Summer

bestsangriaI generally don’t care for Sangria, except for when I’m in Spain - it just seems to taste better there. Sangria makes a perfect summer drink when entertaining, because you can make large batches ahead of time.

This recipe is based on one I received during my stay at Le Meridien Barcelona from the General Manager, Gonzalo Duarte Silva. They served his sangria during a wonderful cooking event which I attended at the hotel called "Paella Atelier" where their chef Eugeni Cortés demonstrated how to prepare a traditional paella.

The recipe is very similarm but I've added a few "enhancements". Be sure to choose an inexpensive Spanish Rioja, I like to use Campo Viejo Rioja Crianza, but a fruity Merlot will work as well.

Be sure to allow time for the flavors to blend, it really does get better as it sits.

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tunatartate.jpgI always think of avocado as one of my top summer foods. On wheat bread with goat cheese and tomato, alongside a quesadilla, on toast, or smashed with a fork into guacamole, avocados at their prime are just the best!

I have been obsessed with the combination of avocado, orange, and raw fish (this recipe may have started it). Usually, we keep the fish plain, with microgreens, avocado, maybe citrus, and a simple dressing, but I decided to take a stab at a tartare with this recipe.

Now I’m not 100% sure if this technically counts as a tartare – it might have poke leanings (feel free to enlighten me!), but whatever it is, this Asian-inspired dish is the perfect appetizer for a warm summer evening!

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raspberrysoupRefreshing, sweet, crunchy texture, pretty....I love this! And as my husband schlurps away on this, he keeps repeating, "this is so good, but it's not soup".  I'm pretty sure he's doing it to annoy me, since I had an annoyed reaction when he said it. So he knows he's pushing my buttons, and it's working. "Of course it's soup, duh!", I said. We're such great communicators. 

Anyway, he keeps mumbling, "soup is hot". Yes, generally soup is thought of as being hot or warm and I will give him the fact that in the America's, fruit soups are not as common as warm savory soups. But,This Is Still Soup. And...chilled fruit soups are very common in Eastern European cultures....the mold from which we were both cut.

So, this is soup.  Let's not mention that him and I have both done our damage on an infinite number of bowls of chilled borscht...which he calls soup? I rest my case.

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web cherries ppp1305Up until last week, the closest I had ever gotten to a cherry orchard was reading Anton Chekhov's masterpiece, The Cherry Orchard. And if you're familiar with that play, you know it doesn't end happily for the family or the cherry trees.

Thankfully, life is much happier in the state of Washington, especially the Leavenworth region, where scores of cherry orchards heavy with fruit line the highways.

A fully fruited cherry tree is gorgeous — the clusters of cherries are dramatically suspended from branches, like firework starbursts.

Despite having eaten over three pounds of cherries in three days while we were in Washington, we're still craving them.

So last night  I made Smashed Cherries, Amaretti and Ricotta, a delightful, no-cook summer dessert from Cheryl Sterman-Rule's new cookbook, Ripe: A Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables. I had tested this recipe for Cheryl last year and have made it numerous times since. No doubt, you will too.

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peach-cherry-cobbler1.jpgIn a few days I’ll be hopping on another plane to a place that promises lots of good food, relaxation, sunshine and wine. It’s a trip we’ve been planning for a while, but what I wasn’t planning on was real life enveloping the weeks before and after this excursion. In this case real life means work, and work means travel, and that means I’ll be up in the air and away from home for many weeks. When I return it will no longer be summer but early fall and I can’t help but feel slightly Rip Van Winkelish about the whole damn thing.

I’ve managed to cram quite a bit of summer in the past few weeks. Dinners outdoors with best friends, long walks in the muggy streets of NYC with my blogging family, even one last hurrah at our house just the other night dedicated to the bounty of figs. Summer is my favorite season and I just don’t like to see it ending, footstomp footstomp footstomp!

As a symbolic gesture I picked up stone fruit at the farmers’ market the other day, knowing that it could very likely be the last peach or plum I would buy and cook with at home for some time. Of course I’m looking forward to what’s around the corner but saying goodbye to stone fruit always leaves me a bit melancholy.

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