Monday, August 21, 2006

The New Cosmo?
I read in the New York Times that the ubiquitous cosmopolitan is being replaced in smart circles by chilled rosé. Good, French Rosé. We're not talking Lancer's Sparkling here. Au contraire, $30 a bottle rosé.
I'm a sucker for an ice cold cosmo made with, contrary to bartenders' guidelines, equal parts vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice with a generous wedge of lime. . . sweet and potent. But, oh the calories!
Spurred on by all those savvy, chic New Yorkers drinking ice cold wine, I've been experimenting with Sangria offshoots. Greg and I have both been shunning tradition this summer by tossing a couple of ice cubes in classic reds, like Merlot, Pinot or Cab. Greg has gone a few steps further and added a dash of Orangina to produce a Sangria-like drink. The citrus tames a less expensive wine, allowing the red wine to deliver its touted health benefits with a refreshing twist.
If you'd like to produce a perfect pitcher of Sangria, the good folks at Cook's Illustrated (May/June 1998) have gone through their customary trial and error experimentation. Here's their recipe for a crowd pleasing pitcher of fruity red wine:
The Best Sangria
2 large juice oranges, washed; one sliced; one juiced
1 large lemon, washed and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Triple Sec
1 750 milliliter bottle inexpensive, fruity
medium bodied, red wine, chilled
(Merlot, Zinfandel, Beaujolais, Burgundy)
I've gone to the dogs this past weekend by adding citrus to an icy cold bottle of white merlot. (photo above) Sounds better than white zin, doesn't it? There isn't much difference in taste. Very light. But with the infusion of a little triple sec, a dash of fresh orange juice and a big squeeze of fresh lime, this light, inexpensive wine is elevated to a refreshing punch that is the perfect accompaniment to a burger or better yet, my new take on grilled cheese.
I often make the Mexican version of a grilled cheese sandwich -- a quesadilla.
This weekend, I rolled a couple of corn tortillas around a divided cup of grated Monterey Jack cheese, smothered the pair in some canned enchilada sauce (shh, don't tell anyone), baked them off for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven and presto, with a side of fresh red salsa, an icy glass of my light version of Sangria, I had a luscious lunch. Try it. It's quick, easy and delicious. We won't discuss calories!
Cheese Enchiladas
Book Nook
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The Hard Way - Lee Child
The Ruins - Scott Smith
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