Oh, the glories of fruit!
It would be an understatement to say I'm excited about the bounty of fresh fruit outside our front door.
After reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle nearly 5 years ago, Alex and I made a decision to eat more locally wherever possible. For quite a long time we'd knowingly tsk tsk eachother upon every Chilean bag of grapes, but we got to a point where we wanted to do more. Well, we wanted to actually do something at all.
And, as many know, when you go down that rabbit hole, you discover there's a lot less sitting under the misters and fluorescents of the produce aisle than you thought. So we haven't had too much fruit in the last few years.
Okay, what that really means is the variety of fruits we eat is smaller and we eat them seasonally, so they're gone quicker.
I know, I know. It's. So. Sad. Our lives are HARD.
It's meant we got to gobble crispy apples for months in New York, smoosh blueberries and strawberries and muscadine grapes during the North Carolina summer, and discover the secret garden-ness of things like wineberries and maypops that grow all over. We've been just fine, even lovely
But there's been no grapefruits.
No grapefruits and no oranges.
I don't feel it's an exaggeration to say a small part of my soul felt like this for the past few years...
I should credit my mother here, as she did provide us with a blessed, heavenly light-shrouded bag of Texas Ruby Reds every Christmas. Thank you to dear Mom and to dear HEB; those juicy orbs got me through many a too-cold morning in crumbly apartments with mice as breakfast guests. Whenever my hand groped that very last mamacita in the red mesh bag, a wash of grief would overtake me.
However, here is the moment when I get to punch the air and imagine a freeze frame because
"Lo! Behold! We have CITRUS! "
And true, this fact has been revealed already. But I'd like to communicate how amazing this is. For believe me, it is amazing.
When it's cold outside, when the rest of the country is freezing their bejeezus (bejeezi?) off, we have
sweet, nectar-ridden, cocktail-supplyin', salad-sprucin', peel-it-and-weep-it's-so-incredibly-good-and-you-can't-believe-it-came-in-its-own-gorgeous-wrapper-and-p.s.-it-smells-like-happiness FRUIT.
Prior to returning to Texas, the farmers Alex and I had worked for were often dubious of the whole "agriculture in Texas" idea.
"What can you grow? "
"Does anything grow there?"and even,
"Aren't you scared to live in Texas?"
Well friends, you can grow A LOT.
I don't know if you've heard, but Texas is enormous, and nearly everything grows here-- the classic standbys of lettuce, corn, broccoli and tomatoes, but also goodies like pecans, plums, pears, peanuts, mangoes, avocados and where we live we're awash in those sacred citrus gems of grapefruits, oranges, lemons and tangerines. Our state vitamin C count is off the charts.
And scared? Scared of what?
The kooks and bad eggs the world over might never vanish, but I'll tell you the balm that soothes my woes:
Nothin's gonna fix you like homemade Lemon Chess pie made by a momma, from lemons growing near the front door.
And why not have pre-partied that pie with a salad garnished with sweet grapefruit and--don't stop there!--finish it off with a delicious grapefruit and satsuma margarita. Keep the citrus coming, it's the best tasting cold and flu-prevention you'll ever have.
Plus, we owe it to the northerners.
Grapefruit and Satsuma Margaritas:
1 cup grapefruit juice (pink or white)
1/2 cup satsuma juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup tequila
1/2 cup Triple Sec (or some kind of tasty liqueur)
Combine liquids and mix well. Pour over ice into glasses, salted if you're a wild one. Garnish with wedge of grapefruit.
*Obviously, you can substitute any of the fruit above for what you might have. Use limes if that's your jam...I'll never tell Barbara Kingsolver.
Fizzy Lemonade (alcohol not even needed!)
1/2 cup Meyer Lemon juice
1 cup Club soda
1-2 tablespoons sugar
Dissolve sugar in lemon juice (making simple syrup makes this easier, but if you're jonesin' for this drink in a hurry...). Add club soda and enjoy simple fanciness!
Grapefruit salad with feta and balsamic
1 grapefruit (pink or white)
lettuce leaves (however enough for your salad)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Section the grapefruit (be careful!) and add to lettuce. Either whisk oil and vinegar together with your able little wrist, or use immersion blender. Drizzle this over salad and crumble your feta overtop. Yum.
*Again, these proportions are strictly out of my head---we never use exact measurements. Make it taste good to you, the human eating it.