Square Peg Round Hole
Doesn't it just seem like Christmas is only reserved for the cold climate? Winter wonderlands, let it snow, frightful weather, roasting chestnuts, and all those jingling bells. The other day I watched as peopled meandered through the tree lot in their shorts and tank tops picking out their tree. It is definitely not a white Christmas here in the valley of the sun (unless you're talking tan lines on the guy in the tank).
It used to bring me down, all this heat. I felt like perhaps it wasn't really Christmas if I couldn't see me breathe in the air.
I was in a very negative state of mind while all around me people were "making the best of it". Our town makes a giant Christmas tree out of tumbleweeds with a lighting ceremony and everything. Saguaro cactuses are adorned with lights and santa hats as far as the eye can see.
I realized though that for much longer than I've lived here, people have celebrated Christmas far and wide in every type of weather and landscape. And apparently those who lived in the snow just liked to sing about it.
I've embraced Christmas in the dessert not as an abnormality - no snow, no sledding, hot chocolate is more of a novelty than something to warm yourself with, and picking out your tree while tanning, but as my reality. My beautiful reality.
Granita's are a dessert typically reserved for summer, or at least not during a winter holiday. Baking tons of cookies in 80º weather seems like I'm forcing this holiday season into being something that it just isn't for me. Sure, later in the week the temperature will dip into most frigid 60º. I will turn on the heater, drink lots of tea and wear my husband's sweatshirt to stay warm. I'll feel all holly and jolly baking away tons of treats. For now, I find jolly in frozen cranberries.
This little treat is only 3 ingredients and would make a great palate cleanser if you were serving a fancy dinner party. I used a sparkling apple juice for mine, but this would be over the top amazing if you made it with Prosecco. The kiddos wouldn't be able to take part, but it would be a dangerously amazing dessert. The fizz does go out when it's frozen, but I like the dryness of sparkling juice or wine for this. It makes the sweetness a little less cloying, but still enough to be a treat.
Sparkling Cranberry Granita
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (half a bag)
1 bottle sparkling apple juice or perhaps a sparkling wine
1/2 cup sugar
In a food processor pulse the cranberries and sugar. Add cranberries and sugar to a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. In a shallow pan add the bottle of sparkling juice and the cranberries. Place in the freezer and every 45 minutes scrape the surface of the mixture with a fork. After about 3 hours it will be totally frozen and if you have done your job with the fork it will be nice and fluffy.
Christmas is so many different things to different people. For me it's a birth of a savior, family, early morning, sweets, giving of what you're good at, being a blessing to others in need, and kids smiley shinning faces - rain, snow or swimming trunks.
What's your holiday like?
****very thrilling video of the making of the tumbleweed tree here. I always wondered how the thing didn't just burst into flames - dousing things in freaky fire retardant must really work.