Friday, August 20, 2010

Parsley Lemonade / Fresco de Perejil

When I lived in Paraguay in a little tiny pueblo called Capitán Miranda, there was a dear woman who invited us to lunch weekly. Lunch was simple and often included this refreshing drink made of parsley. It may sound a little crazy, but since I walked everywhere I went and it was quite warm there, this drink was something I looked forward to every time I was able to drink it. It must have been awfully hot last week cause when I saw a bunch of parsley in my refrigerator I immediately thought of the drink and my taste buds started working. So, this is what I did:

  1. Wash and blend 1 bunch of parsley in a blender full of cold water.
  2. Strain parsley mixture, letting the parsley water drip into a large pitcher and removing any larger bits of parsley.
  3. Add sugar to desired sweetness and blend again to get it mixed up well. Or, you can make a syrup by boiling 1 part water and 1 part sugar and adding to the parsley juice. But, as I mentioned before, I'm too lazy for that.
  4. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon if desired*
I was actually experimenting with the lemon in this one - I had only ever had just the parsley and actually prefer just the parsley. I felt like the lemon was a little too much on the "refreshing" side since parsley is such a strong "refresher."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Watermelon Lemonade

Prepare Fresca de Sandia as mentioned in the previous recipe and add fresh squeezed lemon to taste. If you're entertaining, it's fun to garnish with a slice of lemon and a wedge of watermelon. If not, you probably won't have enough time to garnish before you chug this down and make another glass.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fresca de Sandia / Watermelon Juice

Depending on where you're from, this summery delight could be called Agua de Sandia, Fresca de Sandia, Jugo de Sandia. And in the end, it's all the same . . . delicious, refreshing, summer in a cup. I love summer's fruits that fill our pitchers with delicious, fresh "frescas" on a regular basis. My favorite is probably watermelon because I can make the most with it.

Slice Watermelon in half. Place the open side down (flat) and slice in half again. Now slice that half in half so you have a fourth. I like to slice that in half again and then cut the watermelon right along the curved line of seeds so that I can easily remove them. Place the large chunks of watermelon in the blender. Blend with sugar and water to taste.

1/2 Watermelon
Sugar to taste

Most official recipes I've read online direct you to make a "syrup" out of the sugar and water because sugar granules don't dissolve well in cold water. In all my time amongst Latin-Americans (where this drink is like OJ on their breakfast table) I have never seen them do this. And quite frankly, I'm lazy.

Another tip I have learned from my in-laws is that they go to the market and buy all their fruit once a week. So, when they don't get around to eating it right away, they slice it up and freeze it to make "frescas" later. Sometimes they even slice it and freeze it right away if they know they will be making the fruit into juice. I'm following suit and right now I have strawberries, mangoes, pineapple, watermelon, and cucumber in my freezer just waiting to be turned into some delicious juice concoctions. More on that to come.