Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Simple Daily Meals with Señor Sangria to Welcome the Fall

By Pinny Tam
Since my blog coverage of Señor Sangria published in May, Señor Sangria has made a significant milestone. It is now served in Yankee Stadium in New York. Congratulations! No doubt in my mind that Señor Sangria is a great drink that is liked by a lot of people on many occasions and for many seasons. In this blog, I’m going to “dress” up Señor Sangria so you can drink more of it in a fun way in the fall and serve it with meals that remind you of the summer.
It is still pretty warm in early fall in New York and New Jersey. Maybe you are not ready to serve warm mulled Sangria. Maybe you don’t want to switch to heavy liquors and eat hearty meals quite yet. Whatever reasons you may have, Señor Sangria continues to offer the taste and versatility for the months to come. To dress up the Classic Red, Classic White, and Apple Raspberry, I simply add some fruit - canned lychee, dried tamarind and fresh raspberry to the drinks. The canned lychee is widely available in any grocery stores nowadays. A lot of people have tried it through drinking lychee martinis and know that this fruit is very sweet and has an amazing flowery aroma. Having it with the Classic Red just makes the Sangria smell so aromatic and sweet. It’s also fun to nibble on the spongy lychee. The dried tamarind that is usually salty and spicy elevates the Classic White to an amazing drink that has so many layers of flavors – sweet, spicy, salty, and tangy. For the Apple Raspberry, it is logical to have the fresh raspberry to add some freshness to it. 
The Señor Sangrias, with or without added fruit, are just pure pleasure at dinner times for me. Unlike a bottle of wine which you typically should finish it within a day or two once it is open, These Sangrias have longer “shelf time” when you put them in the fridge after they are open. In my experience, the flavors are not changed much even they are in the fridge for a week. Of course, it is important to make sure you put the cap back on as tight as you can to reduce oxidation. 
Although many foods go well with these Sangrias, nothing is easier and quicker than making some juicy beef and salmon burgers and oven-roasted chicken wings. For the burgers, you can use your favorite store-bought beef patties that may be left from the summer BBQ or like me hand-make some beef patties with your choice of added vegetables like scallion, onion, garlic, and red bell pepper. The added vegetables just brighten up and elevate the taste of an ordinary burger. I occasionally also fry an easy-over egg and overlay it atop the burger. 
If I haven’t made you hungry yet, I also like a salmon burger for dinner. There are a lot of high-quality salon burger patties out there to make your prep time down to nothing. But if you choose to make salmon patties on your own, all you need to do is to lightly poach some salmon, flake it, mix it with an egg and some bread crumb, form it into patties and pan-fry it. When done, drizzle some sriracha mayo over your salmon burger and you are left with the job of finishing this finger-licking good healthy burger. The Classic White is probably the best accompaniment for the salmon burger. 
Cooking whole chicken wings may seem to be an intimidating task to some people as they are difficult to cook – the tips are burnt, and the little drumsticks are undercooked when the wings are not flattened. One trick I learned is to skew the wings with metal or wooden skewers prior to roasting the wings in the oven. I like the metal ones as they won’t be burnt in the oven and are reusable. Skewing the wings to a close-to-straight line allows the heat to cook every part of the wing. The golden wings will be the perfect finger food for the Sangrias.
Disclosure: The Sangrias in this post are samples. All opinions are my own.

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