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4 Easy Treats for Staying Cool

(post, Jane Pellicciotto)

The inside temperature in my non-air-conditioned apartment has hovered at 82 degrees nearly all day. I'm not alone since few in Portland, OR, have AC. Trying to stay positive, I sifted through my memory as I did yoga (crazy, I know) to recall cool, easy healthy(ish) treats that you can make yourself.

Bloody Marycicles

A few years ago, my friend Eileen concocted Bloody Marycicles as a result of swealtering temperatures in DC. Imagine how impressed your barbeque guests would be if you handed them a hot and juicy pop when they showed up. Better yet, at a Summer Sunday brunch. Just follow your favorite bloody mary recipe. The only catch is that vodka doesn't freeze well, so you have to use restraint.

Frozen Sugared Grapes

At a cooking school last September in Lecce, Italy, we prepared little dessert, most of it very simple. They don't each much dessert down there, despite a penchant for granitas (coffee ones for breakfast). They opt, instead, for fruit or even vegetables like celery, fennel and carrots. One night we dusted a gorgeous bunch of grapes with sugar that had grated vanilla bean in it for Frozen Sugared Grapes. They were beautiful, cool and sweet and sparkled in the candlelight. No fussy cooking required.

Berry Sorbetto Without a Machine

The five pounds of blueberries I picked are calling out for something more interesting than smoothies. I don't have an ice cream machine, so last year I made various berry sorbettos, as well as pear, without a machine. Freeze a shallow ceramic baking dish for 24 hours, make your sorbet mixture and pour it into the dish. Every 15 or 20 minutes, incorporate the frozen parts along the side of the dish into the rest of the mixture using a fork. Do this for about an hour until you have a soft, uniformly frozen sorbetto. Because gelato and sorbetto are served softer than ice cream and sorbet, it doesn't have to be frozen. In fact, I add a little vodka to keep it from freezing. Casis would do nicely with berries. If it does get hard, let it sit at room temperature a bit before serving.

Spa Water

We all need to drink as much water as possible. I never buy soda or juice but water gets, well, boring. I'm not a fan of cucumbers for eating but I love the flavor. I always keep a pitcher of water around with some combination of the following: cucumbers, lemon or orange slices, mint, strawberries or marionberries. I keep refilling the pitcher till these additions start to lose their flavor or freshness and then start over.

Stay cool and enjoy!