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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday

Began with tea.
 And bacon.

 For a sweet potato hash.
 Sweet potatoes fried in bacon grease.
 Ditto some onions.
 Followed by fried eggs from Walnut Ridge Farms.
 Easy.
Pepper bacon from Green's Organics.
A quick three miles to break in our new jogging stroller, and baby girl chatting the whole way.
 
Showered and in flip flops and jammies by 3:30.
Unearthed parts of the front yard garden.  The sorrel is up.
 The bulbs we planted the day before baby girl was born have come up.
 More tulips, everywhere.
 And bleeding hearts.
 Sunshine and blossoms everywhere.

The forsythia are turning to green. 
Discovered some walking onions growing in the compost heap.
 
Last year's kale is up, too.

Fought some overgrown raspberries.
 And won.
 Lilacs are coming up.
 Spent some time with these two, soaking it all in.
 Sipped some green apple cider.
 Prepared some breastmilk to donate to a local mama.
 Buffalo chicken salad for dinner.
And a visit from the brother.
Aren't they cute?
If tomorrow weren't Monday, today would have been perfect.  Regardless, it was a pretty great one.  I hope your Sunday was wonderful!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Olive Oil Ice Cream with Balsamic Reduction

Like many urban commuters and mothers, my morning routine is down to an exact science.  We wake as late as possible, tolerate the drip coffee because it's ready when we need it, and listen to NPR to bring us into the world and to know what time it is while we scurry around the house getting dressed, packing the baby bag, and getting food ready for the day.  If you know me at all, you know that I am, by habit, a procrastinator.  I run late, as much as I hate it, and am trying to get better.
One day last week, in the flurry of getting everything and everyone ready, I threw on a pair of amber earrings.  I dropped the husband at his bus stop, E at the baby sitter, and jogged to my own bus stop.  Once I got on, I realized that one of the two pendants of my earrings had fallen off somewhere along the way. After the initial burn of anger and frustration and shoving the surviving earring into my pocket, I tried to remind myself that it was just a thing, and that I shouldn't feel so bad about losing it.  (And really, that if I had just been on time like an adult I could have walked to the bus stop in quiet poise like the rest of the grown ups.)  But it was hard to shake my sadness because those earrings were very special to me. They were sterling silver and dark green amber, and they were the first piece of jewelry I can remember buying for myself.  I was around 18 and they were expensive to me at the time (almost $40!) but I loved them for how substantial and glamorous they felt to me at the time. (I never wore earrings in general, let alone dangly ones. The first time I wore them to his house, my now-husband asked me if I was wearing makeup.)
I tried to take the blow and learn my lesson, and walked with my head a little low for the next few days, reminding myself that it wasn't a big deal to lose one, even though it was almost 10 years ago that I bought them, and that I should have taken better care of them in the first place.  I tried to reassure myself of the position of these earrings in the greater scheme of things these days (I mean, I just brought a child into this world after all) and even thought about turning the remaining earring into a pendant.
One day after taking Ellie out of the car, I noticed a gleam on the back seat floor mat.  It was an amber drop earring.  I thought for sure I'd managed to lose the surviving earring in the seat and that it'd fallen back there somehow.  But I realized that it really was my lost earring, staring back at me.  I held it up like a trophy, carried it into the house, and rejoined it with its long lost partner.
I've been feeling that feeling of rediscovery often these days.  Losing and letting go of some things that had been very important to me, convincing myself that it wasn't so important to have lost them, and then relishing in rediscovering them.  Exercise is one of these things.  I have slacked on it since E was born, feeling like it wasn't right for me to try to run when she might need me at any moment or that I couldn't focus on my yoga practice when half (or more) of my brain was on when she'd need me next.  But I'm learning that I need to take these times for myself to be a good mother. We've taken some very long walks in this glorious weather as a family which have managed to push my stamina to its limits while being so fun and relaxing at the same time.  We've started just parking the car and getting lost in the gorgeous neighborhoods of the city we inhabit, wandering far away and then miraculously finding our way back, usually taking a break for all of us to eat along the way.

Cooking dinner is another thing I'm rediscovering.  For a long time, we survived on the generosity of others.  But when your baby can roll over all by itself, and you are able to wear real clothes and take a shower, people expect you to cook your own dinner all of a sudden.  Meal planning and the impending spring have both lit a fire under me to get more done in the kitchen.  I looked down last week and the baby was playing in her neglectisaucer
while the husband and I did prep for the dinner of salmon cakes and vegetables we ate.  It was blissful.
This weather has made it incredibly difficult to spend any time in front of a screen.

E has gotten to try out some of her summer clothes. (She likes them!)


And I've been starting seeds whenever I can find a few spare moments.  I've been making the tags out of labels, toothpicks, and packing tape.

 Nothing helps reorient me like feeling some unexpected love from afar.  I have a dear friend in California  studying at Berkeley.  He told me about a historic grove of Mission olive trees, planted by Berkeley professors in 1913. The grove produces small batches of rich olive oil which is always sold fresh and highly perishable.  He was kind enough to surprise me with a bottle of the oil and told me I only had 5 weeks to use it before it went bad.  It was unlike any olive oil I'd ever had; rich and thick, cloudy and smooth.  I ate some with bread, salt, and pepper, but I kept hoarding it for a greater purpose.  I wanted to make something that made the oil a feature and decided to make olive oil ice cream.  The recipe is from Williams-Sonoma.
Olive Oil Ice Cream
Williams-Sonoma
3 c. whole milk
1 c. heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
 Use pastured eggs if you can. The yolks are much darker and richer from the good fats from the grass.  It's easy to separate the yolks from the whites.  Just crack the egg into your hand and let the white slip through your fingers.  (I use the leftovers for omelets like Jerry, but you could use them for meringue if you need more sweet stuff.)
 Use good rich cream, organic if you can.  Again, the fats are better for you.
 Pick an amazing olive oil.
In a heavy pot on the stove, heat the milk and cream until the sides start to bubble.
In a mixer bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar for 5 minutes,
 After 5 minutes, it'll be light and fluffy.
Take your olive oil.
 Add it slowly to the egg and sugar mixture.
 Next you need to temper the yolks by adding just a little of the hot milk mixture to them to warm them up.
Then add the yolks and sugar to the milk mixture.  
Cook it over medium, whisking constantly until it reaches 175.
 I use a digital probe thermometer and attach it to the side of the pan with a butterfly clip.  Just be sure that the tip of the thermometer doesn't touch the bottom of the pan.
 Once it reaches 175, remove it from heat.
 Pour it into a metal bowl that's submerged in a bowl full of ice to help it cool faster.
 Once it's cool, add it to your ice cream machine.
 Layer the ice and salt.
 Freeze.
 Tuck into the freezer overnight.
 Yum.
 Cold, creamy, rich.
 Serve with a balsamic reduction.
Take 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp. honey and boil until thick and smooth but not burnt.  Cool to room temperature and drizzle over the ice cream.
 You don't need me to tell you why this is good.

My apologies for being gone for so long, but I promise I'll be back very soon with lots of beautiful pictures of things growing inside and out.  Until then, enjoy the warm weather and make some ice cream!


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