This picture is a detail of a carriage in the Carriage Museum in Lisbon. Last October, when we took travel for granted, I spent a few days in Lisbon after a small ship cruise along the Iberian peninsula. The first night a small group of us went to a local restaurant and ordered a pitcher of the local sangria. We demolished it pretty quickly and then ordered a second larger pitcher which we could barely finish. I asked for the recipe and was shown a bottle of a Portuguese liquor that was one of the ingredients. The ingredient that surprised me the most was sprite or 7up. I managed to buy some of the liquor at the airport before boarding - along with some "chocolate" sardines, another Portuguese specialty (these are chocolates shaped and packaged like sardines).

I never got around to making the Sangria until two of the people who had been on that trip with me, and at that restaurant, came down from Massachusetts to visit. We had all been quarantining and masking before the visit and were happy to reunite. Also remembering that great sangria, they brought a nice Spanish Albarino (amongst some other truly glorious wines). We recreated the Lisbon sangria by mixing:

1 bottle of Albarino or similar white wine

1 7oz can of 7up

6 tablespoons of Licor Beirao*

A sprig of mint

1//2 cinnamon stick

1 large sliced peach ( apples, pears and berries can also be used)

Let stand in refrigerator and serve - over ice if you like.

A quick web search showed that this is available for sale in the US, but not widely. Your local wine store can probably get it for you.

Over the years I have heard that putting cucumber slices on ones eyes will reduce puffiness. I have never actually tried this and think that there are better uses for them. I have always loved cucumber salad. It is one of the few salads that is as good or better the next day and so easy to make. For me, this salad has to have dill. Whenever I think to make it I seem to be out of cucumbers or out of dill. I am not sure what the differences are between the many shapes and sizes of cucumbers but I seem to have different preferences at various times. At the start of summer, packages of 6 mini cakes were available and I loved the taste and snap of them. They were the perfect size for putting into salads, especially chopped salad with cherry tomatoes, chick peas and diced avocado. In the winter, the long English cucumbers appeal for their uniform, slender size. But now that is summer the farm stand is full of fresh Kirby cucumbers, usually used for pickling. One of them is also just the right size to cut up for a tossed salad.

I sliced about 5 large ones in a food processor. You can do this by hand but I love the really thin slices I get in the machine. You can use any amount of cucumbers you need. If using more than 5 I would increase the remaining ingredients.

Put the slices into a large bowl and add one sliced small onion. (I prefer Vidalia onions, though red onions would be very pretty.)

Toss with a heaping teaspoon of salt and the same amount of sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Pour in 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. (I used white balsamic but any white vinegar will do)

Mix in as much chopped dill as you like. I used about 1/2 cup

Goldie doesn't get any of this, onions are not for dogs.

We have all settled in pretty well, dealing with the pandemic. It has subsided a lot in this corner of Connecticut. The local market does a great job of screening and limiting people. Long walks without masks are possible because the rare brief encounters with a strangers are at an acceptable social distance. What more than a pandemic could happen to disrupt our lives? The answer was a hurricane that downgraded to a tropical storm and sped up the east coast and into New England. We had some heavy downpours but when the sun came out, the winds persisted. By shortly after 2 on Tuesday the power went out. No power, no plumbing, no wifi. We had plenty of cold food to make it through dinner and breakfast. Because they could not work, my daughter and her husband wisely returned to NYC. I decided to wait it out a day.

Almost all houses here run totally on electricity but I have a friend who put in a gas stove that uses a propane tank. I had duck breasts and peaches that needed cooking so I asked if I could make us dinner on her stove. She happily agreed, as long as I brought Goldie. Her dog Bailey and Goldie get along very well, happily ignoring each other. I packed up the duck, the peaches and some peach vinegar I happened to have on hand, as well as some frozen shrimp. She opened a delicious bottle of Bordeaux which we sipped along with some chips, salsa and a shrimp cocktail. To make the duck, I salted it and seared it in a heavy pan until the skin was browned and a lot of the fat rendered - maybe 5 minutes ( I was happily drinking the Bordeaux and not really watching the clock). I removed the duck, poured off the fat, and returned the pan to the stove. I poured in whatever amount of vinegar I had left, probably a few tablespoons, and deglazed the pan (scraped up all the little bits that had stuck while searing the duck). You could easily use wine, or any balsamic or wine vinegar to do the deglazing. I am sure some raspberry vinegar with raspberries would be lovely. I returned the breasts and the cut up peaches and continued to cook it all on a low flame. I intended to serve them with the white asparagus but I forgot to bring them. With that yummy Bordeaux we didn't miss them.

The light had dimmed, so my friend lit some candles and Goldie got to lick my plate. The following day we all headed for NYC. After two nights we got word that power was restored and we all returned to CT.