Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cucumber Melon Granita!

And happy blog day... I was informed by my son that August 31st is Blog Day.  So why not post a dessert for its party?

Unlike the poor eggplant caviar,
Cucumber Melon Granita
But just as easy 
This is especially for all of you sweltering out there in the world.  (Also soothing for sore throats.)
I'm at home in 50˚F and overcast, but hey, love that variety (ooooh, here at midday we've hit 59˚).

For a nice cool treat - follow me!


2 cucumbers the size of bananas (or approximate that amount with what you've got)*
1/4 of a honeydew-type melon of normal size - (I had 2 teeny melons that were about halfway between the size of a baseball & a softball, or an average guy's fist)
4 Tbs white sugar (more or less)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs clear, mostly flavorless liquor (I used some nice gin for faint herbal notes, use vodka if all you are looking for is the "antifreeze" properties).


Vegetable peeler
Cutting board
8x8 baking pan or similar size plastic container
Tablespoon measure


Cut the ends off the cucumbers, cut them in half (so you make them shorter), and peel them.  Cut them in half the other way (so they look like boats), and scoop the seeds out.  Chop them into pieces about as thick as your thumb, toss in the blender.

Scoop the seeds out of the center of your melons(s).  Scoop the flesh and juice off the rind, into the blender.  Your honeydew-type melon should be sinfully juicy and sweet when you do this.  It is a perfect way to use up that end of melon no one wants.

Add the lemon juice, and blend.  Add the sugar 1 Tbs at a time.  (If your melon was a bit crunchy you may need extra).  Add enough sugar so it tastes a little too sweet.
You'll need that little extra sweetness to a) counteract the deadening effect cold has on your tongue and b) to keep this from turning into an irretrievable green ice cube.

Add the Tbs of clear liquor and blend one more time.

Pour in your container, pop it in the freezer, and check at 45 minutes to see how fast it is freezing.  Stir the frozen parts in with the runny parts.  Check again in an hour or so.  Run a fork over the frozen stuff.  If it turns into the ice equivalent of cotton candy - you have granita!
From here you can let it freeze as solid as it will get, and just scrape what you want off with a fork.  If you want to store for longer, scrape it all into its fluffy state, and store in a container large enough to hold it all with a tight lid.  Then store and use like ice cream or sherbet or whatever.
If it turning into something suitable for ice carving, it needs more sugar.  Let it thaw back out, add a few more Tbs of sugar and try again.

Or just smash it up and add it as ice cubes to lemonade.  And try again later.

*Special Ingredient Alert!
Armenian Cucumbers or Snake Melons - actually a melon themselves, but taste like cucumber (the two are close cousins - so go figure.)
This pale green specimen is making inroads at farmers market - and what I used.  Never get the ones that are as big as your arm, they can be bitter and woody.  Stick to about banana sized or smaller.

The Armenian Cucumber or Snake Melon

Yeah - I interned borrowed this image... and so did everyone else.
Even Seeds of Change uses this one on their seed packets.
Sorry for forgetting to snap a pic of one in my kitchen.


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