Saturday, July 23, 2011

The heat is on

As much of the nation sweats under warming of summer’s down comforter dungarees adhere to the legs of its wearer; perspiration runs from sideburns moistening our collars; children holler as they dash in and out of oscillating sprinkler heads thrilled by the relief. Ah, the hallmarks of the dog days of summer. The birds that have regularly visited the feeder at all hours of the day – from tweeting first light to last – have concentrated their skittish visits to the fringe hours.

I have even accepted the switching on of the air conditioner by mid-afternoon, which I otherwise try to keep off because in reality I need a de-humidifier because I only complain about the cold.

Not all things are suffering from the wilting exposure rather they are thriving and reveling in this intensity. My jalapeno do not seem to be happier, sending out flowers and the fruits that have spent time dangling from their branches seem grow in front of my eyes. For me the glee is trapped within – with their increasing potency. A few weeks ago they were more like bonsai bell peppers but as of today, I can feel the burn. Not everything that is responding to is matching its heat intensity. Mother Nature is also offering moments that are prefect coolants. There are watermelons galore swelling and crowding out anything that is in its way. Clearly, the hotter and sunny it is the more watermelon take-up residence in the garden. The basil is growing tall and bushy, and is requiring a daily deadheading in order not to start seed collecting too early. I have had to take to offering gifts if basil bouquets to anyone who shows to least amount of interest. I have learned a thing or two about cucumbers as well this year. Never be taken in by its innocence as a seedling. It trellises out and about bowling over anything in it way creating a carpet of broad pointed leaves hiding quickly enlarging fruits. And, prolific is an understatement for my batch.

Given me about two good rains a week to help replenish the well, otherwise let it shine.

Cucumber Granita – yields approx. 1-1/2 quarts
3-pound cucumber – peeled and seeds discarded
1-cup raw, organic sugar
1/4-cup fresh lemon juice
1/4-cup lemon balm leaves

Roughly chop the cucumbers.

In a 1-quart saucepan place the cucumbers, sugar and one-cup of water,
and bring to the boil. Shut off the heat and allow it to cool.

Place the cucumber mixture, lemon juice and lemon balm into a blender. Process until completely smooth.
Transfer the cucumber mixture into a 9x9 pyrex pan and place in the freezer. After about 2 hours remove from the freezer and scrape the mixture with a fork, loosening the frozen edges and mixing with the more liquid center.
Continue the process over an 8 hour period.
Serve scraping the granita into individual glasses.

1 comment:

Teresa said...

This was awesome Richard. I have been telling everyone about it. I look forward to learning much from you.