One Hundred and Nine degrees.
I know the weather chick said it was “only” 107… but she also told me that we “only” had a 30% chance of rain in late May.
And then it flooded.
Buy my thermometer said 109. So 109 it is.
How do you deal with 109 degrees? I weed the garden with the sprinkler running and then I make margaritas.
And then I hit up the pool.
I snagged some red and black plums last week on sale and whipped them up into a couple of batches of margaritas. They both yield the same fruity concoction taste-wise, but black plums (above) make a much darker (and therefore harder to photograph) drink than red plums (top).
And either will work just fine to help you almost forget that your back yard feels like a convection oven. And will for another 3 months.
Fresh Plum Margaritas
Fresh red or black plums are cooked into a beautiful red syrup and then blended into the perfect summer margarita.
- 2 red or black plums, pit removed and cut into 4-8 slices
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar*
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 2 oz orange juice (or orange liqueur)
- 6 oz tequila
- Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
- Salt for rimming glasses (optional)
- Place the plum slices (skin still on) in a small sauce pan with water and sugar, if using. (If using a sugar substitute, add at the end to taste).
- Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 5-7 minutes, until the fruit is very soft and the liquid has taken on the color from the plums.
- Let cool a few minutes and then transfer to a blender with the lime juice, orange juice/liqueur, and tequila.
- Blend for ~30 seconds, until completely smooth.
- Pour over ice into salt-rimmed glasses and serve with lime wedges.
Yields: 4 servings
Estimated time: 20 minutes
&#^@%, we left the wine opener in Florida.
I could have taken it as a sign. But I didn’t.
Because it was almost 10am. And I was alone in the house with a bag of plums and a $6 bottle of wine that I was surprised to discover wasn’t a screw top. The odds…
But Jason owns one of those multitool thingamajigs that has a flip-out corkscrew in it, a corkscrew which promptly broke the second that I pulled on it turning my $6 bottle of wine into an unwieldy, high class shiv.
A pair of pliers and several “mommy words” later, I poured myself a glass of wine. At 10am. I kinda earned it.
And when that first sip confirmed that 10am was far too early (even for me) for a glass of $6 wine, I simply dumped it straight into a casserole dish with beautiful red and black plums, cherries, apples and citrus zest and I called it cobbler.
I’ve had worse ideas. But few go as great with a scoop of ice cream as this one.
The best parts of sangria - sweet and ripe plums, cherries, citrus, and red wine - come together in cobbler form.
- 1 lb ripe red and black plums, sliced
- 1 cup cherries, pitted
- 1 medium apple, diced into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 medium orange, juiced and zested (1/2 tsp of zest reserved)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1/2 cup red wine (I used Llano Sweet Red)
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (which I "made" with 1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup 1% milk)
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- Preheat oven to 375 and arrange your racks so you can bake in the center of the oven.
- Place a 1 1/2 qt baking dish on a baking sheet.
- Put the fruit in a medium bowl with the orange juice and zest (reserving ~1/2 tsp of zest), lemon juice and zest, and sugar.
- Whisk the wine and cornstarch together and pour over the fruit, tossing to mix everything.
- Transfer the fruit mixture to the baking dish, scraping everything from the bowl.
- Whisk the flour, 2 Tbsp of sugar, baking powder, and salt in that same bowl, making a well in the dry ingredients.
- Add the egg, butter, and buttermilk (or my favorite, a yogurt-milk sub), and mix with a spoon until smooth.
- Taste for sweetness - I *really* try to skimp on the sugar where I can so if you want a sweeter biscuit topping, add another Tbsp or 2 of sugar.
- Spoon the topping over the top of the fruit, don't worry about covering everything.
- In a small bowl (or just on a dry spot on your cutting board), mash with a spoon (or just massage with your fingertips) the reserved orange zest with the remaining 1 Tbsp of sugar.
- Sprinkle the heavenly orange-scented sugar over top of the dough.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes - the top should be nicely golden and the now-thickened cobbler filling should be bubbling at the edges.
Yields: 6-8 servings
Estimated time: 1 hour
We spent the last 8 days on the funnest, most awesome vacation we’ve ever taken. Eating Mickey Mouse-shaped Ice Cream Sandwiches like it was my job (and it kinda was), princess-ing all the things, princessing them some more, and riding roller coasters.
13 family members under one large roof. And there wasn’t a single argument, much less a stabbing. Successful. Epically so.
What I wasn’t doing? Certainly not thinking about my garden! But I didn’t have to – my friend Kelly garden-sat for us. She was paid in all the produce she could pick.
9+ lbs of Juliet and San Marzano tomatoes, alone, I hear.
The first thing I did this morning was fill one of those large, city-issued garbage cans full of prunings from the tomatillo and tomato plants, and then I spotted a beautiful golden globe peaking out from under the green canopy.
My knife slid through the chilled fruit like it was butter. It was absolutely a perfect welcome home.
Well, perfect right after a sprinkling of salt. Fess up – who else salts their watermelon and cantaloupe?
An orange margarita. A Mimosarita? Either way, it’s what happens when you run short on limes and your toddler’s last molar has sucked enough of your will to live to make running to the grocery store seem like being asked to hurdle the Grand Canyon. In a pencil skirt.
But we haven’t been overly dramatic around here lately or anything.
It’s the latest of a long line of flavored margaritas and it’s my duty to warn you, it just might be the smoothest and easiest to drink of all. You simply mix fresh-squeezed orange juice, a little homemade margarita mix, tequila, and orange liqueur.
And it will dull memories of the day’s traumatic hormonal toddler theatrics in half a glass and completely banish them at the bottom of glass #2. Guaranteed.
Fresh orange juice and limes makes the perfect mimosa substitute for tequila fans.
- 6 oz homemade margarita mix
- 6 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
- 6 oz silver tequila
- 4 oz orange liqueur (we love Paula's Orange)
- Sugar, for rimming glasses (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or carafe, stirring well.
- Run one of the juiced lime or orange halves around the outside edge of the glasses and then dip in sugar.
- Fill glasses with ice and pour the margarita over top.
Yields: 4 servings
Estimated time: 10 minutes