I’m yielding the floor to Jody this week. There’s a good story about how I lost my grip, its effects on a poor chicken, and Jody finding a solution despite the malfunction of the wheyback machine. *** Jody Notes: In February (a different world ago) I was visiting Rwanda for a close-up look at the …
Our summertime preferences for sweets run to the light and refreshing, as versus the dense and sensual. I want to rise from the table and feel as though I’ve beaten the heat and humidity, not stoked the furnace, which makes Chili-Ginger Granita with Watermelon and Pistachios the ideal dessert after a meal of grilled lamb and eggplant, or just a treat to dull the edge of a blistering afternoon.
If you’re unfamiliar with granita, think of it as the crunchy version of sorbet. Granita’s gravelly texture would seem to make it the coarse country cousin of sorbet, yet somehow it manages a rude elegance, like handmade orecchiette, that sorbet can’t quite touch. Aside from the fact that sorbet often contains egg white, and granita does not, the primary distinction between the two is that sorbet is made in an ice cream machine. The machine churns as the sorbet mixture freezes, breaking the ice crystals into smaller and smaller pieces, resulting in a dense, even texture. Granita predates the ice cream machine. The basic method begins with a frozen block of fruit flavored ice, then scraping it apart with a fork. Surprisingly, this is quite easy. A subtler approach is to stir up the granita a few times during the process of freezing, then scraping this somewhat looser product after it has frozen completely. We tried both. Both work. The freezer interruptus method results in finer crystals. Your call.
Although our trip to Haiti wasn’t about food, we had hoped to reflect some Haitian flavors in this week’s post. Plantains, for example, are ubiquitous. You can’t drive for ten minutes in the Central Plateau without passing fields of what look like bananas that fell asleep downstream from the nuclear power plant and woke up with anger management issues and a family resemblance to the Hulk. Baskets piled high with green behemoths are a common feature at every market. At some point we’ll do a piece on green plantains, which we ate every day, but we reserved this last post in our current series on pressure cooking for dessert–and green plantains have no place in a dessert.*
Ergo, Steamed Coconut, Banana and Lime Bread Pudding.
I prefer to worship at the altar of hospitality, rather than entertaining. Entertaining parses your life into into realms. The private realm is marked by gruel, dog food and the odd can of water chestnuts. The entertaining realm features sourdough loaves fashioned from home-grown wheat, spit-roasted French game birds and Pakistani mango tiramisu. You pull out and dust off this fancy life for visiting poobahs. As far as your guests can tell, your life is a moveable feast. Hospitality doesn’t make these distinctions. It simply invites you into my life. And this is where bruschetta and crostini come in.* They’re anti-poobah food.