I’ve been posting a lot this week about my urban garden. I have to back up a bit and say that there hasn’t been a time in my life since I was a pre-teen that I didn’t have some sort of garden going. I learned how to garden from my grandparents and my mom, and spent much time in my childhood outdoors, in the garden. Whether I was reading, playing with imaginary friends (and sometimes real ones, too), or actually planting seeds and weeding, the garden was a focal point throughout my summers. As a pre-teen, I started taking over small plots of land in my mom’s garden (I am responsible for the blackberry that refuses to die in her yard, as well as an entire swath of allium that have reproduced wantonly for the past thirty years). As an adult, I’ve lived in both apartments and houses, as renter and as owner, and in every single one, including my two-year stint in the Marshall Islands, I’ve had either a full out in-the-ground garden, or a set of containers as my garden.
I also developed an early appreciation for herbs – I think I was caught up in the romanticism of using plants to heal, which led to many years of planting and experimenting with herbs for both health and culinary uses. I’ve loved living in Oregon, as some more herbs that wouldn’t make it past Colorado and New Mexico’s winters, like rosemary and lemon verbena, do really well here and winter over without too much complaint.
In recent years, I’ve discovered using aromatic herbs widely in cocktails, so many of my summer happy hour recipes have herbs incorporated. This one is no different. If you aren’t a big fan of herby drinks, no worries – you can leave them out and still enjoy the wine and fruit.
We’re starting to transition from early berry season into stone-fruit season. In my mind, there is little to compare to a tree-ripened peach, even though it’s a fruit that’s not nearly as convenient as a berry (a takes a knife to open up or a willingness to get very sticky to just eat – hard to gorge on after having just picked, unlike a strawberry or blueberry). I happened to have some very fruity, very effervescent, very light Vinho Verde in the wine rack, which paired very well with the peaches and plums. I think a Riesling would work, too (I’ll confess, when I ran out of Vinho Verde, I threw in some Riesling, thus mixing wines. It was pretty good. I don’t mix wines regularly – it just somehow seems wrong).
Stone Fruit Sangria
2 cups assorted stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums), pitted and chopped
½ cup orange curacao
1 bottle white wine
4 or 5 sprigs of citrusy herbs (I used lemon verbena, lemon basil, and pineapple sage)
Mix all ingredients in a pitcher. Let sit for at least two hours for flavors to combine. Serve with pieces of the fruit and a few leaves of herbs.