Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Icy Morning in a Heat-wave

Three weeks ago it was so cold the furnace kicked in. This week, July remembered it's a summer month and has made up for its earlier confusion with record high temperatures. It's almost too hot to write. It's certainly too hot to work in the kitchen, so most of our meals have been prepared on the barbeque. Except for the granita experiment.

Earlier in the month I tried to freeze the leftovers of a smoothie. I had hoped to have something resembling granita when I was done. Instead, I got a large watermelon and cucumber ice cube. Not exactly what I was aiming for, so I decided to do a little research.

I picked up David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop" from the library and went straight to the chapter on granitas. After a quick glance through it, I realized that it wasn't my off-the-cuff smoothie recipe that was the problem, it was my stirring technique, or more accurately my lack of stirring technique, that caused my problems. With that helpful bit of information in mind I set the book aside. The weather was too cold to consider granita. Then the weather turned and it was back to the book.

The granita chapter is the shortest chapter in Lebovitz's book, and though the recipes looked wonderful, there were few that would work for me. It was too late in the season for fresh strawberries, and too early for fresh peaches. (The recipe called for nectarines anyway.) I was all out of champagne. I did have beer in the house, but after sampling beer-and-pretzel gelato earlier in the week I wasn't going there. There was really only one option. Espresso granita.

Espresso granita was an intersting choice given that Hubby and I have pretty much given up coffee, but I had both ingredients, it didn't require any cooking, and it was too hot to think about consequences. As luck would have it, I didn't have quite enough sugar. The online recipe calls for 2 tablespoons per cup of strong coffee. The cookbook's recipe calls for over 1/3 of a cup of sugar per cup of coffee. No matter. I was craving frozen treats, so strong coffee was brewed, what sugar I had was added, and stirring and waiting commenced.

It took much longer than I had anticipated for the granita to freeze. What I had planned for an afternoon treat became dinner's dessert. It was worth the wait though. It was wonderful. It was even better the next day topped with whipped cream. I hadn't yet seen the online version of the recipe, so I hadn't considered topping the granita with Baileys. I wish I had. The alcohol may have helped to counteract the effects of the caffeine and sugar. Yep. You guessed it. Our tasty frozen treat had us up all night. Once again, I blame my lack of foresight on the heat. Since then we've been limiting our granita consumption to midday. That is until today.

This morning I was up before 5am and was unable to get back to sleep. After several days of heat-disrupted appetite, I was hungry but unable to decide what to eat. Then the granita called. I was off to the freezer and helping myself to a cupful of granita before I could give it a second thought. (Without the Baileys, of course.) Oh. So. Good. I wish I had thought of it earlier in the week. Still, I thought it was a strange breakfast until I had another look at "The Perfect Scoop". According to Lebovitz it isn't unusual for Sicilians to breakfast on a roll filled with granita. If that's the case, I'm going for a second helping. Ciao!


  1. Lady, you crack me up! What an adorable story of kitchen discovery. I think the granita-in-the-morning plan is BRILLIANT. Just brilliant.

    No peaches yet? That's so weird to me! Here in the midwest, we've had peaches for weeks now. When will your peaches roll into the market?

  2. Thanks Rosiecat! I'd write much more if I started every day with Espresso Granita!

    We should have local peaches soon. L from Sleeping Cougar Acres has a tree, and the peaches look like they're just about ready. Last weekend I was at a potluck where a woman brought peaches from her tree. They weren't quite ripe yet, but still rather tasty. Of course, California peaches are readily available, and Okanagan (mainland BC) peaches should be available later this month if they aren't already.

    Check out L's peachy photo below.


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