In just two weeks I’ll be on the vacation I think about all year long, in a dreamlike place across the Atlantic Ocean, a world away from my busy routine of life. My last days, jam packed with end of year activities like school parties and graduation, leave little time to think (let alone write) about what’s to come. But I’ve had a few moments, and of course many have been triggered by food. (What a one track mind I have!) It’s funny how mundane moments in my own kitchen can trigger such magical ones in a place so far away. Here’s a peek into my subconscious, which tempers anticipation and prolongs the enjoyment soon to come.
A squeeze of lemon into the quinoa salad I’m making for lunch and I am relaxing (that’s something I never do at home!) sipping a glass of homemade lemonade. I wonder how plentiful our lemon tree will be, hoping to be able to make numerous pitchers of this fresh squeezed summer beverage. While making a batch of granola with a handful of almonds from my jumbo Costco bag, I see myself standing on tip toes plucking almonds from our almond trees, hoping to find enough to roast for our afternoon snacks. As I defrost the last of the petite French rolls I baked with Lou, I envision the line of townspeople waiting for the bread truck to toot its way into town delivering fresh Portuguese breads. And as I weed my garden, rotating my radishes and clipping the last of my Arugula and baby greens before the summer swelter, I picture mornings in the town square farmers market, and I am selecting unusual leafy greens and herbs to integrate in my vacation cooking.
Soon I’ll be sipping a glass of green wine, while nibbling on a crostini slathered with olive oil, fresh honey, figs and almonds, gazing at sailboats skimming the turquoise sea. These few tantalizing tastes carry me through and enhance my busy days. And instead of wishing I was there already, I’ll be content with these culinary moments that ultimately prolong my vacation.
Fresh-Frozen Lemonade Concentrate
Makes 40 ounces
There’s nothing like a freshly squeezed glass of slightly tart lemonade on a hot summer afternoon. Get together with a friend to make this fresh lemon concentrate and you’ll see how easy it will be to serve some fresh-squeezed lemonade to your picnic guests. It’s sure to become a summertime staple for picnics, barbeques and even Lemonade stands for the kids.
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (About 16 lemons)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
In a medium sized saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and 1 ½ cups of sugar to a boil. Turn heat down to low and stir for a minute or two until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool. Wash and then slice 16 lemons in half and, using a lemon press or electric hand juicer, squeeze lemons until you have 2 cups of lemon juice. Mix the lemon juice together with the simple syrup and transfer to freezer safe containers.
To make lemonade from concentrate, defrost lemonade concentrate and mix with 8-10 cups of cold water. Stir together well and serve over ice.