Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Happy Summer & Fresh Fruit Margaritas

*I wrote the following several days back, and, as it goes, time got the better of me before I was able to post it. Let me make amends over a drink, won't you?
The weather has cooled and taken on gray, sporadically rainy skies. I don't mind--less work in the garden. The margaritas have taken on different notes, too; Pineapple, Cantaloupe, and the classic, lime. But without a doubt, sweet strawberry and refreshing watermelon-cucumber remain our very best loved.

Well, it's that time of the year again...Summer in the city. And true to form, she arrived wearing her favorite fiery red dress.
I lived in desert country, Arizona one summer with my Mom where the temperature soared to 126 degrees F. You could fry an egg on the street, it was so hot. But you expect that heat. And it doesn't stick cloyingly to your skin like the wrong perfume.

 I find nothing so oppressive as a nearly 100 degree day, sweltering in a small urban city, like Boston, where the already narrow streets feel smaller; teeming with bodies who all derive immeasurable joy walking by open doors of air-conditioned buildings, or the moment when the air is sucked out of you and replaced with relief upon walking into one.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of opportunity to seize on days such as this! Any day that implores you to drop whatever you're doing and head to the beach for a swim, or a park with shade for a spontaneous picnic is alright with me.

Besides, I've grown tolerable of the heat. Just as long as I'm finding ways to keep cool. Margaritas are cool. And delicious. Sweet relief at last!

Strawberry Margarita
Recipe Adapted from What's Cooking America

About 18 hulled fresh strawberries (1 and 1/2 heaping cups)
3-4 Tablespoons sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries (I use 4) 
8 ounces 100% blue agave silver tequila
6 Tbl fresh-squeezed lime juice
6 Tbl  Triple Sec
Lots of ice (about 1 to 2 cups ice cubes)**
Coarse salt or sugar, for rimming the glass
Whole fresh strawberries, garnish
Lime slices garnish


Slice strawberries and place in large bowl. Add in sugar and stir. Cover bowl and allow to macerate for 4 hours, or overnight.

Add macerated strawberries with juice, tequila, lime juice, triple sec and ice to blender; blend until smooth.
Rim glass of choice with either margarita salt or coarse sugar. I used turbinado sugar. Rub slightly rim of glass with lime wedge, just until moist. Tip glass upside down into a bowl with either salt or sugar until rim is coated.

Garnish with a whole strawberry and a lime slice (optional).

Watermelon-Cucumber Margarita
Recipe Adapted from Epicurious

  • 1 1/2 cups 1-inch chunks rindless watermelon
  • 6 (1/8-inch-thick) slices English hothouse cucumber
  • 15 large fresh mint leaves (I mixed sweet and citrus mint)
  • 1/2 cup 100% blue agave silver tequila
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons *Simple Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Cointreau or other orange liqueur, like Triple Sec
  • 2 cups ice cubes, divided
  • 2 small watermelon triangles, each skewered with 1 cucumber round (for garnish)
  • 2 fresh mint sprigs (for garnish)

  • *Simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water boiled to dissolve sugar. Add 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup granulated white sugar to medium sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring, just until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.
    Add watermelon, cucumber and mint leaves into a medium bowl. Use muddler or back of wooden spoon and and press down firmly on ingredients continually, until mashed. Add in tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, and Cointreau. Strain ingredients into colander over large bowl. With a very clean hand, squeeze watermelon-cucumber mixture to release any remaining juice. Taste margarita liquid and adjust for sweetness as needed, or alcohol. Add in 1 cup of ice and stir. Pour over glasses with ice rimmed in margarita salt or coarse sugar, like turbinado. Garnish with watermelon, cucumber and mint sprigs.

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