Recipe: Adult drink easily can be a kid-friendly refresher, too
A refreshing way to mark summer's
end: Watermelon margarita. (Photos:
Too hot to bake, and the air's too yucky to be outside. Yet it's Labor Day weekend, the traditional end of summer. So celebrate with the ultimate summer fruit -- watermelon -- in an easy and very cool margarita cocktail.
Watermelon growers must have had a good year, because the stores and markets have been full of them. I snagged a big Vierra Farms black watermelon for a great price, but had to wait to break it down because my refrigerator was packed.
When I finally had some space available, I decided to turn one half of the melon into melon balls while collecting the juice for this drink, which I adapted from a recipe on the New York Times Cooking site. Watermelon is practically liquid, anyway, so that went pretty fast. I only had to watch for seeds, since this variety is a seeded one.
But alternatively you can cut the rind off a hunk of melon, chop it into chunks, toss the chunks into a blender, then strain out any seeds and the mushy solids. Do this ahead of time and the cocktail goes together quite easily.
Have plenty of limes on hand, since fresh lime juice balances the sweet melon perfectly.
Have everything ready before you start mixing.
And if your kids want to join the party, a nonalcoholic variation follows the main recipe.
Adapted from the New York Times
Ice, as needed
3 ounces fresh watermelon juice
1 ounce tequila (clear or "silver" variety preferred)
1 ounce Cointreau (optional, see note above)
1 ounce fresh lime juice, rinds reserved
For glass and garnish:
Fine sea salt
Cross-wise slices of jalapeño
Cool, sweet and salty all at once. Put another
jalapeño slice in the drink for a spicy pop.
Prepare the glass by running a reserved lime juice rind along the rim of the glass, then dipping the rim into a flat saucer containing the sea salt. Put the watermelon balls and the jalapeño slice on a toothpick for the garnish.
Make the drink: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. If you don't have a shaker (I don't), try using a clean liter-size reusable hydration bottle; the drink opening makes a decent strainer.
To the shaker, add the watermelon juice, tequila, Cointreau (if using) and lime juice. (If you want a spicy bite to your drink, toss a jalapeño slice into the shaker, too.) Shake to combine.
Add ice to the prepared glass. Strain the drink into the glass. Add the prepared garnish, and raise the glass in a toast to the end of this long, hot summer.
Non-alcoholic version: In the shaker with ice, combine 4 ounces watermelon juice and 1 ounce lime juice. Shake and pour into a glass with ice. Add enough sparkling water, lemon-lime soda or ginger ale to fill the glass. Garnish with melon balls, if desired.
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A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.
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Dig In: Garden Checklist
For week of March 26:
Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:
* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.
* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.
* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.
* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.
* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.
* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.
* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.
To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.
* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.
* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.
* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.
* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.
* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.
* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.
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