Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

Rhubarb and strawberries are an old-fashioned American combination.  Think lattice-weave-pastry-topped pie wedges served up with scoops of home-churned vanilla ice cream—an early summer stand-by at any number of small-town, middle-America diners of yesteryear.  Perch on a Naugahyde-covered stool at the counter, sip a mug of black coffee (no latté please) and tuck into a forkful. Nothing better on earth.  While this exact experience might be a relic of the past, the taste is easy to recreate with a simple crumble topping instead of the pie crust.  Serve some up with this week’s ruby-red rhubarb.  You won’t find this spring jewel in the markets much longer.

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Strawberry-Lime Granita

(Serves 6)

Granita is Italian, though the flavors in this icy bowlful are authentically Mexican. Think of it like a frozen strawberry-lime agua fresca—loaded with fresh fruit.  This dessert is perfect for a hot, lazy day—you’ll need to be freezer-side for a couple of hours, though the task is simple.  Grab a book. Curl up on the couch.  Set the timer for 20 minute intervals to “rake” your iced treat, and when it’s done serve up a cool, refreshing scoop.  Maybe two.

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Fresh Mint Chip Gelato

This gelato is nothing like the leprechaun-green mint chip in the freezer section of your local grocery store. It uses fresh mint leaves for flavoring, rather than the artificial stuff. You’ll notice bright herbal notes, that some might call unusual or sophisticated, even adult, but the dark chocolate shavings give a creamy bowlful universal appeal. This is how mint ice cream should taste — when you think about it. Like real mint. We like to add chocolate cookie bits along with the dark chocolate shavings. You can never have too much chocolate. Never. Continue reading

Fresh Citrus Granita

Granita is an Italian ice dessert made from sugar, water and flavorings — in this case citrus juice. It’s easy to make yet feels sophisticated and special. Perfect to punctuate an adult dinner party, but simple enough to throw together that very afternoon. You can use whatever winter citrus you like — just adjust the sugar level up or down depending on the natural sweetness of the fruit (taste as you prepare the mix). Try oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, meyer lemon or a mix. Serve by itself, or with vanilla ice cream for a grown-up Creamsicle. Continue reading