Tartota Ice Cream Recipe (Two Versions)

I recently dug up my old ice cream notes and found this one which is perfect for summertime.  This quick lemon ice cream recipe was inspired by the recipe book provided with the circa 1970 ice cream maker given to us a while back.  It is great… if you don’t mind raw eggs.

Lemon Ice Cream, 1st Version

Makes 2 Quarts

Whip 1-1/2 Cups of Chilled Heavy Cream in a Chilled Bowl.

Mix in the following:

1-1/2 Cups of Sugar
1/4 tsp of Salt
1-1/2 Cups of Milk
2 Eggs

Add the juice and zest of 3 lemons. This equates to roughly one cup.

Optional: Add yellow food coloring as desired. For a point of reference, I added five drops.

Then follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. Voilà!

I have made the above recipe a few times and have not been sick.  The key is to use clean, fresh eggs.  However, there are times when you don’t want to risk getting sick, so here is the tweaked recipe with tempered eggs.  This is just as tasty, has the same amount of ingredients, but it’s done in a different order and takes longer to prepare.  (If you have ever eaten lemon ice cream at my house during a party, this is the version I served you.)

Lemon Ice Cream, 2nd Version

Makes 2 Quarts

Part One

Whisk 2 eggs together then add:

1-1/2 Cups of Sugar
1/4 tsp of Salt

Part Two

Separately, warm up 1-1/2 Cups of Heavy Cream and 1-1/2 Cups of Milk in a small pot, whisking just til simmer and remove from heat.

Combine Parts One and Two slowly by adding a third of the milk mixture to the egg mixture.  (You want to warm up the eggs gradually so that it does not cook.)

Now add the juice and zest of 3 lemons. This equates to roughly one cup.

Optional: Add yellow food coloring as desired. For a point of reference, I added five drops.

Continue to cook on low heat until 170 degrees (or wooden spoon coats).  Let sit for 30 minutes then cool in fridge for 4-8 hours.

Then follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. Voilà!

The grapes in our backyard are starting to turn purple so I am looking forward to making my grape ice cream.  I’ll share that recipe with you in the next month or so.

About X (and a Recipe)

Country Living Blackberry Rose Ice Pops

Evidently all three of my sisters got together and ate popsicles that my talented sister X made. And when I say talented, I mean puts Martha-Stewart-to-shame talented. Invent and patent a custom teddy bear to hold photos?  Sew wedding gowns?  Upholster her living room and sew coordinating curtains?  Create the awesome “hands of love” quilt for Wren?  Raise three beautiful and smart children, the kind that reassure you that there is hope in the next generation?  Take all the creativity genes that should have been shared among her sisters?  Yep.  That’s her.

So when she forwarded the popsicle recipe to all of her sisters, it didn’t shock me to see that it contained a rare ingredient: rose water.  The note on the recipe said that high end grocery stores would carry this ingredient, so off to Wegman’s I went.  Alas, I could not find this delicacy.  I tried to call my sister to figure out what I could use as a substitute, but she didn’t pick up.

I came home and realized that not only did I not have the rose water, I didn’t even buy enough blackberries so I raided my fridge for other fruits to get to the target weight of 27 oz.  I researched substitutes for rose water online and learned that I could use vanilla or almond extract.  Neither of those seemed like they would go with blackberries and peaches, plums, and blueberries.  Then I had an aha! moment.  I have spearmint growing in the backyard, so I picked four leaves and tore them into the simple syrup to maximize their flavor.  I continued to follow the recipe as best as I could (except I switched out an orange for the lemon) and wow! this tasted great.

Here’s the link to the official recipe:  http://www.countryliving.com/recipefinder/blackberry-rose-ice-pops-recipe-clv0712

Here’s what I did:

  • 9-1/3 Tbsp. of organic cane sugar
  • 9-1/3 Tbsp. of water
  • 4 torn leaves of fresh spearmint

Heat and simmer until sugar is absorbed.

Using a food processor, puree the following:

  • 18 oz. of blackberries
  • 4 handfuls of blueberries
  • 2 plums
  • 1 peach
  • 1/4 orange

Combine and then pour over strainer into another pitcher.  Then pour the mixture into moulds and freeze.  My concoction took longer than five hours to freeze, so I think this is something best made a day in advance.

Polly’s Improvised Fruit Salad Ice Pop

When X and I reconnected after I made the recipe, we had a good laugh.  You see?  She also omitted the rose water.  So maybe she took the creativity genes, but at least she left me a few improvisational ones.  😉

PS  Why do I call her X?  Because my parents didn’t give her a middle name (it’s a Scottish thing), my sister would use the letter X to fill in the middle name section on forms.

She is My Daughter: Race and Family

One of my aunts told me at the reunion in May that a transracial adoption such as ours was not possible for her family many years ago.  Even though we’ve come along way as a nation in regards to racial equality since then, we still felt a lot of racial tension from strangers, ironically, that weekend.

I have not wanted to turn this blog into one that is adoption themed so I haven’t talked much about that aspect of my life lately.  The reason for that is simply this: I do not want to qualify my relationship to my daughter.  She is my daughter, and I love her – period.

I think that there are enough good blogs out there that curious people can access about transracial adoption.  I just want my blog to be about our life.  The fact is, though, our family is interracial.  We shouldn’t easily dismiss racial tension so I am posting our encounter as an acknowledgment of its existence.

The last morning of the reunion in Texas, a lot of my family met up at a Denny’s.  I needed to make a bottle for Wren.  Rather than flagging down our waitress, I went to the bar to request water.  A woman sitting there asked to hold my daughter. I replied with a smile, “No, I do not know you.”

She asked again.

“No, I do not know you,” I said.

She pointed to her dark skin right above her wrist, “She needs a little brown sugar in her life.”

She was implying that my white husband and I (with our processed sugar complexion) were somehow inferior. I glanced to where my extended family was and told the stranger, “They are only part of my family.”

I wanted to add so much more, but I was uncomfortable.

She clarified her position, “I am a nurse.  It is okay for me to hold your daughter.”

“No, I do not know you.”

“It’s okay. Just sit here next to me.”

Again, “I do not know you.”

She asked if I lived in the area, and I was glad to say “No.”

She asked to see Wren’s face, I reluctantly complied before I returned to the table to make Wren’s bottle.

The encounter was strange.  I did not feel physically threatened, but I was on edge because it was our first encounter like it.  Plus, I didn’t know her.

She kept her eye on and circled around us a few times before she made her next approach with a friend. By this time we had moved to the front of the restaurant, and I was surrounded by my family. The women worked their way through the group and started to question me again.

I remained sitting as I was feeding Wren, but I was vigilant.  I remained calm and gave brief answers.  She wanted to know how old she was, what her name was and also how it was spelled.  She seemed to approve.  At last, she wished us a safe trip.

Those two women at the restaurant weren’t the only ones concerned about our family’s composition.  I overheard one caucasian man say to another, “Does that baby belong to that woman?”

God must have granted me extra patience that day.

Back in April, I commissioned a friend to draw a portrait of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.  I finally got around to framing it.  I printed out an excerpt of the famous “I have a dream” speech on some textured cardstock and used that as a matte.  The whole speech is powerful, but it’s the dream part that gets to me.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

My family owes a lot to the civil rights movement and especially to one of its most loved leaders.  We also owe a lot to the families who opened the door for adoptions like ours.  My husband and I are not the first to adopt outside our race, and we certainly won’t be the last.  We have learned a lot from other families’ experiences, and I hope that families down the road can learn from our experiences as our society continues to change.

So what is it that I have learned?

As parents, we need to show how our child to respond to situations appropriately. It would have been easy to get riled up or wish you would have thought of a sassy answer, but that wouldn’t have been right.  It’s best to remain calm and answer questions politely (when appropriate).  We need to remember that our family is uncommon, and our reactions will shape what people think of transracial adoption.  We’re going to stand out; let’s not look like a sore thumb while we’re at it.

Also, that even though Wren and I look nothing alike, people still identify me as her mother and her as my daughter.

Wren at Four Months

Wren turned four months old yesterday.   Four months.  I can’t believe it.  I used to hold her on my arm, and now she sprawls into my lap.  I am really enjoying watching her grow although there is a part of me that wishes she would be my baby girl forever.

I love you, my little darling, with all of my heart.

My Week without a Dryer

Last week, we had to choose between the dryer or the air conditioner.  It was one of the hottest weeks of summer, so the decision was quickly made to give up the dryer’s place on the circuit breaker.

Day 1:  Today I enjoyed the rusticity of hanging laundry on the clothes line.  I imagined how much I am saving the Earth by not using power.  (I figured it was a lot.)  I can see myself doing this even after the power to the dryer is restored.

Day 2:  Was that a tick?

Day 3:  Why is everything so hard?

Day 4:   I picked up some fabric softener to re-wash the towels.  I wonder if this will affect my saving the Earth.

Day 5:  Laundry-free day due to the risk of rain!  🙂

Day 6:  Laundry-free day due to the rain!  😦

Day 7:  I cannot wait for the circuit breaker to be repaired.

The Most Expensive Mousetrap Ever

Our holiday week was quite eventful.  For some odd reason, a mouse decided to make a home inside our HVAC.  It didn’t work out for him because he shorted the capacitor.  It didn’t work out for us because it blew back all the way to the circuit breaker.  Who would have thought that we would have survived the derecho storm but not a little mouse?

Fortunately, we were able to switch the air conditioner breaker with the dryer.  Unfortunately, replacement parts for the circuit breaker installed in our 1968 townhouse are not legal (because they have a tendency to catch fire) so we need to get the whole circuit breaker replaced.

Of course, this had to happen during what I hope was the hottest week of summer.

Most. expensive. mousetrap. ever.