Saturday, July 18, 2009

Leftovers Again?

I love pureeing watermelon. It is one of the only fruits that truly yields its juices willingly. When blended, other fruits like peaches and cherries turn into a puree rather than a juice, flecked with unattractive bits of skin and peel. Blended on high for about ten seconds, watermelon yielded a vividly pink liquid. Upon first taste, it was clean and fresh, not overly sweet. I wanted to create a “tonic”, an old-fashioned remedy meant to strengthen and revive the body.
Watermelon and ginger is a natural pair, since the spiciness of the ginger amps up the mild sweetness of the melon. Lime juice adds zing. No sugar is needed to sweeten. It isn’t meant to be a replacement for soda but rather a fresh beverage on a hot summer day. For a bit of carbonation, I added a splash of tonic water (diet or regular) to each glass right before serving. Club soda would work just as well. To make a refreshing adult beverage, I added some vodka to the watermelon tonic, which was a real hit with my sister’s friends.

Watermelon-Ginger Tonic
Makes 4 drinks

5 cups watermelon chunks
3/4 cup cold water
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 large piece of ginger, peeled
Ice cubes
Lime wedges
Club soda

Place watermelon and 3/4 cup cold water in blender. Puree until smooth. Add lime juice. Grate ginger over watermelon juice, making sure the grated ginger and juice falls into the blender. Strain into a pitcher, using a wooden spoon to push the pulp and get out all the juice. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours. Serve in a glass with ice cubes and a lime wedge, with a splash of tonic.

After I made the tonic, I wanted to go further with the refreshment idea and set to work making a granita, a sort of slushy dessert. Granitas are wonderful on a hot day, and much healthier than a bowl of ice cream.

Basil-Watermelon Granita
Serves 4
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
10 basil leaves, torn and bruised with the back of a spoon
3 cups strained and pureed watermelon
1/3 cup lime juice

Boil water and sugar in a saucepan until dissolved. Then add torn basil leaves and let it steep for 10 minutes. Using a sieve, strain the mixture into a container, pressing on the basil leaves with the back of a spoon, and put it in the fridge to cool. When cool, mix it with the strained pureed watermelon and lime juice, and put it in the freezer, scraping the mixture with a fork every 30 minutes for 3 hours or until evenly crystallized. Find some pretty glasses and there you have it, homemade slush!

1 comment:

pig567 said...

This is totally delicious- like a sophisticated watermelon jolly rancher but in a good way and so pretty