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Chilling With The Fussys

June 21, 2012

In winter, we long for any kind of heat. In early spring, I love the feeling of sitting in the sun and warming the chill out from deep inside my bones.

But in summer I just want to cool off.

Yesterday I found myself, at multiple points in the day, idling the motor of the car with the air conditioner on full blast. I just didn’t want to get out of the car and face the heat outside. So when I arrived at my destination I called my grandmother, then I checked a few emails, but eventually I had to leave.

Luckily, everywhere I went had air conditioning, even if none of it was particularly effective. Well, the one the car works nicely. One gets spoiled growing up in Miami. That’s a town where they will even air condition the outside. No joke.

Mrs. Fussy had a better idea. Besides inflating a kiddie pool for the children, she embarked on a project with Little Miss Fussy to make granita.

For those who don’t know, granita is like a poor man’s sorbet. It’s a loose frozen concoction that doesn’t require an ice cream maker or any fancy equipment. You just make a sweet and refreshing liquid and put it in a shallow container in the freezer. While it’s freezing you periodically scrape the forming ice crystals with a fork.

And that’s it. Granita.

In the end, you will have a massive quantity of light and flavorful crystals that you can spoon into a bowl and eat with a fork. My ladies made one with cantaloupe, lemon, and purple basil.

The purple basil came from our local biodynamic CSA. Apparently we will not be getting regular basil for some time, as a result of the downy mildew which has infected the soil. Bummer. On the far other end of the spectrum, the cantaloupe came from Walmart. And it was only $1.50.

All I know is that it was crazy cheap and it was grown in America. That last part is important because conventionally produced domestic melons have fewer pesticide residues than their international counterparts. In fact, of the 49 items listed, domestic cantaloupes are in the bottom quartile for pesticide loads. That’s a good thing.

Mrs. Fussy put the fruit of the melon, the juice of a lemon, three leaves of purple basil and about a third cup of sugar (to taste) into the food processor. From there, it went then into the freezer.

Wow, that stuff is great. The kids love it. And it goes well with gin, for after the kids are asleep.

Today’s supposed to be another scorcher. Maybe you call in sick and spend an hour or so going in and out of your refrigerator to scrape a granita. If that wasn’t refreshing enough, when you are all done, you’ve got something that could easily be confused with an adult snowcone.

Stay cool. Chill out.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Chrystal permalink
    June 21, 2012 11:30 am

    You spoon it into a bowl but you eat it with a fork? I would think you should eat it with a spoon as well, like ice cream, unless you eat ice cream with a fork too.

  2. June 21, 2012 11:38 am

    Could you elaborate on the ‘downy mildew’ affecting the soil? because my basil at home is not looking so hot this year…and I can’t understand why?

    • June 21, 2012 1:01 pm

      This is what came from Roxbury Farm:

      There is a new disease called basil downy mildew that was first detected in Africa. It arrived in the U.S. in 2007 and we first noticed it in 2010. There isn’t anything we can do to prevent it or treat it once we have it. The basil downy mildew is seed born and air born so most likely we will have it every year now. Purple basil, thai basil, lemon basil, and other flavored basils are more resistant to the disease than our favorite green varieties. So, purple
      pesto it is. It tastes almost like the green basil and we made it into pesto and couldn’t tell the difference.

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