Last week we went on our annual vacation to southern California where my parents live. It truly is paradise there. Sunshine, palm trees, ocean breeze. One can see why so many people move there (or dream of moving there) someday. The weather was amazing, unseasonably warm and even a touch too hot a few of the days when it reached the high 90s. Great for the beach or the pool but not the best for walking around Legoland for a few hours with little ones. Still, it’s tough to find complaints about a warm and sunny vacation now that we are facing the cold and dark pre-winter season here in Chicago. Paul and I didn’t even realize that it was SO cold in Chicago until we got on the plane home and the pilot said “the weather in Chicago is partly cloudy with a temperature of 38 degrees”. What? 38 degrees? It was about 70 when we left, but I guess that’s Chicago, especially around Halloween.
Our vacation diet consisted of lots of baked goods, fried chicken, pizza, steaks on the grill, fish tacos, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, in-and-out burger, ice cream and one acai bowl thrown in there for good measure. So no, we didn’t cook. But we did make something. I’ll let you guess what it was.
My parents have a bunch of fruit trees in their backyard including fig trees, citrus trees, and a persimmon tree. Their lemon tree is seemingly always loaded with lemons which my dad uses to make amazing lemon marmalade based on a recipe shared with him by one of my aunts in Japan. The kids don’t have the attention span for marmalade but they were very excited about the prospect of making lemonade with the lemons they gathered from the backyard.
The kids picked lemons while my dad sliced them in half and juiced them. Then we mixed them with sugar and water, heated in the microwave until the sugar melted. To that we added a whole bunch of ice and more water until we got the taste right. From now on, the taste of homemade lemonade will remind me of vacation and my parent’s lemon tree.
Here is the lemonade recipe we based ours on. It comes from Ina Garten who I’m sure makes a perfect glass of lemonade for dear Jeffrey whenever he gets overheated and thirsty.
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (5 to 6 lemons)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup superfine sugar, to taste
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 4 cups water
Ina puts all of the ingredients in a blender and serves the lemonade over ice but we did it as explained above and that worked perfectly, with no grainy sugar slush left at the bottom of the pitcher. It also saved us from having to wash another appliance.