Thursday, June 25, 2009

Keeping My Cool

The Kentucky summer keeps trying to beat me. It brings the 90 degree weather and the super-humidity and thinks it will knock me down. The summer seems to know how to withhold its breezes, how to storm early in the morning and stop, so that by midday the ground is steaming. However, I've got some tricks up my sleeve (though I'm definitely not wearing any sleeves), and I'm determined to stay cool no matter what summer throws at me.

K and I are on year three of no air conditioning. The first two years we lived in Japan and now we're dealing with this summer in Kentucky business. We lived in Yamagata, Japan, where the weather is surprisingly similar to the Ohio River Valley. It's hot and muggy, though I think Kentucky is ever-so-slightly more humid. It was in Yamagata that we first started taking ice cold showers and freezing wet washcloths to use as ice packs. We each had our own fan and didn't often move from in front of them.

I've learned some new strategies this summer for keeping cool. My favorite drink for staying hydrated is ice water, but it becomes a special treat when you add some herbs. I just put a few leaves of fresh mint or lemon balm in the bottom of a glass, add a few ice cubes, and give it a good shake. I love how the glass gets all frosty and the scent of herbs wafts through the air. I fill the glass with water and drink for instant refreshment. Throughout the day, I just add more ice and water. The mint or lemon taste stays pretty strong.

Another way I've been surviving the heat is by eating cool, cool foods. Cold, glistening plums, for example. Not only are they sweet and chilled, they're also pretty. I love the dusty dark purple skin and the golden orange flesh. It's a great mid-afternoon treat.

I've also been making ice cream and sorbets as fast as I can. This sunshine yellow pineapple sorbet definitely cooled me down. It's another simple sorbet recipe. It's actually just pineapple, sugar, and water. What a perfect summer recipe!
The recipe comes from The Perfect Scoop. Here's my brief synopsis: Blend together 1 pineapple (peeled and cut into small pieces), 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of water.* Chill this mixture in the fridge for about an hour, then put it in your ice cream maker. Done!

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*This is actually the doubled version of the recipe.

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