Friday, April 10, 2009

A Goodly Friday to All: Agua de Limon & Agua de Jamaica

Hibiscus Flower tea; perfect for Agua de Jamaica

While Good Friday may not necessarily be a reason to celebrate in and of itself (although I suppose if you take it as part of a sequence of Christian historical events, it could be and technically is), there are several things that are goodly and worth celebrating today.

* * *

Why This is a Goodly Friday Indeed
or at least that's what I'm desperately telling myself

4. Holy Week = Days Off = Captive Audience for Brenda.
Matt is off Friday and Monday, which automatically makes the world a happier place in my book. At least now I have someone to harass with random thoughts and ideas at all times of the day, as well as a partner in crime. With a batch of (delicious) pancakes already under my belt for the day, next item up is some swimming (read: floating like a lazy whale) at the local gym's pool. Since I've put all else on hold in case of L's arrival, maybe Easter Sunday will be a chance for a ridiculous feast at our favorite Dim Sum locale, whether Matt likes it or not. Mwahaha. :)

3. Shrimp Scampi Tonight!
If I were ever in a starvation situation, or happened to volunteer for one of those freakish research projects where people allow scientists to slowly and "in a controlled environment" starve them to the point of insanity while living with other human guinea pigs in a house full of cookbooks (yes, this was actually done), there are few foods I would miss more than good, fresh shrimp.

As a matter of course, shrimp scampi is one of my absolute favorite dishes. Matt and I recently rediscovered this dish when he randomly decided to make it for himself on one of his bachelor nights while I was away in Texas last November and also, randomly (and yet, quite on purpose) sent me this picture, which was enough to send me on a shrimp-withdrawal rampage:

While Shrimp Scampi generally conjures up images of crazy-erotic-esque 80's Red Lobster ads in my head (and no doubt in yours too), this dish is something much greater than that. It's a perfect example of a simple, fresh italian dish that takes little to no time to make and requires only the most basic and freshest of ingredients. Very goodly indeed.

the ubiquitous shrimp scampi / lemon wedge shot;
even better than I remembered.

2. The Perfect Excuse to Make Spring-y Drinks.
With not a ray of sunshine or a patch of blue in the low British sky, a Friday like today is the perfect excuse to grab the bad-weather-bull by the proverbial horns and show it who's boss. I choose to do this by making deliciously bright and bonny Springtime drinks. For me, nothing quite hits the spot like two of my favorite Mexican fresh drinks: Fresh Limeade and Hibiscus Water. Why not drink in the sunshine any way you can?

1. Ludovictus is Due Today.
That's right. He's officially late if he doesn't show up today. And somehow, as the world seems to suddenly have moved into a slow-motion time warp just in time for the end of my pregnancy, I doubt he'll be joining us today. I guess I can just hope that maybe he'll be an Easter weekend baby. A lot more pleasant than being born on Good Friday.

Either way, I suppose I should feel lucky that at least once in my life I will have known what it's like to be pregnant for 40 (effing) weeks, because, hey, I'm always up for new experiences / bragging rights. :)

* * *

Brenda's Favorite Springtime Drinks: Agua de Limon & Agua de Jamaica
(Limeade & Hibiscus Water)


Agua de Limon and Agua de Jamaica are both typically Mexican drinks - "aguas frescas" - which are found everywhere, made freshly and sold cheaply. One of my favorite things to do while in Mexico is go to a local open-air market and get either a giant glass or a little plastic bag with a straw tied into it filled with one of these delicious elixirs. (And if those can't be found, rest assured you'll definitely come along a paleteria where you can get any number of freshly made popsicles in your favorite fresh fruit flavor.)

The abundance of juice, green limes and the dried Hibiscus flower make them a natural choice over the sometimes less than pristine water. Every Spring and Summer I make them at home from scratch, both to conjure up memories of visiting family in my home country and to satisfy what is a primordial urge for any self-respecting Mexican.

Probably my favorite fruit:
I eat limes like they're going out of style.

Agua de Jamaica: Hibiscus Flower Water

Allow to cool completely before drinking!


Hibiscus Water: Makes 2 liters
6 tbsps dried hibiscus flowers
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
2 liters water, boiling


1. Bring water to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, add hibiscus and sugar to a heat-proof container or pot. Do not add boiling water directly to a room-temperature pitcher or it will crack unless heat proof!!!

3. Add half the boiling water slowly, mixing until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then add the rest of the water and allow to sit until cool.

4. Once the mixture is cooled, strain into a pitcher, making sure to remove all hibiscus and pressing down on the flowers to extract all liquid. Image credit.

5. Serve cold, with ice, on a warm spring or summer day!

Agua de Limon: Mexican Limeade

I like mine more sour than sweet.


Limeade: Makes 2 liters
6-8 juicy limes, cut in half
lime juicer
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
water, cold or room temperature
optional additions: mint (hierbabuena)


1. Mix 1 liter of cool or room temperature water with the sugar in the pitcher or container you are using for the drink. Allow all sugar to dissolve before moving on. Taste and adjust sugar content.

2. Cut the limes in half (with the two butt-ends facing out) and using a lime squeezer (or your hand, if that's all you have), squeeze the juice of all the limes needed into the pitcher. Taste occasionally to make sure it is not too sweet or sour. Mix well.

3. Add lightly bruised mint leaves when ready to serve.

4. Serve cold, with ice, on a warm summer or spring day!



Follow Me on Pinterest


  1. Glad to see all is well with you. The aqua frescas look so refreshing - hibiscus is one of my favorites - I love the tartness of it.

    I'm with you with Shrimp Scampi - definitely one of my top dishes as well.

    Hopefully you get a few more days of culinary delight in before L's appearance, although I suspect you'd rather be looking at him F2F sooner rather than later. Best wishes, and Happy Easter.

  2. Sounds so lovely, fragrant and refreshing! Love the photos as well.

    I'm glad I found your blog :) You gave me something new to follow. I look forward to future posts!

    Love, Mel at

  3. Refreshing drinks, tasty shrimp and the companionship of a loving husband while awaiting Ludovictus' arrival - a perfect weekend! I hope you had a lovely Easter and that your little lad will soon decide to join you!

  4. I'd been meaning to write this for a while, I am assuming that silence is golden and your family of two has increased to three. Congratulations. I know you are probably crazy busy and look forward to following your posts when you have had sleep and mostly desire to write again. I can only imagine what a crazy exciting time this is for you. Take care, and I'll drink some aqua fresca in your honor!

  5. Cripes, that's like a bad April Fools joke. Get the expectant mother all excited a about a specific date and then tell her its off by a week. Well I hope you are enjoying the last bits of this pregnancy and time with your mother. Take care.