Sprained Sangria

This one’s for the cocktail column!

And it’s called “Sprained Sangria” because I only noticed my wrist was sprained after I finished.

It was a sunny, beautiful July 4th morning in Corvallis, Oregon.  Paul and I were out biking, and though I’ve ridden one particular road many times on a road bike, I had yet to explore the beauties of the trails on a mountain bike. Though I dislike (greatly) the downhill, I still wanted to give it a shot.  Downhill could be a better opponent than a speeding car afterall.  My first tumble came at a slow speed.  In fact, I was attempting to stop and stop I did.  I just couldn’t get my feet out of the pedals in time.  With this small war wound, I insisted that we carry on.  We rode through campus and then up into the hills, lots and lots of uphill, huffing and puffing to get to Dimple Hill.  Indeed, there was vista and I felt fit and ready to declare an affinity or at least a small liking to mountain biking.

Then we had to go downhill.  The gears were very low to assist the uphill climb, so it was counter-productive and horrible for balance on the downhill.  Add that to my fear of high speed descents and a few huge tree roots — then came my second fall.  No worries.  I protected Paul’s bike using my body to break the fall.  In many different ways I felt I had impaled something.  With that grunt and cry, Paul decided we begin mountain bike hiking (his preferred form of “hiking”).   Once the trails were “done” – we were passed several times, naturally, and we’d trekked over a stream or two (this is NOT as treacherous as I like to make it sound), I decided I could handle the double track descent.  There were fewer limbs and roots to contend with.  The speed was picking up, so I started applying the brakes, trying the “feathering” technique Paul counseled.  Something happened.  I flew head first over the handle bars.  I got some “air” and apparently appeared as if I were diving into a swimming pool.  It was probably quite miraculous that I was able to ride home.  I refused to discuss it, trying to contain my shock and my pride after the bucking mountain bike.  Aside from the shock, really, I was fine.  “Fine” – a loaded term.  We made it home with me little miss cranky pants.  We even headed to the store later (on bikes!) to pick up the goods for a afternoon BBQ.  No problem!

And so, pretending the accident never happened, I set to course chopping and prepping for the menu.  We had a chard potato salad (with tangy lemon tahini dressing borrowed from Sara’s kale & potato salad recipe).  Paul was grilling chicken (for the guests) and tofu (for me!), and I was set to make the sangria and then a peach and blueberry crisp.  After I had finished it all, and sat to sip my sangria, I realized I had actually sprained my wrist.  Mildly.

Sprained Sangria

  • 1 bottle Cabernet-Sauvignon
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • Splash of orange juice
  • 2 shots of Orange Liquor
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • ½ cup of crushed pineapple with juice
  • Ginger ale

Pour wine in pitcher and then cut the citrus into wedges, squeezing the juice into the pitcher.  Cut the wedges into more bite size pieces and add to the mix.  Splash in the OJ and the 2 shots of liquor.  Add the berries and pineapple and give a hearty stir.  Refrigerate as long as you can before ladling 1 cup (or so) into a pint glass over ice.  Top off with ginger ale.

The Sangria

The Sprain

Chorizo al Vino Tinto (Chorizo in Red Wine)

I can’t help but be excited every time I see Miriam publish a new recipe in her series on tapas over on Honest Cooking. As a Spanish major in college I spent a year studying abroad in Madrid, there’s a flash of recognition as I read each post. And an impetus to try my own hand at it. No sooner had she published her post on Chorizo a la sidra was it on my “to-do” list. (Admittedly, that to-do list is pretty long, but this one did manage to jump the queue). Perhaps I was a little too swept over by nostalgia when I read the recipe as I failed to buy the sidra. I know something always gets left off the shopping list by accident, but when there are only three ingredients making up the entire recipe, it’s a little silly.

But perhaps my experience in Spain was of some use here, as a I had some vague sense that it would be perfectly alright to make it with wine (and — what’s that in my fridge? An unfinished bottle of red?)

I changed up Miriam’s method a bit too, taking a cue from a tourism site (not that there was any need to, but just because this seemed even easier than her own very simple technique): rather than making my chorizo over the stove, I baked it in a broth of red wine and fresh herbs from our garden. (I’m not going to insist you only use fresh herbs, I am sure dried herbs would work just as well here as they can easily release into the heat of the wine).

What’s nice about this recipe (aside of being quick and simple to prepare) is that it softens up what is otherwise a rather tough cured sausage, all while infusing it with a new set of flavors. At the same time, the chorizo renders its own meaty taste into the wine-herb soup, creating a broth that is ideal for dipping toasted slices of good bread. While I didn’t do so, it wouldn’t hurt to reduce the liquid into a thicker sauce over the stove after the chorizo is done.  Either way, it’s an elegant, but easy, appetizer.

Because this is so quick and easy to prepare and because the ingredients are good keepers, you can enjoy this any time, at a moment’s notice.  Well, as long as you remember to put those recipes on your shopping list. 

Chorizo al vino tinto

  • 8 ounces (225g) Spanish chorizo.
  • a generous half cup (120mL) dry red wine
  • Several sprigs of fresh herbs (I used parsley, oregano, and thyme) or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of you knife
  • Crusty artisan-style bread for serving.

Preheat the oven to 425F (220C).  Slice the sausages into 1/2 inch (1.25cm) thick slices and do your best to arrange in a single layer in an oven-safe dish.  Pour the wine over the sausage and add the garlic and herbs.  Bake for 10-15 minutes.    Reduce the sauce if you like, and serve with bread for dipping.

Note that you’ll want to use Spanish rather than Mexican-style chorizo for this recipe.