Better late than never…

…oh what a spring and early summer it has been.  Life took over in ways that were somewhat predictable and then chaos was the letter of the day.  At least that’s how it felt.  April blurred into May and then May into June.  On this last day of June, an attempt to get back in the game…

I was cooking.  I just wasn’t writing about any of it or sharing.

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Here’s what I learned.

  • In the midst of chaos, you continue to do the things that bring you joy or peace.  For me, that has still been cooking and hanging out with family and friends as time and energy allowed.  Still, my kitchen was a refuge for which I’m grateful.    I’m happy I don’t perceive that to be a chore.
  • You can find some time to make a quick pickle and even some jam if you have something beautiful from a farm or farmer (or your fridge is too small!).
  • Strawberry season in Oregon is really just the best.  I made strawberry agua fresca, my favorite buttermilk cake with strawberries, strawberry jam, roasted strawberries with vanilla bean, and just ate lots of fresh, sweet, plain wonderful berries by the handful!  Pure delight!
  • You can get by on a store-bought tomato is you have enough fresh basil, good olive oil, and thick balsamic vinegar.  Otherwise, yuck.
  • A bbq can make the most “normal” thing seem a little bit more exotic with the added smokiness from a grill.
  • A simple salad where everything comes from a farmer you know can make you feel really happy.  Make your own dressing and you start to feel very competent even if everything else is going awry or just feels out of control.
  • And other things.  More later.

In the meantime, if you can get your hands on some berries of any kind, make your own agua fresca.  I have one of those small “bullet” type blenders for making one smoothie at a time.  Here was my formula based loosely on my friend Liliana’s process.  She’s from Mexico and used to make lovely watermelon waters or fruit milks when we lived together years and years ago.  I was happy to think about her as I made my recipe.

  • About 1 cup of chopped fruit (I used strawberries but anything would work — berries, peach, watermelon, any melon, etc.)
  • About 1 cup of water (I think I added water just to cover the level of the berries so I’m guessing on the measurement)
  • The juice of 1/2 a lime or the full lime if you like it tart — limes scream summer to me!
  • A little squeeze (maybe a 1/2 teaspoon) or your favorite sweetener — I used maple syrup since it quickly dissolves in water compared to agave or honey or sugar
  • One or two ice cubes

After blending, I did pour it over an ice cube to make it extra cold.  It just feels like summer in a glass and I drank it instead of coffee that day.  Perfect!

~ C.

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