Is it whiny to say moving is hard? That if plants really had a secret life they would tell you what they’ve known all along; that being pulled up by the roots is blunt brutality, even if the new environ is something pleasant and desired? What I know is that it’s taken me weeks to reorient. To feel in my bones and my brain that I am no longer there, but here, in this new place.
At first it was the boxes and boxes of my life. I realized that I’d spent the days granted to me since birth collecting things, mine and other peoples’. And would it be embarrassing to admit there were tears? Seeing the house laden with small cardboard buildings and not knowing how I was going to make them go away made me want to cry. And I did. Then some friends came over to help and I gave stuff away and stored the rest in every hard to reach cranny I could find. Things were a little better. But then the heat set in, which, thankfully was after most the boxes were gone. Still, it made me want to cry. And I did.
Through it all I did cook. But it was way beyond my capabilities to take pretty pictures of it and write about it. If it had been cold outside, there would have been pie, lots of it. Because there is something about mixing flour with fat, then rolling it out and filling it with any myriad of sweetness that releases my tension and pulls the plug on all that negative energy that causes me to loose it over harmless boxes.
But what called to me, what set off my cravings (we all scream!) was ice cream. So, instead of buying a quart, which would have made sense with pictures everywhere to hang, I bought some milk and cream and mixed it with eggs and sugar, and it really wasn’t hard at all. It was fast, really. Because I keep two ice cream-maker tubs in my freezer at all times. So they are ready. When I am ready.
Then it was a medley of hits and really only one miss. There was the Cinnamon Basil which could replace plain Vanilla—my long held favorite—I think forever. There was the Coconut, which I slathered in-between cookies to make ice cream sandwiches and took to a neighborhood party, trying to buy new friends. There was the Roasted Cherry, that I really wanted to take a picture of, but I ate it all before I got around to it (which was in no time).
Lastly there was the Lemon Crema. And I do have a picture of that, as you can see. You know how when you love something you want to be with it all the time? That’s how I feel about Mexican Crema. One of the perks of living in town is that I am now closer to my Mexican markets and this crema is something I’ve decided goes well on everything. So I put it in my ice cream, a riff on the standard Lemon Custard. It works. Very well.
But-ice cream alone could not get me through the trauma of relocating. Should I be ashamed to say I found solace in alcohol? Even in my weakened state, though, I knew when to stop. I will confess, though, it was only when I realized that the clear, sweet smooth Maestro Dobel tequila was about to knock me completely into the neighbor’s yard that I understood I had to.
There is so much to do in this little stamp of green. I’m determined to grow food, but I will have to eek out a bed here and there, and I will take pictures. But in the meantime, I’m hanging on, with icy cold cream and tequila.
Vanilla Ice Cream Base
This is a recipe from an old Bon Appétit magazine. I’ve experimented with ice cream recipes for years and this one, for me, is the right amount of richness. But I encourage you to experiment also. For the Lemon Crema, I substituted 1/2 of the whipping cream with the crema. If you do this, omit the salt until you’ve had a chance to taste it. The crema is salty.
As I said before, the recipe is super easy. If you just do it once you’ll see what I mean. Tabletop ice cream freezers are so simple to use. I like the Cuisinart best, but I also have a Krups that works just fine. Just make sure you’ve frozen the tubs for several days. The 12 to 24 hours on the instructions has never been enough for me. That’s why I just keep them in the freezer all the time.
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or you can use 1/2 vanilla bean pod, softened with insides seeds scraped out
4 large egg yolks
In a medium sized pot heat the milk and cream and 1/4 cup of the sugar on a very low burner. While that is heating, beat the other 1/4 of sugar with the egg yolks until the yolks become pale yellow.
When the milk/cream mixture begins to bubble, turn off heat and set off burner. Slowly add about 1/4 up the milk mixture to the egg mixture, then add the rest of the milk and cream to the eggs in a slow steady stream. Return the mixture back to the pan and put on low heat. Stir frequently and don’t leave the pot! This will reach temperature in just a couple of minutes. What you are looking for is the mixture to thicken and cover the back of a spoon. Do a swipe test with you finger. If it leaves a line then the mixture is ready. Add vanilla or other flavorings and let mixture cool before putting in the fridge to chill for several hours or overnight.
Place mixture in ice cream maker of your choosing according to manufacturer’s direction. When finished it will look like soft serve so transfer to an airtight container and put in your freezer to let it set up to a firm texture. (Although it’s wonderful soft too!).