ceramicist and design*sponge regular lisa neimeth gets the “third time’s a charm” award. first she submitted dinner, then she submitted breakfast, and then she decided on this delicious summer snack. she even went out and bought a new camera for this last recipe because she wanted turn in the best pictures possible! the end result? lisa has produced an amazingly flavorful and simple dish that anyone can make, and anyone would want to try. to read lisa’s full recipe for citrus granita with shortbread cookies click here, or just click “read more” below. happy cooking! –kristina
about lisa: originally from new york, lisa neimeth is a ceramic artist now living in san francisco. though she loves her new hometown, she also spends a lot of time in new mexico, tromping around the land where georgia o’keeffe and agnes martin have walked. she loves to collect-literally and figuratively-on the beach, in the mountains, in the desert, flea markets and on the street..and incorporate all of these images into her work. tableware is her passion right now and she spends a lot of time creating hand formed plates, platters and bowls of various sizes impressing vintage and found objects with hand etched details. to see (and shop) more of lisa’s beautiful work, click here.
Citrus Granita with Shortbread cookies
Wine pairing: Bonny Doon Muscat Vin de Glaciere
Granita- serves 2-3 (for a conversion calculator)
This can be made as simply as freezing your favorite juice (good quality is better–like Odwalla, but any juice will work) with several tablespoons of sugar and some zest (shaved rind) from the fruit used. A little sea salt is also good in the mix to counter some of the sweetness.
3 cups Fruit Juice (orange, tangerine, lemonade, limeade, grapefruit work well)
4-5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons zest of the fruit (scraped rind of the orange or grapefruit)
teaspoon Sea Salt
Mix ingredients in a shallow metal pan or bowl. Place into the freezer for about 2 hours-or until frozen. Remove from the freezer and with a fork, scrape the ice in order to fluff it up and make a confetti-like texture. Spoon into a martini glass or beautiful bowl and then top off with your choice of:
chopped dates (or any other dried fruit)
slivers of fruit rind
drizzle of pomegranate or any other fruit syrup
Plate with some delicious crunchy cookies of your choice-
It is also fun to present the granita in a hollowed out rind of the fruit you are using—
You can also make this more from scratch using fresh squeezed fruit juice, water, fruit pulp and sugar. There are a zillion variations on this recipe including freezing milk, coffee and sugar to make an espresso granita. The possibilities are endless really and it is fun to experiment with freezing different ingredients and scraping them and topping off!
Here’s an easy cookie recipe that goes really well with the granita. Pine nuts are delicious as the nut topping—
(makes about 30 cookies)
1/2 pound sweet butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 cup nuts (optional)
Fleur du sel (Sea Salt) (optional)
Mix butter, sugar and salt in a mixer with a paddle on medium speed until fluffy, a few minutes. Mix in vanilla. Add flour and mix until the dough starts to come together. Turn out onto a lightly floured cutting board and press into a long rectangle, about 1-inch thick and 3 inches wide. Cool.
Preheat oven to 350. Cut your chilled dough into 1/8-inch slices widthwise. If using, sprinkle with nuts and lightly press them into the dough. Place on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Sprinkle with fleur du sel if using.
Why I chose this recipe:
While I do truly enjoy cooking and creating in my own kitchen–I am also deeply inspired by a great restaurant. That said, one of my favorites in San Francisco is Woodward’s Garden, a gem of a place located under the freeway in the Mission District. Housed in what used to be an amusement park in the 1800’s, this place retains a sense of history and appreciation for those who came before. One of my recent faves from there is a delicious and light dessert made with granita–shaved flavored fruit ice, topped with fresh dates, mint and orange zest. They serve it with a few lovely and sweet crunchy cookies–shortbread and/or biscotti. It reminds me of the snow cones probably served in the very same spot over 150 years ago when this was an amusement park–just updated and refined! While I was flipping over this perfect finish to my otherwise perfect meal there, they sneaked me the recipe and sheepishly admitted how easy it is to make this at home. I tried it and am hooked. I thought I would share this since it is so easy, pretty, and a great accompaniment to a meal, or just a refreshing afternoon dessert to have with tea or even served as an after dinner aperitif flavored with a little liqueur.
About the wine:
Bonny Doon Muscat Vin de Glaciere (click for full review)
The first Vin De Glaciere from Bonny Doon Vineyard (BDV) was released in 1986. In my opinion the Vin de Glaciere and Cigare Volant put BDV on the map. Bonny Doon is going to stop making this dessert wine — and suggest you buy it now before it is no longer. The wine has an amazing nose of apricot, spice and jasmine. Apricot, orange blossom and lemon zest on the palate. This wine was served with dessert at every state dinner during the Clinton years.
How it ended up being served to dignitaries and heads of state is an interesting story.