Home on the Range
July 31, 2010
Ice is nice. Mostly because it's cold. And we're hot. So hot we'd like to plunge headfirst into the iceberg. Or something somewhat softer, like the chopped iceberg. Available in the portable portion known as the snow cone. Or the snowball, shave ice, Hawaiian ice, Japanese ice or Scandinavian ice.
All of which are pretty much the same thing: ice, with syrup.
Ice enthusiasts everywhere are now reaching for their keyboards, keen to complain, with capital-letter clarity, that all ices are NOT made equal. That the snow cone is made from crushed ice and the snowball from crushed and compacted ice and the shave ice from shaved ice, though it's not called shaved ice. It's shave ice. No D.
Even the president knows that. Especially the president knows that. He was practically raised on shave ice during his Hawaiian days. He still takes his girls to the shave-ice shack for the Snowbama, topped with lemon/lime, cherry and passion fruit/guava, hold the adzuki bean.
The shave-ice supporter will frostily explain that finely shaved "snow" and thick tropical syrup meld in a sweet mound that can be enjoyed — get this — WITHOUT assistance of the spoonstraw.
The snowcone connoisseur will counter, coldly, that slurping bubblegum and root beer conglomerate from the pointed bottom of the paper cone is precisely the point.
Which is wrong. The aim of each icy treat is to render the upper palate, teeth, skull and BRAIN so frigid that for a few frozen seconds, summer itself is out cold.
Leah Eskin is a Tribune special contributor.
Prep: 15 minutesCook: 45 minutes
Wait: 2 hoursMakes: 4 servings
1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, chopped
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups mango nectar, see note
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 cups ice cubes
Sweetened flaked coconut, optional
Gummy worms, optional
1 Roast: Set pineapple chunks on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Slide into a 350-degree oven and roast golden, turning once, 40 minutes. Cool. Freeze firm, 2 hours. (Slide into a zip-top bag, if working ahead.)
2 Reduce: Stir together mango nectar and granulated sugar in a large saucepan. Heat to a boil; lower ever so slightly and bubble syrupy, 5 minutes. Cool. Transfer to a squeeze bottle. Chill.
3 Flake: Measure 2 cups ice cubes and 1 cup pineapple chunks into the blender. Using the "snow" function, flake to bits. (Or use the "crush" function for a chunkier approach.) Scoop into two small cups. Add a squeeze of mango syrup. Dust with coconut, if you like. Add gummy worms, if you must. (Repeat with remaining ingredients.) Enjoy with sunshine.
Note: For mango nectar, try the juice aisle or the Mexican foods section.