Lychee-Infused Wine

luluesque.wordpress-lychee wine-2{Sorry! iPhone shot!}

I keep hearing all this rage about lychee martinis, but I understand they’re made with vodka. I decided to make my own “girly concoction” because 1) I LOVE lychee (along with rambutan and longans) and 2) I really like sweet, white wine – so why not marry the two?

Lychee (pronounced “lit-chee” or “lee-chee”) trees are tropical evergreens that originated from southern China, Malaysia, and Vietnam. They belong in the botanical family Sapindaceae, also known as ”soapberry.” Fruits from this family include maple, horse chestnut, guarana, ackee, longan, rambutan, and lychee. The fruit grows in clusters, much like grapes. It has an interesting snake skin texture, that when the skin is peeled away, reveals an opaque white flesh that is heavenly sweet and succulent, kind of like a peeled grape! Inside each fruit is a single dark brown seed.

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{Sorry! iPhone shot!}

Selecting the Wine or Champagne.

You will want a wine that is not too light nor too bold. You want the lychee infusion to be the focus, thus anything too fruity, leaning in any one direction, may overpower the delicate notes. You may also consider selecting a wine that is not too sweet as you will be using some of the canned juice. Wines such as Moscato, Riesling, or Gewürztraminer, all have very high sugar content. If you decide to choose these wines, just know that you and/or your guest will be consuming “hummingbird syrup!” But to each their own. Interesting enough, Gewürztraminer has strong notes of lychee, so you may just want to try that!

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Strain the lychee fruit and keep the juice in a separate container/bottle. Put all the lychee fruit in your pitcher.
  2. Pour the lychee juice into your silicone ice trays. Place them in your freezer for about 1 hour, or until frozen.
  3. Pour the chardonnay into your pitcher.
  4. Refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours.
  5. Scoop a few lychees into your wine glass, add one lychee ice-cube into the glass and serve chilled.
  6. Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint or basil. Voila! Enjoy!

For other lychee-inspired recipes, check out NPR’s “Cracking the Lychee Nut” article.

Alligator Pear Smoothie

If you love avocados (Fun Fact: it’s colloquially known as the “Alligator Pear”), you will love this simple and nutritious dessert or snack. If you are concerned about all the sugar in the sweetened condensed milk, you can use Splenda as a substitute. The avocado adds fiber and vitamin K, while the organic milk provides calcium and vitamin D.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large Haas avocado ~washed, peeled @ cut into chunks (save 1 thin slice as garnish)
  • 8 ice cubes (mine are shaped like orange wedges)
  • 4 TB sweetened condensed milk
  • organic whole milk
  • organic raspberries (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put the avocado, condensed milk, and ice cubes in a 16-ounce magic bullet cup. Pour enough milk over these ingredients to cover them.
  2. Blend until smooth. Be sure to mix it up every so often, as the avocado tends to stick to the bottom or sides.
  3. Serve in a fancy glass & garnish with some  raspberries (adds a nice tart flavor) and/or avocado slices.

Refreshing Barley Lemonade

Barley is a versatile cereal grain derived from the annual grass Hordeum Vulgare. They are often mistaken for wheat berries. When sprouted, barley contains high levels of maltose, which is the base for malt syrup sweeteners. Fermented barley is used to make beer and some alcoholic beverages.

If you like Horchata and/or freshly-squeezed lemonade, you will really like this hot-weather drink! The drink itself is a milky-beige color with a strong hint of lemon and subtle barley flavor. I stumbled upon this out of a bargain Vegetarian cookbook from Barnes and Noble. I like to add lots of lemon juice – Vitamin C is good for us! For a “fizzy” twist, add sparking mineral water and garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 7.5 cups filtered water
  • Grated rind of 1 organic lemon
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • Juice of 2 large organic lemons
  • Lemon slices and mint ~ for garnish

Directions: 
*Scour and rinse the barley well, then place in a large pot and add the filtered water. * Bring it to a boil, skimming off the scum that rises to the top. *Cook for 20 minutes. *Add the rind and sugar, stirring well. *Remove pan from the stove and let it cool. *Strain the mixture into a separate container and add the lemon juice. *Serve chilled with ice. *Garnish with lemon slices and a sprig of mint.