Enter the Dragon (Fruit)

All Bruce Lee references aside….this is one cool looking piece of fruit! The dragon fruit, or red pitaya as it’s also called, is the fruit of a cactus species. The bright magenta-red skin and yellow flames of the exterior had drawn a large crowd in the entrance to Wegmans (including me). The roughly ten dollar price per fruit may have scared a few people off, but not me…..I had to have one (or two) to share with you! The outside is shockingly different than its bright white, seeded inside. The fruit has the texture of a kiwi with an almost bland, mildly sweet flavor. Is it worth handing over a ten dollar bill, you ask? (I’m not sure they are always that much.) For the occasional shock value, it just may be….and it is quite large. The boys did try it and gave the thumbs up!

Dragon fruit, or pitaya. Arguably one of the coolest looking fruits available.

Fruity, spicy, and dangerously smooth: Red Wine Sangria!

Thus starts my Cinco De Mayo prep! Sangria is a Spanish and Portugese treat, not Mexican. But… I associate it with Cinco De Mayo and Mexican flavors, so I’m running with it.  It’s typically made with cheap Spanish red wine, citrus fruit, spices, a sweetener, and sometimes a sparkling beverage. I’ll give you a rough guide as to what to include, but feel free to experiment. That’s how I prepare it; some of this, a little of that, and so on.

My wine suggestion is Protocolo, a Spanish tempranillo for less than $6! Although inexpensive, Heather classifies this wine as “super yummy!” It’s such a great value, we have it often enough to call it our “house red”. Using a wine you like as the sangria base is very important.

Pour your bottle of wine into a pitcher. Add 6 or 7 cloves, a sliced orange, half a sliced lemon, half a sliced lime, a shot of brandy, a shot of vodka, a shot of creme de cacao, and about an ounce of simple syrup. If you want to go heavier on the sour fruit, add a little more simple syrup to balance it out. Stir, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Just before serving, add 10 ounces of sparkling beverage (I used seltzer).

Remember that this is just a guideline – use whatever fruit, spices, liquor, and sweeteners you fancy. You can’t go wrong! Let me know what you come up with, and I’ll do another sangria post in the future.

Fruity, spicy sangria goodness.

Protocolo, our house red, makes a great sangria.