The sounds echo out and push forward. They commence as soon as the night draws its curtain on the day. From the woods out back they’re put on a display in front of us. For us. The crickets serenade us and the harmonies distract in the late summer evenings. The close proximity to the woods brings unfamiliar sounds, welcome sounds. Insects and animals that vanish as soon as the terrain hardens and the temperatures drop. But as long as summer roars outside, we’ll have the daily orchestra to keep us company. Sing us to sleep. Dream of an earlier time.
It fondly reminds me of my grandmother and our evenings spent flat-out in front of her sliding downs, screen closed tight, sleeping bags zipped up as she recited stories that always kept me riveted. We listened to the crickets as we camped out overnight, her body and knees tired and worn from old age yet willing to sacrifice for my happiness. She needed help to get down and help to get back up. But while she was down she helped shape my youth. With her love and unselfishness. So those crickets are a lovely reminder of my past. And those long summer nights with my grandmother.
This summer has been hot and arid. Precipitation at a minimum and thick humidity commonplace. And now there has been a different kind of noise making its rounds. Some people want summer to end, move aside and give way to the cool breeze of autumn. In fairness, spring was short and quick and summer-like conditions came early. It was in the middle of March when it first felt like summer. So I understand why some people are looking for change. Just not yet.
I love autumn. The weather, food and slight nuances that make it unique. But in a land when the colder months outlast the warmer ones, I want to soak in the possibilities summer presents. Being outside, farmer’s markets, day trips, bike rides, windows open, cool foods and cold drinks. And summer specific desserts like granita. Icy, scraped granita. The perfect response to the heat.
It’s mid-August and I’m starting to notice the changes. Cooler nights. Earlier darkness. Shorter days. Yet the core of the day is hot and slightly uneasy. I like that. Because it holds so much promise, possibility. More opportunities to get out during the day, escape for a bit. And it means evenings being serenaded in our bedroom. But only for a short while more. As long as summer remains.
From my kitchen to yours,
Salted Watermelon Granita with Ginger Syrup
- 6 cups watermelon, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ginger, grated
- coarse sea salt, to finish
- ginger syrup, to finish (recipe below)
- Combine the chopped watermelon, sugar, salt, lime juice and ginger in a food processor and pulse into smooth. bowl and stand until macerated and juicy (45 minutes-1 hour). Process in a food processor until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve. Pour into a shallow metal baking tray and place in the freezer. Wait until frozen, about 3-4 hours. Scrape with a fork to form crystals.
- Spoon the fluffy crystals into servings glasses and top with a pinch of coarse salt. Pour some ginger syrup over top.
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp. grated ginger
- Combine sugar, ginger and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring often. Simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Strain and refrigerate. Let thicken and use for topping when ready.