It’s mid-August and, while it’s still summer, school is starting in Colorado and there’s a nip in the air evenings. A few leaves are beginning to turn (one whole bush in my south yard), but over all, the sun is still shining and the lush flora from the unusual rainfall is stunning. I missed a long, cool wet summer. Down the street, my gardening neighbors are having the garden club over and the rest are discussing one last camping trip together before snow flies. (which could be anytime in the mountains) I’m ready!
————————Yarrow and Russian Sage out front———————
At my house, I can finally sit on the deck mornings for a cup of coffee and my breakfast. Most of the late spring and summer, the eastern sun is so strong that that deck is not approachable until evening. We often have 100 degree temps out there in the mornings. The west side could be 55 degrees at the same time. Colorado sun is intense and unlike many other places. Of course, that’s part of why you can get a tan here skiing in January.
—————————–Miss Gab enjoying late summer sun————–
While we love summer food and the ease of it all, there’s not much we like better than ice cream if we’re talking dessert. We make homemade even in the winter with the wonderful tabletop makers, but there’s just nothing like fresh fruit on ice cream or, better sometimes, a fruit topping made on your own stove in 10 minutes or so for summer fun. Storebought ice cream will do, or you might try gelato that’s full-flavored and much lower in calories and fat.
For the topping, any soft fruit can be used and, while I’ve got pics of rhubarb (still growing here!) and blueberries, you might try chopped peaches, strawberries, raspberries, etc. You will basically make a fast homemade jam that will go hot or cold on top of whatever sort of frozen dream you’ve chosen. (Make extra for waffles?)
——————————Rhubarb cooking down on the stove————–
Here’s the basic method for cooking a fruit ice cream topper:
In a 3qt. saucepan, place 3-4 c fresh, soft fruit along with about 1/4 c -1/3 c white sugar and a cup of water. (Use a bit more sugar for rhubarb and taste any fruit to see if you need more or less sweetner.) If you like cinnamon, add a pinch for extra flavor. You could also stick in a cinnamon stick or a little vanilla. For the blueberries, I added about 1/2 tsp grated lemon to the mixture. Heat the fruit, water, sugar and flavoring, if used, over medium heat until boiling. Turn down heat and simmer until thickened and to the texture you desire, stirring often. Add a little water if needed. Serve over ice cream hot or cold. Makes enough for 4-6 servings, depending on size. Fine to make it ahead and refrigerate.
————-Ice Cream with Rhubarb topping and a tad of cinnamon—
The beautiful thing about this sort of summer dessert is that it is both easy and delicious; you have a great dish in about 10 minutes. If you need something else, serve some shortbread cookies with it. Thin ginger snaps make a nice foil for some fruits like peaches or nectarines. Use a lovely white bowl to show off the colors and you’re in business.
———Blueberry Topping with Vanilla Bean Gelato and Ginger Cookie–
Enjoy these last couple of weeks of summer and dream outdoors while you still can. Draw your friends together for just dessert and pull out the deck of cards to play outside. Fall will be here sooner than you think. Smile while it’s still green!
—————-West side berm at our house in August————
The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.
— Robert Louis Stevenson
Sing a new song,