Nanny in NYC

A modern day Mary Poppins

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Please the Men and the Muchkins Too!

So, it probably won't surprise you much to find out that I'm an avid Martha Stewart reader, perhaps I've even mentioned it before, I will be a loyal consumer of her products pretty much no matter what she's indicted for. This past month's magazine had a very simple granita recipe (although, now that I know something about granitas, it could have been much simpler) in the Good Things section, and it has set off a minor revolution in my summer cooking patterns. They're amazingly easy! Plus they make you feel like you're not only cooking, but also doing some grand kind of science experiment in your own freezer. I cannot praise the whole concept of the granita enough.

I don't want to make gross generalizations about the city I live in, but for the most part we're a city of foodies who don't cook. We care about the quality of our food, but rarely have the time or inclination to make it ourselves. That's why I always like to think of the ritual of making a boy dinner as my own personal dating piece de resistance. Problem is that recently my routine has gotten a bit stale, and although I'd perfected some dishes and they work well for me, others just really didn't fit the bill, such as my standard first dinner desert, individual molten chocolate cakes ala Jean-Georges (as seen on Martha, of course). First of all, it's a winter dessert, which makes sense because I first made it in during a very cold January for my first ever "I'll make you dinner" event. Secondly, it's unnecessarily difficult for the end of what can be a stressful meal, and that's a time when you'll probably want to be focusing on your company instead of on cooking.

Thankfully, I have discovered the granita. After the kids and I made a yummy strawberry version I started thinking about how much the granita is like the water ice I grew up loving. I was surprised that it seems to be a NJ area treat that I can't find in NY. My favorite flavor of water ice is Root Beer, and the minute I thought about root beer water ice I knew I'd have to try a root beer granita. It's so easy! Hence, the Root Beer Granita Float is now my new "I'll make you dinner" dessert. It's so easy (enough to bear repeating), even easier than the epicurious recipe (no need to freeze for four hours, if your root beer is already cold & you're only making it for two, 40 minutes is all you really need as long as you agitate it every 10 minutes). But it looks very sophisticated, especially if you add the cookies, 'cause it's all about the details.

After just the float idea I was a granita devotee, but I managed to take things a whole step further this weekend when I invented the Mojito Granita (granted, now that I've done a little research, I realize that I'm not the first person to come up with this idea, but it was in fact an original idea on my part, so just because people have been doing this for decades, maybe centuries shouldn't detract from my own personal brilliance, right?). All you have to do is start out like you were making a regular mojito, first take
- two small handfuls of mint
- the juice of 2-3 limes
- 1/2 a cup of sugar
and muddle that together until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Then pour in a cold 1 liter bottle of club soda and strain the whole mixture. (You might be tempted to skip straining it because the mint will look pretty, but believe me, it browns super quick, it's best to take it out now and use a sprig as a garnish at the end.) Pour the liquid into the largest metal baking pan you have and put it in the freezer at least 2 hours in advance of when you want to start drinking. Give it about 30 minutes to set and then take a fork and scrape the sides and break up any big frozen pieces at least every 20 minutes. When the whole thing is frozen you're done. Take it out, spoon it generously into glasses and pour 1-2 oz. of rum over the granita. It's delicious!

Technorati Tags: , , Recipes, Cooking, Kids Cooking


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmm! Looks absolutely yummy! Do you find your dinner date likes it too?

8:32 PM  
Blogger icancarryallthebagsandthebabiestoo said...

Okay, so I'm also a Martha enthusiast and I think you're creative and brilliant.

I will be experimenting as well, though I don't have anyone to date anymore, I will try to impress my husband and children (easier said than done, so I'll let you know how it goes.)

7:58 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

"Plus they make you feel like you're not only cooking, but also doing some grand kind of science experiment in your own freezer."

And what person in their right mind would argue with that?

They look delicious. Especially the strawberry one.

Nope. It does not distract from your brilliance at all. In fact, they probably stole the idea from YOU in a past life.

...Yeah. That's what happened...



4:30 AM  
Blogger pinknest said...

icy deliciousness! what's not to love! and i'm a sucker for anything muddled. :) looks great.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Library Lady said...

The ices I grew up with in NYC were usually called "Italian Ices" and I still seem them in the grocery store. I used to get them from the ice cream man outside the park. Some pizza places may still make them--if there still are any REAL pizza place. My own darling mother-in-law actually ordered pizza for us from (shudder) Domino's last Christmas--and she lives in Manhattan!

When we were in Philly in July we had delicious "water ices" from an ice cream shop. There also seems to be a chain called "Rita's" making inroads on the Delmarva penninsula--I'd asume they're making water ices too.

And will someone tell me why my girls HATE cherry medicines of any kind, but are fine with cherry ices--especially if I'm eating them. Hmmm.....

10:55 AM  

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