Watermelon Agua Fresca, Sin Juicer

Other than my wife, my all-time favorite roommate was the guy I previously mentioned here.  When we shared a deathtrap, slum apartment in San Diego, he had a juicer and it was always too hot inside.  Other than drinking Newcastle and eating veggie burritos, we would periodically use that juicer to turn watermelons into seemingly more juice than the entire starting mass of the things.  Good memories, horrific mess.  Cleaning a juicer?  Eff that.

A year or two ago, I realized you could make watermelon juice (of if you wanna get fancy and Mexican, watermelon Agua Fresca) with just a blender.  Even if you have a juicer, this is much faster, easier, and you end up with a built-in pitcher.  Oddly enough, watermelon juice in the store is really expensive – something like $2.50/pint.  This recipe makes about a quart for about $1.50 in about 5 minutes.  What’s not to like?

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To make the juice, just cube 1/4 watermelon and throw it in the blender – it should just fill the thing.  The beautiful part is it really doesn’t matter too much if it is seeded or seedless as everything is getting pulverized.  Add to that about 1 Tbsp lime juice (or lemon, or nothing if you don’t have it) and 2 tsp sweetener.  I like agave nectar, but you could use honey or sugar or nothing – it’s easy like that.  Throw the blender in high gear and let it run.  Odds are it’s not going to do much for a minute, so remove the middle circle bit of the lid and use the handle of a wooden spoon to smash things together until it gets a grip, at which point thing will quickly turn juicy.  Be careful not to jam that thing down too far though – splinters in juice aren’t wonderful.

After the blender has run for 3 or 4 minutes, you have a choice.  You can drink it as-is, or you can strain it through a sieve or cheesecloth to remove the bigger pulpy bits.  I don’t care much either way, but you might.  Refrigerate whatever is left – it tastes great cold.  Just make sure to stir it back up before serving.

I had a good time taking a picture of the blender to get this shot.  My wife saw it sitting there and realized it would make a good shot – she was right.  Since it was too big for my light tent, I took a piece of white posterboard out of the light tent and propped it on a table to simulate the same shape.  I used my flash off-camera to blow out the background, but I had to use a pretty long exposure to get the watermelon to expose.  I could have done better with a reflector to open up the right side a bit, but I was ready to make juice, so this is what you get.

Obama at the Bakery

So usually when I want to get a loaf of bread at work, I just go to Grand Central Bakery – about 100 feet away.  Today, it got a little more complicated:

It seems when the president is going to hold a meeting with local business leaders at the place where you usually get snacks and pastries, that is somehow more important.  Funny – I usually go through the door, not a security tent.

These nice gentlemen told me that after the president was gone around 1, they’d be happy to serve me coffee, but right now, I couldn’t be closer than 20 feet from the door.  They didn’t tackle me for taking pictures though, so there’s that.

Glad I didn’t drive today.

Lightspace in the Park

Working next to Occidental Square provides some benefits.  Quick access to Grand Central Bakery cookies.  The time I saw 5 bald eagles perched in the trees.  This summer, it has been the random appearance of public art.

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It is, of course, only random to me.  After looking into it, I learned that this piece was part of Prismatic Lightscape by MiLa.  I appreciate how it makes the square feel alive with the strips of cellophane snapping in the breeze.  You’d hardly know that most of the time the only sound comes from the ramblings of hobos.  Hey – better than nothing!