Monday, May 27, 2013

Strawberries for Memorial Day: Signs of Summer

I feel guilty talking about summer while it has rained back East for most of this iconic holiday weekend. I know it’s been a cool and rainy spring after a famously brutal winter on the East Coast, and while I am sorry for that, it’s worked out well for me to be staying longer than usual in Tucson again this year, this time to teach an ethics module to the evening and exec MBAs.  Brilliantly sunny, hot, and dry here, of course, but also the fruit is rolling in—apricots, sweet cherries, and beautiful Yuma strawberries. I still can’t get over some of the things they manage to entice out of the desert.

Part of what makes me happy to see the strawberries is that they remind me that it won’t be long ‘til I’m back in the place for which that gorgeous word “summer” must have been created and the standard against which all other summers are measured, New England. I will be back in LC on July 1, which means, of course, a return to this now-mostly-seasonal blog.  I look forward to that, along with everything else precious that summer brings for me—the ocean and the local food, of course, but most of all, seeing my family and my friends. Happy Memorial Day weekend; let summer begin, and be beautiful and bountiful. Surely the hardy people of New England have earned that much. See you soon.

Yuma Express

For some reason I always want to pair strawberries with Campari when it’s hot, as I did with this cocktail a few years ago soon after arriving in LC. Here’s another one, served with a spoon.  Serves 1.

1 oz Gran Marnier (or ½ brandy, ½ orange liquer)
½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
3-4 perfect strawberries, cored and sliced

1 oz Campari
1 oz  Plymouth Gin

Macerate the strawberries in the lemon juice and Gran Marnier for 15-20 minutes. Strain the liquid into a cocktail shaker and place the strawberries into a martini glass or coupe.

Add the Campari and gin to the shaker, and shake with crushed ice until very cold. Strain into the glass and serve with a silver spoon.