Sometimes when a cook, baker, blogger, artist or just creatively-minded person needs inspiration they turn to many different methods. Some people seek solitude and nature, some turn to other artistic methods like painting, art museums, etc, and some simply take a break from cooking and baking completely. Or if you’re really Type A you just power through. A lot of the times I will do one of each of these depending on my mood or what’s going on in my personal life.
In the summer months I like to lean more towards solitude and nature to clear my mind. By solitude I like to take in time at the beach or the park and enjoy the warmer climates for the short time we have here in Ohio. And anyone who’s lived through a brutal winter in Cleveland (or anywhere else for that matter) can likely appreciate where I’m coming from. This past weekend I was with my future father and sister-in-law at their boat up on Catawba Island, one of several gorgeous islands off of Lake Erie. It’s a gorgeous hidden gem at all the Lake Erie Islands, and although only an hour or so drive from Cleveland, each island feels like you’re in a vacation spot all it’s own. The beaches are gorgeous, great for boating and water-sports, and the restaurants and bars all branding their own unique charm.
How could a beach like this and a sunset with colors like these not inspire anyone? While sipping a drink on the beach watching the sun lazily slip below the horizon, I realized that places and times like these need to be cherished and appreciated in that moment, and they so rarely are. It is so hard for most of us, myself especially included, to disconnect these days without worry about Monday work and grocery lists. Making food needs to be fun but what really matters is allocating more of that time to making summertime cooking and entertaining accessible and easy. Simple, less labor-intensive recipes so you can spend less time worrying about the HOW of these dog days of summer, and more time in the NOW of them.
I’m so poetic today, aren’t I?
On my way home from Catawba I took the time to wander the farmers markets by myself to become inspired by whatever the local farmers were offering this season. I immediately spied a gorgeous seedless watermelon and immediately knew I had to use it.
In comes one of the easiest recipes in my dessert arsenal. It’s a Watermelon Honey Granita and despite the time it takes to actually freeze it, the actual hands-on work is 20-25 mins total. And it’s broken up into a couple of easy steps that you can even shorten if you decided to buy pre-cubed watermelon. It’s in season right now, inexpensive and plentiful. Not to mention made up of mostly water so it’s hydrating on those humid summer days.
And if you’re enjoying them with friends on a muggy summer night and some tequila ACCIDENTALLY falls into it while you’re trying to… ahem, hydrate… well that sounds like the start of a fun summer memory.
Just promise me you’ll take time to appreciate the remaining moments of summer while you’re actually in them this month. We all only get so many of them in this lifetime.
So soak them all in.
Watermelon and Honey Granita
3 C. Diced seedless watermelon
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
½ tsp mint simple syrup
1 tbsp honey
¼ tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp granulated sugar
Slice the watermelon, removing the rind and dicing the fruit until you have 3 cups BY WEIGHT. Depending on the size of your watermelon, this may or may not be all of it. Which is why I recommend weighing in this case.
Pulse in the food processor in batches until liquid. Strain pulp and any extra seeds with a strainer, pressing down to get all the liquid out. Discard the solids and keep liquid, should be around 3 cups.
Add in the mint syrup, honey, salt, granulated sugar and whisk to combine.
Pour into 2 loaf pans and place in the freezer.
After one hour of freezing, take a fork and scrape the frozen sides and bottom using long strokes down the pan.
Refreeze and scrape every hour briefly to fluff up the ice mixture. After 4 hours or overnight, serve in a glass with a shot of tequila and/or lime wedge. Enjoy!