Summer Solstice Recipe & Book Giveaway

Watermelon with Chocolate Seeds
Frozen Granita Needs No Ice Cream Machine

I am known to my friends and family as the odd one who says, “bring it on” of the summer heat in the city but I love summer and don’t mind the heat and humidity!   I drink lots of water, not iced, and eat lots of watermelon– chunked or sliced and preferably with a healthy  squeeze of lime, my favorite watermelon, tomato, arugula salad and I drink watermelon juice. My favorite iced watermelon treat is the easy to make, refreshing and delicious  Watermelon Granita from Vegan Chocolate. Granitas are typically made by freezing fruity liquid in a shallow pan and scraping the mixture with a fork at regular intervals as it freezes. That’s pretty simple, but I didn’t want to be tied to setting a timer and scraping. I had heard about making granita in a food processor using frozen cubes of fruit purée, and I decided to test the process. It worked perfectly. The granita was fluffy and the watermelon taste shone through.




  • 1 1⁄2 pounds / 680 grams watermelon, cubed and seeded
  • 1⁄4 cup / 50 grams organic granulated sugar, ground in a blender until powdered
  • 1 tablespoon / 15 ml fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 ounces / 28 to 57 grams dark chocolate (any percentage), chopped into small chunks for the “seeds” (use more if you like)
  • Flaked sea salt (optional)

1. Purée the watermelon cubes in a food processor or blender and pour into a bowl. (You should have 2 cups / 480 ml of juice.) Add the powdered sugar and lime juice to the purée and whisk briskly until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze until hard. This can take up to 24 hours.

3. Make the granita: Put a 2-quart container with a lid into the freezer. Transfer the frozen cubes to a food processor. Limit the number of cubes to no more than a double layer at a time so that the granita does not get slushy. Pulse a dozen or so times in 2 to 3-second bursts until the cubes are finely chopped. The number of pulses will depend on your machine.

4. Scrape the granita into the chilled container, cover the container, and return it to the freezer; repeat with the remaining cubes if necessary.

Serving: The granita is ready to eat right out of the food processor. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with as many chocolate “seeds” as you like. I believe watermelon benefits from a sprinkling of flaked sea salt, and if you agree, sprinkle a bit over each bowl. Keeping: Freeze the granita in a covered container. For the best flavor and texture, eat the granita within one week. Fluff with a fork before serving.


Photo © Kate Lewis 2013



Elizabeth Castoria, author

HOW TO BE VEGAN by Elizabeth Castoria

Elizabeth’s slim but mighty book had me laughing out loud, nodding yes and underlining many passages with my favorite pink highlighter. I particularly liked Chapter 5: Don’t Be A Jerk, which puts a fresh spin on the usual questions, and explains how to be a good vegan guest and a vegan host. The flowchart for sucessful party planning is brilliant!!  In fact, I found all the graphics and charts in the book to be extremely useful and beautifully designed. The colored-coded produce lists make good sense. 

Then, there is the food of course. Elizabeth says, “Enough talk—It’s time to eat”, and has included 50 enticing recipes, all using familiar ingredients, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and even dessert. Variations are encouraged.

As the book jacket says, How to Be Vegan “Demystifies, destigmatizes and uncomplicates the vegan lifestyle.”

I highly recommend How to Be Vegan to those who are clueless about veganism, or thinking of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, to new vegans, and long-time vegans (including any of the you aren’t vegan enough vegans), and to everyone who is just looking for a good read.The book makes a perfect gift to give friends and families of vegans.

Elizabeth’s publisher Avery is giving away a copy of How to Be Vegan. Enter below! Contest ends at midnight eastern time on Friday, July 4th.


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