I am a pleaser- I always have been and always will be. I remember everything - because I care. I will call you on your birthday even if we haven't talked since...well, last year on your birthday. I will remember your first and our first everythings- because they are special to me. I will ask for your advice not because I am lost and not able to make a decision but because I value your opinion and want to hear it before I leap into anything. And I will cook for you if I love you. I will cook your favorite dish, and any other dish you request, look at longingly, or hint at wanting.
Exactly a year ago I turned 30. I was in a good place: a happy family, a good job, supportive friends, fun things like the blog, salsa dancing, and a medley of volunteer activities. I seemed to be pleasing a lot - others and myself. I knew turning 30 was going to cause me to rethink things. I wanted to make some changes. I wanted to be thinner. I wanted to love what I do every day- not just tolerate it. I wanted to enjoy my time with my family more. I wanted to focus on people that actually made my life richer. I succeeded and failed at all. I am thinner. I quit my job; I still don't love what I do with all of my days. I enjoy my daughter more than I ever have. I still spend some of my time on people who bring me down. I am still struggling to find the balance, to find my place. I always will.
But I did find one insanely happy calming place: the kitchen. Not even my kitchen but the kitchen I have been staging in for the last 5 weeks. I do not fit in - at all; I never will but that is a story for another day. Right now, that kitchen is quiet and exciting. It challenges me and stills me at the same time. It can make me smile and put me on the verge of tears in a minute's span. It thrills and terrifies me. And most precious of all- it teaches me- so much - about food, about people, about myself- my limits, my energy, my weaknesses, my drive. Nothing pushed me this hard and elated me this much all at once. It pleases me - and it teaches me to please others through food.
Pleaser that I am, I kicked and screamed and threw a bit of a fit about how I am not into the idea of corn ice-cream when my husband asked for it. And then I did it. And it was delicious! So- happy birthday to me and all pleasers of the world! Keep doing your pleasing work - I will too. And get a batch of ice-cream going while you're at it!
Colorado Corn Ice Cream - Batali's adapted recipe
Ingredients: 2 ears Munson Farm sweet corn, husked; 1 and 3/4 cups of whole milk; 1/2 cup heavy cream; 1/2 cup sugar; 4 large egg yolks; 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Slice the kernels of the cobs and place in a pot along with the cobs broken up in 2 or 3 pieces. Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Cover and let steep for 45 minutes. Remove cobs and buzz the kernels with immersion blender. Strain through a coarse strainer and make sure you have 3 and a half cups of liquid. If not, add milk.
Combine the milk, cream, and all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Bring to a simmer to melt the sugar. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the salt in a heatproof bowl. Begin tempering the eggs by adding small amounts of the hot milk and whisking. I like to add about 2/3 of the liquid to be safe. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it reaches 185 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Strain through a fine-mesh strainer immediately and chill over an ice bath until cold, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate overnight (texture improves so much) and freeze in your ice cream maker. Serve soft. Keep up the pleasing!
Photography by Jennifer Olson.