Drift

Sweet Corn Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream 1

Last week, two good friends of mine had a baby each, a girl and a boy. With such amazing parents as I have come to know them, these new creatures can’t not be primed for great things. They will have amazing taste in music, will be educated in great literature, and will both be progressive feminists.

So I am eating Snapea Crisps and drinking rose perhaps a little too early in the day and my mind is swirling around thoughts of having babies and getting married and being one of the few who remains of the Old Guard. And by ‘Old Guard’, I mean single and childless, but more importantly, very happy to be single and childless with no inclination to change either of those things anytime soon. I see everyone I know gradually pairing off and then eventually getting pregnant and conversations soon drift towards and stay unswervingly on kid-related matters and couples start only scheduling events and activities with other couples or play dates with the kids. All around you, people are changing and you are not. They are moving away from you and you are standing still.

So I am learning to gently cup every treasured relationship in the palm of my hands and, when I must, to gently let them go when as they begin to drift away. Their priorities are not your priorities. Yours are to have enough sleep, a glass of wine every night, and a good book. To make good food and eat good food. To challenge yourself in small ways if you can’t quite yet bring yourself to face larger ones.

Today’s soundtrack is: Anais Mitchell’s Hadestown, which is a concept album that tells the story of Orpheus and Eurydice via a folk opera featuring notable musicians such as Ani DiFranco, Justin Vernon (lead singer of Bon Iver), and Greg Brown.  Just a taste of how lovely this album is:

Today’s summer feat is a barely adapted homemade sweet corn ice cream recipe from the New York Times that is punched up with a tart raspberry swirl. I found the end result to be a sweet, summery treat with a light corn flavor but the ice cream itself was pretty mild and had a somewhat starchy mouthfeel. The raspberry really adds a great dimension, making this ice cream really sing.

Corn kernels and cobs are infused in a mixture of cream and whole milk. The cobs are removed while the kernels are pureed, simmered, and eventually turned into a custard that forms the base of this ice cream.

Infusing cream and milk with corn kernals and cobs Ready to strain

The corn custard gets strained through a fine mesh sieve for a smooth consistency, and the remaining cream mixture is thoroughly chilled in the fridge for at least four hours. After that, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker, follow your ice cream maker’s instructions, etcetera, you know how these ice cream recipes end.

Straining corn kernals from custard

My raspberry sauce was made by simply cooking down a pint of raspberries, a little lemon juice, and a 1/8 cup of granulated sugar. I then strained the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and put the sauce in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

Making raspberry sauce

To get my raspberry swirl, I poured my ice cream from my ice cream maker into a storage container that is more shallow than deep and poured my raspberry sauce on top. I then took a butter knife and cut swirls into the ice cream. I do not have a very elegant hand in doing this.

Swirling in raspberry sauce

Put the whole thing into the freezer and let it freeze overnight or so.

Ready to scoop

Sweet Corn Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream 2

Breakfast pizza, baking steel style

This guy:

Afternoons and Arturo

Thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to wake up his minions at 4:30 in the morning in order to amuse him. That power cords are ideal for chewing. That carpets are excellent claw sharpeners. I’m starting to suspect all cat owners suffer some feline version of Stockholm Syndrome.

My second pizza-making adventure took a decidedly breakfast angle as breakfast foods, are my most favorite foods, and the preferred foods at every meal when made available. So, let us turn on some beautiful, melancholy music and eat. I am totally digging this band right now.

Somehow, I managed to dig the ingredients out of my rapidly emptying refrigerator for this.

Breakfast Pizza - before, after

Leftover pizza dough that is lightly brushed with extra virgin olive oil mixed with minced garlic and salt, layered with a bed of kale that has been massaged to tenderness, garnished with one leaf of fresh sage shredded merely by my fingers and layered into the kale. Crack two eggs on top, douse in freshly grated sheep’s milk Romero Parmesan.

I like to place my Baking Steel at the top rack of my oven and turn my broiler on high for an hour before putting my pizza into the oven. It cooks in less than five minutes and is glorious.

Crust of breakfast pizza

This is definitely how it is

Roasting Brussel Sprouts

After many, many permutations, I think I’ve perfected roasted brussel sprouts. For me, at least.

In a mixing bowl, combine halved brussel sprouts with generous amounts of extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Spread the brussel sprouts over a baking sheet. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper for a kick. Roast at 400 F for 15-18 minutes.

Remove from oven. If you’re lucky, there will be all sorts of browned, crispy bits.

Add even more grated cheese.

Throw on a poached egg or two.

This is a simple, utterly wonderful, summer dinner.

Arturo Portrait

This is a cat. My cat, to be precise. He may look innocent, but don’t let that fool you. He understands deeply what it means to hunger.

Endings, Beginnings, Cats, and all

Uh, so, it’s been awhile, huh?

In my defense, a lot of things in my life have changed between my last post and this one. I was inexplicably laid off from the job that was making me miserable, which was quite possibly the best thing that could have happened for my mental well-being and overall life happiness.

So I spent the three months debating my options, contemplated a move across the country, caught up on all four seasons of Arrested Development, visited loved ones. Then I got another job. It is exponentially better than my previous one. I’ve been very busy, and very happy, ever since.

Strange thing, this life.

I made a few things. Not many things, but some. I’ve also relied far too heavily on my cell phone camera.

My first galette des rois.

Galette des Rois side view Galette des Rois

These crispy, thin cookies with mini chocolate chips, pecans, and cardamom. They were terribly perfect with coffee, tea, ice cream, and hot chocolate.

3M Cookies 3M Cookies
3M Cookies

I also got a cat. A very lovely, acrobatic cat. He has a most delightful tail.

arturo3

Prowl

Hedonistic

Favorite Things, 2012

As 2012 comes to an end, I’m taking stock of a few things this year, mostly food-related, because of course. But first, a few nice things to cook this winter to keep warm (it’s snowing out here something fierce in Boston as I type this):

Roasted Kabocha

Roasted Kabocha Squash: Steamed to soften, seeds and pulp scraped out, cut into wedges, basted in melted unsalted butter (experiment with adding a pinch of sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, or whatever spices take your fancy), roasted at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, basted in more butter, roasted at 400 degrees for 20-30 more minutes until the surface turns a crispy brown. Enjoy, skin and all.

Spicy Chicken Stew

Spicy Chicken Stew: I like making this dish because it is extremely easy and very tasty. My mother used to call this dish “Seoul Chicken.” Chicken legs are brined in salt water for 30 minutes, then browned in a large pan with some olive oil. Your spicy sauce is made from soy sauce, honey, grounded Korean red pepper powder, minced garlic, and minced ginger. Throw in some potatoes, and carrots for flavor towards the end. Cover and cook.

Right then.

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Lemon Date Scones

Lemon Date Scones

So, I’m in a bit of a quandary with some friends.

Well, okay, the issue is not between the friends and I, but rather, it’s my issues with my friends. You know the type (or rather, you will when I finish describing the type): you dread picking up the phone when they call because you know that for the next hour, they only thing they are going to do is talk about themselves and how great their life is and how many amazing things they have done. I know those are things that would annoying anybody, but it’s not that I even have issues with that.

No, my issues lie with my own failure to be impressed by all the wonderful things happening in my friends’ lives (I’m speaking in plural here, but it’s, uh, actually just one friend, but go with my on the intrigue of this, okay?). I find myself listening to the laundry list of accomplishments my friends boast about and thinking, “These things aren’t really that spectacular, but I am trying to be happy that they are happy about them, even if I don’t think selling your novel to an e-book publisher whose web site looks like it was created by a fourth-grader armed with free stock photos and MS Paint is something to be proud of.”

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Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese – here’s to growing up

Roasted Red Pepper Mac & Cheese

It’s totally weird to realize how much you’ve grown emotionally as an adult.

For all my determination not to let the bastards grind me down, I am not one who enjoys confrontation, even necessary ones. I’m not the most emotionally in touch person and certainly not the most sensitive creature on the planet. There was a time when I would have let bridges completely burn down and simply cut my losses.

But I can’t afford to do that now, and, to my great surprise, nor do I even want to.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake — or, grinning and bearing it

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

When you:

  • Feel a little ground down from life
  • Are questioning whether you are a big hypocrite
  • Just want to curl up in your bed, under the covers, and never leave
  • Count down the days until the weekend, starting Monday morning
  • Are frustrated with some of your co-workers and wonder if the workplace isn’t actually just the setting of a passive aggressive war in which there are many weapons and tactics at your disposal
  • Hate the slavish bi-partisanship of your Supreme Court and the batshit, corrupt, the malevolent insanity of your Congress, and the crushing disappointment of your president
  • Have a sore tastebud on the tip of your tongue, making everything you eat torturous
  • Are totally running out of healthy meal-like food but don’t have time or the energy to make a grocery store run (so you totally just eat peanut butter frosting instead)
  • Find the charm of cakes to lie in their presentation, not their taste
  • (Okay, maybe you also like their taste too)

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The nuclear option.

Naturally, when I’m not baking or working, I’m usually drinking with my best gal, J. It starts, as it usually does, with one making an overture to the other. “Care for a drink?”

One drink. We could do this! We are totally committed. It is a work night, after all, and we are industrious little ants.

And maybe it was the heavy use of figurative language a client had used in a survey I was reporting on, because suddenly I was feeling poetic, which, led to us breaking the number #2 cardinal rule after Do Not Drink and Drive: Do Not Drink and Go on Facebook.

Old fashions

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On being sick

I’m overdue for a post. I know, I know.

Unfortunately, life has other plans, and those plans have taken shape in a big fat head cold that has knocked me on my ass. Runny nose, stuffy head, and sinus pressure so intense, it was literally making my eyes water endlessly.

I went home early yesterday and stayed home today. I thought maybe I could use my convalescence to experiment with a muffin recipe, but instead spent the day in bed amidst a sea of crumpled tissues, zoned out on Nyquil because Dayquil stuffed my head up so much it was impossible to breathe through my nose, mainlining season 2 of Downton Abbey, Captain America, Young Adult (identifying too strongly with main character…) and Winter’s Bone through a soporific haze.

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