Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Tuesday Tips and the Ices of Summer
You may have noticed that I pick out things I find that inspire me from Etsy and showcase them on the left sidebar of the blog. I might be poking around and accidently find something wonderful, or I might be looking for something specific. Occasionally I put in a word that's on my mind just to see what fun things might come up in the search under Handmade on Etsy.
There's a clever lady named Lisa at EverydayGourmet, who makes miniature food and beverages that look real and good enough to eat! The photo is of her Lemon Granita Dessert and Limoncello Liqueur. Those are tiny miniature food replicas ... Don't they look luscious!
So for my Tuesday Tip this week I thought I'd include some easy recipes for real, life-sized granita. If you're on a diet and don't want to cool off from the hot summer weather with the real thing, at least tempt yourself with Lisa's miniature versions.
GRANITA or ITALIAN ICES
Don't have an ice cream maker? Love fruit juices and slushy yummy coolers?
How about fruit ices? They're easy to make, you don't need much equipment, and for this time of year when it's hot, and you want something cool and soothing, they're just the thing. With a frozen, grainy and coarse texture, they're different from ice cream or gelato.
Here are a couple of easy recipes.
3 C hot brewed espresso or flavored coffee
1/2 C heavy cream, whipped (or store bought whipped cream spray)
Dissolve sugar in bowl using hot brewed coffee, cool to room temperature. (or if you're like me and you make cold brew coffee, use the sweetened concentrate out of the refrigerator)
When cool, transfer to shallow pan that fits in the freezer (test this first, before you try to put a too-large tray full of liquid and find out it won't fit - or make a level space in your chest freezer to do this)
Every 30 min stir using a fork, scraping the sides and bottom so all liquid freezes evenly.
Do this, freezing and breaking up crystals until completely frozen, about 3 hours, keeps in freezer up to 2 days.
Put serving in cooled ice cream bowl and top with whipped cream, either homemade or store bought whipped topping spray
4-5 large lemons
2 C water
1 C sugar
Take long strips of zest without the rind off the lemons, then cut in half and squeeze to get 1 C juice each (or use store bought bottled lemon juice, undiluted)
Combine water and sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil, then simmer and add lemon juice to dissolve sugar.
Add lemon zest and allow to cool to room temperature.
Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and transfer to shallow pan and put in the freezer. (see note above about checking for fit of pan in freezer first)
Stir with a fork, breaking up the ice crystals, every 30 min until completely frozen, about 3 hours, keeps in freezer up to 2 days.
MORE GRANITA TIPS AND HINTS:
You can make the simple syrup with water and sugar and keep it on hand, mixing together with raspberries, peaches, strawberries or other summertime fruits. Even watermelon!
Don't let the ice form heavy blocks or lumps of ice. The texture should be grains and flakes of ice, but not liquid.
The smaller the pan, the longer it takes to freeze, so use the largest shallow metal or glass pan you have, to make it go more quickly.
Don't forget to test for room in your freezer with the shallow metal or glass pan before you fill it with liquid and try to put it inside.
Be sure to scrape and re-mix frequently to get the right texture.
I've heard that substituting Splenda or another sugar-based sweetner for the sugar works also, but I haven't tried that and don't know if it will make the same simple syrup with the fruit - try it if you prefer that and let me know if it works.
If it melts before you get it all eaten, drink it like a slushy lemonade or iced coffee!