Cantaloupe Archive

Thursday, August 20, 2009

melon agua fresca

melon agua fresca

I have a confession to make: this heat is kicking my butt. I know how earth-shattering this must sound: A 35-week pregnant woman is being done in by a streak of 95-degree muggy days in a city that requires walking, stair-climbing and waiting endlessly for trains on airless, timeless subway platforms? You don’t say!

But my confession is really about it being bad enough for me admit it, awful enough for me to break my own rules about what I will and will not complain about: Arugula that goes bad the day after you buy it? Fair game! The weather, and how it is hot, very hot? Nope! There is no more banal topic of conversation than the air out there, so let me attempt to stop this whining in its tracks. Also not up for discussion? How long 12 blocks feels when you’re carrying a watermelon. The oven, or any oven. Sautéing. Boiling things. Eating food that is in any way heated. The sixteen things I’d like to do with the eggplants and tomatoes I’ve hauled in from the markets this week, as they all require proximity to a lit stove, and that, my friends, is also not going to cut it.

cantaloupehoneydewchoppedchunkedstrainingstraining

Instead, let’s talk about a good and established way to cool down — I mean, besides sticking your head in the freezer, though lord knows I’ve done plenty of that this week — and it goes by the name of agua fresca, or “fresh water”. These drinks are made from any combination of fruits or herbs, water and sugar, and always served icy cold. There’s so much to like about them: they’re gorgeously hued, but mildly flavored. They’ve got none of the syrupy sweetness of bottled fruit juices, tasting instead like the sippable fruits that they are. A good one will taste like you managed to liquefy a piece of fruit without altering it one bit, and a great one will make you forget, even temporarily, exactly how much steam is coming off the sidewalks downstairs.

lime juice

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

cantaloupe salsa

cantaloupe salsa

I wish I could tell you that I’m putting my time into more exciting things* but fact is, it’s nothing but boring stuff keeping me out of the kitchen this week: a new oven that needed installing, pipe work shutting off the water in our apartment today, more doctors appointments than any healthy person should ever require, long classes to teach us the proper diapering of a tiny baby butt, and the kind of steamy heat outside that would make it absurd to turn on the oven anyway (though I should, you know, confirm that it works, right?). Banal, right?

cantaloupe
cantaloupe cubes

But as usual, this has not kept me from bringing home gobs of produce each week. I can’t help it: everything is just too pretty and tasty. Fortunately, you don’t actually have to cook peak-summer produce to make it taste good. Heck, the hardest thing is not eating it straight even after you’ve set your mind to rendering it into something else.

salsa ingredients

Continued after the jump »