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One of my very favorite ways of celebrating special days is making a special meal for the person being honored. For instance, for birthdays I make their favorite dinner and desserts. It’s how I show my family I love them, and it’s much more personal than packing up my family and heading out to dinner somewhere. I do the same for Father’s Day for my husband and it’s something the kids have picked up on. They do the same for me for Mother’s Day, and the wonderful thing about that is that we don’t have to fight the crowds on those busy holidays.
When Valentine’s Day rolls around, many restaurants begin serving a special menu and prices are sky high. So I take a bit of a different approach.
When my husband and I first got together I wasn’t much of a cook. There were about 5 dinners I had on constant rotation, or else I would order out. His way of wooing me was to cook for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, breakfast (or brunch) was always my jam. I’ve always loved to make breakfast, and in those early days of our relationship we loved to cook brunch together. We’d leisurely create our meal, helping one another cook ourselves a feast.
Those are some of my fondest memories.
In fact, my husbands enjoyment of preparing meals actually rubbed off on me, and helped me dabble into cooking. He is a huge part of my cooking journey, and as a result it’s a rarity that he has to cook anymore.
Since our love story began as a blending of our family, sometimes going out for romantic dinners (or brunch) just isn’t in the cards. We’ve always had children to tend to as well, so it was important for us to make them an important part of the foundation of our relationship. Sometimes that means we get creative with dates. We might go out to a movie when the kids are at school or have a late dinner together at home once the kids go to bed.
So I came up with a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. I decided we’d enjoy the day at home, prepare some sexy sangria’s the night before and then the morning of Valentine’s Day we could work together to create this delicious and super easy brunch.
To prepare the sangrias I wanted to get just the right wines. Something flavorful, but also fun and casual. I found The Dreaming Tree Wines in both red and white varieties. The north coast red wine is dubbed Crush, and it’s a red blend. The central coast white wine is dubbed Everyday, and it’s a white blend. I discovered that The Dreaming Tree Wines is a brand that is sustainably conscious from vine to table. The labels are made with 100% recycled brown paper, the bottles are 1/4 pound lighter than average, the bottles and corks are recyclable – all of this means they leave a smaller carbon footprint.
That’s a company I can stand behind!
The Dreaming Tree Wines are a creative collaboration between the musician Dave Matthews and Sean McKenzie, who is an award-winning winemaker. Together they launched a collection of high-quality wines in Fall of 2011 that are also approachable.
The Dreaming Tree Everyday White Wine tasted clean and crisp. There’s fresh floral notes, as well as citrus and ripe honeysuckle notes with a bit of a zesty fruit flavor without being overly sweet. Oh yeah, this is my kind of wine!
The Dreaming Tree Crush Red Wine Blend is a combination of a few wine varieties. There’s Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Syrah resulting in a very unique blend of flavors. There’s raspberry jam and vanilla oak characters on the nose, with juicy mixed berry flavors. The flavor is rich, without being overpowering, and not too dry for this gal that’s not necessarily a red wine drinker. I actually quite liked it!
I decided to play on those citrusy flavors with the Everyday wine and use some grapefruit, orange and lemons in the sangria. In addition, I added some apricot, apple and pineapple for a bit of a sweet punch and a few sprigs of mint for fun. In addition to the wine, I added some ginger ale and pineapple juice for a bit of a sweet fizz. This would be a wonderful sangria to serve on hot summer nights, but really I could enjoy it year round.
Since the crush had a bit of a deeper taste to it, I played up the berry fruitiness of it by adding blackberries and blueberries. I also decided to add some mango and apples for a hint of sweetness. Topped with limes and a bit of rosemary and cinnamon sticks for depth, I mixed the wine with some orange juice to really make this a deep and rich sangria that would surely be unforgettable. This would be a great sangria to serve over the holiday season with the rich scents of rosemary and cinnamon.
As for the brunch? I was inspired by some of my favorite omelet flavors, but decided to put it in a different form. This is incredibly easy and so fun to put together, leaving more time to snuggle with your love and really celebrate your romance. I combined cheese, spinach, deli sliced chicken and tomatoes with egg and herbs and put it on top of puff pastry to create these adorable little tartlets. They paired beautifully with the sangria’s!
I just love how it all came out, so much flavor and beautiful colors between each of the sangrias and the delicious tartlets. What’s really awesome is if these tartlets are something I want to serve the whole family I just double the recipe and pop them in the oven! Super easy brunch and it’s totally open for customization! If you’re not into tomatoes you can change them out with something else, or if you want to make it vegetarian you could take the meat out.
Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
Ingredients for White Sangria:
- 3/4 cup pineapple chunks
- 1/2 grapefruit, sliced into thin wedges
- 2 apricots, diced into small chunks
- 1/2 orange, cut into thin slices
- 1 golden delicious apple, cut into small chunks
- 1 lemon, sliced thinly
- 4 sprigs mint
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup ginger ale
- 1 bottle Dreaming Tree Everyday White Wine
Ingredients for Red Sangria:
- 1 mango, diced
- 1/2 cup blackberries, slicing each berry in half
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 bartlett pear, diced
- 1 honeycrisp apple, diced
- 1 lime, thinly sliced
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1.5 cups orange juice
- 1 bottle Dreaming Tree Crush Red Wine
- 2 cinnamon sticks
Ingredients for Egg, Chicken and Veggie Tartlets:
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
- 2 pieces of deli thin sliced rotisserie style chicken breast, chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped spinach
- 1 roma tomato, thinly sliced
- 4 eggs
- fresh cracked black pepper
- Italian parsley, chopped
Directions for White Sangria:
Directions for Red Sangria:
Directions for Egg, Chicken and Veggie Tartlets:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the sheet of puff pastry, then cut into fourths, creating four squares. Score the pastry sheet near the edges, then prick the centers with a fork. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
Add two slices of tomatoes to each square. Carefully break the eggs into a small bowl, being careful not to break the yolk. Carefully pour the egg onto the center of each pastry, then add a bit of fresh cracked pepper.
Are you more of a red or a white wine person?
There’s something for every taste, be sure to check out your local retailer for wine tasting demos! For additional information on The Dreaming Tree Wines and more recipe pairing ideas, follow along on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube