Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Summer entertaining should be simple, easy, and low stress. It’s just too hot to be mixing individual cocktails, so summer calls for a big batch of something delicious and refreshing that guests can help themselves and sip on as the sun drops lower in the sky. Rosé has become synonymous with summer afternoons and earlier in the season I had the pleasure of creating a recipe for a rosé tasting event at Maman, my favorite café in New York. Talk about a dream come true!

I was only recently introduced to Lillet Rosé by my lovely friends Josie & David, and afterward couldn’t believe I had gone so long without having it in my life. It makes a super simple aperitif – just add a sizable cube of ice and a slice of something citrusy.

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Or, take it one step further and transform it into a twist on sangria. Traditionally sangria combines wine with a liqueur or brandy, but since Lillet is already a fortified wine in my variation you get to skip that step. Score. Maman’s Provencal influence provided the inspiration to enhance the flavor by adding lavender and stone fruit. It fits the low-stress bill, and has the added benefit of being even better when it’s made in advance.

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria (serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 bottle (750 ml) Lillet Rosé
3/4 teaspoon (3-4 sprigs) dried culinary lavender buds
1 ripe black plum
1 ripe white nectarine
2 ripe apricots
1 medium lemon
1/4 cup (2 oz.) club soda
Ice
Garnish (optional): fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries

Instructions:
Pour the Lillet Rosé into a large pitcher or glass container. Lightly crush the dried lavender flowers between your hands to release the essential oils and place in a tea bell or a piece of cheese cloth tied with kitchen twine and suspend in the wine. Allow the lavender to infuse the wine while you prepare the fruit.

Wash and remove the stone from the plum, nectarine, and apricots. Slice into 1/3 inch wedges and drop into the pitcher. Thinly slice half the lemon (reserve the other half) into rounds or half moons and add to the sangria. Stir gently with a wooden spoon. Chill the sangria overnight, or at least 3-4 hours, to allow the fruit, lavender, and Lillet Rosé to steep.

Just before serving, use a sharp knife to remove large strips of peel from the reserved lemon and wipe the yellow skin of peel around the inside of each glass. Place the ice in the glasses, remove the lavender sachet from the sangria, and add the club soda to the pitcher.

Divide the sangria among the glasses making sure that the fruit goes in too – it’s delicious! Garnish with a sprig of lavender (if using) or additional berries as your heart desires. Relax and enjoy.

Original recipe created for Maman and sponsored by Lillet. All opinions are my own.

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes! I used a large pitcher, liquid measuring cup small cutting board, utility knife, wooden spoon, cheese cloth, and kitchen twine.
 

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria
Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa | Image: Laura Messersmith

It’s been a bit of an odd summer. We rang in Memorial Day with a non-traditional trip to Alaska where the weather was more like March than May. Then came the excitement of meeting the newest member of our family when my brother and sister-in-law welcomed their first baby, an adorable boy named James. He’s precious and already dearly loved by his aunties and uncle Mike.

In the meantime, I actually have been cooking a ton and making deep dives into the amazing produce that summer brings; I’ve just been incredibly neglectful of this space! I’ve become a bit obsessed with certain ingredients lately and I’m afraid to even begin sharing all the rhubarb related baked goods and tomato-laden salads that have come out of my kitchen in the last few weeks.

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa | Image: Laura Messersmith

As a slow start I’ll share this one – spicy pan-seared flank steak thinly sliced and served with a bracingly fresh cilantro, lime, and jalapeno spiked salsa. It rocks that strange place where a cool temperature meets a heated flavor profile and it’s dead easy to throw together last minute and have dinner on the table in 30.

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa | Image: Laura Messersmith

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa (serves 4)

Ingredients:

Salsa:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ears of corn, shucked
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2-3 teaspoons (1 small) finely minced jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed
1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper

Dry Rub & Steak:
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon English mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds flank steak

Instructions:
Shuck the ears of corn and cut kernels from cobs. Heat 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat and sauté the corn for 4-5 minutes or until lightly caramelized. Place in a medium bowl and allow to cool. Add the onion, jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice to corn and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Set salsa aside to allow the flavors to develop. Note: Salsa can be made 1 day ahead if covered and chilled.

Prepare the dry rub. Combine brown sugar and spices in a small bowl. Just before searing, coat both sides of the steak with all of dry rub mixture pressing lightly to help the rub adhere.

Heat a small drizzle of olive oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat until the oil coats the pan and just starts to smoke. Sear the steak 3-4 minutes on each side. Don’t fuss with the steak while it’s cooking, set a timer if need be to resist the temptation to move it around in the pan.

When an instant read thermometer reads 130 degrees in the thickest part, remove to a cutting board and allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve with the salsa.

Rewritten and adapted from Dry Rubbed Flank Steak with Grilled Corn Salsa by Brian Luscher of Luscher's Red Hots, Dallas, TX via Bon Appetit Magazine.

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Absolutely. I used a 10” stainless steel sauté pan, medium cutting board, large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, chef’s knife, spatula, tongs, and measuring spoons.

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Spice Rubbed Flank Steak with Fresh Tomato Corn Salsa | Image: Laura Messersmith

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula & Pine nuts

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula & Pine nuts  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula & Pine nuts | Image: Laura Messersmith

It probably sounds elementary, but once upon a time I used to think of Salad – capital S – as something that strictly consisted of lettuce, carrots, cherry tomatoes, and possibly a cucumber slice. Essentially, the Olive Garden version of a side dish. Sad.

Once my eyes were opened to the possibilities of adding cheese, nuts, grains, even fruit to the veggies and greens (or not!) a whole new world emerged. Mike started a new job a few weeks ago and the dining options near his office are pretty limited. To keep him sustained through the day I’ve been packing him lunches and thinking of new salad combinations.

Given my recent obsession with grilling basically everything, especially fruit, it was only a matter of time before I started putting grilled fruit IN SALAD. Crazy, I know, but it works! This one layers peppery arugula with slightly smokey grilled watermelon and shavings of salty parmesan. A sprinkle of toasted pine nuts for good measure and you have a salad that’s actually fresh and healthy but doesn’t taste like homework*.

*Not in the notebook paper sense, more in the I’m-only-eating-this-because-I’m-supposed-to sense.

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula & Pine nuts   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula & Pine nuts | Image: Laura Messersmith

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula & Pine nuts (serves 4)

Ingredients:
4 cups or 1/8 large seedless watermelon
4 cups arugula leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 ounces parmesan, shaved
1/3 cup balsamic or yogurt mint dressing (recipe below)

Instructions:
Pre-heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

Remove the rind, and slice the watermelon into 1/2 inch thick wedges. Grill in batches for 2-3 minutes per side allowing the watermelon to sear. While the watermelon cooks, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutesover low heat until lightly golden.

Allow the watermelon to cool to room temperature before layering with the arugula leaves, shaved parmesan, and toasted pine nuts. Serve dressed with balsamic vinaigrette or for a lighter option, Yogurt Mint Dressing.

Yogurt Mint Dressing (yield: 2 cups)

Ingredients:
6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
7 ounces plain or lemon Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
Place the scallions, mint, dill, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until it forms a coarse paste.

Add the Greek yogurt, salt, and pepper and pulse until combined. Transfer to a jar or food storage container and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Recipe for Yogurt Mint Dressing very lightly adapted from Ina Garten’s Yogurt Mint Sauce.

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula & Pine nuts   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula & Pine nuts | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes! I used a cast iron grill pan (surprise!), a medium cutting board, chef’s knife, y-shaped vegetable peeler, tongs, small skillet, and a small food processor. Measuring spoons and cups, a rubber spatula and a clean jar with a lid round out the tools.

The Verdict:
If you couldn't tell, I've been on a bit of a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern-ish kick lately, so when I served this salad for the first time it was along side the Greek Lamb with Yogurt Mint Sauce we had the other night. Which is when I discovered that while balsamic dressing is perhaps the more traditional addition, that I actually really like the combination with the cool yogurt and mint. Fresh, delicious, low effort, and an excellent way to cling on to the waning days of summer. 

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula & Pine nuts   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula & Pine nuts | Image: Laura Messersmith

Scouting: Broadway Bites

Broadway Bites  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Broadway Bites | Image: Laura Messersmith

I had a high expectations for my visit to Broadway Bites – my trip to its sister market Madison Square Eats last month set the bar preeetty high. Luckily BB is more than up to the challenge.

 I applied my experience from MSQ: scouting the vendors in advance (check), bringing cash (check), light breakfast & long walk (check, check). The walk is key by the way - both for building up an appetite and for balancing out all the great ‘bites’ there are to try. I tried to convince Mike to play hooky from work this afternoon, but he was too responsible, so I’m still looking for that buddy. Now accepting applications!

Broadway Bites  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Broadway Bites | Image: Laura Messersmith

Broadway Bites is a market that “brings together New York City’s most popular chefs, small culinary businesses and artisan producers, setting them up with outdoor kitchens in the heart of Midtown.” It runs through August 1st and then again this fall from October 1 – November 14th, so there are lots of opportunities to check it out for yourself! Here are some recommendations to get you started:

Brooklyn Taco makes an excellent chilorio brisket taco – the beef is tender and the pineapple salsa, cheese and crema are a great compliment, especially with final squeeze of lime.

Mason Jar NYC is rocking Southern inspired food and I loved the pulled pork egg roll - delicious pork and crisp veggies all in a freshly fried wrapper and dipped in spicy, tangy Asian BBQ sauce. Yum.

 Breads Bakery helped me understand why entire episodes of Seinfeld were based on Chocolate Babka. I was offered a sample and it's what I’m bringing for all future hostess gifts.

Onigiri by Tampopo onigiri are Japanese rice balls, think: giant piece of very loosely wrapped maki sushi – seaweed, rice and in my case the salmon and scallion filling. I always like sushi on hot days and with a splash of soy sauce this was a fresh, light dish.

La Newyorkina's frozen Pink Lime popsicle was lightly sweet and refreshing the perfect finish to a delicious lunch on a hot day.

Broadway Bites  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Broadway Bites | Image: Laura Messersmith

If these don’t tempt you, or you missed Madison Square Eats some of my favorites make an appearance at Broadway Bites - Arrancini Bros., La Sonrisa Empanadas, Melt, and Roberta's are all back for more!

Broadway Bites  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Broadway Bites | Image: Laura Messersmith