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Oh, we had such a good time this morning!! Dad and I have been going to Sedano’s every Saturday as of late instead of the Swap Shop. Sedano’s is an enormous hispanic grocery store. We find all manner of treasures there. Today we found wild caught snapper and wild caught mahi for $6.99 A POUND!!!!! And gorgeous watermelons at 99¢ EACH!!! It’s a bit of a drive but it allows us the opportunity to small talk or reveal past adventures.  Never one to disappoint, Dad shared another adventure.  All the while I racked my culinary memory bank to put together a Memorial Day/send off menu. James is leaving for a summer internship on Tuesday and my goal was to serve the dishes he loved that he would most probably not have while he was away. On we cruised down Federal Highway when Dad turned to me and said , “Yeah, that’s like when I was working in Panama right before Pearl harbor and after having eaten chicken sandwiches for over a month they told me, “Jack!!! What are you doin’?? Don’t eat that stuff!! It ain’t chicken, that’s iguana you been eating’!!!!” Haha!! We laughed and I started asking questions. “Dad, I thought you went to Panama AFTER Pearl Harbor”. Apparently not. That man’s parents let him go to Panama at 18 straight out of high school!!! They knew no one down there, he had no work lined up and hadn’t even arranged lodging!! Can you imagine??!! But all those details fell into place and soon there was a routine set.  He told me of sailors and passengers he met on freighters.  He shared the details of virtual strangers who had shown him such kindnesses, taking him in or offering him a meal.  He told me about fights he saw one where a man and woman were on the street corner using KNIVES on each other, screaming and pulling hair.  He said no one intervened, no one even watched!  But Dad did.  He said the woman was down and the man was kicking her.  Then she jumped up and whaled on the man!  He said she really held her own.  Nice.  It was one rough town.  Dad was in Panama to work on the railroad for a couple of months and when his time there was coming to an end he said he was more than ready to go.  Then he said without thinking, “It was okay. I had made friends with a girl who was a hooker and she was really nice to me” and my response was, “DAAAAAD!!!!! What was her name?”. Sheepishly he replied “Hell, I don’t know!!” We laughed and laughed and drove on. Past the casinos and discount cigarette stores we continued on our journey.  I still didn’t know what I’d be serving the family. I thought maybe fried chicken, but quite frankly that’s a lot of work. Nothing was gelling. Jimmy can’t be out on the grill, it’s just too hot and again, a lot of work. We arrived at Sedano’s, parked the car and strolled into the store. Salsa was playing in the parking lot, men of all ages were chatting and smoking cigars. I started getting excited. Dad perused the beans and soups in the hot case and that’s when it came to me. Pernil al horno! Roast pork Puerto Rican style! And you can’t have roast pork without rice and beans. Green beans are on sale. I’ll make them stewed, Greek style with feta on top.  Plus zucchini casserole. I’m  liking this! We always stop at Delaware Chicken Farm and besides supplies for the week I can pick up some really good smoked fish dip. Oh, yeah! With saltine crackers? It’s the only way to have it!  Aaaaah!  Frozen rum drinks!  I had a hunch Sedano’s would have frozen  tropical fruit pulp and passing the frozen cases I saw I was right. Guava, soursop and passion fruit.  Nothing says PARTAY on a hot, steamy day than a frozen rum drink! Or two!  The minute I got home I dressed the pork shoulder, stuck it in the refrigerator to marinate overnight and topped and tailed the green beans.  The following morning I put my red beans in a bowl of cold water to soak and grated the zucchini for the casserole.  What an easy menu and I knew it would be enjoyed by all!  I will admit I had been getting increasingly emotional at the thought of James leaving again.  Right before the family started arriving he turned to me in the kitchen and, in a somewhat reproachful tone asked, “You’re not going to be sad while I’m gone are you?”.  And right at that moment I resolved that I would NOT be sad while he was away.  This is a magnificent opportunity, possibly life changing, so, no, I’m not going to be sad.  And I haven’t been either!  I thought that was the appropriate moment to get the blender cranked and start churning out some frosty rum treats.  Virgin frozen drinks for the kids.  So, so good!  We all agreed that the best was Parcha, Passion Fruit.  It’s like the best tasting fruit perfume you’ll ever have!  Anyway, we laughed and told stories.   We teased each other and laughed some more.  The Tinies, who are no longer tiny, took pictures of each other, everybody, and anyone who would accommodate them by making a funny face!!  The house sang with the relaxed happiness of people who love each other and know how to party.  Happy, happy, happy!  So I give you Easy Frozen Blender Drinks!  It’s one more way to keep cool in the tropics!

The beauty of this drink is it’s so versatile plus not only is it easy on the eyes but easy going down!  Vodka can be used but I prefer rum.  The mixes can be any mixture of frozen fruits and fruit juices.  If your frozen fruit mix is exceptionally sweet then a few squeezes of fresh lime or orange juice is great.  Citrus keeps the final drink from becoming cloying.  Tamarind, pineapple, guava, mango all of them are great.  And don’t forget frozen limeade and lemonade.  They’re delicious and readily available.  So start up the blender and cool down for summer.  It’s hot!!

Easy Frozen Blender Drinks

yield: one blender full, pour at will!

  • 1 12 ounce can frozen fruit pulp or juice
  • 1/2 to 1 juiced lime, if fruit is really sweet
  • 1/2 can Rum
  • ice, and lots of it!

  1. To blender add can of fruit drink, citrus juice if using.
  2. Fill the empty fruit juice can with Rum up to the halfway mark.
  3. Pack blender to the top with ice and secure lid firmly.
  4. Pulse blender until mixture is smooth enough to blend without the drink freezing up.
  5. Serve immediately.
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