I'm married to a non-cook. Which works out just fine, since I clearly love cooking. Though I'm not sure he had ever used them, Brandon did bring two appliances into the marriage: a panini-maker (which will get its own post eventually) and a blender. And not just any blender, but one of those high-powered, ice-crushing types, that can make everything from soups to smoothies to–my personal favorite–frozen margaritas. Up until last week, the poor machine was languishing on the counter, gathering dust, while its fellow electronic neighbors–the hot water pot and the toaster–got daily love. It just wasn't fair. And then, suddenly, everything changed.

Over the past week, I've started using the blender. A lot. This all came about as a result of the fact that Brandon can't drink for the rest of the summer (poor guy), so I decided to start getting creative with some non-alcoholic fruit drinks. (Some people call them mocktails, but I really hate that name.) I was inspired by an amazingly refreshing watermelon lime agua fresca I tried recently in Nashville at Mas Tacos. On a 100-degree day, it was quite frankly, the best thing I could imagine at that moment. Owner Teresa Mason shared her simple recipe with me, which was literally: blend watermelon and lime, add ice, let sit. Easy! I decided to go home and give it a try.

So off came the lid of the blender (along with a cloud of dust), and in went the watermelon chunks and the lime juice. And with the flip of a switch, I had a brilliantly red watermelon puree. I added some ice, but being too impatient to let it sit like a true agua fresca, I blended it again to crush the ice. It was delicious–sort of like a watermelon icee, with a twist of lime.

So that experiment led to more experiments. Like a fantastic yellow tomato gazpacho (recipe to come soon) and a frozen strawberry limeade with mint (pictured below). The strawberry limeade would actually make a killer cocktail with a little tequila or white rum, but in its present form, it is pretty close to perfect. The combo of strawberries, lime, and mint is not only gorgeous to behold, but the flavors–sweet, tart, and herbal–compliment each other beautifully. If you have a dusty blender, pull it out and give this a whirl (pun intended!)–it will only take five minutes, and you'll want to make it again and again.


2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved

Juice of 2 limes

Juice of 1/2 orange

1 tablespoon sugar (you can omit or adjust to your taste)

1/4 cup chopped mint

A handful of ice

Blend until smooth.  Enjoy with a lime wedge on a swampy summer day.