Friday, August 27, 2010

End of Summer Joys

We have one more week in Maine, and, as usual, I am melancholy.  We enjoy our time here so much, and the pace of life is much more suited to me than our life down South, that I always hate to see it end.  But this year, I determined not to focus on the loss but celebrate the joys.  In the past few days, we've visited friends for a last hurrah and had a blast.  The girls helped with their last of the summer storytime at the library.  Jasper and I have taken late night, moonlit constitutionals down by the lake.  We'll see more friends this weekend, and we will eat ice cream one last time at the dairy bar.

This past week, I hit upon a delightful summer libation that I'll share with you.  Our neighbors gave us at least half a large watermelon on Sunday afternoon, leftover from the weekend. We ate some of it, and then I started thinking of beverages that could be made from the rest. A little Googling later, and I found the one at SmittenKitchen: watermelon lemonade. However, since I didn’t have any fresh lemons to juice, but I did have a 12-ounce container of frozen pink lemonade concentrate, I decided to improvise. The results were lip-smackingly fabulous. Tiny Girl opted for a sweeter version (what a shock), so I whipped up some simple syrup to add to hers. Haven’t made simple syrup before? It’s so easy and the best way to add sweetness to cold drinks. You can also use it as a base for homemade hummingbird food.

Watermelon Lemonade
(makes four decent-sized servings)

2 cups cubed and seeded watermelon
6 ounces frozen pink lemonade concentrate (half a 12-ounce can, for those of you mathematically challenged, as I am)
Water, either sparkling or still

Process the watermelon in a blender until liquefied. Add concentrate and process again til well mixed. This is your base.  To serve, fill a glass half full with the base. Top off with water, either still or sparkling. We used the latter, since life is sometimes better when it’s bubbly. If you like things sweeter, add a dab of simple syrup. A sprig of mint is a nice touch.

Simple Syrup
The ratio for simple syrup is one part water to one part sugar. To make it cooler faster (great if you’re about to use it in a beverage), use half as much water and then add the other half after the sugar has dissolved.

Bring half a cup of water to a boil. Add one cup sugar and stir til it’s dissolved. Stir in half a cup of cold water. Store in the fridge.

To use as hummingbird food, mix a half cup of simple syrup with a half cup of water.

Enjoy the end of your summer!

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