Remember when you were a kid and summer stretched endlessly before you? Now it seems to go by in a flash, and this one... just vanished. Yesterday I realized that I've gone the entire summer without eating a cantaloupe. How is that possible? And how can I not have bought tomatoes from the farmer's market? I haven't had a margarita, even on National Margarita Day (yes, there is such a thing) and that is a long standing family tradition. (And I don't mean a restaurant or bar margarita, but my dad's "from scratch" recipe.) I haven't been swimming. (I didn't set up the infamous green inflatable pool this year.) I never managed to put any Sambac jasmine in the pots on my deck. (I love the delicate white flowers, and the scent at night is heavenly.)
To give myself a little credit, I have grilled quite a bit, and spent time in the garden and sitting on the deck, playing with the dogs. I've watched several summer rainstorms from the swings on the front porch. I've watched dragonflies and fireflies and hummingbirds, and yesterday saw Monarch butterflies for the first time on our Greg's Mist Flower in the front garden.
I did make ice cream, but did not manage my once-or-twice-a-summer treat of a root beer float.
AND I have had exactly two Sunday mornings when the weather was cool enough to allow me to lie in the hammock and day dream for an hour or two, which for me is the absolutely perfect summer Sunday.
REDS, what have YOU missed doing this summer? And can you squeeze it in at the last minute???
HALLIE EPHRON: Yes, the days do seem to speed past. I remember older folks saying that and I wondered what they were going on about.
We have had a glorious summer here in New England, weather-wise. Sunny days and cool nights. We could use a bit of rain, but by now our lilacs are usually moldy from too much of it. We indulged root beer floats - my go-to dessert in summer, just a small one. And wonderful local tomatoes. All I grow that's edible in my garden in herbs, but it's been so nice to go out and clip some parsley, sage, oregano, and basil.
I want your dad's Margarita recipe, Debs, pretty please?? It doesn't have to be summer for a margarita.
RHYS BOWEN: Where did it go? Every year I make a vow to enjoy summer, slow down, take a picnic to a nearby beach or park and spend the afternoon with a book. And every year Labor Day comes and I realize I've been working every single day. Stupid! I suppose I do always have an end of summer deadline and a new book that comes out in August, and I was in Europe for six weeks in May and June so I can't complain. But I should enjoy simple summer pleasures, slow, lazy days.
Actually my son got married in July and the house was full for a while and we did sit on the balcony talking, laughing and sipping wine until late at night, so that was perfect. And I have a post-summer treat coming up. We're going to a lovely bed and breakfast inn in Pacific Grove for my birthday. Right on the ocean, lovely grounds and Carmel nearby. I vow to sit, relax and do nothing for three days.
DEBS: Wow, Rhys! Three whole days??? I suspect that will be a world record for you:-) Enjoy!
LUCY BURDETTE: Yes, time has FLOWN by! Good for you Rhys--you deserve every minute! We've eaten a lot from the garden, and are finally seeing these wonderful tomatoes ripen. And John brought in a strawberry tonight--we agreed it was the most amazing strawberry we'd ever eaten. And we've seen lots of friends and family and eaten many cakes. But hmmm, not one single root beer float, which I also love. And we haven't gone to Cape Cod, which I miss. Though I did finally get to yoga on the beach, which was lovely. All in all, a most wonderful summer, just too short...
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: This summer we didn't make it toOld Orchard Beach for glorious day of tacky pleasures on the sand and the boardwalk. However, if it's warm enough, we may go tomorrow! Thinking about it, most of what we didn't do this year is related to the weather; as Hallie says, it's been on the cooler side in New England (or, as I've read, we've just gotten used to unnaturally hot summers in the recent past) so the beach, hitting the midcoast or floating in the Saco River just haven't felt like pressing needs.
We did get lots and lots done on the property, as I've told you about here. And we got to spend a lot of time, all five of us, as a family. I remain aware the time for that is slipping away faster than the end of summer, so I'm grateful for it.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: We have a swimming pool. I did not go in. Not once. And there you have it. We used to have wonderful times floating--we'd get blow-up rafts, and iced tea, and books, and just float around reading. It was so fabulous. That was before THE BOOK. Our garden is still fabulous, and we walk through it and cut flowers almost every day... The dahlias are crazy wonderful now. We did grill out. Yay, us. We went to Tanglewood, and heard two gorgeous concerts from the BSO. Ah, we went outside to watch the meteor shower, but I saw only one shooting star. One good part was when I looked at my calendar wrong, and realized I had worried myself out of a whole week. When I got the week back, it was fabulous.
So, Hallie, for you:
Charlie's Perfect Margarita
1 1/2 oz white premium tequila, 100% agave. (I use Espolito--even the smell is fabulous.)
1/2 oz top quality orange liqueur--no triple sec! (You can use Cointreau, but I use one called Clement Creole Shrubb. It's made in Louisiana--as you might guess--and is a little less sweet with a hint of herby spice. Delish!)
1 to 1 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice. (I use the larger amount--I like my margaritas limey.)
Chill a short glass. Rub the edge of the chilled glass with a cut lime, then dip the rim in fine kosher or sea salt. Fill with ice, add the other ingredients, garnish with a lime sliver, and enjoy!
If you are making these in a batch, it's best to mix the ingredients in a pitcher, then fill the chilled and prepared glasses. And if you are making a batch, you may appreciate an electric juicer. It takes a lot of limes!
Readers, what have you missed this summer? Can you get anything in this last official weekend?