Category Archives: Sips and Slurps

Spring Cleaning Shamrock Shake

Red alert to early adopters: for some reason the first version of this listed milk twice in the ingredients. It’s fixed now, but I apologize for any sad thin shakes the mistake may have caused. May all your clovers be four-leafed.

If you’ve been on my train for any length of time, you know I have a thing about Shamrock Shakes. They are part of our family lore, from when I was a kid through when my now-grown kids were kids, to right now when we all are just looking for excuses to be kids. The truly devoted can read an excellent brief history of the Shamrock Shake right here. For obvious reasons—like seasonality and general health—Shamrock Shakes are more therapeutic tool than dietary staple.

That is, until now!

Yes folks, I have discovered how to drink Shamrock Shakes whenever the heck I want and feel good about it. It’s the perfect thing for spring when a lot of us are trying to clean up our acts after a winter of aprés ski. This DIY version is cool, creamy, refreshing and just sweet enough to feel fun, yet responsible. It’s also substantial enough to fill the cracks without being a calorie bomb that makes you feel sad in 20 minutes.

This version passed the husband test, the kid test, the friend test, the easy test and the healthy test. You can take it in whatever direction you choose: make it healthier by adding hempy, flaxy, seedy things; make it treatier by subbing frozen yogurt for the yogurt.   

Huge shout out and thanks to Andy’s East Coast Kitchen for this one. The only things I tweaked were trying with almond milk (yes!), and backing off on the mint extract because the pure stuff is high test (batch 1, of many, was a little harsh). But as ever, you do you.

I am now semi addicted to this version of Shamrock Shakes, and looking forward to the mint that takes over my garden every year.

Cheers to you, and to a happy, tasty spring!

Spring Cleaning Shamrock Shake

Lightly adapted from Andy’s East Coast Kitchen

Makes 1 very generous serving, or two for skeptics


  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup plain greek lowfat yogurt (or thick yogurt of choice)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup frozen banana (½ large banana)
  • ~15 mint leaves
  • ¼ tsp mint extract
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • shaved/grated chocolate for garnish (optional—never gone there but why not?)


Whir it all up in a blender until creamy and uniformly green. Pour into a glass/glasses and grate a little chocolate on top for the pro version.


For max creaminess make sure the banana pieces are fully frozen. I keep a stash of cut up bananas in the freezer so they break up easily in the blender (and to remove the baking pressure of over-ripe bananas on the counter)

Don’t leave it blending forever or it’ll heat up and be more like shamrock milk. Not so lucky.

If you are light on bananas, or want an extra boost of creamy nutrition sub in or add some avocado. You may want to add more sweetener if you are replacing the banana.

Thanks to sister B, who pointed me to a super cool and easy-to-use recipe analyzer, this shake comes with nutritional stats. Sadly, I have not cracked the code (literally) to getting it to display on the site, but I’m working on it. In the meantime, some deets:

Spring Cleaning Shamrock Shake: 233 calories (211 with almond milk); 2.7 grams fat; 27 grams sugar.
Mickey D’s small Shamrock Shake: 460 calories; 13 grams fat; 63 g sugar

Weekday Smoothie

I was going to post this on the weekend, but I’m your friend and friends don’t do that. Weekends are about pancakes and muffins and doughnuts and bacon and omelets and cinnamon rolls and maple syrup. Always maple syrup. So, posting a smoothie with vegetables and beans on a weekend just feels wrong. But on a Monday? The gloves are off baby—this is what you get.

I have a friend who is gorgeous (I have quite a few of those) and she once explained to me her diet philosophy of being “all about oatmeal” during the week, and then loosening up on the weekends. Clearly it works for her, and it leaves ample room for both discipline and fun.

On to this smoothie, which firmly belongs in the weekday repertoire. I’ll never lie to you. I’ll never tell you “this tastes just like a milkshake” or “you’d never know this was healthy” or that your loved ones will beg you to make this or that you will not be mocked when you open a can of beans for breakfast. But I will tell you I am mildly addicted to this because sometimes the cold goodness of a very healthy smoothie that is packed with nutrition from real ingredients is really comforting. And sometimes, well, I just need to get beyond the oatmeal.

If this intrigues you, I hope you try it and enjoy it. If the concept of this grosses you out, I hope you have a nice week and I will see you with something more fun very soon. Happy Monday!

A Breakfast Double Date…. get it?

Weekday Smoothie

Makes 1 huge or 2 small smoothies (as pictured above)

From Hey Nutrition Lady


  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower (the riced stuff in the freezer section is best)
  • ½ cup black beans
  • 1-2 medjool dates pitted (2! or more if they are deglet)
  • 1 cup oat milk or milk of choice (use what you’ve got)
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. (really smooth!)
  • Pour into a glass and sprinkle hemp seeds over the top if desired. Serve immediately.

NOTES: You need an aggressive blender — or a lot of blending in an ok one — to really get this smooth, which is key. Gooey Medjool dates are ideal here, and I say live a little and add another if you need to ease into this. If you only have deglet, or if your medjools are a little dry, cut them up and rehydrate them with some boiling water (or a bit of your morning coffee supply) for a few minutes. You can also use an unfrozen banana and add some ice cubes, which also helps with the crappy blender situation.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Say Thank You!

It’s a dreary Sunday here in the east, with the promise of rain to take what’s left of our precious snow. As if in anticipation of this day, a heavy Priority Mail box from California recently arrived. Cousin D, in a race to save her California hillside of citrus from a cold snap, did a mass harvest and shared some of it with me. As a former Vermonter, D knows the mixed blessing of March in New England–winter’s easing its grip, but…the mud!–and the curative power of Meyer lemons. On top of that, she’s just darned thoughtful!

Rather than reinvent the citrus wheel, I’m going to revisit some favorites from Lemonpalooza 1, (Lemon simple syrup, and roasted lemon shallot vinaigrette for an off the hook chicken bread salad) and from the sequel, Lemonpalooza 2 (lemon pudding cake, preserved lemons and the lemon blueberry sunshine loaf that I discovered the last time Cousin D bestowed her citrus bounty on me.)

For breakie, squeeze some on top of the classic Dutch Bunny to put a big smiley face on your day, orrrr nothing says “I love you” and also “Don’t mess with me” like Sassy Sansa Lemon Ginger scones. If you really want to jumpstart summer, make up a Lemon Beach Pie.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with plowing through your lemons as straight up lemon juice in and on everything. Tea? Smoothies? Sprtizers? Cocktails? Yes please!

If you’ve already embarked on spring training, squeeze them up for some minty snap pea salad, lemony shrimp and bulgur salad, lemon cauliflower couscous or pretty much anything that could use some fresh zip.

Wherever you are on this spring day I hope you find some brightness and warmth.

PS. We’re taking votes for your favorite lemon recipes. First vote is by Aunt D for lemon posset, in Lemonpalooza 1. Solid choice!



The Aperol Spritz: Ciao Bella!

In case we missed the memo last week, summer has arrived, in all its sweaty glory. This does not bring out my A-Game, because I’m more St. Bernard than Whippet, more Clydesdale than Thoroughbred, more Thelma than Daphne. 

I also tend to gain weight in the summer, which—with all that necessarily exposed flesh—is just…plain…awesome. I’m ok with it, really, but that doesn’t make it any easier to bear the peak heat and humidity of an eastern summer.

So what do we do? We get out of the kitchen and onto the patio. And we help each other by sharing our favorite patio fare. Stay tuned this week for some simple easy classics to have on hand that will help you stay cool in every way.   

Today’s feature: The Aperol Spritz. These first caught my eye on a recent trip to Europe, where every sidewalk café featured what appeared to be glasses of orange wine, complete with little floating orange slices. For a moment, I thought Europe was a few years late on the orange wine trend 2015, the one that never breached the NH border.  But then I remembered where I was: European sidewalk cafes don’t do trends. They do classics.

Rigorous research enlightened me to the Aperol Spritz. Aperol is an Italian aperitif (that’s fancy talk for dry not sweet) made of oranges, roots, herbs and—let’s be honest here—some serious food coloring.

All you need for a classic, refreshing, “I’m- for-sure-as-cool-as-any-of-you” summer drink is to fill a glass with ice and layer in three parts prosecco, two parts Aperol and one part seltzer…in that order.  Toss in your little slice of orange and…Salute! Cin cin! Oooh baby!

For a no heat dinner, enjoy your spritz California style like Sister A and Cousin D did with this fine feast. Fully- loaded watermelon poke bowls? Alfresco dining? Avocados, pickled ginger, chopped peanuts? Check, check, check, check, check!

Bring It Summer All Stars

Summer is here my friends. Just in time, the good people of the webhosting universe have fixed my site so subscribers will actually get posts. What a great idea? Thank you Bring It loyals for your patience. And now, on to the weekend!

Before you head out for the Memorial Day shop with the rest of humanity, I picked out some all star classics that will help you slay this weekend. With a little prep you can head into summer looking like the master entertainer you are at heart.

First and foremost…

Bring on The Slaw:
If you have never made Hero Slaw, just trust me on this. It will make you famous. Go ahead and claim it as your own if it helps. Prep it, bag it, put it in the fridge and you can take on any invite that comes your way. Or just enjoy it yourself for a few days. If nothing else, make up the dressing to have on hand and turn kale into something the family might actually eat.

Have Some Balls:
Buffalo chicken meatballs are back on my regular rotation (thank you Neely for reminding me!) until I master the perfect veggie balls. Stay tuned for that. Until then, make up a lot of these (ahead if needed) and know they will disappear fast.

Brush up on Your Bruschetta Fixin’s:
You will never be sorry to have a Funitella bruschetta stashed in the fridge. With the miracle that is petite diced canned tomatoes it take all of about 5 minutes. If you want to get more ideas, take a gander at bruschetta deconstructed, and the consider toppings like pickled fig, creamy cheese and crunchy nut crostini, strawberries and goat cheese, and Sicilian caponata.

Get Your Guac On:
You’ve got to have it, and it hardly requires a recipe. BUT if you want to go the extra distance this crazy one with apples and tequila is my new fave. Mango jicama guacamole is another solid contender. Both add crunch and assert that this is not your first guac fiesta.

Think (of drinking) Ahead:
You know you’re a pro when…You’ve got your Frosé and Sandy’s daquiris in the freezer, and fixins for some fancy lemonades. You bridge into genius status when you also have watermelon juice at the ready to whip up watermelonade, spicy watermelon margaritas and watermelon sangria.

Watermelon Sangria. Summer in a glass.

Watermelon Up:
While we’re on the topic of watermelon, cut up some watermelon and prep it for watermelon poke bowls and you are set for fresh weekend lunches for Vegans and non Vegans alike. If you double up on the feta you get for Funitella Bruschetta, and make summer perfection watermelon feta salad, I promise you won’t be sorry.

Sweet Endings:
Oh where do we begin on these? Well, summery Lemon Beach Pie, a whole mess of Rubble or Loosey Brucey Rhubarb crisp are a good place to start. As Bruce would say, nobody ever complained about to many good recipe ideas.

New recipes next time, but of now let’s go with what we know and get this summer party started.

Must…eat…more…pie. Sweet, salty, sweet, salty, and oh yeah—creamy, crunchy, cool and tart.

Cinco de Derby

With this in your house, how can your weekend go wrong?





What we have here, my friends, is a dream Double Header. Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby, on successive non-school nights. If there was ever a time to have a cool, refreshing  drink in your hand (and a snazzy hat on your head) this is it.

In honor of creative cocktails and mocktails, below are two infused simple syrups that will give your drinks a fresh twist appropriate for the upcoming occasions. And what the hell—keep scrolling for a few cocktail concoctions as well, though they are only a starting point. Don’t be afraid of using the jalapeno syrup in your mint julep (or even subbing cilantro for the mint) for some south of the border cha-cha.

Have fun and if you’re placing bets, good luck!

Jalapeño Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and halved lengthwise (or not seeded if you are brave)

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine 1 cup water, sugar, and jalapeños. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer to three to four minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let steep 20 minutes.

Strain syrup, discard jalapeños (or chop up the now mild pepper and use as desired), and cool syrup. (Simple syrup can be refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to 6 months. It keeps even better if you add a capful of vodka.)

Cilantro Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large handful cilantro leaves

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan, and bring it to a slow boil while stirring continuously until all the sugar has dissolved. Just as the mixture begins to boil, add 1 cup of fresh cilantro. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and let cool (this syrup will keep in your fridge for about a month. More if you add a capful of vodka).

Now how do we use them? Below are two ideas, but this is no time to follow directions. Use these in whatever cocktail or mocktail could use some salsa sass.

Each makes two drinks:

Cilantro coolers: wayyyy better than a kale smoothie on a fine spring night

Cucumber Cilantro Cooler

Cool. Hot. Fresh. This one has it all. slightly adapted from organic authority

To a cocktail shaker add:

  • 1 cup chopped cucumber (seeds removed) and a large handful of cilantro leaves (cilantro haters use mint instead, and maybe extra vodka to get over the cilantro glut)

Muddle well with a muddler or a heftier pestle. Then add:

  • 4 ounces vodka
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 1 1/2 ounce jalapeno simple syrup
  • ICE! Don’t be shy here.

Shake well for twenty seconds and then strain* into a lowball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a wheel of cucumber and a sprig of cilantro.

*brave multi taskers, fans of zero waste, and those desperate for a meal idea because they spent so much time prepping cocktails will love this: fully drain the remaining cucumber and cilantro shrapnel and mix it in with Chinese noodles, a few more veggies and soy dressing for a summery salad.

 Jalapeno Cilantro Margarita

To a shaker add:

  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 ounce cilantro syrup
  • 1 ounce Blanco tequila
  • 1 ounce Reposado tequila and 6-8 slices of jalapeno (seeds removed).

Shake it like you mean it, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of lime, a slice of jalapeno and a sprig of cilantro.

And finally, if making margs for a bigger crew…

Spicy Margaritas by the Pitcher

  • 2 cups of tequila
  • 1 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of orange liqueur
  • 1/2 cup of jalapeno simple syrup

Stir together with ice in a large pitcher and pour into 8 glasses.

Slippery Slope Ginger Beer Margaritas


       Just add ice…and cranberries. ‘Tis the season to winterize your drinks. I’m here to help.

Watch your step. Holiday season snuck right up on us again. Just as we stood up from prying the squirrel-nibbled pumpkins off the patio, the holidays were staring us straight in the face. From here on it’s a slippery slope of parties, visitors, events and hastily concocted reasons to gather right through January 2. Are you ready? Do you need a drink? This could help.

Let’s ease into this transition by taking a summer standby and winterizing it. Meet the ginger beer margarita. I stumbled across this while going down the Internet rabbit hole in pursuit of butternut squash tacos. Did I mention the slippery slope? After some exhaustive testing of ginger beers, following the comments on Minimalist Baker, I can definitely recommend the lighter ones like Fever Tree. It IS a margarita after all.

These are the easiest drinks in the world to make. You can get fancy and line the rim with lime juice and salt, or you can a just make the darned drinks. You can stir the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain, as directed, or you can just stir them up up in a pitcher, and pour over ice in each glass giving each drink another good stir. Just save yourself the anxiety and the outfit change and DO NOT shake them in a cocktail shaker. Remember the volcano experiment in 2nd grade? Yep.

A quick brush up on simple syrup: Combine equal parts sugar and water. Stir to dissolve sugar, heat to boiling, and let cool. Keep some stored in your fridge at all times, in case of emergency.

The best part about this drink, from a social perspective, is that you can easily bring the parts and assemble on site, AND the ginger beer makes a festive non-alcoholic drink as well (see top picture). For more ideas you can always revisit these fine drinks from last year.

The contenders. It wasn't really exhaustive, but it was a Wednesday

        The contenders. OK,  it wasn’t really exhaustive, but it was a Wednesday evening. Points for that.

Ginger Beer Margaritas

From Minimalist Baker, and adapted for high volume


Single serving version

  • 1.5 ounces (3 Tablespoons) 100% agave tequila
  • 1 ounce (2 Tbsp) fresh lime juice
  • 3 ounces (6 Tbsp) ginger beer (Fever Tree regular or light are awesome)
  • .5 ounce (1 Tbsp) simple syrup
  • Coarse salt for lining rim (also optional and fancy)

Team player version, for four

  • ¾ cup tequila
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 ½ cups ginger beer
  • 4 Tbsp simple syrup
  • coarse salt


  1. If you’re feeling fancy, Line a small serving glass with fresh lime juice and dip in coarse salt
  2. Add tequila, simple syrup, ginger beer and lime juice to a large glass (single serve) or cocktail shaker (let’s not drink alone) with lots of ice and stir vigorously. Don’t shake with a lid on!
  3. Pour liquid (reserving ice) into serving glass with a few ice cubes Garnish with a lime wedge and serve immediately. Repeat for more drinks, or double/triple the amounts for more people.

What to do with your leftover ginger beer, once you have settled in on “the one.” Here’s an idea. Pour it over these cranberry rosemary ice cubes that you made for Cran-rosemary prosecco punch, which is basically equal parts prosecco and white cranberry juice, a splash of bitters and these fancy ice cubes.  The fancy ice cubes also winterize the flavored seltzer you can’t help from buying on every trip to the store. Did I mention it’s a slippery slope?

Frosé and Frosecco: Summer’s Coolest Celebs


You say frosé, I say "Be right over!"

You say frosé, I say “Be right over!”

It’s been called the summer of Frosé, the “it” drink of summer, even the “God of summer.” Suffice to say, Frosé is a thing. At first I resisted jumping on the Frosé bicyclette. We are, after all, no stranger to the slushy drink rodeo. Plus, I learned the hard way that there is significant recovery involved after an entire summer quenching one’s thirst with things like watermelon sangria. All that said, I also have obligations to the Bring It devoted, so at my cousin D’s urging I took the plunge into trying, tweaking and bringing Frosé. While I was at it, I decided to try the same method with the beverage mascot of brunch, Prosecco, subbing peaches for strawberries to get the Bellini effect.

I’m happy to say the experiment was a grand success and I can bring you not one but two fun, fabulous, delicious summer drinks that can be made and transported in large quantities with little effort. Cue the late summer victory dance here.

The premise is simple: frozen rosé or prosecco, emboldened with fresh fruit-infused syrup then sweetness-balanced with fresh lemon juice. Some versions add more complicated mixers or liqueurs and even fresh herbs. I’m all for experimentation, but there’s not a thing wrong (and a whole lot right) with the basic version.

I started with this one in Bon Appetit, added a splash of vodka to keep it loose, and then slackerized it by eliminating pretty much every step beyond dumping it in the container. This is because summer entertaining at the beach, the lake or even the patio is ideally a “no host” experience. As in no host needed to get yourself a damn drink.

This is very easily scaled up, based on the size of your container. My two vintage yard sale gallon-plus Tupperware beverage containers hold 5 bottles of wine so I used 4 bottles in each to make room for the other ingredients and freezing expansion. When finished they pop right into a cooler, doing double duty as ice packs, and are ready for action at your destination.

Use the leftover fruit in smoothies, over yogurt and ice cream, or stirred with cubed watermelon and fresh mint into a batch of limeade for the world’s easiest aqua fresca. Kids and your wiser, sober friends, will worship you for this.

Here, my pretties, is your date for hot the summer nights ahead:

Frosé and Frosecco

Servings: Makes 4–6


  • 1 750 ml bottle hearty, bold rosé (such as a Pinot Noir or Merlot rosé) or Prosecco
  • ¼ cup vodka (optional but helps keep it a little looser and sassier)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 8 ounces strawberries, hulled, quartered (or peaches, raspberries, based on flavor and color preference)
  • 2½ ounces fresh lemon juice

Note: Here are at Bring It central, we’re pretty much done after Step 2. There is no blender involved. The cooled syrup goes right into the semi frozen Rosé or Prosecco and into the freezer. Extra points if you stir it and scrape it with a big spoon every few hours while it is freezing.


  • Pour rosé into a 13×9″ pan (or, a transportable Tupperware/beverage container of choice) and freeze until almost solid (it won’t completely solidify due to the alcohol), at least 6 hours. Allow longer if working with multiple bottles.
  • Meanwhile, bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add strawberries, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes to infuse syrup with strawberry flavor. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl (do not press on solids); cover and chill until cold, about 30 minutes. (Reserve still-delicious berries for another use.)
  • Scrape rosé into a blender. Add lemon juice, 3½ ounces strawberry syrup, and 1 cup crushed ice and purée until smooth. Transfer blender jar to freezer and freeze until frosé is thickened (aim for milkshake consistency), 25–35 minutes.
  • Blend again until frosé is slushy. Divide among glasses.

Bringing It:

Transport the entire container in a cooler, using it to cool your other offerings.  At your destination, pull out the container, stir or scrape frosé/frosecco to a uniform consistency and pour into glasses. You might need a spoon at first, but a hot summer day will soon take care of that!


Watermelon: Summer’s Cheap Sweet Thrill


Call it sorbet, or granita, or just pure refreshment.

The big blockbuster summer weekend is creeping up on you like a kid with a loaded super soaker. Be ready! When agonizing over what to bring to any summer occasion you just can’t go wrong with watermelon. Whoever had too many of these, especially when they can be eaten at any meal, stored at room temperature and, when really unnecessary for nutrition, greased up and used for water games?

So here’s what you do. Get a watermelon every time you go by the bin at the grocery store and then figure out what to do with them. I suggest saddling up to a big cutting board for some watermelon prep, because one melon can really go a long way and satisfy many cravings. Here are some options:

Instant gratification: Cube it and eat it. If you have a crowd or just a couple of teenage boys it will disappear and everyone will have a dose of fruit and fiber.

Instant gratification, fiesta style: Sprinkle your cubes or wedges with chili powder. It’ll take you right back to that first trip to Tijuana. Or maybe this will spare you that trip to Tijuana.

Gourmet Move 1: Cut it into rounds then quarter rounds and make a shmancy arugula/feta/pepitas (or whatev) salad on top, using the watermelon as a plate. Here’s one from Simply Scratch for inspiration.

Gourmet Move 2: Make this watermelon and goat cheese salad that won the watermelon contest at Food52. If you don’t happen to have a crop of lemon verbena out your window use some lemon zest instead.

Drink Your Dinner: Watermelon Gazpacho involves some chopping, but otherwise this refreshing soup is about as easy as it gets. Plus it travels well and enjoys paper cups. Hello picnic!

Just Drink: Scoop watermelon into your food processor or blender, then strain it for watermelon juice. The juice can be used in things like watermelonade (basically watermelon juice and lemonade) or in the ever wonderful watermelon sangria.

As you can see this is not our first watermelon rodeo. For the 2016 edition though my focus is on the simple straight watermelon, cubed, pureed and frozen into a sorbet. It is known across the internet as “one-ingredient watermelon sorbet.” The thing with one-ingredient miracle recipes is that they are all a little better with, say, two or even three ingredients. This is the case here. Frozen pureed watermelon is pretty dang good, but it’s even better when you stir in some mint simple syrup and a splash of lime juice. A fourth ingredient, should you be inspired, could most certainly involve your liquor cabinet. You be the judge there.

1 ish Ingredient Watermelon Sorbet

Notes: Texturally this is more granita than sorbet. Save yourself the anxiety of expecting it to make pretty scoops, and just serve it in a cup with a spoon.


  • 1/2 large seedless watermelon, peeled and cubed
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice (optional)
  • 1/4 cup mint simple syrup* (optional)
  • Hootch of choice (optional)


1. Arrange the watermelon cubes in an even layer on a baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and freeze until the watermelon is solid, about 2 hours.

2. Working in batches, transfer the watermelon cubes to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. (My processor fits about half the cubes at a time)

3. Divide the puree among two loaf pans (or put it all in one deep baking dish), packing it down as you add more on top.

watermelon sorbets

Straight up watermelon on left; with lime syrup and mint on right

4. Transfer the pans to the freezer. Freeze until the sorbet is scoopable, 1 to 2 hours more. You can also scrape it with a fork. If it freezes too firm let it sit out for a few minutes.

5. To serve, scoop (or scrape) the sorbet into dishes or cups and eat immediately. Or top with hootch and drink immediately.

*Simple syrup 101:  Combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan. For a minted version, add a bunch of chopped or torn fresh mint. Heat to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes or so. Strain into container and chill.


Sneak Preview of late summer watermelon edition:

As a half Yankee by blood (thanks Mom) I am cursed with the urge to use every scrap of any ingredient. This leads me to watermelon rind pickles, a thing in the south, and watermelon rind jam. I’ve made one version of the pickles and do like them, though my tastes admittedly tweak towards science experiments—guests be warned. I am just now making the jam, which I suspect will have wider appeal. Either way, this is making something edible out of something that was going straight into the compost pile. If it all ends up in the compost pile, at least you tried.

The many forms of watermelon, including pickled science experiments.

The many forms of watermelon, including pickled science experiments.




California Dreamin’ on Such a Winter’s Day

Lemonpalooza: n. a celebration of all that is warm, bright and tangy; hope in the home stretch of winter; antidote to a common addiction amongst native Californians and Floridians; yum.

As I was packing a shoe box of Meyer lemons in to my checked baggage, my sister suggested: “You need lemon rehab.” A day earlier I had packed a flat rate priority mail box with lemons and had just returned from the home tree with another batch. Earlier she had bottled a batch of lemon syrup for me, and the lemon possets for dessert were cooling in the fridge. Gnawing on the peel of a juiced half lemon (dentists everywhere are recoiling) I nodded. “You might be right.”

But there is no kicking this addiction. As I boarded my plane back to NH I could not help but have a pang for every Meyer lemon left unpicked in the family tree and in the entire Bay Area megalopolis. I take solace in knowing I did my best.

Here’s a small sampling of how those lemons will be worshiped this week:

The first recipe comes from “The Lemon Cookbook” (of lemon cauliflower couscous fame) which I gave to my sister. The book’s chicken and toasted bread salad has been among their family’s Bring-It staples ever since. It’s sturdy, hearty, delicately and boldly flavored (can that be? Yes, oh yes!) with co-roasted lemons and shallots. And here’s the real kicker—it’s even better the next day.

The ease of rotisserie chicken notwithstanding, reading and re reading all the steps makes the entire recipe a pain in the butt to make the first time. That said, virtually all the labor (and flavor) is in the dressing. So we’re going to take just that element on now, and it will make for many happy salads with or without chicken and toasted bread. 

The other recipes are ridiculously easy: Meyer lemon simple syrup is a juice-intensive staple to brighten tea, seltzer, pancakes, vodka, etc; and lemon posset is a sweet, tart, creamy, perfectly textured pudding/custard with no eggs or special techniques involved.

As good as these recipes are, they are merely a gateway to all the transformational possibilities of Meyer lemons in winter. Roast them, juice them, preserve them (Pickled lemon chutney? I’m looking at you next!), and let them bring a little sunshine in to your life.

Roasted Lemon-Shallot VinaigretteLemon-salad


  • 1 lemon, halved and seeded with the tip of a sharp knife
  • 8 oz shallots peeled and halved if large
  • 3 large cloves garlic unpeeled
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
  • 2 ½ tsp kosher salt, divided
  • juice of one lemon


Preheat oven to 400. Toss lemon, shallots, garlic and 2 sprigs thyme in 1/4 cup oil and 1 tsp salt. Spread in baking dish in one layer, with cut sides of lemon down. Cover with foil and bake 45-55 minutes or so, until shallots are caramelized and lemons are totally soft. Remove from oven and let cool.

When cool, remove lemon pulp from peel and put it (minus peel and any remaining seeds) into the blender. Add shallots, garlic insides (squeezed from skin), lemon juice, and any accumulated liquid to the blender. Process until smooth. Add remaining oil in a stream. Stir in thyme leaves from remaining sprigs and salt to taste.

Say tuned for a pro version of the chicken and toasted bread salad, pictured above, which is leftover roasted chicken tossed with arugula, plumped currants, rustic bread—torn, tossed with oil and oven-toasted— and this dressing.

This next recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated, so even though it is super simple of course it has some crazy essential step. In this case it is measuring the hot liquid until it is the proper volume. They have a workaround which is even more complicated, so let’s just stick to Plan A. It’s no big.

Lemon Possetposset

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 6 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice
  • Fresh blueberries or raspberries

Combine cream, sugar and zest in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Heat, stirring as mixture boils. Boil, stirring frequently, for 8-12 minutes, until reduced to 2 cups (pour it off into pyrex measuring cup to check when it’s there). Remove from heat, stir in juice and let cool 20 minutes. Strain into bowl or directly into six individual ramekins/posset containers (see at right. who knew?). Discard strained zest, or eat it when nobody is looking. Chill possets uncovered until set, at least 3 hours. Wrap and store in refrigerator for up to two days. To serve, unwrap and let sit at room temperature 10 minutes. Garnish with berries.


Meyer Lemon Simple SyrupSyrup-tree

2 cups strained fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 cups granulated sugar
zest of 3 Meyer lemons

Wash and gently scrub lemons. Using a zester or vegetable peeler, remove strips of zest from fruit, being careful to remove only the yellow zest, none of the bitter white pith.

Combine sugar, zest and lemon juice in medium saucepan. Heat until simmering over medium heat, stirring to completely dissolve sugar. Increase heat and bring to a gentle boil. Remove saucepan from heat. Cover and set aside to steep 10 minutes. Strain into glass containers. Discard zest, or, you know what I’d do.

Makes 3 cups. The syrup will keep 1 week in the refrigerator, 6 months in the freezer.


Southern Comfort in the Granite State