Saturday, October 2, 2010

Endless Summer

When the cool weather started toward the end of September, I was giddy with excitement.  Memories of vibrant fall colors in upstate New York flood over me this time of year, and I dream of crisp afternoons, leaves piled high, and comforting hours spent in the kitchen with dear friends.  After months of outdoor cooking, fun as it was, I simply couldn't wait to turn my oven on and fill the house with aromas of cinnamon-laced breads and simmering stews.  My October issue of Bon Appétit arrived, and I read it cover to cover while sipping hot cider.  I rushed off to the store and bought a pie pumpkin, set it on my counter, and started plotting a recipe for pumpkin bagels.

And then the heat wave came.  Sweltering in my kitchen in the hundred-degree heat, I knew my pumpkin bagels would have to wait.  So rather than depress myself by blogging an autumn recipe in defiance of the weather, here is one of my summer favorites.

Piña Coladas are one of the best dairy-craving cures I know of.  Lusciously creamy and not too sweet, this recipe is simple and delicious.  And because it uses natural ingredients instead of a flavored mix, it won't leave you with that I-just-drank-sunscreen feeling.  While you take a sip and feel those tropical breezes blow, it may be the perfect time to daydream along with me about cooler days to come.

Ingredient notes:  Fresh pineapple will give a brighter flavor, but the texture will be smoother with canned pineapple.  I make them both ways depending on what I have on hand.  Cream of coconut comes in a can and may be found at Latin markets or the beverage aisle at the supermarket (much cheaper at the former).  Do not confuse with coconut cram, which is unsweetened.  Be sure to stir well before using.

Piña Coladas
makes 2

1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple or canned crushed pineapple
1/3 cup cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez
1/4 cup light rum (sub lemonade for non-alcoholic)
1 cup ice
Dark rum for garnish
Lime wedges

Combine pineapple, cream of coconut, light rum, and ice in blender.  Blend until very smooth.  Pour into two glasses.  Top each with a small splash of dark rum and a lime wedge.

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