Saturday, July 22, 2017

Rhubarb lemonade

Hello and goodbye third week of July, taking on a trail that could rival The Speed Force and one I am not too unhappy to see leave. It's seasonal dysfunctionalism, you see. Here I am, with not more than a half-shelf's worth of week's leftovers, less than 10 words on this update which needs to be out yesterday, and the splitting midmorning headache that wants me to crawl into the icebox, right next to the leftovers.

Lazy is a such a negative word, although many of you who pop in for a view and note my repeated absences will brand me as such. Though, my selective participation, as I like to call it, helps me decipher where and when to partake in many dispensable, indispensable, semidispensable activities. Such as brushing my hair, feeding people/myself/lone animal living under common roof, shooing away the variety of wildlife that have made my backyard their home/(surprise!) bathroom and, of course, updating an inspirational cooking journal. You may disagree on the last part, though I sincerely hope not. 

Still, as much as I am in the dregs of Exhausting Inferno, I want to share with you at least one of the menu items that rotate regularly in 16 ounce tumblers on my table, mainly because there is often produce overflow of main ingredient, this time of year, but more the fact it keeps sanity intact. These would be for days( too many to count) of climatic lethargy, when the brain is too fried to even consider daily nourishment, much less how to keep afloat when surroundings, situations, lack of dessert ideas clearly try to drown my very soul. So, when I reach for the 4 pound bag of lemons in the produce bin, know that I am on a mission, to hydrate my people and restore personal wellbeing. We all have a calling. Right?

A batch of lemonade is sustenance I believe, especially when you live in a furnace most of the year and have made so much that you devise clever ways for it to become an essential(ahem)dietary requirement to the two underlings you house. That's when your tall glass of liquid citrus will contain either one or several of the following options: bites of peach, mango, blueberry, strawberries, multiberries and the accompaniment to my now famous pudina sandwiches...options which have your drink look as appealing as magic markers.

The idea for rhubarb (yes rhubarb!!) saturated lemonade comes from this FOOD52 article. The gorgeously shiny vegetable has the unique distinction of being declared fruit as well and lends a surprising dimension to what might have been mere meh refreshment. There is a rustic quality about rhubarb, the ridges which line it's pearly stalks, the purity in it's tartness. Pieces cooked and blended into freshly crushed lemons make it fashionably coral and brilliantly addictive; a sip as bright and clean as the first morning sun. And poetry in a glass.

Finally, if you desire a less homogeneous look, layer the strained(pink) rhubarb mix on top of the strained lemon(yellow) one, when serving. It just might be that level of cool that boosts your status to Master of Amplified Drinkmaking.
And when life gives you lemons, it's ok to dream big.

(Inspiration: FOOD52's sparkling rhubarb lemonade)
  • 2 long-ish stalks rhubarb, cut into half inch pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 6- 8 lemons, quartered, preferably remove piths and any visible seeds
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1 ½- 2 cups water
  • 1 cup ice
  • ¾ cup sugar(more if needed)
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • Put the rhubarb in 1 cup water(enough to just cover pieces) and bring to a boil. Simmer until pieces break down and become soft and cooked. Cool.
  • In a blender put the quartered lemons, lime (peel and all) with the cooled rhubarb mixture and half cup water. Blend on a low setting for just under a minute, allowing blades to crush the citrus. Do not blend longer, blades will grind any remaining seeds, and mixture will become bitter.
  • Strain this into another container/ large pitcher, clear of any sediment. 
  • Clean out blender jar and pour the strained juice mixture along with remaining water, sugar, ice and one sprig mint. 
  • Blend until sugar dissolves. Add more water/sugar/ice if needed.
  • Pour into glasses.
  • Garnish with additional mint.
I never remove pith or seeds of the citrus. Just have blades whir a few times, on low setting and strain the liquid before I blend with the remaining ingredients. 

Tongue cooler.  It looks good and sits well with a spice rubbed porkrib dinner. 
Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. 
-Psalm 32:7(KJB)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Star spangled meringues

As the mercury climbs to record breaking highs, never to pale its reputation in bringing about the hottest month of summer in the desert Southwest, we usher in America's 241st birthday, maybe viewing fireworks, most probably eating sticky ribs and very definitely sipping rhubarb lemonade (for which you need to remind me to give you the recipe). This could be the reason for the rush publish, pushing my red, white and blue 🇱🇷handiwork out the door right now, this moment, after I type in, at least, twenty more words. Perhaps, though, a truer reality might be that I was craving meringues, at the same time wanting also to show off the 4 dozen I theme painted (over two of these batches) in less than  half a day.
But then, you must never wait for an occasion to beckon your inner child. Find ways to festive up, no matter how circumstances steer your life. Or how cumbersome your load gets. There will always be the cookie/task/moment that shoos the mundane and dark away and hails in the bright morning star.
 Swirling some star spangled pretty.
Consider this something to wow the guests you will invite, and color appropriate to accommodate any time/season/circumstance. It could also be pretext in which you get called over to your neighbor's backyard barbecue come following year.
Or...maybe do like I do, when those insatiable cravings come rushing in like thunder and you need just that bit of color to brighten up any horizon; revel in the work of your hands and have the two favorite family members share in on the magic.

Have a fun, safe and memorable 4th of July, my friends.

Meringue cookies recipe and directions

How to do the red and blue stripes~ Food network 
The joy of the Lord is my strength♥️
"Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10