Monday, July 18, 2011

tiny memoir: paletas de sandía y menta

little handcarts were pushed by mexican men down the hot streets of the california town where i grew up.  bells hung from the handle and heralded their arrival.  it was a super-low-tech version of the ice cream truck.  inside were mexican ice pops, or paletas, frozen bars of fruit, nuts and sometimes milk.  the la rosa man!  for fifty cents, i could choose one of my favorite flavors:  tamarind, coconut or watermelon.  and it would make me so very happy.  i have a very vivid sensory memory of sitting on a hot concrete curb with my bare feet in the gutter cooling off in a neighbor's sprinkler run-off enjoying the sweet stickiness of a la rosa bar.

paletas are not that available in the east, so i learned to make my own.  they are so simple.  nothing beats the heat like their icy goodness (awesome after a hot bikram class) and the sweet childhood memory that comes with each one is an added summer bonus for me.

for my version:  chop up about 1/4 of a large watermelon (you can leave in the seeds, but i'm not finding any watermelon lately with the black seeds, which look so pretty in the paleta) or about four cups of fruit.  mix together a half cup of water and a half cup of splenda or sugar; if using sugar, you'll need to heat it.  blend it up with a squeeze of lime juice.  i added a few leaves of mint to this batch.  pour into molds and freeze for two hours, insert sticks and freeze another two hours before yum time.