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Hello Summer!

So, I don’t really know where spring went, but it feels like we have jumped right in to summer. We are in the middle of a beautiful Memorial Day weekend, and I am loving it. Sunshine, dinner on the patio, bonfires, fresh air, windows open… it’s great. (A big thank you, by the way, to all of the men and women who have served our country. I appreciate your sacrifices, and I hope you feel honored this weekend!) 

I picked up a watermelon on my way home from work on Friday, and decided that today was a perfect day for some fresh lemonade. It was also the perfect day to not spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so I needed an easy recipe. Oh, and I discovered that there were only 2 lemons in my crisper drawer, so that meant that this recipe for rhubarb lemonade was out. (I’m definitely adding that recipe to my list for this spring/summer though. Just have to get some more lemons!) Then I remembered this recipe from an old issue of Everyday Food. It fit the bill.

Since my melon was especially sweet, I reduced the sugar to 1/3 of a cup. I also went light on the mint since my plant is still small. I didn’t measure out the how much melon it took me to get eight cups of juice. I sliced the watermelon, then pureed it in batches until I had enough juice. My guess is that it took just under half of my watermelon, leaving us plenty of melon to enjoy with our lemonade. And plenty of time left for fun. Because that’s what long weekends are made for, right?

watermelon lemonade

Watermelon Lemonade 

Half of a medium-sized seedless watermelon, rind removed and flesh cut in to large chunks
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large lemons, quartered
handful of fresh mint (The original recipe calls for an entire cup of mint, which would have decimated my little plant, so I picked about six sprigs of mint.) 

Squeeze the lemon quarters into a large pitcher. Add the brown sugar and mint leaves. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves, bruising the mint leaves in the process. Add the lemon quarters to the mixture.

Meanwhile, puree the watermelon chunks in a blender. You need about 8 cups of watermelon puree, which is about three batches of watermelon chunks in my blender. Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl or measuring cup. (I use my 8-cup Pyrex for this.) Pour the watermelon puree into the strainer and press on the pulp to extract all of the juice. Repeat the process until you have 8 cups of juice. Pour the juice into the pitcher with the lemon/mint mixture. Stir to combine.

Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve, or serve immediately over ice.

Adapted from Everyday Food Magazine, July/August 2008

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2014 in Drinks

 

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Millions of peaches…

…peaches for me (come on, you know you’re singing the rest of the song with me now). You know that entire bushel of peaches I had? Well, I couldn’t let the summer go by without at least testing that peach wine cooler recipe I saw. And I knew that Karen would be more than willing to give this a try with me. (Side note: I realize that my posts make it sound like all we do is get together to try out new drinks. That’s not true. Sometimes we do other things, like frost cakes and eat ice cream.) 

The original recipe called for two ounces of peach schnapps. Well, I must not be familiar enough with the liquor section at my grocery store, because I was unable to find a bottle of schnapps. And after thinking about it some more, I decided that I didn’t want to buy an entire bottle for just a couple ounces. What would I do with the rest? It’s not like vodka, which I could turn into vanilla. (And yes, I do turn vodka into vanilla. It’s wonderful. More on that another day.) Instead, we decided to add some vanilla and a couple of extra peaches to the wine coolers instead of the schnapps. I also halved the recipe, and it was the perfect amount for four glasses. I’ve noted these changes below; head on over to Annie’s site to see the original recipe!

I realize it’s not the prettiest picture. I blame the lack of daylight and the fact that it was after 10 p.m. when we finally got around to drinking/photographing these.

Peach Wine Coolers

12 ounces of fresh peaches, peeled and halved
1 750ml bottle of semi-sweet white wine (I tried FlipFlop’s Riesling for this batch.) 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch salt
Extra peach slices for garnish

In a blender, combine the peaches, one cup of wine, vanilla and salt. Puree until the mixture is smooth. Add in the remaining wine and chill for an hour or two.

Serve over ice, garnished with peach slices.

From Annie’s Eats

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Drinks

 

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Strawberry Wine (Coolers!)

Ahh, wine coolers. Those super-sweet, fruity-flavored, neon-hued beverages were the first “real” drinks I tasted. I’ll be the first to admit that I enjoyed them then. They’re not something I drink so much any more though – I tend to prefer a glass of wine instead. But then, I saw Annie’s post about homemade peach wine coolers, and then strawberry wine coolers, and I was intrigued. I knew that Karen would be willing to try them with me (especially since these are flamingo-colored!), so we whipped up a half batch last weekend.

Let’s just say that they were a success, and we’re definitely ready to try the peach variety in a few weeks when peaches are in season. (Plus, they’re easy to put together, which is a huge plus, considering the weather lately! Speedy, frosty beverages are a win-win when it’s 90+!)

Strawberry Wine Coolers

1/2 pound strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1 750ml bottle of semi-sweet white wine, well chilled (I used a Riesling from Yellow Tail.)
1 ounce of vodka
pinch of sea salt

In a blender, combine all but four of the strawberries, one cup of wine, the vodka and the sea salt. Pulse the mixture until the strawberries are pureed.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any seeds and chunks. (We skipped this step, thinking that fruit chunks wouldn’t bother us, which was true. However, once we got to the bottom of our glasses, we had quite the collection of seeds. Learn from our mistake; strain the mixture.) 

If necessary, put the strawberry mixture back in the fridge (or freezer, to speed things up) to chill. Before serving, pour the rest of the wine into the strawberry mixture.

Garnish wine glasses with the remaining strawberries, and serve the wine coolers over ice. Enjoy!

From Annie’s Eats

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Drinks

 

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