Ice Cream Season Begins!

Admittedly, I had the idea for this post yesterday, when it was 66 degrees. It’s now somewhere in the 30s here, so this seems less timely than it did yesterday.

My friends from Minnesota and Michigan have been complaining that we haven’t had enough of hard core winter. I’m just rejoicing that whatever winter we have seems to be on the way out. This means my life will improve in a lot of ways, but, perhaps most importantly, it marks the start of ice cream season. While I will generally eat ice cream any time of year if the mood strikes, even I eat more when I don’t have to bundle up in blankets to do so.

Last weekend I made my first sorbet of the season and it was a brand new, self created recipe that I think deserves to be shared.

Lavender Lime Sorbet

Zest and juice of four limes (this recipe also gave me an excuse to use the citrus press my sister got me for my birthday)

1 cup lime juice (you can use all fresh lime juice and I’m sure it would be better, but I’m broke and lazy, so I went half and half on the good stuff)

2 cups water

1 cup sugar (approximately. Some limes are tarter than others, so start a little under and add until it tastes a little sweeter than you want your end product to taste. Remember it will lose some sweetness in the freezing process.)

1 shot vodka

2-4 drops lavender oil

Mix all ingredients together and chill. When totally cold pour into ice cream machine and follow directions. Put in the freezer for about two hours to set. Enjoy.

The Magic of Cardamom

My parents came to visit a week and a half ago.  While they were here I took my mother to the local hippie/ethnic  grocery where I convinced my mother to buy a couple of things.  Mostly fair trade decaf coffee and juice concentrates she can mix with club soda to help reduce her diet soda intake.  I also convinced her to buy cardamom.

I wouldn’t say that I’m obsessed with cardamom lately, but I will admit that I have become a very faithful devotee of the spice in the last few months.

It started with ice cream.  What in my life doesn’t these days?  I discovered that I can create magic by infusing a bit of cardamom.  First it was my cardamom rose which people still refer to as “transcendent.”  Then it was a recipe called “East India Trading Company,” also heavy on the cardamom.  When I made this one and brought it to a gathering one of my friends said, “I really hope you don’t open an ice cream shop.  If you do, I’m going to go broke buying this stuff.”  So when I wanted to make pecan praline ice cream this weekend I knew what I needed to add to the praline part—yes, cardamom.  As expected it was amazing.  One friend said, “I think it’s getting to the point where you’re going to have to open a shop.”

It’s not me.  It’s the cardamom.

I’ve also discovered (though I suppose it shouldn’t be a revelation) that it can add a mysterious little something to curries.

And a crushed cardamom pod in the basket with my coffee grounds?  Creates a dangerous cup of coffee.  The kind that makes you just want to wrap up in a fuzzy blanket on the couch for hours.  Deliciously dangerous.

I guess what I’m trying to say here, is that since discovering the magic of cardamom, I almost (though of course not really) understand why people used to go to war over control of spices.  Because they are magic.  Deliciously magic.

Time Vampire of the Week: Parental Visits

My parents are coming to visit tomorrow.  Very exciting.  Sort of.  I mean, I haven’t seen them since July, and I’ll be very happy to see them.  Plus, lest we forget, I’m a college student and parental visits mean free dinners.  At restaurants.  And possibly a bottle of wine from one of the local wineries.

The downside is that this is the first time my parents are visiting me and staying in my home.  Okay, they did help me move and they stayed with me then.  But then I was in the process of moving and they knew that I hadn’t had time to set up house. Right now, I have no excuse.  Other than working part time, running an academic publisher and being a PhD student.  Trust me when I tell you none of that counts for anything with my mother.  And my place is a wreck.  It’s something less of a wreck now than it was earlier today, but it’s a wreck nonetheless.  Worst of all, there’s a box I never got unpacked when I moved.  If you don’t understand why this is a disaster, you don’t have a military wife for a mother.  To make matters worse, I’ve had essays and exams to grade and a presentation in all of my classes this week.  So I didn’t get to start on any of the cleaning until this afternoon.

Somehow I need to get my bathroom cleaned tomorrow by 6:00pm, scour my kitchen and barricade my bedroom so they don’t see all the crap I stashed in there.  Yeah… it’s not going to get done.

Also, I have to have ice cream made.  I realize some of you probably don’t think that’s important, but it is.  Not for them, for me.  I’ll never clean well enough or organize well enough or have decorating tastes which suit my mother.  But I can make damn good ice cream and I want them to know it.

So yeah… a lot of my time is getting sucked away.  And they aren’t even here yet.

*Sigh*  I love them, but they’re a heck of a time vampire.

Coffee (and Ice Cream)…with Dolly Parton

Would we have coffee with Dolly Parton?

Cammy:  Yeah, definitely.   I happened to catch part of some Dolly Parton special the other evening, celebrating 25 years of Dollywood, and it reminded me, yet again, that Dolly’s made of awesome.  She’s a great entertainer, a great singer and musician, a far greater songwriter than she gets credit for (by some estimates she’s written over 5000 songs.  Over 300 are published), and a fantastic businesswoman who also gives back to her community.  And she’s managed to take every single thing you could knock or mock her for and capitalized on it.  Poor, rural background?  Fodder for some of her most inspired songs.  Busty as hell to start with?  Just make ‘em bigger and let ‘em get the attention for you (that’s not curves, that’s a U-turn).  Crappy thin hair?  A big ol’ wig solves the problem without having to waste time in the beauty shop.  Also, she brings the funny.  And, yeah, you know we love the funny.  I’ve seen enough interviews with her to know that coffee with this gal will mean plenty of exposure to quick wit.  People watching with Dolly is likely to be hilarious and insightful but definitely not mean spirited, and that alone is something worth appreciating.  There’s no doubt the woman has good stories and if she wanted to drop a little wisdom on running a business and maintaining creativity?  I’d sure be ready to listen.

Kristy:  HOMG are you kidding?  Of course, I want to drink coffee with Dolly!  Have I mentioned recently that my favorite movie growing up was Best Little Whorehouse in Texas?  (Possibly not appropriate for children, and evidently resulted in my sister and I innocently choreographing our own striptease with our dress-up clothes in homage to the Aggie party, but we turned out okay).  I love Dolly because she doesn’t pretend to be anything she’s not and she revels unapologetically in who she is.  And who she is is a gifted entertainer and composure with a heart of gold and fabulously tacky clothing.  What’s not to love?  You just know that girl talk with Dolly would be delicious.  And I agree about how much fun we could have people watching.  I also recently learned she loves ice cream, so if she’s up for it, after coffee, I suggest we all go out for ice cream!