In my humble opinion, this week marked the official end of summer. You might argue that it is in fact, Tuesday, the day after Labor Day. But you would be wrong. You see, College Football started this week, which I believe is an official holiday in the South. In fact, they probably just tacked Labor Day to the end of it just to give everyone an extra recovery day.
It was a bit of an ugly day for some, a blow out for others–but I think that we can all agree that regardless of whether your team won or lost we’re all happy the season began. Except, perhaps, for my roommates who now have to endure hours of me yelling and screaming and pacing and stomping and pillow throwing…
It took me 28 days to wish you a Happy New Year, so I think that waiting nearly 7 months for the next post seems to be right on schedule…right?
How is it already July? And there’s no denying it is July–the humidity here in New York City is stifling and I feel we’ve already had more days in the 90s than all of last summer combined. I’m sure that’s an exaggeration, but it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it.
Speaking of hell, I found a meme on Instagram the other day and of course, I couldn’t find it again. But the gist of it was the following:
This month’s wine writing challenge is SOLITUDE, as selected by last month’s winner Beth of Traveling Wine Chick. Honestly, I’ve been feeling a bit at a loss with this topic, as I’ve spent quite a few previous MWWCs talking about how wine is best paired with great friends. But even the most extroverted extrovert needs to reset sometimes, so with George Thorogood playing in my head–click on his name if you need background music!–here goes:
I think one of the best things about summer is sitting outside and drinking wine. Sure it’s a lot of fun with others, but it is equally enjoyable by oneself–sitting on the porch reading a book or lounging on the beach listening to the breaking of the waves. It gives you time to relax, to enjoy, and to appreciate everything around you, like the delightful syrah-viognier blend you randomly picked out a few weeks back.
The thing I enjoy most about drinking in solitude is that it is very decadent. Opening a bottle of wine simply because you love it–not having to think about catering to anyone else’s palette or worrying that the food pairing is not quite right. Taking your time to really get to know the wine. Trying new styles and tastes you might not dream of trying in front of others (I mean, I know very well that my friends drink merlot when I’m not around!).
Plus you get the whole bottle to yourself. Not that I’m telling you to drink the whole bottle (for legal disclaimer purposes). I’m sure you can look up on Pinterest 846 things to do with leftover wine. Personally, I always thought “leftover wine” was a myth or a horror story told to oenophiles…but if it is really a thing feel free to share your “friend’s” leftover wine horror stories suggestions.
If the thought of a bottle is too daunting, find a great little restaurant with a spectacular view and start with a glass. Take your time to enjoy all the sensations of tasting the wine without expectations or boundaries and just allow yourself to enjoy. Order food. Enjoy it more.
Several years ago, I found myself with a free afternoon in Sydney. In need of a bit of respite, I happened across a little cafe near the Opera House with a fantastic view of the Harbour Bridge. Fresh oysters were the special and I just couldn’t resist (I never can!). The waiter recommended a New Zealand sauvignon blanc and while I’m not a big fan of the ol’ sauv blanc, I decided to give it a go. BEST. DECISION. EVER. (or at least at that moment in time). The crisp apple finish of the wine enhanced the creaminess of the oysters; the lapping of the waves and the cool breeze coming off of the water provided the perfect setting for allowing myself to just relax and indulge. While I don’t remember the name of the aforementioned New Zealand sauvignon blanc (I know, epic fail!), I vividly remember wishing I could bend time and make that moment last forever.
That is the beauty of drinking in solitude: making an experience and enjoying the moment…of you. I think in this day and age of technology we expect–no, we demand–to be entertained 24/7, when in reality what we need is more unplugging and appreciating not only what is around you, but what is you.
Do yourself a favor and try it–you might like it. I’m not asking you to make it nightly habit (for legal disclaimer purposes), but as a treat for yourself. If you want to be even more decadent and celebratory, pop the bubbly (trust me you won’t be disappointed!)!
Still not convinced that drinking in solitude is for you? Before I go open that blanc de blancs chilling in the fridge for a special occasion (you know, like Monday night), I leave you with this final thought:
Pretty much since the arrival of Lucille and the discovery that–with the right accessories–she could make ice cream, I have wanted an ice cream maker. Not necessarily that ice cream maker (I’m open to seeing other ice cream makers), but I do love making ice cream…in part because I love eating ice cream, especially homemade ice cream, and in larger part because it brings back great memories of sitting on Grandpa & Granny’s porch watching Grandpa crank the ice cream maker, waiting eagerly for him to sneak us a spoonful before Granny would put it in the freezer. I also have heard that right now Aldi in the Twin Cities has a great deal on a 2qt ice cream maker…you know, just in case you live, work, or are traveling through the Twin Cities and decide that your Minnesota souvenir of choice can also be an integral part of your kitchen.
But this isn’t a post about ice cream. This is a post about a well-loved cousin to ice cream: the popsicle. A more portable version, easier to make, already-portioned-out-so-you-don’t-eat-the-entire-2quarts-in-one-sitting summer staple. What started this mild obsession? Well, awhile back, I saw this recipe for Orange Creamsicle Yogurt Pops from Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food and realized that not only did I have all the ingredients on hand, but that this might be the answer for my yearning for an ice cream maker. I accepted this as fate–and the sign of a genius plan!–when the other day I was out and about and found a popsicle mold for only $4. Done and done!
While waiting for them to freeze, I did what anyone would do: I got on Pinterest to look for more recipes. Actually, I also blame the Fudge Bars from Whole Foods temporarily residing in my freezer because, well, it would also be AWESOME to have fudge bars without going to the store!
So when you type ‘popsicle’ (why limit yourself to just fudge?) into the search box of Pinterest you get about 3 days worth of pins. I found a wide variety of recipes for fudge popsicles (hellllllooooo, Nutella pops!), complicated fancy ones that look pretty and sound amazing, but fall into the Too Hard Basket (such as blackberry ombre popsicles or coconut/salted caramel/chocolate with almonds–but if you decide to make these, personally I think it should be pistachios), über-easy/healthy ones (aka put fruit in a mold and fill with coconut water), and my new favorite: the adult beverage ones. WHAT THE WHAT? This is just further proof this really was a genius plan!
It started with this Peaches & Cream recipe from Tutti Dolce (who seems to be a connoisseur of popsicles, as several of my popsicle pins are from Laura!). I clicked on this one because it’s summer and I almost always have peaches on hand. In reading through the recipe, this caught my eye:
1 1/2 Tbsp crème de pêche (peach liqueur)
Liqueur? Oh yes, please, and thankyouverymuch!
So then (and this is how Pinterest sucks you in), I start actively searching for adult popsicle recipes and realize that there are a lot of lushes kindred spirits (pun intended!) out there! Sangria, Bourbon, Tequila, Prosecco…I’m quite certain you’d be hard pressed to find something without [insert your favorite adult beverage here].
I then did what any pinner would do: I created a board. Not just for the adult popsicles, although I do appreciate your faith in me that I would could do that. I even included a few of the Too Hard Basket ones, mainly because they are pretty and maybe complicated popsicles are your thing. I mean, I don’t judge. Who knows…perhaps–if given the appropriate amount of champers–I might be prompted to try one of them….until giving up in a huff and just sitting on the couch, drowning my sorrows in another bottle of champers while waiting for the easy adult popsicles to freeze. What? It’s the most likely scenario.
But back to popsicles….inquiring minds want to know: what’s your favorite?
PS–if you’re interested, here’s my Put A Stick In It Pinterest Board. If you already follow me on Pinterest, you’re welcome for the plethora of popsicle recipes in your feed 😉 And, of course, I’m always looking for more great recipes if you wanna share your favorite popsicle recipe!