First things first: Sangria.
I originally got the idea to put arugula in my sangria from Gimme Some Oven, a great blog with tons of great recipes. Arugula has a vaguely fruity flavor (for a green), and I like the vaguely green flavor it imparts to the sangria. Plus, it makes it very pretty!
Sangria with Raspberries and Arugula
adapted from Gimme Some Ovem
- 1 full bottle of red wine
- 1 cup of brandy
- 1/2 cup of triple sec
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 2 big handfuls of arugula (using medium sized hands... if you don't have any then find some)
- Two limes, sliced
- Two small oranges, sliced
- Two lemons, sliced
- 1 6 oz. container of raspberries
- 2 handfuls of blueberries
- 1-2 cans of Sprite Zero (depending how sweet you like it)
- 1/4 cup of Orange Juice
- Combine your wine, liquors and sugar in a big pitcher. Stir.
- Add in the arugula and using a wooden spoon mull it against the sides of the pitcher.
- Add your fruits and mull then against the sides of the pitcher as well.
- Add your Sprite Zero and OJ and stir.
- Refrigerate for 2+ hours.
- Serve with ice and by filling a glass halfway with sangria and topping off with club soda.
I decided to make one of our favorite dishes, steak in a tequila-mushroom-cream sauce, with some of my famous mashed potatoes.
One of the main things I miss about school is when my boyfriend and I would spend evenings together working through a bottle of wine way too quickly and making dinner. He was a wonderful sous chef, endlessly helpful and even though his chopping technique could use some work.
always season with salt and way more black pepper than you think you need!
worst final picture ever lol but it was good I promise!
Steak with Tequila-Mushroom-Cream Sauce
adapted from Roberto Santibanez in Rosa's New Mexican Cookbook
- 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 nice big steaks (preferably filets or strips)
- 2-3 cups of various mushrooms, chopped (a variety is always good!)
- 1/2 cup of good silver tequila (100% pure agave, preferably)
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste.
- 5 Tablespoons olive oil
- Chop your onion, pepper and garlic cloves and combine them in a bowl.
- Chop the mushrooms and add those to the same bowl as well.
- Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat to hot but not smoking.
- Put your steaks in. Cook them until browned but not fully cooked through, since they will continue cooking when you take them out of the pan and then again when you put them back in the sauce. Brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes each, and then put them on a plate and set aside.
- Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the same skillet, turning the heat down to medium. Use a spatula to scrape up some of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Once hot, add the mushrooms mixture and cook until the mushrooms have released their juices and are browned. Season this with salt and pepper.
- If your skillet is big enough that it covers your burner completely, turn your burner off and add the tequila to the pan. Once added, turn the burner back on to medium. This is to help ensure that the tequila doesn't ignite upon adding, but it still could so be careful.
- Add the cream and stir it all around. Let it come to a boil and allow the sauce to reduce by half, thickening up a bit and season with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Return the steaks to the pan. Cover them with the sauce and allow them to cook through while the sauce continues to reduce.
- Serve covered in plenty of sauce and with mashed potatoes, also covered in sauce.
Make sure you make these with mashed potatoes as the sauce is really delicious on them.
Really Really Good Mashed Potatoes
they're really, really good.
- Two potatoes
- 3/4 stick of butter
- Half and Half
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Place your washed (and peeled, if desired) potatoes on a baking sheet and put them in.
- Put your garlic cloves on a sheet of aluminum foil and shape it into a little pouch. Pour in enough olive oil to cover the cloves and put the pouch on your baking sheet with the potatoes.
- Let cook for another 30 minutes or so. Take out the garlic cloves and test to see if the potatoes are soft enough to be easily pierced by a fork yet. If not, put them back in.
- Put your garlic cloves in a big bowl and use a fork to mash the middles out of their skins.
- When the potatoes are fork-soft, cut them into crude diagonal slices on the baking sheet and dump them into your bowl.
- Add half a stick of butter and some half and half and start mashing. Add a lot of salt. There's no such thing as over-salting potatoes if you ask me.
- Add more butter and half and half to achieve the right taste and texture.
Dinner was great, but dessert is always our favorite part of the meal. Since he couldn't get his favorite (chocolate chip cookies in case you didn't read my holiday baking gift post) in Thailand, I decided to make them for him, but this time I wanted to try the famous and highly regarded Jacques Torres recipe, also known as the New York Times recipe.
This recipe is certainly more time consuming and labor intensive than my usual recipe, but man are these cookies worth it. They come out big and thick and chewy and are even more delicious after cooling, something I didn't think was possible for a chocolate chip cookie (I really only like my usual ones fresh out of the oven).
The recipe made an enormous amount so I'd recommend halving it if you don't have a cookie addicted boyfriend, and it uses two eggs so fortunately this is easy enough to do. Sidenote: I hate halving recipes with odd numbers of eggs. Every recipe should have an even number of eggs just for the sake of those of us trying not to make too much damn cake to be tempted by.
These cookies have no salt in the dough, but get a sprinkling of sea salt before baking
the final product is thick and chewy
it's also ridiculously delicious...
...and totally worth the waiting time and the extra steps in the recipe.