Friday, July 13, 2012


Granita, where have you been all my life?

Granita is so delicious, I can't believe I haven't made this before. My daughter made this and posted a photo of hers on Instagram, and when I saw it, I was immediately inspired to make some too.

As I was taking my first bites of this refreshing delight, my mind raced to possibilities--I can make some Babcock peach granita or use any (or all!) of the fruits we have in our yard and--I wonder how this would taste made with plums and adding a little plum wine to the mixture?

 This was especially refreshing since we've been having some hot weather here in Southern California.

Watermelon Granita


1/2 whole Seedless Watermelon, cut into chunks (rind discarded),
about 8 cups
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup sugar

Put the ingredients into blender pitcher and blend. You can do it in batches if it all doesn't fit. The Pioneer Woman uses 1/3 cup sugar, but I have less of a sweet-tooth and find 1/4 cup is plenty.

Pour the watermelon mixture into a container to put in the freezer. The recipe calls for using a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish, which I think would be ideal--the larger surface area would make the freezing time shorter. I don't have much room in my freezer, so I opted for a smaller surface area which made the granita take a lot longer to freeze--about 24 hours.

Put the container in the freezer for several hours. My freezer isn't super cold--ice cream doesn't get really hard--so it was about 4 hours before it started to freeze. Plus, the container is deep. I also made a batch of granita out of our backyard peaches, and the glass container worked a lot better than the plastic one.

The outer area freezes first, move the frozen parts toward the center with a fork or a spoon.

 Here it is almost completely frozen, it's still easy to break up the mixture into flakes.

Here it is, finally done!

 I also made a batch of granita using my backyard Babcock peaches. Same recipe:

Peach Granita


8 cups peeled and pitted peaches
juice of 1 lemon and lemon zest
1/4 cup sugar

optional: 1 to 1 1/2 cup water

Zest and juice one lemon.  Peel and pit 8 cups of peaches.

Add 1/4 cup sugar.

 Blend like you did with the watermelon--It takes less than a minute in a high-speed blender. Babcock peaches have white flesh. It looks so pretty! Put into freezer.

The lemon juice didn't keep the peaches from turning brown. I wonder if lime juice makes any difference like it does with avocados.

Avocado granita???

The color doesn't affect the taste. The peaches are so much denser than the watermelon, so the granita was also dense--not as light and not as refreshing as the watermelon granita. Next time I'm going to try adding some water to make it lighter. I think if I ate it alone and not along side the watermelon granita, it would be fine.

Granita is so refreshing and delicious, I'm going to need to make more soon!



Remember my father-in-law from my Easy Roast Turkey post--my anemic looking roast turkey that's oh-so-juicy?

He suddenly died last month.

Such a sad time for the Fujimotos.

OJiichan was 93 years old. He was born in San Francisco, California and was educated in Japan, returning after graduating from high school there. This portrait was taken by Toyo Miyatake Studios about 5 years ago.

Having been born in the US and educated in Japan made OJiichan a Kibei Nisei--Nisei being the second generation born to Issei--first generation immigrant parents. Kibei means "go home to America". My parents are Nisei and spoke English at home, but my in-laws are both Kibei Nisei and spoke Japanese at home.

My father-in-law and I had many long talks over the 37 years I knew him. I once asked him why he wasn't involved with the ESGVJ Community Center like my family was. He said that most all the members at that time were Niseis and he felt out of place since they spoke English and he was more comfortable speaking Japanese. After retiring from the nursery business OJiichan and OBaachan joined the ESGVJCC Leisure Club which became the highlight of their week.

During World War II, he was relocated to the Topaz, Utah Internment Camp. The Internment Camps are a big part of Japanese American's history and identity--I remember, "What camp did you go to?" being a question my parents' age Niseis asked. The Japanese American National Museum is a good place for more information.

In 1950 he met a 'nice girl from Japan' that a friend of his mother knew. They were married later that year.

They have four children. This family portrait was also taken by Toyo Miyatake Studios. I like it because my husband (second from right) is smiley.

My son Rick is their first grandchild. I now know how they felt when this photo was taken on the day he came home from the hospital because I have a grandchild too.

We live only a mile away from my in-laws so my son and daughter spent a lot of time with them.

Sometime after Rick's college graduation, OJiichan decided that he wanted to help Rick find a nice girl to marry. OJiichan mentioned one his long-time friends had a granddaughter, would Rick be willing to meet her? That prompted OJiichan's other good friend to say, 'I have a nice granddaughter, too, Rick can meet her!' 

Rick only had one thing to say,


My daughter Karen had a special bond with OJiichan. All his grandchildren had a special bond with him.

I love this photo of the two of them making won ton.

This was taken at one of our more roaring card playing nights.

When Karen was a teenager, she told OJiichan, "I love you, Jichan."

He got up from where he was sitting and went into his room, came out and gave Karen ten dollars.

Karen said she doesn't need him to say the words, she knows that he loved her.

Jichan loved baseball. My husband used to call him every night there was a Dodgers game on TV to remind him to watch. He especially enjoyed watching his grandson, Colin, play.

You can see Colin playing baseball on my Taco Salad post and you might remember him making Meatball Sandwiches.

 This is our most recent family photo, at my daughter's wedding.

OJiichan loved to eat Japanese and Chinese food.

I think he had a creative, artistic mind. He had a passion for his hobbies, at times they were all-consuming. He enjoyed pruning his pine trees, photography, ceramics, the game of Go, and most recently, writing haiku. At 93, sometimes he couldn't sleep at night with haiku keeping his mind active.

OJiichan and I had many conversations about death and dying. He wanted to go fast, his dream scenario was to be at Leisure Club one day and be gone the next. He had a sharp mind and was able to fully take care of himself until the end. He went out as he wanted to, okay one day and gone the next.

Kiyoshi Fujimoto Tribute Video
Watermelon Granita
1/2 whole Seedless Watermelon, cut into chunks (rind discarded),
about 8 cups
1 lime, juiced
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
Place the ingredients into blender pitcher blend until smooth, blending in batches if necessary. Pour mixture into 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish, cover and freeze. After three or four hours (depending upon how cold your freezer is), scrape the frozen parts (top and sides) to the center to keep the granita flaky. Return the pan to the freezer and repeat every few hours until the entire mixture is shaved. Store, covered, until serving.
Peach Granita
8 cups peeled and pitted peaches
juice of 1 lemon and lemon zest
1/4 cup sugar
optional: 1 to 1 1/2 water to thin the mixture
Prepare with same instructions as for watermelon granita.
Editor's Note: I'm having some problems with saving changes--adding the code to only print the recipe and the spacing in the bottom third of this post. Sorry for the inconvenience.


  1. Such a great post! Your FIL sounds like he was an amazing person. Sorry for your lose.

  2. Japanese American grandparents are very funny the way they show affection. My grandmother saved up enough for my UCLA tuition yet hates hugs and "I love yous".

    They definitely are more actions rather than words, and I'm glad Karen knows that too.

  3. I love watermelon and I am sure making into granita is yummy!!

  4. Started my watermelon granita at 3:00. Did you know if you scrape the sides you can put the barely frozen part in a bowl and start eating your granita after a couple of hours? Hmmm. If I keep it up, there may not be any granita left a few hours from now!

    1. Love the tribute to Mr. Fujimoto - you have a wonderful way of distilling the essence of goodness!

      Granita ~

      When we were kids spending the summer in Sacramento, there used to be a cart at the park that sold orange slush. We loved that fine (real, fresh orange) icy goodness that instantly melted when it touched your tongue, turning into cool orangy juice sliding down your throat on those hot, HOT Sacramento summer days. I can remember eating it so quickly, we would beat the heat from the inside out!

      My Auntie Tsugie in Loomis learned how to make it for us by pouring orange juice into a large plastic pitcher, and put it into her large stand-up freezer. We would all anxiously wait our turn to mix it with a wooden spoon every so often until it froze into slush. Cherie, I think that's where you learned to sneak a taste as it was transforming into our childhood version of Granita!

      I'll never forget the time, we forgot to mix it - and when we did, we ended up pulling out of the freezer, an over-sized pop sicle with a big wooden spoon handle! Boy were we disappointed! But it was all good, after sitting out to melt a bit and getting beaten to a slush.

  5. I just found your blog from a post someone made on Face Book with your colorful Easter egg recipe. I continued reading your posts and came across your tribute to your father-in-law and I must say it brought tears to my eyes as well as a smile. He must have been an amazing person to know and it is obvious he was well respected. I am so sorry for your loss.