Brunch, Drink

Red wine sangria (or make it virgin)

Red wine sangria (or make it virgin)

I usually make a batch of sangria at least once a year. It’s definitely the most refreshing way to enjoy wine in the summer!

This is strong and not overly sweet when it is chilled and it does need to be served chilled. There’s quite a bit of added brandy to make up for the added juice and it is likely strong enough to serve with your choice of fizzy water (sparkling water, club soda, etc), which you’ll want to add in just before serving to prevent it from going flat. And you can always add more brandy later if the sangria turns out to not be stiff enough for your taste!

I drink it on the rocks without anything added because I’m not a big fan of fizzy drinks and it’s strong enough that I typically won’t want more than one glass. If you’re like me, you might actually want to start with only 1/2 cup of the brandy and then add more as needed.

You don’t need to use good wine to make sangria. I make it using half of a jug of wine and I’ve used boxed wine, as well.

The yield of this recipe is large enough to make it worth the work of hand-squeezing citrus but not large enough that I end up feeling sick of sangria and not wanting it again for a year. I hand-squeeze the citrus into a glass measuring cup with a spout and I put a strainer over the mouth of the measuring cup to catch any seeds and pulp. It’s hard to tell how much juice citrus will yield; choose softer oranges and limes and get extra just in case. That being said, there’s quite a bit of fruit in this sangria. You can use half the fruit if you won’t want to garnish every glass with steeped fruit.

I like to cut the fruit into slices because it is much prettier and photogenic that way, and because the fruit is heavier so it’s less likely to hit you in the face as you drink it (I know you know what I’m talking about!). But it is easier to serve when the fruit is cut into wedges.

If you’d like to add berries, you can add them right before you serve the sangria. Strawberries in particular will fade and gray.

When I make sangria for parties, I usually make a virgin batch as well. The recipe is pretty much the same but I replace the wine and brandy with grape juice and I reduce or skip the added sugar since juice already has lots of sugar.

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Breakfast, Brunch, Nuts, Pecans, Snack

Favorite granola with puffed grains, pecans, maple syrup, and honey, revised

Favorite granola with puffed grains, pecans, maple syrup, and honey on alickofsalt.com

Granola is a staple breakfast at our house and a frequent ice cream topping. This puffed grain granola is my most requested recipe and the recipe I’ve most gifted or made for others. I’ve once again made a few changes since I last posted it on the site. I always make the recipes I post at least twice before I post them, using the second time as a recipe test of sorts. Somehow the moment I post it signals the time for another change because the recipe I end up making time and time again is almost always a slightly revised version of the one I post. This is the latest version of my favorite granola.

My favorite granola started out as crunchy clusters with almond slices, a recipe adapted from Deb Perelman‘s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I then added puffed grains and other ingredients from Kashi’s GoLean Honey Almond Flax Crunch cereal. I then replaced the almond slices with pecans and the puffed wheat with kamut and started baking it in porcelain dishes to give me more room to stir the ingredients while the granola was baking. In this latest version, I added puffed millet and took out the flax seeds.

One hack I’ve learned is to “grease” the tablespoon before measuring out the honey. I measure out the first tablespoon of butter or oil, then measure out the honey so it slides right out, then repeat. Of course, you’d need to be able to pour the honey into the tablespoon to be able to measure it out in this way. I wouldn’t want you to contaminate your honey with a dirty tablespoon if you’re planning on scooping the honey out of a jar.

To best beat the heat, I double the recipe and I make it either in the early morning, before my apartment turns into an oven all on its own, or in the evening. That way, I only have to suffer once in the added oven heat for two batches of granola. Still seems to run out quicker than I would hope.

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Berries, Blackberries, Breakfast, Brunch, Fruit, Nuts, Pancakes, Peaches, Pecans, Quick, Raspberries, Vegetarian

Dutch baby with summer fruit, pecans, and Nutella

Dutch baby with summer fruit, pecans, and Nutella

Summer has come and gone and now that our apartment no longer turns into a sauna everyday, I have free rein over the oven again, which means that I can restart my tradition of weekly dutch babies. It has been a little over two years since I posted my first recipe on here and two years later, my dutch baby obsession is still going strong. This one is large enough to share, unlike the first one, which has not served two people since we got our larger cast iron pan.

When we’re feeling fancy, our favorite toppings are summer fruit and Nutella. I sometimes add chopped pecans to the dough, but I’m not always in the mood for them. I have also made a few changes to my technique. I don’t cook the fruit in the oven anymore. Instead, I prepare it while the oven is preheating, put it in little porcelain bowls, and place the bowls on the warm potion of the stovetop until the dutch baby is ready to come out of the oven. This warms the fruit up a little bit. If the fruit is not very ripe, I also sprinkle some powdered sugar on it to sweeten it up a bit. The Nutella goes in a little porcelain bowl as well because my stovetop gets warm enough that it would melt the plastic jar if I tried to heat it up directly. I learned this the hard way, by mutilating our immersion blender.

The dutch baby lessons I’ve learned since my first post is that it’s a pretty failproof recipe as long as I use whole milk, and that it absolutely has to be eaten right away. If you don’t eat it right away, my obsession with this pancake will baffle you, as it baffles me the few times it ends up cooling on me before I can dig in. So if the person you’re sharing it with ends up needing to do their bathroom activities as soon as the dutch baby is ready to come out of the oven — does this happen in other families or just ours? — then turn off the oven and keep the dutch baby in there until they’re back because slightly burnt dutch baby is better than cold dutch baby, trust me.

Also, if you’re feeling lazy and can’t be bothered with the fruit or pecans, it is still delicious served the traditional way, with just the powdered sugar, some drizzles of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and maybe some maple syrup.

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Breakfast, Brunch, Chickpeas, Dinner, Eggs, Lunch, Quick, Vegetarian

Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta (Shakshuka)

Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta (Shakshuka)

This poached egg, tomato, and feta dish is quick and easy to make, tasty, and hearty enough to be breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even dinner. We usually only poach as many eggs as we eat on the day we make it and save the rest to reheat and serve with fried eggs. This shakshuka is slightly spicy. For a bit more spice, I would use either two jalapeños or increase the chili powder to 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL). Serve with good bread or warmed pita or tortilla.

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Breakfast, Brunch, Farro, Grains, Lunch, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Zucchini

Zucchini farro fritters with a fried egg

Today marks the two-year anniversary anniversary of the beginning of my partner’s dietary restrictions and of our low-sodium cooking adventures. To celebrate, I’ve returned from my unannounced and unexpectedly long hiatus with a brunch recipe for zucchini farro fritters. Not the most celebratory of dishes, I know, but it will have to do.

We’ve made this recipe a couple of times. More often than not, we top the fritters with a fried egg and serve them with bread on the side. Since it’s just the two of us and this picky eater gets sick of eating the same thing the next day, we’ve also turned the remaining patty mixture into a stir-fry. If you have yet to master the art of patty-making, I very much feel your pain (as this picture, out of which I cropped most of the messiness, may suggest), and would not discourage you from making the patty mixture into a stir-fry right away. The mixture shrinks while it’s cooking. We start out with 4-inch patties which then shrink to a size that still fits a large fried egg. We don’t use any added salt so they turn out slightly sweet. If your diet allows it, instructions for how to incorporate salt into the fritters are included in the tips section.

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Avocado, Barley, Bowl, Brunch, Grains, Lunch, Nuts, Pecans, Vegetarian

Avocado and pecan barley bowl with yogurt sauce

Avocado and pecan barley bowl with yogurt sauce

Today was arugula harvest day. We got some arugula starters a while ago and planted them on our balcony. We didn’t have a big enough yield for a salad, so we made this barley bowl instead.

This recipe has a higher amount of sodium than other recipes posted here. I’ve estimated the approximate sodium intake to be 337 mg per serving given the ingredients I used. Check the tips below for information on how this amount was calculated and suggestions on how to further reduce the sodium in this recipe if needed.

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Berries, Breakfast, Brunch, Fruit, Raspberries

Dutch baby with berries

Dutch baby with berries

A dutch baby, otherwise known as a David Eyre’s pancake, is a cross between a pancake and a crêpe and much, much easier to make than either. I love them so much, I even make them during heat waves, when the inside of our air-conditionerless apartment feels like a car that’s been sitting in the sun, and I never regret it. The other great thing about them is that you can be sloppy with the ingredients and still get a perfect dutch baby every time, unlike with its unbaked sisters.

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