A perfect day here on Martha’s Vineyard. The humidity lifted and blew away, leaving us with a warm summer morning under blue skies and a soft breeze from the sea; a dangerous kind of day; if you were here on vacation, you might spend the rest of your life trying to figure out how to come back here to live forever. Perfectly set up to haunt you that way. Not one car was at the beach this morning, we had it all to ourselves except for egrets and seagulls, a lone kayaker, a couple of boats slicing out to the sound. I filmed the “surf” (which there isn’t any because it’s on the sound) for land-locked, ocean-lover girlfriends. . . You can almost touch it . . .
When we got home, I’d promised myself I’d clean the studio, but then my girlfriends came over so I couldn’t. I was forced to sit at the kitchen table and shoot the breeze with them. For two hours. When they left, I pondered: “studio, garden, studio, garden,” looked at the seventeen birds flittering around the bird bath, flipping water into the sky and gave up, I didn’t feel like cleaning the studio!
It wasn’t Spring Fever, it was middle-of-August, it’s-almost-over, Summer Fever. I got my stuff and went out to the garden. I trimmed, deadheaded and weeded. Felt almost sad to take out the weeds, they are so very healthy. I took pictures of our “pumpkin patch,” which is giving up it’s secrets … I’ll show you later. Joe set up saw horses outside the barn in the shade of a tree and painted shutters. We did good work. At least it looked like work. But it wasn’t work, it was heaven.
“You want something to drink,” I called to Joe, heading in to clean up. ”Yeah, he said, “how ’bout one of those lime things.” I knew what he meant. Brazilian Lemonade. Have you tasted one of these yet? It’s not lemon, it’s lime, and so refreshing on a hot day. I make it with basil which adds a little spark to it. We had limes, I grabbed some basil leaves from the garden, got my camera and made enough for you . . .
First thing you do is make a basil simple syrup — boil together 1 c. water with ½ c. sugar and four whole basil leaves. Leave it in the pan and put it in the fridge to chill.
When it’s cold (ish) you pour the basil syrup into a blender.
Then add four quartered limes (peel and all) and 1/4c. of sweetened condensed milk . . .
And then, 2 cups of cold water . . .
Put the lid on tight, and blend on high for four seconds, just until the limes are roughly chopped. This is so easy.
Strain it all into a large pitcher. Rinse the blender with two more cups of cold water and pour it over the limes to get all the juices . . .
Mash into the strainer with a big spoon. Get that limey goodness . . .
And voila! Pour it into tall glasses over crushed ice. Garnish it with basil or mint, or a turquoise straw and . . .
Then of course, you have no choice…you drop Joe’s off to Joe, and you take yours, to the chair to the garden with the book. And you clean the studio tomorrow. ♥ Yes, you get the picture, I’m trying to be a bad influence. (Weekend’s coming, time to play, summer’s almost over!)
Here’s the recipe, all in one place; you will love it!
B A S I L L E M O N A D E
- 1/2 c. sugar + 1 c. water in small saucepan
- 4 whole fresh basil leaves
- 4 limes quartered
- 1/4 c. sweetened condensed milk
- 2 + 2 cups of water, divided
Boil sugar and water together, remove from heat and stir in basil leaves. Chill. When it’s fairly cold, pour the syrup into a blender; add limes, condensed milk and 2c. cold water. Blend, on high, for four seconds, just until limes are roughly chopped. Strain into pitcher. Put 2 more cups of water into blender, whirl it around to rinse it, and pour through limes and strainer into pitcher (to get the rest of the juices from the limes. Serve over crushed ice, garnish with basil or mint if you like. Makes 1 1/2 quarts.
S W E E T D R E A M S