What a week! I just returned from three days of babysitting, which included an overwhelming amount of toaster strudel and flag football, ate Pacific Northwest oysters, and, most importantly, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. Holy COW!!!! I want to stand on the rooftop and of my apartment and squeal and then run barefoot through the sand and toss it up into the air and squeal some more. I want to stomp on Twinkies because I know that's what my best friend Alex and I would do. I'm really happy.
I think of my Uncle David who took me to my first Broadway show and introduced me to Momofuku's cereal milk ice cream. I think of my best friend Alex, and when we climbed over the fence on our walks home from school, and when we rode our bikes along the coast of Porto. I think of my college roommate (also named Alex) and all of the times that we watched Memoirs of a Geisha while nursing hangovers. I think about the progress towards equality, and that makes me smile very wide. Kind of like Frances, when she gets her bread and jam.
Uncle David worked in Chez Panisse along with David Lebovitz. In addition to teaching me to how to apply red lipstick, David provided an arsenal of culinary advice. I spent many summers at his beach house on Fire Island, where we made lamb burgers, peach piña coladas, and grilled mussel pizza. David believed in eating well and eating seasonally. He would be proud to know that I was celebrating the strawberry in all of it's gemstone-y glory.
These little earth rubies are a summertime staple. Just outside of Tom's, there's a man who sells strawberries (and other fruit varietals), and he often offers us free samples. They taste different each time. Sometimes I get flowers and juice, and other times the berries are straight up candy. It's a much different experience than eating the ones from the grocery store. For your sake, I recommend investigating the local strawberry outlets.
Wes and Dylan have a strawberry patch in their backyard. On Sunday night, we wandered out in our bare feet, using our hands to push back the leaves on our hunt for a flash of red. Some of them were the "smooshy guys", aka they got too ripe before anyone found them..... :(. But no matter. They served a different purpose. Wes likes to smash them and make his hands look bloody! Hooray!
I packed the freshly picked strawberries into the boys' lunches, but, after dropping them off at camp, I headed straight to the farmer's market to pick up some of my own. My mother has been urging me to make strawberry granita, and in celebration of summertime and Uncle David, I decided to give it a try.
Granita!!! Holy woah! It's delicious fruit ice made from real fruit. And when you use strawberries from the farm, the flavor is so potent and the color so beautifully red. I eat it plain, but I can imagine it would also work well mixed with ice cream, a la Rita's Frozen Ice.
Speaking of David Lebovitz, I adapted his recipe, and I really like it. Here it is.
"A millions reasons to celebrate" strawberry granita
Slice the strawberries and add to a large bowl. Drizzle in the agave and stir to coat. Allow the strawberries to sit for one hour. By the end they should be a juicy red color.
While the strawberries are sitting, place on large, shallow glass or metal pan into the freezer. Once the hour is up, purée the strawberries along with the water and lemon juice in a blender. Pour the mixture into the pan and return to the freezer.
Check on the granita in 30 minute intervals, using a fork to scrape down the sides each time. It should take a total of 2 hours or so to freeze completely.
1 pound of of stawberries, rinsed and hulled
3 tablespoons of agave nectar
1/2 cup of water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice