A Frozen Summer Trio

I opted out of the traditional 4th of July grilling post like ones that have been popping up all over the blogosphere this week. Mostly out of laziness (it’s a lot of work to gather links and old photos together.)

So this isn’t quite a red, white, and blue trio. It’s close, though. (OK, maybe not) If I had a choice, I’d choose one of these cool frozen treats over a slice of dry, artificially-colored flag cake. Every. Time.

Each recipe has its own commentary, so I divided that up among the recipes to let things flow better. May I present to you, Strawberry-Watermelon Smoothie with Ginger, Pina Colada Granita, and Blueberry-Pomegranate Granita.

Have a great 4th of July weekend, my lovely Americans!

(And Happy Canada Day to you lovely Canadians, TODAY! I love Canadians.)

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We’re big smoothie drinkers here. My 3-year-old watches for the blender to come out of the dishwasher and begs for smoothies until breakfast, when I finally cave. There’s not much to say about these besides how delicious they are. I love the interesting addition of ginger in this one. I think it adds a refreshing bite to it. This smoothie would be great with or without ginger, in case fresh ginger makes you nervous.

Strawberry-Watermelon Smoothie with Ginger
from Bon Appetit June 2010

3 cups 1-inch cubed seeded watermelon
2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Divide smoothie between 2 glasses and serve.

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Granita? Just a fancy word for shaved ice. Or snow cone. This recipe was an experiment after I made the one below. These are the exact ingredients I use to make Pina Colada Sherbet. I simply changed the method. I love the addition of toasted coconut, and the flaky shaved-ice-like texture, but this one froze quite a bit harder than the other granita. I’m not sure why. I think I would opt for throwing it into my ice cream maker and making sherbet instead, but for those who don’t have an ice cream maker, this is an excellent alternative.

Pina Colada Granita
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

1 whole pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1 15-oz can of coconut milk (not light)
juice from half a lime
pinch of salt
sweetener, if needed (honey, Stevia, etc.)
toasted coconut for garnish, if desired

Place pineapple chunks, coconut milk, juice and salt in a blender. Process until smooth. Taste to see if it needs to be sweetened. Add sweetener to taste and blend again. Strain mixture and remove as much liquid from the pulp as you can. Discard pulp.

Pour mixture into a shallow 9x13x2 metal or plastic container. Cover and place in the freezer for an hour. Using a fork, break up large chunks and scrape down the edges. Return mixture to freezer and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Break up the large chunks again with a fork. Repeat every 30 minutes for an hour or two, until mixture is mostly frozen. Let it freeze overnight, then stir, breaking up chunks once again. If at any time it gets too hard, let it sit on the counter for a few minutes, stir, then return to freezer.

Serves 8-10.

Nat’s Notes:
1. This particular recipe froze harder than expected. I’m not sure why — it could be the coconut milk. I took a bit of work with a sturdy serving fork to get it to the consistency in the picture.
2. To toast coconut, place shredded coconut on a baking sheet and bake on low broil for a few minutes until it turns golden brown. Watch it closely — it burns very quickly. Not all the pieces will turn brown, either. I like the variegated colors it creates.


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I was lucky enough to receive more free samples of pomegranate juice from POM Wonderful. This is one of the ideas I had simmering in my head, but the other ideas may have to wait. I can’t create faster than my family can drink that juice. It’s way too tart for me to drink alone, but my husband and kids can’t get enough of it. I don’t usually give my kids fruit juice, but pomegranate juice is one, very healthy exception.


This was my first attempt at a granita. I was always skeptical when I read granita recipes, expecting a giant chunk of ice instead of a flaky, snow-like consistency. This icy treat was the bomb. WAS the bomb. It only lasted 3 days in our house.

Blueberry-Pomegranate Granita
by Natalie

2 lbs of blueberries, rinsed
1 cup (8 oz) pomegranate juice
1/4 cup coconut sugar (white sugar is fine)
squeeze of fresh lemon
pinch of salt
whipped cream or coconut cream for garnish, if desired

Combine all in a blender and process until smooth. Strain mixture and remove as much juice from the pulp as you can.

Pour mixture into a shallow 9x13x2 metal or plastic container. Cover and place in the freezer for an hour. Using a fork, break up large chunks and scrape down the edges. Return mixture to freezer and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Break up the large chunks again with a fork. Repeat every 30 minutes for an hour or two, until mixture is mostly frozen. Let it freeze overnight, then stir, breaking up chunks once again. If at any time it gets too hard, let it sit on the counter for a few minutes, stir, then return to freezer.

Serves 8-10.

Nat’s Notes:
1. I highly recommend the whipped cream. The granita is a bit tart (for me . . . I’m sensitive to tartness), and the cream took care of that very well. And there aren’t a whole lot of treats that wouldn’t benefit from a dollop of whipped cream. Especially freshly whipped cream.

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