Monday, August 2, 2010

Warm Beet Salad, Ceasar Salad & Sangrias

I have made sangrias before but can't seem to find my own post on it so I'll share it again! You can adapt this recipe to use any fruits you have in the fridge but here's what I used:

1 bottle red wine
splash of cointreau
approx. 1tbsp sugar
lime slices
lemon juice
1 bottle tonic water

Combine everything except the tonic water and let sit in the fridge as long as you can. Mine was only in there for a few hours but I know some recipes recommend overnight. When you're ready to serve, fill your glass half full of the sangria mixture and top off with tonic water.
 I know last time I made this I used gingerale instead of tonic but I preferred the tonic as it wasn't so sweet. The good thing about this recipe is you can use the cheapest red wine you can find and it will still taste fabulous. All the colors and fruits just remind me of summer. I have also made a white wine sangria before, in just the same way, but prefer the taste of red better.

We BBQ'd some Freybe Sausages for dinner last night - turkey chicken with tequila and habanero peppers! They had a nice heat to them and the best part was the reading this off their website:

"Prepared in our spotless, state-of-the-art facility, our expert meisters draw on six generations of knowledge, craftsmanship and care; using only the finest ingredients to create award-winning deli meats of the highest quality for your family. Gluten and lactose free (except for British Bangers, Cheese Smokies, and Parmesano Salami), Freybe products are healthy choices with no artificial flavors."
To go with the sausages, I wanted to use some of the veggies from our garden. We have some beautiful heads of romaine so I started searching for a gluten free Caesar salad recipe. I ended up using one from a Jean Pare book and simply left out the Worcestershire sauce. I halved the recipe for the 2 of us:

Ceasar Salad Dressing
1/2cup grated Parmesan cheese
1.5tbsp oil oil
1.5tbsp sour cream
0.5tbsp white (or red) wine vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
0.5tsp lemon juice
0.5tsp Worcestershire sauce (omit if you're eating gluten free)
garlic salt

Combine all ingredients and let chill for 10 minutes to blend flavors. At this point, if it wasn't approx 30 degrees Celsius in your kitchen, I'm sure you could fry up some bacon or make some croutons for a real Caesar salad. If you find yourself melting from the heat however, just serve it as is and it will still taste great!
Our beets are  doing better this year than ever before! I made another original recipe after reading a bunch online and never having ALL the right ingredients. Here's what I came up with:

Beet & Beet Green Salad with a Walnut Vinegrette and Feta
4 medium sized beets & greens
walnut oil (this was purchased at the Italian Market for $7.99 and is 100% walnuts!)
balsamic vinegar
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

walnut pieces
feta cheese

Make a dressing using equal parts walnut oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and put to the side.

Cut the greens off your beets and set aside. Cut each beet in half lengthwise and set in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. Fill the dish with water so it's just covering the beets and cover with aluminum foil (or a lid). Cook in the oven for about 30-40 minutes at 400F, convection. Once you can easily poke with a knife, they're done. Splash them with cold water and now you can EASILY remove the skin! *Using this method of cooking and peeling produced the best cooked beets I've ever made*

At this point, mix your beet greens with about half the dressing and wilt in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. Chop into smaller pieces and spread out on a plate. Top with chunks of the beet and drizzle the remaining dressing over top of this. Sprinkle feta cheese and walnut pieces to finish.

MY REVIEW: This was a hugely filling dinner. The beets weren't as bursting with flavor as I expected but still very good. I will forever cook my beets in that way as they were done to perfection. The Caesar salad dressing was very good as one would expect with so much cheese! Sangria has become a summer staple and it was just perfect on such a hot day.

JASON'S REVIEW: It was fabulous. The salad was crunchy and delicious. The ceasar was also fabulous. I'd eat the weiners again. The sangria was delicious.

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