Cinnamon Sangria, a Rainbow, and a Bountiful Feast

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An unexpected cool front moved through Portland on Monday followed by two days of cold rain.  Unusual for June, but not the least bit unpleasant when one thinks of the good it does the copious numbers of trees and plants around this city.  Besides, we always get rainbows here when it rains in Portland and to me, they are still magical.  They bring feelings of peace, of love and a real respect for the  beauty of nature.

Despite the presence of an emotionally-charged external situation, John and I still had a good day.  He has not been feeling well, but got outdoors and worked a bit between the rain showers, putting the finishing touches on the project we just did in the front of the house.  I wasn’t happy with his coloring by the end of the day, so persuaded him to come inside and relax while I prepared a meal using more of the organic produce that we picked at the farm on Saturday.

Because we were blessed with such an abundance of delicious fruits and veggies, I thought I’d whip up some cinnamon Sangria.  It turned out perfectly….not too sweet, but fruity and light, with the freshness of muddled blood oranges, cherries, strawberries, lemons, limes and apples married in Mondavi Cabernet and a splash of good brandy.  I must confess that I am not  a big fan of Mondavi wines, but their cab is rich and full-flavored enough to be my choice when I make Sangria. For some reason, it just works.   I infused a little cinnamon syrup into the mix and added cinnamon sticks and it turned out to be the perfect balance of cinnamon fruity goodness….very light and delicious.

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For dinner, I grilled some organic corn on the cob with some smoked paparika that a friend sent to me from Turkey. I  roasted yellow and red beets, grilled Field Roast brand apple/sage vegetarian sausage links that I glazed in hot/sweet chili sauce.  I steamed the last of the kale and added fresh lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper, and also served one of the best avocados I have ever eaten with chopped boiled egg and a pear champagne dressing.  This avocado was buttery and full-flavored.  The texture was perfect.  the meal was delicious!!

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For the second night in a row, I served strawberry shortcake.  However, right before time to serve, I discovered that my cream had gone off, so John ran down the street to the little convenience store and grabbed a can of the tasteless stuff…because that was all they had, and we used that.  It wasn’t bad, and the delicious strawberries made up for the fact that it wasn’t the hand whipped cream that I usually use.  This year’s strawberries are the best I’ve had in 3 or 4 years.  I made a homemade shortbread…just basic stuff….not very sweet…sort of like a slightly-sweet biscuit.  That is the way John likes strawberry shortcake.  I grew up eating it made with angelfood cake.  🙂  This year’s strawberries are sweet, aromatic and out of this world!  I am, in fact, going to use the leftovers to make John some strawberry pancakes as soon as I finish writing this.  I have a great recipe for Meyer lemon/blueberry cakes and I am going to ladle the leftover strawberries on top.

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Our simple meal was light and delicious and very satisfying.  We spent a couple of hours chatting, eating and making plans.  Had a few laughs.  Shed a few tears and felt good just to have the time together. The rain had stopped by the time we finished, so we went for a nice, long walk together.

So….today is another day, and I shall do my best to get through it with a smile on my face and with gratitude in my heart.  I am counting my blessings.

 

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