Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Old School

On Friday, my daughter graduated
From sixth grade.
The kids were all dressed up.
Pearls from an absent Grandma,
Hair just so.
Glimpses of the children they were
Hints of the adults they will become.
They looked beautiful and nervous.
Full of excitement,
Of love for each other,
For this joyous place where they grew up.
There were songs, a minuet, and a really nice speech.
Inside jokes.
Outbursts of laughter.

Many, many boxes of kleenex.
Names called to rousing cheers.
Tearful embraces with their teachers.
A flower.
Colorful dragons on the diplomas.

Just a couple more photos.

A last clinging hug.
The gate behind us.
Just like that.
We're never going back
To our old school.

For her, this will someday recede.
She'll conquer high school and college.
Get a job.  Have a wedding.
Bear a child who will, before she knows it, graduate from sixth grade.
Emotions will run high and wild every time.
That's what rites of passage are all about*.

I loved every minute of this one.

Graduation Sangria
One of the many libations we emotionally exhausted parents took comfort from at the evening graduation celebration**.

Sangria Base:
2 bottles cheap, but not horrible, red wine***
3/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice, strained
1/3 - 1/2 c. simple syrup**** or super-fine sugar
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
generous splash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier
generous splash of very good Cognac

Finishing Touches:
About 2 cups of mixed fresh berries
About 2 c. 7-Up

Combine wine and orange juice in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, combine sugar or simple syrup and cinnamon, then add that mixture to the wine.  Splash in the good stuff.   Stir, and taste.  Since you'll be adding 7-Up and fruit later, it should be a bit more intense and slightly less sweet than you'd expect the final version to be, but the flavor should be in the general area of greatness.  If not serving immediately, transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge.

Just before serving, add the fresh fruit and 7-Up, using as much soda as you like to lighten it up for your guests.  Don't add ice to the sangria itself, or it will get diluted quickly.  Instead, add ice to the glasses and pour the sangria over, making sure to include some fruit in each serving.

Bonus! Sangria Sorbet
I made this up on a whim.  Wow!  So happy I did.  Because flavors get less intense when they are cold, adding some additional OJ, simple syrup and 7-Up helps maintain the sangria taste when you turn it into sorbet.  The additional sugar also helps the mixture freeze better, counteracting the anti-freezing properties of the wine.

3 c. sangria base
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
1/2 c. simple syrup
1/2 c. 7-Up

Combine all ingredients, then process according to your ice cream maker's instructions.   Serve with fresh berries.

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* Also the swag. This particular rite of passage was nice because it came with t-shirts and a cool hat.
** Here's the recipe for the even more popular drink, straight tequila:  Buy something expensive.  Pour.
*** This recipe is perfect for Trader Joe's Two-buck Chuck.  Go for the cab.
**** Equal parts water and sugar, boiled together for a few minutes and then cooled.   A great way to sweeten cocktails, because it doesn't leave any "grit" from the sugar in the drinks.

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