The Hoppy Okapi

Occasional posts about hiking and other stuff

Weekend Kitten Update! October 19, 2008

Filed under: kitties — Amanda @ 20:01
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The cuddly baby kittens have names – Athena (being typically adorable, below), and Zephyr. For more about them, check out Chuck’s entry at Tapir Tantrum.


Little Italy Festa!

Last weekend, we noticed that the street a block south of us was closed down on Saturday morning, and it looked like there were some chalk artists working there. Starting on Sunday morning, we noticed an ever-increasing stream of people walking down toward the drawings, and discovered that it was time for yet another Little Italy street festival – Festa!

Pre-Festa, we started out the morning well, with a delicious brunch of corned beef hash. We had already enjoyed three days of Reubens using our home-corned beef, and on Sunday we combined them with homemade hash browns for a super-easy and super-yummy corned beef hash.

By the time we made it to Festa in mid-afternoon, it seemed like every single person from the greater San Diego area was there – it was crowded! There were gigantic lines at all of the food booths, so even though the Philly CheeseSteak booth smelled really really good, we opted to save ourselves half an hour and skip it. The coolest thing we saw at Festa was a cooking demonstration by Nick Stellino, whose Mediterranean Flavors was one of the first cookbooks I owned (and is the source of my favorite baklava recipe!).

My other favorite part was the chalk drawings – all of the artists created images that were trying to capture the spirit of Italy:

After walking around for a little bit, we decided to escape the crowds and grab some gelato at Pappalecco before heading back home – yummy!


Hooray for Early Voting! October 13, 2008

Filed under: San Diego — Amanda @ 19:34
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Thanks to the wonders of California’s vote-by-mail system, my ballot is on its way!



Cuddly Baby Kitties! October 9, 2008

Filed under: kitties — Amanda @ 21:07
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They’re better than cuddly baby okapis, cause you can actually take them home!

We still need to give them names, but they’re already ultra-cute!


Sangria Drink-Through #1: Fig-Cherry-Cognac October 1, 2008

Filed under: 101Things,sangria,wine — Amanda @ 22:12
Tags: , , , , , ,

One of the goals on my 101 Things list is to complete a cook-through project, where I make every recipe in one of the cookbooks that I have. To keep this project manageable, instead of life-consuming or tedious, it only makes sense to choose one of the shorter, single-subject cookbooks. And while a creme brulee or grilled cheese blog project would probably be fun, I have chosen Sangria: Fun and Festive Recipes by Mittie Hellmich to do a drink-through.

The rules:

  1. I’ll make all of the sangria recipes in the book, but not necessarily the tapas recipes at the end.
  2. I can make the recipes in any order I choose, but have to finish before the end of my 1001 days (May 2, 2011)
  3. I’ll try to follow the recipes exactly (recommended wine styles, etc), but may ignore optional ingredients or substitute ingredients, especially for the several sangrias I’ve made before (red jalepenos instead of bell peppers in the Spanish Harlem sangria, maybe…)

The first sangria I made as part of the project was Fig, Cherry, and Cognac Sangria. With the dark, rich flavors, this might be considered more of a wintery sangria, but we had the dried cherries and figs on hand from one of Chuck’s brewing projects, and it seemed like a good idea to use them up.

Cherry, Fig, and Cognac Sangria Recipe

Cherry, Fig, and Cognac Sangria Recipe

My Ingedients

My Ingredients

One of the best things about sangria is that it’s super-easy to make – combine the wine and flavorings, chill for a few hours, then add some sparkling water and serve. By combining different kinds of wines, fruits, and other flavorings, the possibilities are almost endless. For most red-wine sangrias, the book recommends light-bodied red wines, particularly a Spanish Rioja Cosecha. (Cosecha refers to the vintage, and I think the book perhaps means crianza, which means aged for at least two years, instead, especially since the introduction contrasted the cosecha wines with the reserva wines, which are aged for at least three years). After much searching of the meager Spanish wine section of my local grocery stores, I found Campo Viejo Tempranillo, cosecha 2005, a rioja crianza (that should cover all my bases!) The wine was very dry and fairly light-bodied. I only had a small taste before adding it to the fruit, but would have been happy having a glass or two.

Step 1: slice figs and cherries; add warmed honey and cognac; stir to combine.

Cherry, Fig, and Cognac Sangria Ingredients

Fruit, Honey, Cognac

Step 2: add the wine; refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Adding wine to the fruit and cognac

Adding wine to the fruit and cognac

Step 2: add chilled sparkling water, stir gently, and serve in pretty glasses. (optionally, strain seeds out before adding sparkling water; garnish with mint).

Cherry, Fig, and Cognac Sangria

Cherry, Fig, and Cognac Sangria

The finished product was delicious – the dryness of the tempranillo was nicely offset by the sweetness from the cherries and figs, and the cognac added an oaky warmth. We paired this sangria with homemade roasted garlic-pepperoni pizza, then ate the wine-soaked cherries and figs for dessert.

This is a great sangria (it’s not the first time we’ve made this recipe), and I highly recommend it; to me, it matches well with tomato-based sauces because of the sweetness, and is more of a cooler-weather sangria because of the warmth added by the cognac – it’s kind of a “comfort sangria”. The richness of the figs and cherries also provide a sophistication to the flavor profile.



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