Apple Cider Sangria

Yesterday I made a batch of spicy apple cider that filled the house with a delicious early fall smell.  Tonight I think I’ll spice things up a bit more by sharing a recipe I have for a large batch cocktail featuring my sweet spicy apple cider.

Fall Apple Cider Sangriaapple-sangria

  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 1 Fuji Apple
  • 1 Golden Delicious Apple
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Navel Orange
  • 2 Cups Spicy Pressure Cooker Apple Cider
  • 4 Cans Stoli Ginger Beer
  • 1 Bottle Sauvignon Blanc Wine – I prefer one that has peachy/apple/honeysuckle undertones when I am making this Sangria.  One that leans toward the citrus/grapefruit might throw the taste off.
  • 1/4 Cup Cinnamon and 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

cinnamonsugarrimPrepare Serving Glasses:  Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup cinnamon and pour onto a shallow rimmed plate (like a salad plate); Dip the rim of your serving glass into water and then touch edge of glass into the cinnamon/sugar mixture on the plate; Lightly tap the excess off of each glass and set them aside.

Prepare the Sangria:

  1. Using a Mandolin or other thin slicer (I prefer the OXO 6 Piece Grater Slicer) thinly slice the apples, orange and lemon.
  2. Fill a Large (At least 1 gallon) Pitcher, or Mason Jar with a dispenser with the fruit.
  3. Add apple cider, ginger beer, and Sauvignon Blanc wine.
  4. Stir mixture, pour into the prepared serving glasses and garnish with thin slices of apple on a small skewer if you desire.

TIP:  If you are not a White Wine person, a lot of people aren’t, here are some recommendations for the type of wine you are looking for in this recipe:

Angeline Sauvignon Blanc – About $13 “With graceful aromas of white peach and nectarine, green apple and lemon…”

Low Hanging Fruit Sauvignon Blanc – About $8  “Flavors of honeydew melon, lemon-lime and ripe apple, followed by a refreshing crisp finish.”

Cloud Break Sauvignon Blanc – About $8  “lively flavors of honeydew melon, juicy peach and pear.”

This would be a great light drink to serve while the family is gathering before Thanksgiving dinner is served, an easy picnic or tailgate treat, and would be a really fun poolside treat.

With a 7:30 PM Thursday night USC game two weeks away, I can’t think of a better time to break this recipe out alongside my cider as a bit of a treat on, what may very well be, our first chilly night of the season!

Cheers!

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Luscious Lemorancello

I am still up to my eyeballs in fresh citrus, so I found a new project from which I will be able to make some really fun desserts!

slicecake_w_lemons11Have you ever been to an Italian restaurant and seen Limoncello on the after dinner drink menu or seen some type of Limoncello Cake on the dessert menu?   Limoncello is a syrupy liqueur that is smooth and sweet with an intense lemon flavor.  It can be sipped on its own, mixed into sparkling water, or shaken into cocktails.

I had no idea that Limoncello is the second most popular liqueur in Italy.  Considering that both my family and my husband’s have Northern Italian roots, I was amazed to realize neither of us had ever tried this particular yummy treat!  I think that counts as some kind of neglect or child abuse 😉

The process to make homemade Limoncello (or in this case, since I am combining blood orange and Meyer lemon peels:  Lemorancello) is quite easy and much less expensive than buying a smaller bottle of the commercially bottled version.

Lisa’s Luscious Lemorancello

  • 1 – 750 ml Bottle Vodka (80 Proof is fine, but 100 Proof is even better)
  • 5 – Medium Sized Meyer Lemons
  • 5 – Medium Sized Oranges (I have Blood Oranges, So I am using those)
  1. Remove the peels from the lemons and oranges.  Put the fruit in a zip bag to freeze for later use.  I peel them whole and then use a spoon to scrape away the pith, but you can also use a vegetable peeler.  It’s important to leave as little of the bitter white pith as possible.
  2. Once you have peeled the fruit and removed the pith from the skins, slice the peels into narrow strips and put the peel into a 32 oz container with a lid then pour the vodka over the peels.  I prefer glass so that any dormant odors don’t transfer from plastic into the vodka.
  3. Seal the container tightly and put aside in a cabinet – or at least on a counter out of direct sunlight.
  4. Infuse your blood orange & lemon peels in the vodka for at least 1 week to a month or longer. Most of the fruit flavor is extracted in the first few days, the longer you let it sit the bolder the flavor will be.  I’m going to let mine sit undisturbed for 6 weeks.

You don’t need to worry about mold or bacteria growing while it is infusing.  The alcohol prevents any mold or other bacteria from growing on the fruit.

When you decide that you just can’t wait to enjoy your treat any longer, it’s time to strain out the fruit peels and combine the infused vodka with simple syrup.

TIP:  You can use any amount 1 C Water to 1 C Sugar up to 4 Cups Water to 4 Cups Sugar.  More water will dilute the alcohol percentage and make the liqueur milder.

  1. Make your simple syrup:  In a saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar (I use superfine baker’s sugar) with 1 cup water and stir over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Add this to the infused vodka, taste, and add more simple syrup if you need it sweeter.

When you have reached your perfect ratio and your Lemorancello is ready to enjoy, you can store it in a cleaned 750 ml vodka bottle (there will be more than 1 bottle worth of liqueur) or in pretty oil/vinegar type bottles with hinged or screw sealed tops.

The liqueur can be kept in the freezer for at least a year, and likely much longer. Use your own common sense if it’s been more than a year and it tastes off or you see any mold growing in the bottle.  Then it’s more than likely time to toss it and make a fresh batch!  I have no intention of letting mine last that long.

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Chicken Under Pressure “Mamba Style”

I’m not feeling a lot of inspiration to create today, but have some chicken in the freezer, plenty of citrus on the trees, dry goods and spices in the cupboards, so dinner shouldn’t be a big ordeal.

I’m employing my handy dandy pressure cooker so I can make dinner ahead and not have to worry about it during all of the pre-final game Laker festivities honoring The Black Mamba,  Kobe Bryant that I’ll be glued to tonight, tissues close at hand.

Chicken Under Pressure “Mamba Style”

  • 6 Frozen Boneless-Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 2 TBLS Extra Virgin Oil
  • 1 Chicken Bullion Cube
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 2 tsp Dried Tarragon Leaves
  • Juice of 2 Small Ripe Lemons (About 1/4 Cup)
  • Zest of 2 Small Lemons
  • 1 Cup Water
  1. Turn the pressure cooker on to “Brown” setting
  2. Pour 1 TBLS of the Olive Oil into the bottom of pan
  3. Put frozen chicken into pan to begin defrosting
  4. Add the bullion cube then sprinkle 1/2 tsp of the garlic powder & onion powder, 1/4 tsp of the pepper and allspice, and 1 tsp of the tarragon over the top of the chicken
  5. After 3 minutes turn the chicken over
  6. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tsp of the garlic powder & onion powder, 1/4 tsp of the pepper and allspice, and 1 tsp of the tarragon over the other side of the chicken
  7. Brown for another 3 minutes then turn chicken over one more time
  8. Grate the lemon zest into the pan (on top of the chicken)
  9. Squeeze the juice from the zested lemons into the pan
  10. Add the Water and close & lock the pressure cooker
  11. Set to medium – high setting and, when pressure cooker reaches temperature, set time to cook for 10 minutes
  12. When cooking is completed unplug the pressure cooker and allow to sit, without releasing pressure, for 10 minutes.
  13. After rest time, release the pressure and remove the chicken to a covered dish

 Lemon Artichoke Risotto

  1. Add enough water to the reserved liquid in the pressure cooker to equal 3 cups.
  2. Add 2 Cups Dry Arborio Rice
  3. Set pressure cooker to Rice setting
  4. When cooker reaches desired temperature/pressure, cook rice for 9 minutes
  5. When cycle is complete unplug and release most of the pressure but do not unlock or open machine
  6. After 10 minutes finish releasing pressure and unlock/open pressure cooker
  7. Add 1 jar quartered Artichoke Hearts in Water (drained)
  8. Grate the zest from one medium lemon into the rice
  9. Stir in 1/2 Stick Butter
  10. Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  11. If desired, add more heated chicken broth to make the rice creamier
  12. Keep covered until ready to serve with the chicken

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What Goes With Quinoa?

So my first foray into pressure cooking went off without me getting maimed or burned, so I guess I’ll be using my new toy again soon!  I made a huge batch of quinoa that turned out light, fluffy and quite tasty.  Just one problem: we aren’t big eaters of any grain at dinner time outside of rice, so I was left at a bit of a loss as to what to do with my big bowl of quinoa.

lemonchickenquinoaThe cupboards, refrigerator and freezer were rather bare due to the two week vacation we had just returned from, so I was left with very few options.  A lemon, Roma tomato, small avocado, a bag of frozen edamame, and 1/2 lb of frozen diced chicken breast were all I could salvage to throw together some kind of dinner hearty enough to satisfy my husband.

Lemon Chicken with Avocado & Tomato Quinoa

  • 1 1/2 Cups Cooked Quinoa (See yesterday’s post)
  • 1 Small Roma Tomato (diced)
  • 1 Small Ripe Avocado (diced)
  • 1 Cup Frozen Shelled Edamame (Soybeans) Cooked
  • Juice of 1 Large Lemon
  • 2 Tbls Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Lb Fresh Diced Chicken Breast
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1/8 tsp Dried Dill
  • 1/8 tsp +/- Arrowroot (to thicken the sauce)
  • Pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • Freshly Ground Salt & Pepper

Juice the lemon, stir in the arrowroot and set aside.  In a medium frying pan, heat 2 TBLS olive oil and the minced garlic over medium-high heat.  Add the diced chicken, season with freshly ground sea salt and pepper, and brown for about 2 minutes per side.  Add the edamame, dill, cayenne pepper and lemon juice mixture to the pan and continue cooking about 3 minutes until edamame and chicken are done and sauce is well incorporated.

Spoon about 1/2 Cup of the cooked quinoa and about 1/3 of the chicken mixture into a bowl. Top with the diced avocado and tomatoes and add more ground pepper to taste.

Light enough for my post-vacation diet yet hearty enough that 2 bowls satisfied my husband’s appetite.  Win-Win!

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood