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Friday, July 9, 2010

hot in the city tonight.. Time for Granitas

Hot, hot, hot.  Baby had a hard time falling asleep tonight it was so hot.  Who'd known that in seattle, most homes do not have central air.  Well, this is unheard of in NYC or Jersey.  People say east coasters, especially those two states have anger management issues.. well, the humidity and lack of ac would drive them over. 

So, here we are in the great north-west and it is freaking hot and muggy.  Ceiling fan and room fan are both on and it's not really making a dent.  Funny thing is, on Monday.. just 2 days ago.. we were wearing sweaters and I was freezing.  Crazy temperature change.  They say this is normal.  And to even expect snow next week. (I kid)  At least it's not raining.  Did I mention the rain lately?

Well, it was way too hot to turn the oven on tonight.. so, we had hot dogs.  Yes, hot dogs.  Yummy salty frankfurters on soft white processed (not a bit healthy) buns. mm.mmm.  Before the shock knocks you off your chair.  Relax... at least the hot dogs are... I'll call them.. "responsible".  Where the ingredients are able to be mentioned.  Meat. and no nitrates.  That's important, especially with children. Heck, it's important for all of us to get the nitrates out of our diet.  AND you can.  Nitrate free hot dogs and bacon are available.  You have to search, but it's there..  and thank God!.. I am sorry, but I love me a hot dog every now and then.

But this post isn't about hot dogs, we'll save that for another time.  And how I love them blackened to a crispy black blistered outside.  Another time, another time.   This post is about watermelon granita.  The easiest thing in the world to make and oh, so delicious.  Especially on a hot one like today.  And you can make it with practically anything.  Left over fruit, juice, coffee, wine.. the list goes on. But start here, with some watermelon and then go from there.
My granita usually starts with some left over watermelon balls, just starting to expire. Not in taste, but texture.. from being cut up.  You know how melon gets once it's cut.  Well, it is perfect for popsicles for scarlett and granita for us.

Watermelon Granita

Now this is more a technique than a recipe and it works well with a lot of fruit juices, drinks..

The thing to know is the higher the sugar content, the lower the freezing temp must be.  But with this one, no sugar needed.  Not for me.  I am not looking for a desert here, just a really practical delicious cooling down application that will immediately lower my temp and better my mood.

1.  Simply blitz watermelon chunks in blender til frothy and smooth. About 4 cups will do. 
2.  Pour into a flat shallow glass dish and place in freezer. 
Now this is the important part...
3.  Set a timer for about an hour.  (if you don't and you forget.. then you will have a solid block of ice and it really takes more effort to get it back to the right consistency than it is worth.  trust me. been there, done that.)  
4.  After an hour, then rake with the tines of a fork into gorgeous, slushy snow.  Let freeze for another hour.  
5.  Rake again, and freeze once more. 
Each time it becomes more dry.  Once it is like snow-coneish (shaved ice) dry .. it will stay that way.

This delicious pink snow is just amazing by itself.  But also try it for a cool course at dinner with a slight drizzle of a very good balsalmic vinegar (one that is thick and syrupy).  This combo sends me, it is so good. Perfect intro to intermezzos. 

If you want to make it more like a dessert...   Most recipes will call for 1/2 c. sugar and juice of a lemon.  (to counter the sweetness of course) Top with some mint is just gorge.
You can also add some vodka to the watermelon.. and hello? yum! for the grown-ups, of course.  But remember, don't add too much, as it won't ever freeze!
Try this with raspberry lemonade or orange-strawberry-banana juice.. yum! Use this method with margarita mix... so good.  I like to serve it in a salted  glass with a shot of patron.
Lots of options, sky's the limit.   Hope this becomes a standard technique in your repertoire and helps with these hot summer nights.

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