Our urban garden this summer had a few new additions. We planted two cucumber plants this spring against an 8 foot tall yellow mesh fence. By July we were pulling half a dozen 8 inch cucumbers off the vines, desperate to find ways to consume them. We were trying to think what to do with these cukes because when I lived in Italy my go-to vegetable was always zucchini.
Earlier this summer I made a cucumber, cilantro, lime gelato but the temperature outside was intense this past weekend so I tried an ice, or Italian-style cucumber granita, instead. It’s easy to make with no other equipment other than a freezer and a blender. I even made it at my friend Elizabeth’s house in Rome with her tiny freezer and it turned out great. Enjoy and keep cool!
4 cups of skinned, seeded, chopped cucumbers
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup water
the juice of 2 limes
¾ cup of raw honey
Pulverize the cucumbers and cilantro in a blender then drain away most of the pulp with a sieve or cheesecloth (some pulp adds nice texture). Add water and juice then stir in honey. Bring to a boil stirring constantly then remove from heat. Taste and adjust for sweetness.
Remove from heat then put into a Pyrex or some ice cube trays about 1 inch high. Allow to cool in the fridge for half a day then pop them flat into the freezer and after 30 mins take a fork and scrape the iced liquid away from the edges. Do this every 15 mins until all the liquid becomes icy frozen crystals. Then serve in shallow glass cups. Buon appetito!
Cucumber granita, serves 4-6 people
Kevin Walz is a renowned designer and artist who has worked in the USA and Italy. He is also a fantastic gardener and home cook that specializes in healthy, mostly vegetarian recipes such as pasta with chickpeas or borlotti beans, Tuscan bean soup (ribollita), all sorts of delicious baked goods and homemade gelato using fresh seasonal ingredients often from his urban garden in New York City. He is a regular contributor to numerous design and style publications and guest blogger for Casa Mia.