When I moved to California, I learned 3 things very quickly:
1) A whole, steamed artichoke is a complete dinner. Be sure to dip each leaf in mustard butter between sips of white wine for the full the experience. My best friend Esther taught me this on day 5 of living in California. Someday, I’ll share the story about our instant friendship that began on day 1.
2) During most months of the year, people will try to pawn off extra produce from their garden on you. At first, I had a hard time saying no because the variety of local produce was so new and exciting to me. Eventually, though, I learned to say no to 8-pound zucchinis. But, for the record, I will never say no to citrus (even though I have 3 orange trees in my own yard).
3) It’s not a party without wine and cheese. But don’t be snobby about wine—Californians aren’t. I’ve always said that the only snobby people in Napa are the tourists. I’ve enjoyed $8 bottles at parties just as much as single-estate vintages. Drink what you like; it’s supposed to be fun.
Well, I don’t have to tell you that it didn’t take long for me to get used to the wine and cheese lifestyle. I really, really adore red wines. Even though it's not very ladylike, I enjoy thick red wines like Cabs, Barberas, and Carignans. In an effort to make red wine lighter for the summer, I created this hibiscus sangria.
Hibiscus flowers are common in Texas grocery stores due to the Tex-Mex fusion. Look for them in the ethnic foods section of your market next to the dried chiles in plastic bags. They may be labeled with their Spanish name flor de Jamaica. They are very tart and bursting with vitamin C. I love their floral accent in sangria. Think of them as you would tea leaves: steep them in boiling water until a rich red liquid forms.
The perfect summer wine cocktail.
- 1 cup grapes, washed and de-stemmed
- 1 cup boiling water
- ¼ cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 1 heaping tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups cheap red wine
- 1 large ripe peach, thinly sliced
- Place the grapes on a parchment-lined plate in the freezer.
- Pour the boiling water over the hibiscus flowers, cover and allow to steep 15-20 minutes. Whisk in the sugar until it dissolves.
- Pour the red wine and sliced peaches into a small pitcher. Strain the hibiscus tea over the top, discarding the flowers.
- Chill this mixture until ready to serve.
- Stir in the frozen grapes, and enjoy while watching the sunset.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 16mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 27gProtein: 2g
merry jennifer says
I love your wine advice - completely agree with #3. I've had the most amazing experiences shared over wine in Napa or Sonoma, and the price of the bottle didn't figure in to the equation at all.
I just happened in to some hibiscus syrup. Thanks for this fantastic idea for using it!
amy @ fearless homemaker says
this looks just lovely! i love serving sangria at a party because it seems like it's always a huge crowd-pleaser with the men + women alike (which isn't always easy to do). this might be a nice way to change it up (although i probably shouldn't tell the guys there are flowers in there). thanks for a fun new idea!
I have never eaten an artichoke that hasn't come from a jar. I guess I really need to try a steamed one sometime soon if you could eat them for dinner! :)
I WISH I had neighbors pawning off fresh produce to me! Guess I need to get out of the city and move to the burbs :) I LOVE the idea of hibiscus in sangria; this looks so pretty!
Karriann Graf says
Hibiscus are perfect for this, thanks for sharing!
This is my first time on your space and I am totally hooked. I just wanted you to know that you are doing a wonderful job by coming up with such classic recipes but scaled down to serve two people. A recipe just can't get any better than this. Keep the creative juices flowing :)
hibiscus with sangria, oh a summer must have. frozen grapes add a the best cold/flavor combo.
thanks for sharing
Pearl - Sassy Chef says
Oh my! Your story is so wonderful, I might end up moving there someday! :) I must say, you got me thirsty for that sangria!
This looks amazing! How has it slipped under my radar? And I always think about you now when we have artichokes ;) The mustard butter sauce is the best!
Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) says
I love what you learned in CA. Though, I think sometimes there's a bit of Napa/Sonoma rivalry because we sometimes say Napa is stuck up since they charge $20 for wine tastings...I love wines from both regions.