Monday, June 16, 2008

Tinto de Veranos and Kısır

I haven't been doing a lot of cooking lately, and most of it has been basic. Though, now that I look, there are a few things that I need to post before I forget them (from Swamp Romp: Heuvos Rellenos de Atun, Andalusian Salad, and Honeydew in Honey Liqueur; from Easter: Lamb with Feta, Aspic Salad).

From this weekend, though, I have two for the records:

This is Turkish bulgur wheat salad. It's a bit richer and spicier than tabouleh. I made this the day ahead, and re-seasoned it with pomegranate molasses and lemon before serving. The pomegranate molasses (it's the new balsamic vinegar, say the cognoscenti!), I think, takes it to a higher level.
  • 1.5 c bulgur wheat - soak for 30" + in 2 c hot water. Add more water if needed. Soak until wheat is soft but not mushy. Squeeze excess water out of wheat.
  • Red pepper paste - puree 2 red peppers, half a habanero, and a few Tbs water in a blender. Heat over medium heat until reduced by half.
  • 2 tomatoes - remove seeds, grate, discard skins.
  • 2 banana peppers - seed and slice
  • 1 cucumber - seed and dice
  • lots of fresh parsley and fresh mint
Mix all the above ingredients. Add, to taste:
  • Spices - I ground equal amounts cumin, black pepper, Spanish paprika, smoked Turkish pepper, & black cumin. A smoked Mexican pepper like dried chipotle might work instead of the Turkish pepper, since you have to go to Istanbul (or bribe me) to get some.
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Pomegranate molasses - Heat 4 cups pomegranate juice, 1/2 c sugar, and the juice of one lemon. Do not boil. Reduce to 1 to 1.5 cups. Let cool. It should by syrupy and tart.
Serve on a bed of red cabbage leaves, and garnish with lemon wedges.

Tinto de Veranos
Campari's reign was short-lived as my drink of summer. She's been replaced by a cheaper and fruitier Mediterranean neighbor. Tinto de Veranos - a mix of red wine and orange soda - is my new choice.
  • 2 liters orange soda. Dump out 3/4 liter
  • Add 1 bottle cheap Spanish or Italian wine. Bonus points if it comes out of a box.
Serve over lots of ice.
I would have never even tried this, except that I had bought a bottle of Sicilian red that was close to undrinkable. It had looked intriguing, or at least as intriguing as a seven-dollar bottle of wine can be. Now that Spanish wines are gaining attention - Fukioka's now has a whole section for them, complete with a giant stuffed black bull - the price is going up accordingly.

I need to find a new, undiscovered and under-priced region. Sicily seemed like a good bet. But the wine I got was rough, and I don't think I even finished one glass. I put the bottle in the fridge and forgot about it.

On to the weekend. I wanted to make a good sangria for after the race. I went online ... and learned that you never order sangria at a bar in Spain. Or rather, that only tourists do. That was news. Apparently sangria is like punch - you make it for a party, but not really for an individual. Which makes sense - sangria tastes a lot better when the fruit sit in the drink all day.

What the Spanish drink, instead, is this Tinto de Veranos. It sounded rough. It also sounded like a good punishment for the bad Sicilian.

Somehow, orange soda made the bad Sicilian good. Good enough that I bought another bottle, mixed 'em, and brought it to the regatta Sunday. I only made 1 2-liter batch, as I'm not always sure that everyone will share my tastes in drinks. As in: most people don't.

This one went over well. It's light and summery, low in alcohol, and easy to drink. I could have made more. Next time I will. Since I can make it in 60 seconds and for about 4 bucks a liter, I'll make a lot more.

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