May 31, 2012

The Bear's Life in a Nutshell
(+ Honey-Cinnamon Ice Cream)

It’s important to me that you understand that this isn’t what I wanted for you.  You deserve a better first blog post.   Something with drama and pathos.  And maybe some flaming llamas or something to really make it pop.  And it almost happened.  I had something super-classy prepared for you.  

But instead you’re getting this.  Because something happened this morning that was such a perfect example of what my life is like and of the sort of stuff you’re going to be exposed to on this blog…well, I felt like I’d be remiss if I didn’t just describe it and let that be a warning to you.

At nine o’clock this morning, Mr. Bear, husband extraordinaire, yelled to let me know he was ready for our morning ritual. In our home, household tasks are divided by our own personal strengths.  Since Mr. Bear is a burly sort of fellow, inexplicably fond of activities involving fresh air and cardiovascular health, he handles all responsibilities involving sweating, movement, and heavy lifting.  My duties run more towards the vital pajama- and chocolate-related tasks. 

 As such, his job during the morning ritual is to do chin-ups at the bar he’s installed in our bedroom doorway, and my job is to watch and applaud with slightly more enthusiasm that it probably merits and slightly less enthusiasm than his ego would prefer.  It works well for both of us.  To me, the fact that someone can lever their body weight over a bar is pretty much as amazing and vaguely unsettling as a circus side-show; it’s also cheaper than cable.  On his end, there’s an adrenaline rush and the pride of having caused my not-entirely-feigned expression of slack-jawed wonder.

But as I was watching the daily testosterone show this morning, I had me a revelation – or as much of a revelation as is possible at 9:00 in the morning for a woman eating breakfast in pajamas, cross-legged on the floor. And that revelation was "Damn, this ice cream is fantastic."  And in one of those moments of clarity in which you step back and view your life as a stranger might, I saw myself.  Sprawled in my jams, gaping at a fourth-grade gym-class exercise like it was a magic trick, slurping away at a bowl of ice cream.  For breakfast.  I considered this for a while: its implications, the social shame I should feel regarding limited muscle mass, and cholesterol, and lack of productivity, and life goals and such.

And when the show was over I went to see if we had any caramel sauce.
Welcome.  You’ve been warned.


Cinnamon-Honey Ice Cream
by Joanne Chang and Christie Matheson

It’s a little difficult to describe the flavor of this ice cream; we think of honey primarily as sweet, but in this dessert its subtle flavor really shines: bright, smooth, and rounded with warm cinnamon.  It's fabulous on its own, but would also make a great sidekick for pie.

Whole Milk  [ 2 cups ]
Heavy Cream  [ 2 cups ]
Cinnamon Stick  [ 1, 2 inches long ]
Egg Yolks  [ 8 ]
Honey  [ ¾ cup ]
Sugar  [ 2 tablespoons ]
Ground Cinnamon  [ ½ teaspoon ]
Kosher Salt  [ ¼ teaspoon ]

1.   In a medium pot, stir together Whole Milk and Heavy Cream.  Break Cinnamon Stick in half and add to the pot. 

2.   Turn heat to Medium-High, and scald the mixture by cooking until tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan (do not let mixture boil).  Take the pot off the heat and let it sit for 1 Hour while the cinnamon steeps.

3.   In a medium bowl, whisk Egg Yolks.  Then slowly whisk in Honey, Sugar, and Ground Cinnamon until everything is combined.

4.   Set the milk mixture over Medium-High heat and scald again. 

5.   Whisking constantly, slowly add milk mixture to honey mixture in small increments. 

6.   When two mixtures are completely incorporated, return to pot and set over Medium heat.  Stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, cook until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon (6-8 minutes). 

7.   Take mixture off the heat and pour through a fine sieve into a bowl. 

8.   Whisk in Kosher Salt, cover the bowl, and refrigerate until the mixture is uniformly cold.

9.   Churn mixture according to the directions of your ice-cream  maker.

10.   When ice cream is done, it will have the consistency of soft-serve.  In order to make it harder, smoother and more flavorful, pour it into a bowl, cover, and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Makes about 1 ¼ quarts.

No comments:

Post a Comment