Sunday, July 12, 2009
The Simple Thing: Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca
Hello! It's been a little while, hasn't it? I've missed you.
I've also missed my kitchen.
This is my favorite season for food, after all, the time when I'm most inspired to cook. The last two weeks, I have dreamed actual dreams of cherry crumbles and gooey cobblers, waking up with the biggest smile on my face and craving vanilla ice cream. I've spent hours contemplating cool corn chowders and chewy grilled pizzas, crispy spicy shrimp and tangy mango slaws. I've had ideas clicking away in my head, flipped through food magazines, and even made shopping lists, full of promise for the most succulent summer dishes.
I have cooked nothing.
And you might think I'm exaggerating. But I mean it. Not a single thing.
I've had glorious bowls of crunchy cereal, and the simplest pasta with only butter, Parmigiano Reggiano, salt and pepper. I've had cheese sandwiches on nutty whole grain bread with mayo and fat slices of summer tomato, and I've done wonders with Greek yogurt, honey and fruit.
But cooking? Uh-uh. Nothing.
And oh, how I miss it. I've even been a little depressed, like when a best friend moves across country, and you find yourself with a hole in your heart. I actually cried a little this morning, I missed my life in the kitchen so. Pathetic and embarrassing, but 100% true. I shed a bona fide, cobbler-deprived tear.
These weeks just happen to us sometimes. I'm sure you've had your weeks of PB&Js, BLTs, quesadillas on the go, scrambled eggs two nights in a row. It's life, right? And there's a lesson in it: sometimes when we're forced to slow down and simplify, we get rewarded with the glorious reminder of how good Simple can taste. Cereal for dinner is seriously kind of amazing. Have you done it recently? And I made a cheese and tomato sandwich this week that was so delicious, I had to duplicate it and devour another one immediately.
So, in celebration of my non-cooking weeks, I'm offering you something simple: Watermelon and Lime Agua Fresca, which takes five minutes to make and tastes like summer on ice. It's cool and clean, not too sweet, with that lime giving it some kick. It's truly wonderful... and would be lovely with a shot of vodka, if you're so inclined.
I'm hoping to get back in the kitchen soon. I am blissfully aware now of how fond I've grown of cooking up dishes and sharing them with you. What we have here is special, and I can't wait to devote more time to it. I've also been reminded of just how much of my heart is in the kitchen.
And man, when I get back in there, the cobbler is going to taste all the more amazing.
Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca
Adapted from Los Angeles Times
1 medium seedless watermelon, rind removed and cut into medium pieces (about 6 pounds)
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
In a blender, purée the watermelon with 4 cups of water and the agave nectar, in batches.
Strain through a coarse strainer or mesh sieve, discarding any solids. Stir in the lime juice and a generous pinch of sea salt.
Adjust the seasoning and consistency to taste: agave nectar for sweetness, lime juice for tartness, sea salt to enhance flavor, and water to thin (I loved it with extra lime). Serve over ice. Garnish each glass with a slice of lime, if desired. This will keep for 2 days, refrigerated.
Posted by Sara Reddy