BERRY WEEK: Berry Sangria

Hello internet friends,

Berry Week Logo

As you might have already guessed, my favorite group of bloggers has teamed up again to bring you Berry Week!  I love doing these theme weeks because it spurs on my creativity in using ingredients for something new.  This week I decided to make berry sangria!

I’ve posted several berry recipes in the past, but this “recipe” is one of the easiest and by far the booziest.  I put recipe in quotes because it’s mostly dumping ingredients into a pitcher.  Ain’t nobody got time for a more complicated cocktail recipe. The most complicated recipe we used in college was “D the B”, in other words, drink the booze.

Sangria prep

I had the best time acting as a mixologist for berry sangria because each variation needed its own glass taste test. *hiccup*  In the extensive taste testing, I discovered Triple Sec is the secret ingredient and cannot be omitted.  Also, there are many different schools of thought on sangria, but my own personal beliefs are that wine should never be diluted with soda. Ever.  Amen.

You will need:

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 bottles chilled white wine, preferably Riesling (I used Firestone)
  • 1/2 cup Triple Sec
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Thoroughly wash all berries.  Slice orange and lemon into rings.

In a large pitcher (or a small pitcher + awkward Tupperware container like me) stir together wine, Triple Sec, and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Toss in the fruit and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  The long chill time allows all of the booze to soak into the berries.

Berry sangria

The great thing about this recipe is that you can easily halve it if your party is small.  The OTHER great thing about this recipe is that it tastes delicious.  The other OTHER great thing about this recipe is that you get to eat a ton of booze berries at the bottom of your glass.

What’s your favorite use of summer berries?

-Mads

P.s. Check out all of tasty ways you can use summer berries with these fantastic recipes:

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Strawberry Crepe Au Lait

Hello, and welcome to CREPE WEEK!

This week is brought to you by the internet and the lovely people at America’s Test Kitchen.  If you aren’t obsessed with their tv show and online recipe gallery (like Jonathan), then maybe you have heard of them from something called Cook’s Illustrated.  Basically, these food geniuses test recipes until they are perfect, so you don’t have to.

And sometimes the host dresses up as a giant broccoli, but that is an entirely different matter.

We’re pairing up with them by using their basic crepe recipe and offering our own special twists.  If this recipe interests you, I highly recommend checking out the ATK cookbook GIVEAWAYS listed at the bottom of this post.

Hopefully you continue reading, and don’t simply skip to the end now.  Shoot, I shouldn’t have mentioned the GIVEAWAYS so early.

ATK’s Crepe Ingredients. Yes, that cow gives us milk. Yes, that is the biggest lemon in the world. Yes, those eggs are sweating. Don’t ask me what’s going on in this picture.

The ATK recipe was easy as pie.  Easy as crepe?  It was easy.

The consistency is thinner than pancake batter. Don’t be frightened by this.  

Seriously though, the crepes were as easy as pancakes.

I’ll stop now.

First crepe down! I like em a little on the brown side. I’m not sure Chris Kimball would approve of my improvisation.

I can’t think of anything better than strawberries and cream during the summer, so I knew my crepe recipe had to include both.

To start, I made a warm strawberry sauce to smother over the top of the crepes.  I put 1 Tbsp cornstarch, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice (or water), and 1 pint strawberries over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.  Once the berries released all of their juices and the sauce started to thicken, I strained the sauce into a separate container and set aside.

(Caution: Do not make more than 1 berry sauce in a day.  Your kitchen will die of dirty dish overload and your brain will explode.)

Then, I whipped 1 cup mascarpone, 1 cup heavy cream, zest of 1/2 lemon, and 1/4 cup sugar together to make a cream filling.

zee lemon zest! I felt this picture was particularly artistic. haha

Then it was all a matter of assembly.  I smeared some whipped filling on half of the crepe and added a little extra lemon zest.

Can you tell that it turned overcast outside?  Hopefully that lemon zest made it bright enough for you!

Then I folded up the crepes into adorable edible napkin shapes.  I’m surprised none of my blog friends made swan-shaped crepes, but I digress.

After the napkin-folding ceremony, I simply topped the crepes with some fresh berries and drizzled some strawberry sauce over the top.

 

These were easy, but it is not a weekday breakfast.  I dirtied every dish in my kitchen and Josie the pug had to eat a lot of strawberries off the floor.  That being said, I wish every weekend was filled to the brim with strawberry crepes au lait, because they were delicious!

Have you ever made crepes?  What is the best crepe you have tasted?

-Mads

 

Check out these other fabulous crepes (links marked with an * also have GIVEAWAYS!!!):

Comfortably Domestic-Tuscan Crepes*

Country Cleaver-Grand Manier Berry Crepes*

Tenaciously Yours-Southwestern Crepes with Cilantro Pesto

Inside NanaBread’s Head-Lemon Cream Crepe Cakes for Two

Climbing Grier Mountain-Pork Belly and Wild Mushroom Crepes*

Munching in the Mitten-Blueberry Ginger Crepes a la mode

Bakeaholic Mama-The Vermonter Crepe*

The Hill Country Cook-Blackberry Orange Crepes*

The GromMom-Prosciutto Asparagus Crepes with Mango Cream

Decadent Philistines Save the World-Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese

From My Sweet Heart-Red Velvet Crepes with Sweet Mascarpone Cream

What to do with those overripe bananas?

Folks, there is no fruit I love more than the delectable banana.  I honestly can’t understand how my brother or The Pioneer Woman despise them.

The only fruit that comes close to its glory is the pineapple.  However, the acidity of the pineapple cuts up the inside of my mouth, so I’m limited to a slice or two at a time.  How sad.

But this post isn’t about my sad pineapple woes, it’s about bananas.

For the longest time, I thought banana bread was the only option for those overripe bananas.

Then I discovered the joy and wonderment of bananas foster oats for breakfast.

I also frequently make banana smoothies for breakfast…

…so a chocolate banana milkshake for dessert was not far from my mind.

1 banana, 2 scoops vanilla ice cream, 2 splashes milk, 2 squirts chocolate syrup, and blend

Still, I felt limited by my overripe bananas, so I consulted with The Internet (aka tweets from @HeyNanaBread).  She suggested banana boats in the oven.  Now I’ve done banana boats over the campfire, but I would have never thought to recreate it in my kitchen!

Simply take a banana (peel intact) and slice it in half lengthwise.  Stuff it with chocolate, marshmallows, and graham cracker crumbs.  Then wrap it in tinfoil and pop it in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.

What do you do with your overripe bananas?

-Mads

This week’s CSA box

I love waking up on Friday mornings to the shrill buzz of our apartment door.  Not because I love flying out of bed at 6am because I think there is a fire, but because it means the CSA box has arrived.

It’s Christmas every two weeks.

The arrival of the CSA box also means that I need to get my thinking cap on.  I love fruits and vegetables, but Jonathan and I noshing through a plain head of lettuce every week just isn’t happening.

This week’s box is looking a little green:

Today’s lesson in cropping: it’s ok to zoom in on something that makes you chuckle:

tomato butt

The bounty:

3 plums
1 head of lettuce
2 zucchini
2 green bell peppers
2 tomatoes
1 bunch green beans
1 muskmelon (aka funny cantaloupe)
1 bunch green grapes
 

I pay $25 to get this.  It’s all organic and local and sustainable.  It’s more than the grocery stores, but I stand by my decision to buy this every other week.

My “filler” items that I get at Trader Joe’s in between CSA weeks are: onions, bananas, berries, avocados, and pre-made salads.  Those are things we (we meaning me) eat on a daily basis.  Jonathan eats them if I sneak them in.

So, back to my thinking cap…  I might have used up my creative juices on the last bounty.  This green box has me stumped.

Do you have any recipe ideas for these bad larrys?

What are your repeat offenders for fruits and veggies?

-Mads

What I made with my CSA produce

I recently received my first CSA box.  Fruits and veggies everywhere!

Jonathan claims he doesn’t like fruit, but he really just wants someone to do the grunt work for him.  The second I sliced up the pineapple and cantaloupe, he had eaten almost the entire bowl of fruit!  True story.

I knew we would be eating a lot of salad and raw fruits, but I wanted to spice things up a bit with my remaining vegetables.

What to do with avocados and tomatoes?  Guacamole!

What to do with sweet gypsy peppers?  Roast ’em!

What to do with strawberries and oranges?  Smoothies!

Goodmorning world!

What to do with potatoes?  Mash ’em!

 

I absolutely can’t wait for next week’s box of goodies, and I know Jonathan can’t wait for more fruit!

What’s your favorite veggie or fruit dish? 

-Mads

MY VEGGIES ARE HERE!!!!

I’m not sure if I told you peeps about the CSA box I decided to order or not.  I could check my old blog posts, but that would be waaaay too much effort.

So, here’s the deal, I decided to order a CSA box!  CSA is Community Supported Agriculture…basically you sign up to receive a box (you can pick the size) of various produce items (you can pick your favorites) to be delivered to you on a regular basis (you pick how often).

SQUEEE!!!!!

Jonathan and I decided on a mix of fruits & veggies to come once every 2 weeks.  We told the service about our dislike for beets, mushrooms, and lima beans, and they don’t ever add those icky things to our box.  The items that they add are whatever happens to be in season from local farms.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to see vegetables in my life!

Our first box contained:

3 oranges
1 cantaloupe
1 small box strawberries
2 avocados 
5 tomatoes
5 sweet gypsy peppers (excited to try these!)
6 carrots 
10 baby gold potatoes
1 head of romaine
 

Before you get too excited, it does cost a bit more than grocery store produce.  We paid $25 for these local organic fresh goodies to be delivered.  Worth. It.  Especially for us city folk.

Check out Yelp! to find one in your area.

Do you have a CSA box?  How do you squeeze fruits and vegetables into your meals?

-Mads

Mango-steen

Hello team awesome!

One thing that’s awesome about dating an Asian person is the ever-expanding food adventures I get to go on.  Not only do I get to try new ethnic cuisines and homemade Chinese dinners, but they regularly eat foods I’ve never even heard of! 
This weekend I was able to get my grubby little paws on the “queen of fruits”, the mangosteen.

You can open it with a knife, but you can also be awesome and squash it between your two palms. 

The inside is a sweet white fruit, similar to kiwi or dragonfruit.  I really enjoyed it.  You can easily eat 4 or 5 of them in one sitting, which can be a bit pricey. 

-M