Then I remembered my 4:00 ritual while traveling through Sicily last summer: Espresso Granita. Italians everywhere materialize onto the city streets late in the afternoon, refreshed from their midday rest, and head for the local gelateria. I love gelato more than just about anything else on earth, but after several consecutive days (sometimes twice daily) of gelato snacking, I wandered over to the granita counter.
Here is my recipe for Espresso Granita, which I made with decaffeinated espresso beans for the kids' sake (and for mine), but it still packs a little tiny punch of caffeine, to keep you moving so as not to miss one moment of this gorgeous summer. (We can always sleep in the off-season).
Granita can be made without an ice cream machine with just 2 ingredients. The quality of the granita will depend entirely on the quality of the espresso. Find some freshly roasted espresso beans, regular or decaf, and make your own espresso, or go to your favorite barista and have them whip it up for you.
- 2 cups freshly made espresso, cooled
- 3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar, depending on your tastebuds
- Freshly brew the espresso and let it cool to just warm.
- Add 3/4 cup sugar and stir to dissolve. Taste. It should taste very sweet (it will be less sweet once frozen). If not sweet enough for you, add a few more teaspoons of sugar and taste.
- Pour into an 8" x 8" glass or metal pan, such as a brownie pan.
- Put the entire pan in a gallon size Ziploc baggie and close. (I know from experience that it is tedious to clean sticky granita spillings that occur when someone yanks open the freezer door too quickly.)
- Place in the freezer. Now you can let this freeze solid, which usually takes about 8 hrs. Once frozen, take it out and let it thaw slightly. Make the granita by raking the ice crystals with the tines of a fork until it resembles shaved ice. Place in a clean container, such as a tupperware with a tight lid, and place back in the freezer until ready to serve.
- OR, you can freeze the granita for one hour. Take it out and scrape the ice crystals on the edges into the middle of the pan with a fork. Freeze another 30 minutes. Repeat. Continue until all large chunks of ice are broken up into smaller crystals. If at any time you have to leave during this process, just take the frozen granita out to thaw slightly, and scrape the rest down to uniform crystals.
- Serve straight up or with whipped cream, or with creme fraiche (less sweet).
The Best Take-Out Sushi for Lunch
Elevated Grounds is the official coffee shop, gathering place and lunch spot of the WestBank. Now EG serves a delicious plate of sushi, made fresh by the chefs at Sudachi right down the bike path. For $13, you get 8 pieces of spicy tuna or some other roll, a pile of edamame, and a seaweed salad. Brilliant!
Have you checked out the People's Market on Wednesday evenings, from 4-7 pm across from the Teton County Rec Center? A mini-version of the Saturday Farmer's Market, vendors sell farm-fresh produce, jewelery, baked goods, and fresh cheeses. I could not resist the Blueberry/Blackberry/Raspberry pies sold by "Guys Selling Pies". My friend Kathleen and I shared the mini-pie, and she declared the crust "perfectly flaky" and the filling "not too sweet". This is high praise coming from a Southern woman who used to teach pie-making classes. Good job Ian and Orion!