June 04, 2010

In Search of Summer ~ A Fruit Stand Stop on The Memorial Day Trip

We fought our way away from San Francisco on the 101 Highway toward Bodega Bay on Friday. After a couple of hours on the road we read a sign for CHERRIES -  $1 a box. So, the hungry, weary travelers we were, pulled off the road. My sonny boy grabbed a couple of dollars and headed to the canopies fruit stand for some deliciousness.
Well then, it turns out, these are the $4 boxes. The $1 boxes were very, very little with about 12 cherries. (Ah, 12 for a dollar would have made a good sign, too.)
See if you can find them on the table:
Ah, there's the little box -- way, way, way to the right tucked next to the apricots. Bait and switch at it's best. So, there we were with a mouthful of "Oh well!" as we snagged a box of deliciousness anyway.

You have to love the roadside stands.

The nectarines were hard as rocks, but irresistible too. They may be ready for lunches today.

I know there are many things to be done with cherries, but I almost never seem to get past the "bowl of cherries" point. Once in a while the red ones and the white ones make their way into a salad (after pitting them with my 1940's pitter) alongside blueberries and blackberries and a tart and mildly sweet yogurt sauce. Making it all the way to pie has never happened.

So tell me, please, what would you do with a basket or two of luscious summer cherries?

June 02, 2010

In Search of Summer ~ Muddled Lemonade

Consider the lemon.
Beautiful in color. Tart and refreshing in taste. Versatile as all get out.
Perhaps at it's best in a rich, tart lemonade. I like the kind that has a fair amount of body along with the flavor.
For me, one of the signs of summer is the refreshment found in a glass of lemonade.
Here's my favorite recipe:

Muddled Lemonade
8-12 lemons based on size (you'll be working to your taste)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4-6 cups water (four is tart and allows for melting ice cubes, six is a milder lemonade, five might just be perfection)
Muddle to your delight. (Smash the lemons with a potato masher, mixing the juices with the sugar) 4-5 minutes.
In two or three steps, remove the lemon rinds to a sieve or china cap. Press juices through. Dispose of rinds and seeds.
Finally, run remaining juice through the sieve if you like pulp free, or simply remove seeds.
Add water and, if you like, just a pinch of sea salt.
Breathe in.

June 01, 2010

In Search of Summer ~ Dinner on the Lawn

One favorite summer tradition in my neighborhood is dinner on the lawn. (Now, there are no pics, largely because my sonny, girlie and I took well over 500 Friday to Sunday in the north and we're giving our camera a rest. Shhh....)

For this event we seemed to celebrate Memorial Day goes Cinco de Mayo. Carne Asada, Pollo, Carnitas, Hueraches tortillas, cojita cheese, grilled peppers, cebollitas and apple pie. The neighbors and the other neighbors and kiddies old and young, the cars and friends who just drop by all joined and enjoyed.

We'll do this all summer now. Candles, conversation, tables and tablecloths, beach chairs, a big grill in the driveway and friendship that grow with the wakings and the moving about of each day. It's rich. It's never the same. There are throw in evenings, fancy evenings and ordering pizza evenings.

This marks the beginning of summer for us.

When I asked my kindergarten friend Jessica what her happy thought for this vacation day would be she just said, "this." I have to agree with her. This lawn gathering with my pals is my happy thought, too.

May 30, 2010

In Search of Summer ~ the Farm Calls

Darling cousin Saralynn graduated this weekend. So we traveled to celebrate. The gift to us was a weekend in Northern California and a long visit to their farm (with this horse). Beyond the joy of family together, it became a reminiscence of many summers past on my dad's ranch. Working with the horses. Heading to the shore. Experiencing a different life than my school year.

My kiddos are practically packed for a trip to experience the same. Oh we are searching for summer.


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