Summertime means time spent with friends and family at home, in the park, or by the lake; this includes plenty of grilling, and lots of ice cream and cocktails as well! We even love to go to the beach, since the days are soo hot, and delicious refreshment is required, to be shared with family and friends! Kids love their lemonade at any of these fun celebrations! We’ve had a lemon tree in our backyard for the past 3 years, so I have home grown lemons throughout the year to make lemonade! I love making different flavored lemonades, and in the summer we use all the different summer fruit to make various concoctions like Strawberry Hibiscus, Berry Mint, or Peach Ginger lemonade, etc.
Rooted in tradition and family values, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines is an award-winning wine brand that offers a robust selection of wines for every palette. J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines has acres of land in the Arroyo Seco, Santa Lucia highlands of Monterey County, Paso Robles, and Napa Valley. They specialize in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. The winery was started in the 1970’s by Jerry Lohr, and it is fascinating to see how much it has grown, and established its name in the wine industry as one of the most respected wine brands. I feel honored to partner with this influential wine brand to create an appetizer with a delicious sangria that incorporates, Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, a wonderfully structured Cabernet Sauvignon.
Where adult refreshments are concerned, who doesn’t love a good sangria in the summer?! A refreshing white or a red goes wonderfully with the summer stone fruits, or you can use fresh berries to make a kick-ass sangria that’s perfect for a summer party! I used stone fruits, along with raspberries fora vibrant color, and a simple syrup that has infused flavors of peach and cardamom. I also made an appetizer to go along with this fruity sangria: Saffron Arancini and Beet Arancini, with a Whole Grain Mustard Aioli.
The Sangria is pretty simple to put together. The J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon gives wonderful body and fruitiness to the sangria, which is complemented by stone fruits and a hint of cardamom. Put all the ingredients together in a pitcher excluding the sparkling water. Let it marinate overnight to let all the fruit flavors infuse the wine. Just before the party or gathering, add the sparkling water for the effervescence!
The sangria goes so well with the arancini. I made two kinds of arancini from the same risotto! I made a beet arancini with boiled and grated beets, giving it that gorgeous magenta color, and I made the saffron arancini with beautiful saffron from Spain, giving it that golden, orange hue. Cooked and cooled overnight risotto is made into small balls, then stuffed with a tiny cube of mozzarella, coated in flour, egg wash and panko bread crumbs. It is then frozen for half an hour before being fried to perfection and served fresh with the whole mustard grain aioli which takes it to the next level!
This appetizer, along with the sangria, is a great way to celebrate with friends or family on a beautiful summer day. I hope you get to try this recipe.
Have a wonderful summer with your beloved ones! Laugh, drink, love and be merry.
- Stone Fruit Cardamom-infused Sangria:
- 1 bottle J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon
- 3/4 cup peach liqueur
- ½ cup peach/cardamom simple syrup
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup peach cubes
- 1 tsp ground cardamom powder
- 1 yellow peach cut into cubes
- 2 yellow nectarine cut into cubes
- 4 small apricots cut into cubes
- ½ cup raspberries
- 1 orange sliced thin
- 2 cans of sparkling water (peach flavored would be great)
- Beet and Saffron Arancini:
- 2 ½ cups Arborio rice
- 6-7 cups vegetable stock
- ¾ cup red onion finely chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 beet, skin removed, cut into large chunks
- 2 pinches of saffron
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 2-3 sprigs of thyme
- ½ cup basil chiffonade
- 1 small ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into ½ cm to 1 cm cubes
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs + 2 tbsp heavy cream for egg wash
- Oil for frying
- Garnish :
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1-2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- Whole grain mustard Aioli:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 grated garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- Stone Fruit Cardamom-Infused Sangria:
- To make the simple syrup:
- In a small saucepan on medium heat, add sugar and water together. Once the sugar dissolves in a couple of minutes, add the peaches, cardamom and on medium to low heat, let it simmer for about 7 minutes. Switch off the gas, and let the flavors steep by covering the pan for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture.
- Add the wine, peach liqueur, simple syrup in a big glass pourable jar. Gently add in the fruits. Let it chill overnight. Add the sparking water before serving.
- Beet and Saffron Arancini:
- In a small saucepan, add water to ¾ of the way up. Let it start boiling on medium heat. Add the beet chunks to the water, and let it boil for 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes to see if it is soft enough. If yes, switch off the gas. Drain the water and preserve it (you can drink it later as it has all the vitamins ? ) Let it cool. Once cool, grate the beet with a fine mesh grater.
- Warm the stock on low heat, in a small saucepan on a different burner.
- In a large saute pan, on medium heat, add the oil and the butter. Let it melt. Then add the onions, and let it cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, and saute for a minute. Add in the Arborio rice, and toast it for about 4 minutes, until rice is translucent. You should smell the aroma of the rice at this point.
- Now add the white wine to deglaze the pan, and keep sautéing until the white wine has completely been absorbed. At this point, start adding ½ cup stock to the pan, and keep stirring, until all the water has been absorbed. There should not be any stock left in the pan, at which point you will add ½ cup stock again. Keep repeating the process for a total of 20-25 minutes, until the rice is al dente, where there is a slight bite to the rice, but yet it is soft (leave about 1 cup stock). The risotto should look creamy.
- At this point, add the parmesan cheese, thyme, and basil and mix well.
- Immediately divide the mixture between 2 saute pans. Add the grated beet mixture to one pan, and saffron to the other.
- Now start the 2 stoves simultaneously, add ½ cup stock to each pan, and keep stirring continuously, until all the liquid has been absorbed. The saffron risotto will get a beautiful orangish color and the beet risotto will get a beautiful magenta color. Switch off the stove. Let it cool for 15 minutes.
- Then store the 2 risottos separately in containers in the fridge overnight.
- For the Aioli:
- Put all the ingredients in a small bowl, and mix well.
- For the Arancinis:
- Remove the risottos from the fridge. Keep a large baking tray ready. Keep a conveyor belt of 3 bowls ready with flour, egg wash, and panko bread crumbs and the mozzarella cubes.
- With a small ice cream sorbet scoop or a tbsp, take a scoop of one of the risottos, and make balls. Place them on the baking tray. Once all are made, stuff each one with the cube and gently cover it and close it to seal it. Once all are stuffed with the cheese, start coating it in the flour, then the egg wash, and then the panko breadcrumbs. Lay it back on the baking tray. To prevent sticky lumpy fingers, use a fork for the panko bread crumbs part, and a spoon for the egg wash part.
- Once all the arancini are ready, freeze them for ½ hour in the freezer.
- Place a paper towel on a large plate, or a parchment paper. Get a large saucepan ready, filling halfway up with the vegetable oil for frying, on medium to high heat. It will take a good 7-8 minutes to be ready. Once the oil is ready, fry about 4 balls at a time on medium heat to heat all the way through and melt the cheese for about 2 minutes. Rotate half way through to brown the other side. Once browned, remove it the plate.
- Once all the arancini are fried, garnish with the grated parmesan cheese, and the parsley! Serve with the mustard aioli.