Cooling summer recipes


by Jackie Alfonso | June 16, 2009 • Sangria in two modes

One of the best summer refreshers, beautiful, healthy and fun to make.

Lemonade Chronicles is a blog written by Jackie Alfonso, a local writer who is deeply concerned about food … and other issues.

The recipes make one large pitcher full, serving 6-10. A clear glass pitcher lets you see the lovely fruit colors.

Two lemons, two oranges, two limes, a double handful of grapes (seedless or de-seeded), two-three sprigs of good mint, washed. Wash the fruits gently and carefully. Slice the citrus paper thin, removing the seeds as you slice. Put the slices into the pitcher, add 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp good vanilla extract, and muddle gently with a wooden spoon. Add a liter of fizzy water and ice as needed. At this point it is ready for children and teetotal friends.

For other adults, add 2 cups rum and one bottle of either fruity white wine or one bottle of a significant red wine, such as Conquista Malbec.

I actually prefer to make one pitcher without alcohol and one with, so that people who are thirsty can relieve thirst without alcohol – the party stays much more civilized.

Hot afternoon refresher

Put a generous handful of barley into a stainless pot, add water to nearly fill, a small pinch of salt, Bring slowly to a gentle boil, turn off the heat, cover and let rest. When at room temperature, strain through a fine sieve.

Add to the barley water a dollop of honey, stir to blend and chill. This is wonderful on a day when everyone is too hot to eat a real meal, or when the children get that ragged bright red from too much excitement. A glass of barley water in a dim, cool room is marvelous at such times. The barley can become part of a full-meal salad, adding greens, oil, lemon juice, etc.

Home Glace

This was a great fad when refrigerators first became common, or so I have been told. I know that my mother did this quite often. The one necessary tool, however, is aluminum ice-cube trays. These are difficult to find, so if you come across some at a yard sale, snap them up!

Mix together 1 quart unsweetened fruit juice, ½ cup cane sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into an aluminum ice tray without the divider, and place in the freezer compartment. Throughout the day, take out and scrape up the contents, mixing well.

[my mother aimed for every 20-30 minutes] After a couple of hours there is a noticeable change in texture – this is the time to serve, as a dessert or a light starter, scraping into those lovely crystal footed bowls you seldom use, with a mint sprig or Marjoram sprig garnish.

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