Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Thoughts and confessions

return as before,

released from the glass

where the sun bleeds through.

So much is missing;

so much stays the same;

nothing replaces

the past left abandoned.

Things left behind -

and best left alone? -

revisited briefly,

as a last fond farewell.

Friday, September 24, 2010

plum lavender sorbet

I’m writing in my kitchen, with no internet connection, to post later. I decided to just go for what I really want: plum lavender sorbet.

I don’t have a recipe for this, but there’s a blueberry lavender gelato recipe in my book. I took the guidelines from there to prepare the lavender: two teaspoons steeping in two cups of hot water (instead of the milk it would be if I wanted to make gelato). After about fifteen minutes I’ll strain the lavender buds out and use the water and some sugar to make a lavender syrup. In the meantime, I’d better puree my plums and see how much volume I’m going to get out of them. None of the recipes in my book use plums at all, which leaves me at a bit of a loss to estimate the amount of sugar I should use to sweeten this sorbet. I’ll compare a few recipes and make a decision after I see how much puree I have.

Interesting; I’ve never cooked with lavender before. Apparently all (or most) of the purple bleeds out of the the buds when they’re steeped, leaving them a dull shade of green and tinging the water with purple. I haven’t finished cutting up the plums yet. I probably should have left some of them another day or two so they could ripen a bit more, but I was impatient. I’m sure they’re close enough.

Plum puree looks delicious. I was right to leave the skins in - the color is a lot richer than it probably would have been otherwise. Besides, plum skins have a lot of flavor. And, let me see… mmm, yes. Plum puree also tastes delicious. It’s pretty thick, too. And there’s lots of it. I didn’t need to buy this many plums. That’s ok, though; I’ll use some of it for this recipe and set the rest aside for another.

Yes, now that it’s strained I have enough plum puree for two recipes of this stuff. I’ve got the lavender syrup starting on the stove. Once it boils for just a minute, I’ll need to let it cool before I can combine it with the plums, and then let the whole thing chill for at least eight hours before putting it in the machine. Since I don’t intend to stay awake until 1 am, that means I’ll be finishing this in the morning before work.

It’s morning! I just poured the sorbet mix into the machine, set the timer for 25 minutes, and started it up. The last batch of sorbet I made was well frozen within that amount of time. It was also less sorbet, so we’ll see if it’s enough time for this batch. I have a couple containers chilling in the freezer so the finished sorbet won’t melt when I scoop it into them to store. And now it’s just time to wait.

Success! I love it, it tastes excellent! I can’t decide what to do with the rest of the plum puree! Should I make plum lavender gelato? Should I make just plain plum gelato? Is there another flavor I should try mixing the plum with? I’m too excited about the sorbet to decide! My favorite flavor from the Bent Spoon, recreated in my own kitchen through adapted recipes and guesswork. I feel triumphant. But next time I think I will wait for the plums to ripen a tiny bit more. And maybe also try adding a tiny bit of lemon juice to the puree. That seems to help maximize fruity flavors, and I know it helps apples keep their color, so maybe it would do that for plum puree as well. I want to start on my next project, but I don’t have time to cook a custard base before work. Especially when I haven’t decided if I want to use more lavender in it or not. I feel like I should do something to add to the flavor… I will brainstorm other options.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Gelato Diaries

Dear Readers - I have acquired an ice cream maker, courtesy of my patroness, one Rachel Baum.

This is a quality, though small-scale, machine. My favorite feature so far is the built-in compressor freezer, which means that I don't have to pre-freeze a bowl before getting started. This in turn means I have much less hassle to bother with when I want to make ice cream. Also, there's more room in the freezer for the actual ice cream. A definite advantage.

I just got distracted for quite awhile on Amazon looking up more ice cream recipe books. Ahem.

Right now I'm getting tired and I want to go home, but later I'll tell you all about my first three batches: raspberry ice cream, strawberry ice cream, and raspberry-thyme sorbet. Thanks go to Rachel, without whom I would have no equipment for these projects; the cash fairy who visited my purse last week, without whom I would have stressed over buying the ingredients for these first attempts; and my manager, who donated some herbs and then fell into raptures after tasting the results, telling me I'd found my calling. :) Thanks everyone!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

look, she's back

Dear world,

I am now living a life that is, in its barest frame, the one that I pictured a couple years ago when I first thought of moving away. As tends to happen in life, though, the intervening time has filled in the details that frame holds up, and life is in the details, isn't it? Let me share some of the things I have learned over the past two years.

  1. There are some slights that you will never forget, even if they happened a long time ago and you thought you had forgotten them.
  2. You have to forgive those things anyway, or else they'll shadow other parts of your life, and there's just no reason to let them.
  3. Sometimes, in relationships (with anyone), you have to let go of small things to make it work. But small signs of big things should never be ignored.
  4. Having the time to do things makes very little difference if you don't actually get up and do them.
  5. Loneliness is not something you can run away from. Oddly enough, you end up still being lonely.
  6. The people who love you are probably not going to be as quick to judge you as you fear.
  7. Some of them (not all) will judge you anyway, even if they try not to let it show.
  8. They still love you, and that's more important.

None of these are lessons perfectly learned, of course. They're in that category of things that need to be learned repeatedly throughout life. Still, they sum things up pretty well - and I'm working on them.