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New Cookbook Addresses Problem of Acid Reflux


If you’re having problems with acid reflux, there is help. Doctors Jamie Koufman and Jordan Stern have come up with a new guide, “Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure” (BRIO Press, $29.95), which takes into account various types of reflux symptoms or conditions that range from heartburn to sleep apnea.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, is no laughing matter. Nor is it something to ignore or simply feed antacids. “At present, reflux-related esophageal cancer (most common in white males) is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States,” the authors write.

To get GERD under control can take a serious look at what you consume. Some of the foods that are notorious for causing reflux, the authors say, are chocolate, soda (with diet sodas having more acid than regular), deep-fried food, alcohol, fatty meat, cream sauces, anything with caffeine, citrus fruit and juices, and hot sauces.

I can say from personal experience that eliminating caffeine, except for an occasional bit of chocolate, has worked for me, but the causes will vary from person to person.

The cookbook portion was written with the help of French master chef Marc Bauer, who has created 75 recipes in the following categories: breakfast, salads, soups, entrées, hors d’oeuvres and snacks, and desserts. They all seem fairly easy to make, too, from one-pot stews to simple snacks. Just be careful of the carbohydrate counts, as many seem fairly high.

Here are two recipes to sample: Healthy One-Pot Chicken Blanquette and Watermelon and Ginger Granité.

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Keep Cool with Watermelon and Ginger Granité


Watermelon is irresistible, no matter the time of year. Use the juice with some ginger in this refreshing dessert.

Watermelon and Ginger Granité

1 cup water
½ cup honey
1 whole clove
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated fine
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon lemon zest, washed and grated fine
3 cups seedless watermelon juice (see note)

Bring the water, honey, clove, nutmeg, ginger, salt and lemon zest to a boil. Allow to cool, then strain.

Add the syrup to the watermelon juice.

Place the juice in a bowl that can be put in the freezer, and freeze 3 hours. Stir every 15 minutes with a sauce whisk or freeze overnight and grate with a regular fork.

Note: To get the juice, cut the melon in half, remove flesh and blend.

Makes 8 servings.

Approximate nutritional value per serving: 80 calories, .1 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, .1 g fat

From “Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure” by Jamie Koufman and Jordan Stern with Marc Bauer

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Cool ‘n’ Hot: Jalapeño-Lime Ice


JalapenoJalapeño-Lime Ice

This dish is sweet and hot, cool and spicy at the same time. Enjoy after dinner or as a palate cleanser. Either way, your taste buds are in for a tongue-tingling treat. 

3 cups water
2 cups sugar
8 jalapeños, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
4 cups ice cubes
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Lime slices, for garnish

Place the water, sugar, jalapeños, mint and lime juice in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Strain the liquid, and place in a covered nonreactive container in the freezer for 6 hours or up to 2 days. (The mixture won’t freeze but will become slushy and icy.)

Using a cleaver or heavy object, slightly crush the ice cubes. Place ice cubes in a blender along with the jalapeño-lime mixture. Blend until the ice is finely crushed. Serve immediately, garnished with sprigs of fresh mint and lime slices.

Makes 6 servings.

From “Hot, Hotter, Hottest” by Janet Hazen

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WalkerSpeak: Chocolate granita puts on the chill


Chocolate granita is an easy freeze.

Chocolate granita is an easy freeze.

A friend is a friend indeed when he talks you back from a late-night chocolate frenzy.

Reading a mystery book isn’t generally the place to beware of lip-smacking good descriptions of something chocolate. But there it was on the page: One of the characters had prepared a pan of deep, dark brownies, thickly frosted with marshmallow crème, then put the pan under the broiler until the topping browned and bubbled; just like a marshmallow toasting over a campfire. Yikes.

An alternative to running to the kitchen to make brownies was simple. Eat chocolate, it’s good for you. If you have some of the dark chocolate buttons they sell in bulk at Central Market, one or two usually ease the craving. I didn’t have any.

So, my friend suggested I make chocolate granita, an icy concoction, easy to make and requiring no special equipment. Granita does have calories from sugar, but it is also less likely to tempt one to sit on the couch and finish off a pint or so of chocolate ice cream. This may be because the icy crystals aren’t quite as smoothly seductive as ice cream. But in my experience, the granita handled the chocolate attack successfully.

Granita, sometimes called granita sicilliana, hails from Sicily in Italy and is in a category that includes sorbets and ices. A granita with very fine ice crystals can be made in a gelato machine. The flavors range from lemon and coffee to almond and mint. Chocolate granita is less common. Jeffrey Steingarten, who wrote “The Man Who Ate Everything,” says the Italian city of Catania is the only place in Sicily one finds chocolate-flavored granita.

Granita is easy to make at home. First, put 4 cups of water into a pan on the stove and stir in 1 cup of really good cocoa powder (I had Ghirardelli on hand), two-thirds a cup of sugar, a stingy pinch of salt and a few drops of vanilla, if you wish. Put it on the stove, whisk as the mixture comes to a simmer (watch so it doesn’t overflow the pan). Let it simmer for a minute. Then, pour it into a wide, shallow pan that will fit on a level spot in the freezer.

Bring the pan out from the freezer every 15 minutes or so and scrape the ice crystals from the sides of the pan, into the middle. When it’s not solid, but pretty firm, it’s time to have some — in a bowl or a glass.

For a slightly exotic touch, I drizzled in some rose syrup, and the combination was delicious. Other options might be instant coffee or espresso granules added to the mix of ingredients, cinnamon or canela for a Mexican chocolate flavor, or a few drops of almond extract.

I can’t kid myself — I’ll probably make the marshmallow-topped brownies. But., I’ll wait for cooler weather and when there are more people around to help me eat them. Watch for the recipe here in SavorSA. As the temperatures climb, though, I’ll be thinking granita for a chilly, easy-to-make afternoon treat.

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