wooden spoons. The wooden spoons snap. We don’t speak for a full minute as we stare thoughtfully at the turkey. What have we done in the past…think…complete amnesia sets in as we both stare off into the distance trying to conjure memories of Thanksgivings past. None of our 23 Thanksgivings together are coming to mind. Two pairs of metal tongs do the trick. It looks lovely on the platter tented with foil. It is picture perfect, but no one will get to see it because carving is imminent as my husband clutches the carving knife.

Step Fifteen. Make gravy. THIS IS THE MOST STRESSFUL PART. Pouring a giant vat of hot greasy liquid into 4 cup fat separator as wide-eyed starving children look on is a little unnerving. Separator does its magic. Kids don’t care about watching turkey being carved, but they appear mesmerized by the fat separating from the stock, the way one might stare at a lava lamp. I make a swimming pool’s worth of gravy. It is perfect and no seasoning is necessary.

Step Sixteen. Kids and husband carry food for 50 people into dining room set for 5. I’m in the bedroom frantically printing out Thanksgiving trivia and games as I just thought of it right now.

Step Seventeen. We eat. We play. It’s perfect. All of the stress and hard work was worth it.

Step Eighteen. Kids clear table. Kids do dishes. So many dishes. Kids do dishes on repeat for two days. Best kids ever. I am truly thankful all around.

Step Nineteen. We eat Thanksgiving dinner three times a day for three days. When it is gone, we are both relieved and sad.

Step Nineteen. Start planning for Chanukah. I think I’ll get a head start. I learned a lot from Thanksgiving this time. 🙂

 

 

Amazon Affiliate Links:

King Arthur Flour Cookbook

Instant Pot  Oster Turkey Roaster

Sangri-ahhh

Admit it, you are rolling your eyes at the title of this blog entry.  But that is because you haven’t tried this recipe.  Yet.

Sangria comes from the Spanish word sangre which means blood, perhaps referring to the glorious color and warming qualities of this refreshing drink.
I’ve heard it said that sangria is meant to be a warm weather drink (it originates in the temperate climate of Spain), but I beg to differ. It turns out that December 20th is National Sangria Day, right around the time I became obsessed. Coincidence?  I think not.
There is nothing more lovely to drink when the winter weather is bleak than luscious dark red wine infused with magenta stained fruit.
 You will find it a wonder that an inexpensive wine can be transformed by a few simple ingredients: Triple Sec, sugar, oranges and a lemon. Plus citrus is in season right now, which is the best way to eat, er, I mean drink.
Usually I am the type of light drinker who thinks a bottle of wine serves 6 people (see, no worries mom), but this recipe, which uses a whole bottle of wine, seems to be perfect for 4 to each have a glass (maybe even while catching up on episodes of True Blood–just sayin’). And I really enjoy wine but this goes down even easier with its sweet fruity flavor and robust taste.
You should make it in the morning–It takes a whole day of sitting to mellow and let the flavors blend, but it is worth waiting for.
You might find yourself opening the fridge mid-morning to grab some milk for your coffee and will wonder if you shouldn’t have a nice refreshing glass right then (you shouldn’t). Instead, it will make the whole day more bearable knowing what is waiting for you at the end. So plan ahead to raise a glass or two with a friend and enjoy.
The first thing you need to know is that you don’t need to buy anything fancy at the wine store. Spend under $10 for a fruity Merlot and you’ll know you have the right one. I used Trader Joe’s Coastal Merlot ($4.99) and was very pleased with the results. 

 Next, get a pitcher, preferably with a rounded bottom for easy stirring, and if you are going to double or triple the recipe get a very large pitcher or even a punch bowl to make this in.

 Last, you will be tempted to throw in other fruit, perhaps at someone else’s recommendation (like the checkout person at the supermarket), but try to refrain from altering perfection. Although at the end, feel free to add a splash of sparkling water if you want something fizzy and festive. 

Here is the recipe straight from America’s Test Kitchen which needs no embellishments from me:
 
Sangria 
2 large juice oranges, washed; one orange sliced and the other juiced within an inch of its life
1 large lemon, washed and sliced
¼ cup sugar, not level, just measure and give it a shake
¼ cup Triple Sec
1 (750-ml) bottle inexpensive, fruity, medium bodied wine, (see above recommendation) 
 
1.      Add sliced orange, lemon, and sugar to large pitcher; mash and stir gently for about 1 minute, using a wooden spoon until fruit releases some juice (but is not totally crushed) and sugar dissolves. 
 
 
2.      Stir in orange juice, triple sec, and wine; refrigerate for at least 2 hours (but  seriously try to wait longer) and up to 8 hours (for perfection).
 
 
 
3.      Before serving, add 6 to 8 iced cubes and stir briskly to redistribute settled fruit and pulp; serve immediately.
Sangri-ahhh!!!