Monday, September 27, 2010

Big Taste Sangria

I promised simple recipes that can be assembled right before the game or during intermission here. Sangria is simple, but you can't make just one serving and, if you really want it to be good, it needs to chill in the refrigerator overnight. But you have time before the Penguins' season officially starts on October 7. This is enough to give 6-8 people a glass, so it's good if you're having people over to watch the game or were asked to bring something to someone else's house.

Evgeni Malkin not only scored a goal in September 25's pre-season game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he proved that Russians can too fight by beating the hell out of Rick Nash. He stated that he liked sangria in an interview during the summer of 2009, and so I named this sangria after his description of the champagne he drank from the Stanley Cup. Sangria almost always has "big taste."

I made this last week using fall fruits--figs, pears, plums. Tempranillo is a Spanish red wine. It's usually inexpensive. Any Spanish red will do; if you can't find that, shiraz will work. Sangria's a great way to salvage cheap wine, so don't go wasting an expensive bottle on this if you try it. Also, maybe you'll want to wear the black jersey on opening night.

Big Taste Sangria

1 bottle Tempranillo or other Spanish red wine
2 shots apricot brandy
2 Tbsp sugar
1 plum, well-washed (not peeled) and quartered
1 small-to-medium pear, well-washed (not peeled) and quartered
2-3 ripe figs, peeled and cut in half
Half a lemon, sliced
2 cups ginger ale

Get a large pitcher. Give the wedges of plums and figs you've prepared a squeeze into the pitcher, then put them in. Put in the pear quarters. Squeeze the lemon slices over the other fruit, then put them in. (The lemon will keep the pears and plums from turning brown.)

Pour the entire bottle of wine over the fruit. Add the brandy and sugar, then stir well. Chill overnight. Stir again and add the ginger ale just before serving.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hockey's Back!

Today, on the whole, has been a bad day. (I won't go into it; you've had yours, too.) We'll have bad days between now and Spring 2011. But now, we'll also have hockey on TV most nights to distract us! This automatically makes them a whole lot better than bad summer weekdays.

Okay, it's not the start of the season yet. As Penguins fans, we wait for October 7 with baited breath. But pre-season's just fine for now. We'll enjoy these games and see what the newcomers do and hope against hope that our favorite players aren't injured by the time the games that count roll around.

Since I'm married to a Red Wings fan, tomorrow's pre-season opener is particularly special in my household. It's special even though we can only listen to it on internet radio. We'll kiss on every Penguins or Red Wings goal, as per cherished tradition, which means we get to kiss on every goal tomorrow night! I hope all the goalies are sieves and the Wings' goalies are just a little leakier. Oooossss-goooood...

I've decided I needed to do a few things with the blog this season. I'm still finding a new layout I like. I decided that I will never again use my blog as part of a pride-bet with my wife, her best friend, or any other Red Wings fan. Last year, I talked myself into having to turn this blog red and white for 24 hours, including this disgusting and hastily-assembled logo:

*shudders* Never, ever again. I also had a real thing for using cinnamon schnapps in warm cocktails last year. I figured that I need to diversify my repertoire as we get into winter. I made this last night. There isn't a drop of schnapps, cinnamon or otherwise, in it. Depending on where you live, the weather may be cool enough to make you want to try it tomorrow night. If it isn't, it'll get that way soon, and isn't that awesome?

Hockey's Back!

1 bag licorice tea (I used Stash Tea's Licorice Spice)
2 ounces Pernod
1 ounce vanilla vodka
1 teaspoon sugar or Splenda

Brew the licorice tea in a mug half-filled with hot water for a few minutes. While that's brewing, combine Pernod and vanilla vodka, either by stirring in another small glass or shaking. When the tea is brewed, remove the bag and stir in sweetener, then Pernod and vodka. Sip slowly while it's warm.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Driver 14

"Stupid risks are what make life worth living."--Homer Simpson

Yes, this is still a hockey blog. But it's also still off-season. Many hockey fans coped with summer by turning to baseball (not fun for Pittsburgh sports fans). Some enjoyed the World Cup. Some are thrilled that football's back. And then there are a few of us who like NASCAR, meaning that we always get to watch at least one sport we enjoy.

I was a NASCAR fan first--took me a couple of years to stop referring to a hard check into the boards as "putting him into the wall"--and the love of my sports-watching life is Tony Stewart. Yesterday he had one of the strongest cars at the Loudon, New Hampshire race track. He came painfully close to winning, but he and his crew had taken a gamble on fuel, and he ran out on lap 298. Unfortunately, it was a 300-lap race, and stupid Clint Bowyer won it. Stewart came in 26th at 5 mph on fumes. Of the 12 drivers eligible to win the Sprint Cup championship this year, Stewart starts the Chase for the Championship, a/k/a "playoffs", in 11th place. Y'all better believe I cried.

I like many of the same things about the Penguins and Tony Stewart. Stewart thrives on adversity, even if he has to make it himself. His face is easier to read than the Cat in the Hat, a quality I also love about Sidney Crosby. He's quirky and funny. He'll piss me off, break my heart in three places, make me shake my head, but never, ever bore me. And then there are those lovely occasions when he cuts the bullshit, summons up his abundance of natural talent, and wins big. That makes days like yesterday worth it.

How boring would it be to watch a driver, player, or team who didn't make you sick occasionally? If you don't want your emotions taken from the mountaintop to the ocean floor and back, don't watch Tony Stewart or the Penguins. Don't watch racing or hockey, for that matter. Try Dancing with the Stars or some lame nonsense like that instead.

Oh, yes, and there's a recipe. This is what I've been drinking most weekends this summer. Who else would I name it after?

Driver 14

About 5-6 ounces cherry soda (Boylan's, Cheerwine, and Dr. Brown's are good)
2 ounces Captain Morgan Lime Bite
Lime wedge
Crushed ice

Half-fill a large tumbler with crushed ice. Pour in the rum, then the soda. Stir gently. Squeeze juice from lime wedge into drink.

Next post is about pre-season hockey--hell yeah!!!!