Ahhh, springtime…that magical time of year when the earth wipes the gloomy slumber from its eyes and springs back into technicolor life…that fabled time of year when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of one thing:
The burgeoning emergence of April, arriving on tender shoots of vibrant green glory. Without fail, a wondrous time of year…as the bitter gales of January mature into a balmy breeze that warms both the skin and the soul…as the melting snowfalls of February now water the blooming fields of color…and let’s face it…March just has a really shitty reputation all-around – especially right around the middle…
…save, of course, for that one legendary day…stalwartly carried by those most stoic of warrior tribes…
All this got me to thinking…which should scare you immensely… As the days grow longer and the nights more sultry, man’s eternal quest for more……..baseball…invariably heats to a fever pitch. This unyielding universal truth – as reliably predictable as the passing of time itself and as certain a bet as the sun’s daily rise in the east to resume its tireless journey west – has been cited by poets and philosophers since time immemorial. Indeed, man’s eternal lust for quality “at-bats” has been ruthlessly exploited by the commercial establishment for eons. From peddlers of shiny trinkets to snake-oil love potions, even the modern medical machine has found its way into the act:
But I’ll be damned if I just sit idly by and ride the pine while this mining of our testosterone continues, unabated. No, my friends, today we enter into a new ERA. Today, we level the immaculately-manicured playing field, or else we proudly grab our balls and go home. Wait, no… Take, TAKE our balls and go home. (actually, is that any better?)
Today, my manly “menion” (swear to god, I totally just make this crap up as I go), we will no longer be stopped short at shortstop. We will slide, head-first and triumphantly, into second base, even if we have to steal it. We shall never lose another of our ranks to the crushing depression of a laughably low on-base percentage…except maybe Jerry – dude’s a total lost cause.
Today, we ALL harness the metrosexual swagger of a Derek Jeter…
…unless “we” are Boston fans…
And how do we rise above the throngs of spring training wannabes to ensure Major League performance worthy of a world-class athlete? How do we catch and keep the eye of that certain someone who wields the power to pencil us into the lineup and, god willing, NOT pull us for a last minute pinch hitter? We do so with grace, elegance, sophistication…and a little bit of alcohol.
Lemon & Pinot Grigio Sorbet
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp Pinot Grigio
(I prefer the simple, inexpensive “Barefoot” brand but, then again, I’m already hitting clean-up. Yep, A-Rod comes to me for dating advice. Sadly, he never seems to take it.)
2 tsp lemon zest
As with my previous Marley-inspired sorbet post, you’re going to need a reliable ice cream/gelato maker on hand but it needn’t be an expensive one. As much as I daydream about a DeLonghi with internal self-refrigerating compressor (mailing address available on request), I get consistently great results with a basic 1.5 quart Cuisinart with detachable freezer bowl, although I do help the machine out a bit with my pre-freezing process.
Just remember, men… You are only as good as your equipment… It needn’t be particularly bulky or showy, though it does help, as long as it performs like a thoroughbred.
Now, there is a subtle but very real difference between the use of grocery store mainstay Eureka lemons and the increasingly trendy Meyer lemons so you’ll want to decide what variation you’re going for beforehand. While the Meyer will give you a strong lemony sweetness, without the traditional citric tartness, do not interpret the price difference as a measure of quality. The simple truth is that Meyer lemons lack the same rugged peel as their standard counterparts and, accordingly, are much harder to inexpensively ship long distances. So, price aside, your real consideration should be whether you want a bit of refreshing lemon “bite” in your sorbet, or prefer a milder fruit flavor to balance the delicate dryness of the wine.
Dice, chop and generally obliterate your lemon zest into something resembling a paste, and soak it in your lemon juice while preparing the other ingredients. Recover as much of the released essential oil as possible from the cutting board.
Fill the larger of two nesting bowls about half full with crushed ice and enough ice water to make it slushy… Nestle the smaller bowl into this ice bath and incorporate your water, sugar, lemon juice/zest and Pinot Grigio. Alternate between vigorous stirring and resting breaks, until all the sugar crystals have dissolved, and then let your sorbet machine earn its keep. Finish off the process with a couple hours in the freezer before serving.
Try to resist the ever-present urge to increase the alcohol content beyond three tablespoons. Bear in mind that alcohol will reduce the freezing temperature of the mixture. To a point, we want to encourage this because it helps maintain a creamy texture and prevents the sorbet from freezing solid. But if we take it too far, we will never achieve better than a margarita-like consistency – outside the confines of deep space, of course.
Remember, this entire exercise has been about DEcreasing the likelihood of encountering a frigid environment…
Perfect this simple concoction, serve it as a confident and flamboyant proxy for your own inner sophisticated sensitivity (no crying in “baseball,” my ass), and you’ll find yourself on-deck 4 times a night, in no time.
Just remember… Chicks dig the long ball…
THESE CLAIMS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FDA…though I would LOVE to see the look on their faces!!