Monthly Archives: February 2008

Zinfandel Sangria with Brandy and Orange

At the end of the summer, Dean and I hosted a party for the staff at his office. I made tons of barbecued ribs, pulled pork and chicken and all the fixings. We have always have beer and wine, but this year I decided to make sangria. I found this recipe in Bon Appetit (July 07) and wanted to make it all summer. It turned out wonderfully and was very refreshing. Several people asked me for the recipe, so here it is. Enjoy!

This makes a big batch of sangria so I mixed all the ingredient (except the orange juice) together and let it sit overnight. The next day I added the orange juice and ice. I didn’t have a container large enough to make this in and that would fit in my refrigerator.

Zinfandel Sangria with Brandy and Orange
(serves 20 to 24)

3 cups simple syrup*
6 (750 ml) bottles Zinfandel
2 1/4 cups brandy
1 1/2 cups triple sec or other orange liqueur
1 1/2 cups orange juice
6 apples (cored and thinly sliced)
4 nectarines or peaches (pitted and thinly sliced)
4 lemons (cut into thin rounds)

Combine Zinfandel, brandy, triple sec, orange juice, and simple syrup in a very large container. Add apples, nectarines or peaches, and lemons. Refrigerate sangria until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. Ladle sangria and fruit into pitchers and serve over ice.

*How to make Simple syrup

Stir 2 1/4 cups water and 2 1/4 cups sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Cool simple syrup before adding it to the sangria.

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Filed under Bon Appetit, Drinks, Sangria, Wine, Zinfandel

Feta Cheese and Green Onion Dip


Grilled green onions
Originally uploaded by jenianddean.

Feta cheese is a cheese that I started cooking with about four years ago, and I have never been disappointed by it. I was watching Boy Meets Grill a couple of years ago and Bobby Flay was making this dip. I knew I was going to love it. The combination of the grilled green onions, feta, garlic, and lemon zest is so refreshing.

A note of caution: This is very garlicy, so if you are planning on kissing someone later in the night, you have two options: 1. Decrease the amount of garlic in the recipe or 2. have that special someone eat the dip also. Two garlics balance each other out!

Instead of the grilled pitas, I slice up a French baguette and toast it with extra-virgin olive oil drizzled over it.

Feta Cheese and Green Onion Dip with Olive Oil and Lemon with Grilled Pita
Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay

12 green onions, green part only, grilled and chopped, plus additional thinly sliced green onions, for garnish
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for grilling pitas
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 pound feta cheese, crumbled
8 pocketless pitas

Place grilled green onions, oil, lemon juice, and zest in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the feta and garlic and process until combined and smooth. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and garnish with the additional sliced green onions.

Heat grill to high. Brush the pitas with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill for 1 minute per side or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the grill and cut each pita into eighths. Serve with the feta dip.

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Filed under Appetizers, Bobby Flay, Feta, Garlic, Green Onions, Grilling, Lemons

Sugar and nut glazed Brie


Brie with nuts
Originally uploaded by jenianddean.

Brie was not one of my favorite cheeses until about three years ago. Now you would be hard-pressed not to find Brie in my cheese drawer. This is one of my all time favorite Brie recipes. A couple of years ago I started watching the Food Network. I never really watched it until we moved to South Carolina. I fell in love the Paula Deen. I’m sure it was the southern draw, a sort of comfort. Anyway, when she made this recipe I was in love with it.

When I’m having a party people ask “Are you making the Brie?” “The Brie” was the one appetizer that Rachel asked me to make for her going away party. And at the end of the night, there was nothing left on the tray but a few apple slices!

A few tips:
1. Put this in the oven right before people are to arrive. It’s best right out of the oven. The Brie is all gooey and perfect for the apple slices.
2. I try to let the brandy-sugar-nut mixture sit for at least two days. I have found the longer the better.

Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans
1 tablespoon brandy
1 (14-ounce) round Brie
Apple wedges, for serving
Pear wedges, for serving
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Crackers, for serving

In a small bowl stir together the sugar, nuts, and brandy. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours or up to 1 week.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Place the Brie on an oven-proof platter or pie plate. Bake for 4 or 5 minutes or until the Brie is slightly softened. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the warm Brie and bake for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts. Brush the fruit wedges with lemon juice and arrange them around 1 side of the Brie. Place crackers around the other side.

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Filed under Appetizers, Brandy, Brie, Paula Deen, Pecans

Mississippi Sin


Mississippi Sin
Originally uploaded by jenianddean.

Before Christmas I promised to post my sister-in-law Jackie’s recipe for Mississippi Sin. When she came to visit in July, we had some friends over for a little cookout. Jackie said she would make Mississippi Sin as an appetizer. Our friends devoured it in no time flat. I have made it three different times since then with the same results. It is very easy to make, and it’s great for a crowd.

Thanks Jackie!! You rock!

Mississippi Sin

2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
1/3 cup chopped green chiles (1 small can found in the Mexican food aisle)
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (1-lb) round loaf King’s Hawaiian bread

In mixing bowl, combine shredded cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, chopped ham, chile peppers, green onions, and Worcestershire sauce; stir until well blended. Set dip aside.

Cut a thin slice from top of bread loaf; set slice aside. Using a gentle sawing motion, cut vertically to, but not through, bottom of the loaf, 1/2 inch from the edge, to cut out center of bread. Lift out center of loaf; cut into 1-inch cubes and set aside. Fill hollowed bread loaf with the dip; cover with reserved top slice of bread loaf. Wrap reserved loaf with foil. Bake dip at 350° degrees for 1 hour. Serve with reserved bread cubes, crackers, or potato chips.

Makes about 4 cups of dip.

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Filed under Appetizers, Bread, Cheese, Green Onions