In conversation, I tend to ramble, get caught up in side notes to stories, and insist on explaining even the smallest detail for emphasis. The more excited I get, the more likely I am to include sound effects, impersonations and funny voices. Eventually, my listener begs me to get to the point. While I abhor public speaking and hate the sound of my own voice, I have never been labeled “quiet”; in fact, my second grade teacher defined my demeanor on my relatively stellar report card when she added in the notes section, “Casey is a chatterbox.”
Drifting off topic, thought, isn’t always a bad thing. When hunting for a new recipe, I often tend to end up nowhere near where I started. Typically, I have a general idea of what I want to make, or I have ample amounts of a particular ingredient that I base my search on, trying to use it up. Leafing through a reliable cookbook or a quick Google search is a good start; but, before I know it, I’m looking at a recipe that’s only vaguely similar to what I had initially had in mind
The pursuit for this week’s recipe started with a seafood entrée that used lemons, progressed into lemon Madeleines, and was finalized with the idea for green tea-lemon granita.
Green Tea-Lemon Granita
3 large lemons
1 cup of green tea
1/3 cup honey
With a vegetable peeler remove zest in long pieces from 3 lemons and set aside. Squeeze ½ cup juice from lemons into bowl or measuring cup. In a small heavy saucepan heat tea and honey, stirring until blended. Stir in zest and transfer syrup to a bowl to cool. Chill syrup in refrigerator, covered, until cold. Once chilled, discard zest and stir in lemon juice. Freeze lemon mixture in a metal bowl, stirring every 30 minutes to remove ice crystals from side of bowl, until liquid has become granular but is still slightly slushy, about 3 to 4 hours. Serve granita immediately.
The perfect sweet ending to a sticky summer evening, granita is a frozen Italian dessert. Essentially water ice, it takes on the same crystallized texture as the very last spoonfuls of the Italian ice sold in white paper cups in the freezer aisle. This recipe is based on a plain, traditional lemon granita, which uses water; my replacement of green tea produced a more refreshing and dynamic flavor. Utilizing the lemon peel, where the powerful oils are stored, enhances the flavor, and the lemon juice adds a tart effect. The end result tasted like a boardwalk water ice version of an Arnold Palmer, a signature summer beverage. If you wanted to add more color and an invigorating touch, consider placing a few fresh chopped or torn mint leaves into the syrup before freezing.
Stirring something every 30 minutes seems like a pain, but this dessert freezes into the perfect texture in no time. It’s best to eat it once it’s ready, since an overnight stay in the freezer will produce more of a green tea flavored ice cube than the desirable, slushy granita. You could funnel anything left into popsicle molds for a cool snack for the young ones in your life. But, if it’s been a long week, combine the mixture with some limoncello or vodka for a fun, happy hour beverage.
Who would have thought a search that started for a lemon and seafood entrée would result in an iced dessert? I’m pretty proud of my ability to be easily distracted and led off topic and, throughout the process have gained a new motto is: “when life hands you lemons, make green tea-lemon granita!”