The pool water has turned tepid, the grass is brown and crunchy, you've run out of beach books before you've reached the beach. Along about the mid- dle of July in the Baltimore area, it is easy to forget that, way back in May, you couldn't wait for summer to begin.
Here, then, are instructions for a cool quintet of treats to quell that mid-season droop and help you remember the low-tech pleasure of something simple, sweet and cold.
LEMON ROSEMARY SORBET
Makes 8 to 10 servings
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons vodka
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water. Stir until mixture comes to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add rosemary, cover, and let stand about 10 minutes or until cool.
Place a fine strainer over a large bowl and pour syrup mixture through (straining out the rosemary leaves). Add lemon juice and vodka to the strained syrup mixture; stir until thoroughly blended. (The vodka --or any other type of alcohol -- is the secret to a soft sorbet. Alcohol does not freeze, and adding a little bit keeps the sorbet from doing the same. Vodka is excellent to use because it doesn't affect the taste. )
Pour mixture into container, cover, and place in the freezer. When it is semi-solid, mash it up with a fork and refreeze again. When frozen, place in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Cover and refreeze until serving time.
NOTE: Can be prepared 3 days in advance. Cover and keep frozen.
-- From whatscookingamerica.net
ICE CREAM IN A CAN
Makes about 3/4 to 1 quart
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 3-pound coffee can with lid
1 one-pound coffee can with lid (you may substitute plastic containers that seal well)
Mix all the ingredients in the smaller coffee can except the salt and ice. Put the lid on the smaller can and place it inside the larger coffee can. Add ice and salt in layers, packing it around the smaller can. Put top on larger can when it is full. To prevent spillage, secure both cans with duct tape.
Roll the can back and forth for about 30 minutes. It could take more or less time for the ice cream mixture to freeze.
If the ice starts to melt in the can, replace it and add more salt. Scrape down sides of smaller can every 10 minutes until firm.
-- From several online recipes
ROOT BEER FLOAT GRANITA
Makes 8 servings
6 cups (1 1/2 quarts) root beer
1/2 quart good-quality vanilla ice cream
Pour root beer into a large baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze about 45 minutes or until icy at edge of pan. Whisk to distribute frozen portions evenly. Cover and freeze again until icy at edge of pan and overall texture is slushy, about 45 minutes. Whisk to distribute frozen portions evenly. Cover and return to freezer and freeze about 3 hours or until frozen solid. Remove from freezer.
Using a fork, scrape granita down length of pan, forming icy flakes. Return to freezer for at least 1 hour. Can be made 1 day ahead. When served, the granita should look like a fluffy pile of dry brown crystals.
Place frozen vanilla ice cream in your refrigerator to melt. When melted, store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
To serve, scoop flaked granita into tall goblets or parfait glasses. Top each serving with about 1/4 cup melted vanilla ice cream.
-- From whatscookingamerica.net
VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE
Makes 4 servings
4 cups of water
1/2 cup dark roast coffee beans
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
16 ice cubes
Brew coffee with water using your preferred method to make brewed coffee. Spoon 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk into each of 4 coffee cups. Pour 1 cup of fresh hot coffee into each cup, and stir to dissolve the milk.
Serve guests cups of coffee, and give each one a tall glass with 4 ice cubes, and a long-handled spoon. Guests pour hot coffee over the ice cubes and stir briskly with the long-handled spoon.
-- From www.allrecipes.com
FROZEN FRUIT SHAKES
Makes 1 generous serving (or two small ones)
, to 1 cup skim milk, fruit juice, buttermilk or low fat yogurt
1/2 to 2 / 3 cup frozen fruit, any kind
sweetener to taste: artificial, honey or sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Measure milk, juice, buttermilk or yogurt into blender. Add frozen fruit pieces and vanilla. Blend just until fruit is smooth and shake is thick. Serve immediately.
-- From www.cooks.com