I would like to tell you about my Wednesday. At exactly 2:35 pm, something miraculous happened. Squealing children left the building of the elementary school, and I left work knowing that I would not need to return until August. I really don’t mean to gloat. I realize that you might be stuck in a cubicle, or basking in the glow of your computer. I wish that you could have the summer off too.
Do you remember your summer vacation days? Step back with me for a moment to your childhood self. I’ll be wearing a side ponytail, star shaped sunglasses and a Rainbow Brite bathing suit. You can wear your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle swim trunks and your He-Man sandals. We can run through the sprinklers, and watch the clouds change shape while laying in the green grass.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Who do you want to be when you grow up? When I grow up, I’m going to let all the little kids of the world stay up as late as they want, and eat as many popsicles as they want.
We’ll compete in staring contests, smile with toothy grins and laugh until our bellies hurt. Our adventures will take place under the beating sun, and we’ll cool our bodies with homemade lemonade popsicles in little paper cups.
Limoncello granita starts out as a grown-up version of lemonade. We’ll simmer sugar and water to make a light simple syrup. Peel long strips of zest from a lemon, then steep them in your simmering sweet water. Stir in lemon juice, and limoncello; a sweet Italian liqueur made by infusing vodka with lemons. Freeze and stir, freeze and scrape. Freeze and scrape again. Make a fresh raspberry sauce, then scrape some more. Our kitchens will smell bright and citrusy.
This summer, let’s find time to play. Let’s laugh until our bellies hurt…and make grown-up snow-cones; limoncello granita to melt on our tongues as we take a step back to embrace our more starry-eyed 8-year-old selves.
Adapted from Wine Bar Food by Cathy and Tony Mantuano
- 6 lemons, washed
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 5 Tablespoons limoncello
- 2 cups water
Using a vegetable peeler or a paring knife, remove the zest from the lemons in strips. Juice the lemons to make 1 cup juice.
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 cups of water with the sugar over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the lemon zest, and simmer for 30 seconds. Stir in the lemon juice and limoncello. Allow to cool to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
To freeze, strain the lemon mixture (discarding zest) into a non-reactive casserole dish or baking pan and place in the freezer. Freeze for 45 minutes, then use a dinner fork to scrape any ice crystals that have formed on the side or bottom of the pan. Return to freezer and repeat scraping every 20 to 30 minutes for 3 to 4 hours, or until the liquid becomes granular.
To serve, place fresh raspberries in the bottom of a cup or bowl. Spoon the raspberry sauce over the fresh raspberries. Spoon the granita on top.
Fresh Raspberry Sauce
Adapted from Sur La Table’s The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet
Leftover raspberry puree can be stirred into yogurt, spooned over dessert, or added to sparkling water to make an italian soda.
- 1 half-pint basket fresh raspberries (6 oz) or, 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
- 2 teaspoons limoncello
Rinse the raspberries, and sort through to remove any leaves or moldy berries. Place the fresh raspberries in the bowl of a food processor and process until pureed. Pour the puree through a strainer set over a bowl, using a wooden spoon to push through as much puree as possible. Stir in the lemon juice, limoncello, and sugar to taste. Cover and refrigerate.