Friday, June 27, 2008

Blushing Sangria

I was in my local supermarket yesterday, and they had a special promotion for a rose Pinot Noir, and a description saying how great it tasted chilled on a summer afternoon. I have not bought rose for a long time, so I purchased a bottle, and started thinking how much more popular rose wine is in Europe. Many of my friends here in the US have indicated to me that rose wine was wine you would drink in college (as if it hadn't quite made it to red and white wine status), and that is probably why I have never been offered rose wine at anyone's house.

The recipe I have for suggests substituting the red wine for rose because it makes it a lighter, fruitier drink. The Spanish mixture of iced wine and fruit makes a refreshing summer beverage, and the fruit can be varied to whatever is on hand. It would be ideal for a summer barbecue or beach party.

  • 1 orange, sliced and seeded
  • 1 lemon, sliced and seeded
  • 2 plums, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 peach, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 6 strawberries, halved
  • 6 seedless grapes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice, plus more as needed
  • One 750-ml bottle chilled rose wine
  1. In a pitcher, combine the orange and lemon slices, plum and peach wedges, strawberries, grapes, and lemon juice.
  2. Sprinkle with the sugar and toss to combine.
  3. Add the orange liqueur and let stand at least 1 hour.
  4. Stir in 1 cup orange juice and the wine.
  5. Add more orange juice to taste, if required.
  6. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or until chilled.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mangoes in Ginger Syrup with Cardamom Yogurt

This is another great recipe found in the Vogue Entertaining and Travel magazine. If you don't know this magazine, it is an Australian publication, and in this issue the whole article is set at an amazing location, Thirty-one Degrees, Oak Beach, Port Douglas. However, many of the recipes are ideal for summer days here in the US. This recipe combines the sweetness of with the aromatic flavor of , which is then topped with a Greek-style yogurt sherbet.

It can be made ahead of time, and left in the refrigerator to chill, and is great for a summer barbecue or beach party.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
  • Approximately 1" piece of ginger, peeled and cut into julienne strips.
  • 1/2 cup caster (very fine) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white rum
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 4 large mangoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 oranges, peeled, thinly sliced
For the Cardamom Yogurt Sherbet
  • 1 cup caster (very fine) sugar
  • Approx. 2 fluid ounces glucose syrup
  • 6 Cardamom pods
  • 35 ounce container of Greek-style Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. For the sherbet, combine sugar, glucose syrup, cardamom with 1 cup of water in a saucepan.
  2. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Cool to room temperature, then strain into a bowl and whisk in yogurt and vanilla.
  4. Freeze mixture in an ice-cream maker.
  5. Combine ginger, sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan, and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Allow ginger mixture to cool, then stir in the remaining ingredients.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  8. To serve, spoon fruit and syrup into shallow bowls or glasses, and top with scoops of sherbet.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rigatoni with Chicken & Capers

This is a great recipe if you are looking for a quick, nutritious meal that won't break the bank. It is basically a marinara sauce with and added, served over rigatoni, but you can use any type of pasta, dried or fresh.

I have made this recipe with raw chicken pieces, and also ready cooked chicken from the supermarket - both work equally as well.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts (cooked or raw)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves (dried is OK)
  • Sprig of fresh basil, torn or 2 teaspoons dried
  • Sprig of oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 3 teaspoons of capers
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 oz Dried Pasta per person

  1. Heat enough water in a saucepan to cook the pasta, and bring to the boil.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over a medium heat. If using uncooked chicken, add to the pan and brown for 10 to 15 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add the garlic to the pan, and cook or 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add undrained tomatoes, wine, basil, oregano, and bay leaf.
  5. Cut the chicken into 2-inch pieces, and return to the tomato mixture.
  6. Add the capers and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add 1 teaspoon tomato paste.
  8. Leave to simmer while pasta cooks, adding more paste if required.
  9. Add the pasta to the boiling water, and follow package instructions for cooking times.
  10. When pasta is cooked, drain, and serve.
You can either mix the pasta and the tomato sauce together, or you can serve the sauce over the pasta, depending on how you prefer it. Serve with a mixed green salad tossed in a vinaigrette dressing, and you have a perfect summer meal.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gourmet Fusion at Leaping Lotus Summer Shopping Extravaganza

The Gourmet Fusion store will once again be taking part in the Summer Shopping Extravaganza at the Leaping Lotus in , California. The event takes place on Thursday evening, June 19th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

During the evening there will be live music by Dano's Island Sounds steel drum, a silent auction for the Rancho Coastal Humane Society, and a fashion show. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served throughout the evening.

The Gourmet Fusion store will be having special sales, including teapots, water bottles, tumblers and salt and pepper grinders. We will also be giving samples of our Spanish gazpacho to try, as well as our new tea infused chocolates from Torn Ranch.

Torn Ranch is a California company located between Napa Valley and San Francisco and they make the most unbelievable chocolates and truffles using all-natural, kosher dairy products.

We are pleased to offer the green dark chocolate bars and indulges.

The milk chocolate bars and indulges come in four flavors - ginger tea, green tea, imperial chai and orange blossom.

So if you are in the Solana Beach area, stop by on Thursday for a great evening's entertainment.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cattitude Sale at Gourmet Fusion

Our summer fun continues this week with our Cattitude Sale at the Gourmet Fusion store.

If you are not one of the initiated, and don't know what Cattitude is, it is a range of tea and coffee products by Huesnbrews. All the products depict two mischievous looking black on the front, and a set of black paw prints on the back. The travel tumblers come in black, pink and white with stainless steel, and the ceramics are in ivory, blue, pink and green.

The full range of Cattitude products is on sale in our Solana Beach store, as well as online. The range includes travel tumblers, mugs, mug and coaster sets, teapots and teapot-for-one sets, as well as the extra-cute espresso cups.

They are great as gifts, or as a treat for yourself.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Torrefacto Coffee & Smoked Paprika Return

The Gourmet Fusion Store is happy to have two of its very popular Spanish products back in the store.

The first is our Spanish Torrefacto coffee. If you have not tried this , and you enjoy espresso, it is certainly worth sampling. It is made by coating the coffee beans with sugar prior to roasting, however, the result is not a sweet coffee. The ultra-fine powder coating of sugar merely adds body to this bold, dark coffee without adding bitterness. It is an extremely smooth coffee, ideal for a perfect cup of espresso, with just a hint of sweetness, and a very mild to medium bitterness. Once you try it, you will be hooked!

Our second item is our Smoked Paprika (Pimento Ahumido). This wonderful paprika is rich and complex with smokey overtones, and is the foundation for many Spanish dishes. This can be used to develop rich flavors in meat and seafood dishes. I have also used it in sauces and on grilled food, and food network chefs such as Jamie Oliver, and Emeril Lagasse often use it to bring out the flavors of their recipes.

This paprika uses fresh pods from the mild Nora Pepper which are smoked over oak logs to develop its complex flavors, and is much more powerful and pronounced than sun-dried varieties.

Smoked paprika is great for use in Paella, Fabada, beef, lamb, or for use on the grill.

Both of these products are available at the Gourmet Fusion Store online, and at our Solana Beach, California store.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fro-Zen Daiquiri

I saw this in the book Cool Cocktails from Cool Places by Bill Tikos, aka the Coolhunter, and thought it was a great drink for the summer, and would be especially good for the heatwave that parts of the east coast are experiencing at the moment. The past few days in San Diego have been "June gloom", as it is known locally, but the weekend promises to be warmer with less cloud, so it would be good here as well.

The Fro-Zen uses summer fruits, and is the signature cocktail of the trendy Zen Cafe in Venice, Italy. This cafe takes its inspiration from Japan, and adheres strictly to the philosophies of Feng Shui, and with all this peace and tranquility going on, it is the perfect place to enjoy the Fro-Zen Daiquiri.

  • 1 ounce Rum
  • 1/3 ounce Kahlua
  • 1/3 ounce Sugar Syrup
  • 1/2 a lime, squeezed
  • 1 1/2 ounce fresh strawberries and blueberries
  1. Blend the rum, Kahlua, sugar syrup, lime juice and fruit in a blender with plenty of crushed ice.
  2. Pour into a cocktail glass and garnish with a strawberry.