Monthly Archives: August 2012

Popsicles can’t compete with watermelon/cucumber/mint granita

Long ago and far away in the land known as “when the girls were little,” our kitchen table became the production area for some pretty interesting concoctions. This usually happened when we were in some sort of extended food preparation, such as freezing strawberry jam in large batches.

Here’s how I remember it…no doubt their version is different. To keep them occupied, I gave them blended berries and let them create away. They added salt, sugar, artificial sweetener, food coloring, and I’d rather not know what else. What I remember is that the final color was what they finally identified as “puce”. Fortunately, they didn’t expect anyone except their dolls and stuffed animals to participate in a taste test.

In the intervening years, the two of them have developed their own cooking skills and tastes. Once in awhile, they take over our kitchen while visiting.

So I wasn’t surprised the other day when I came home and discovered that part of a huge watermelon had disappeared from the fridge. Initially, I thought maybe the two of them had engaged in a backyard game of spitting seeds. But no….such was not the case.

Feeling sorry for her sister, who had cut the inside of her mouth in a car accident, daughter number 1 decided to concoct something cold, sort of an adult version of a popsicle.

What did she come up with? Watermelon sorbet, which she described as more of a granita or shaved ice, because it was “chippy” rather than smooth like a sorbet. Check out her photo, followed by the recipe.

Watermelon, Cucumber, and Spearmint Granita/Sorbet
3 cups water

1 cup sugar
Large bunch of fresh mint
3 cups seedless watermelon chunks
1 cut peeled and seedless cucumber chunks
Stir the sugar and water together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring a few times, just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and steep 3 stems of mint. Leave to cool and then remove the mint stems.

Process the watermelon and cucumber chunks, 1/4 cup mint leaves, and the mint sugar syrup in a blender or food processor. It may be necessary to do this in smaller batches rather than all at once.

Strain the blended mix through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a bowl. Press/squeeze out as much pulp as possible. Discard the leftover pulp. Chill for a few hours in a glass or metal 9″ pan. Stir the icy mixture every hour until all is frozen – it will be chippy.
*I don’t know if an ice-cream maker would produce a smoother result, but it couldn’t hurt to try. 

Other potential flavors:
Cantaloupe and mint
Cantaloupe and basil
Lemon verbena and orange
Herbal (mints, lemon balm, etc.)
Mint (spearmint, peppermint, etc.)
Apple and maple syrup

Recipe from:

A funny thing happened on the way to the…floor restoration

It’s funny how house projects go. Sometimes they progress quickly and other times slowly. The current kitchen floor project falls into the latter category….not for lack of interest. The interest is there. In droves.

But like Stephen Sondheim’s 1963 Broadway musical, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”….we’ve had our own variation on that. Yep, a (not-so-funny) thing happened on the way to the floor restoration.

In retrospect, the hubs can laugh about it. Not so much me. I still shudder when I think about it and remind him that he is never to do that to me again. In fact, I have told him that in three years, I will order his offspring to babysit him for 24 hours as he suffers through the prep for the dreaded colonoscopy. He actually listens to them.

How does a colonoscopy interfere with a floor restoration? Here’s the short version. If you’ve had a colonoscopy or live with someone who has, you know the spiel. Drink 64 ounces of a clear liquid texturized with a product that — when ingested in short order — is guaranteed to clean out your system. This is serious stuff.

Since your diet during that period is so restricted — clear liquids only — the general idea is to mix it up — pop, broth, apple juice, popsicles, water, etc. So…if it’s a hot day and you don’t drink enough liquid while your system is nearly void of all food products? Yup. Dehydration.

And what happens when one becomes dehydrated? Let’s just say, there we were upstairs — him in the loo, me in the sewing room. Suddenly, there was a loud thud, then silence. Yup. Fainted flat out. Just as he came to, his eyes rolled around, he gasped a few times and went right back down.

I reached for the nearest phone and in my loudest voice said, “I’m calling the squad.” Worked like a charm. He came to and said, in his best “Nelson Steiner” voice, “Don’t.” So there we sat for a half hour, waiting for his color to return and he was ready to move to the closest bed.

This was when we discovered the reason the floor project would not progress as quickly as we’d hoped. When he fainted, he injured his back — likely a pulled muscle but painful enough to prevent much physical activity.

So while he’s in recovery, I’ve stumbled a bit through the ripping up of vinyl and have come to the conclusion that the project will wait. After all, what better reason for not having to mop the floor?