Friday, April 2, 2010

Slowing down?

Did I just say that?  I seem to remember a certain feeling of ease the other day.  I think it was my lone day off, which would explain things.  Well, things are going to stay crazy for a little while.  That's okay; I'm learning new things every day (fish school is pretty awesome actually), about myself and about my work.  I'm trying to ask for help more, and stand up for myself more too, and listen to my gut.  I'm doing my best, even when I don't feel like it's my best, and I'm trying to see the bigger picture. 
I made something the other day, and it kind of made me feel better, if only for the one bite I was allowed (sugar:  you are my enemy, you are my friend).  Usually you see the chocolate version of this, which is lovely, but the simplicity of this recipe, the pared down list of ingredients, makes me think of the promise of good things to come, a clean slate.

vanilla bean pot de creme
(adapted from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food)

whisk until just mixed in a medium bowl:
    4 egg yolks
measure & pour into a medium bowl:
    3/4 cup heavy cream
combine in a small saucepan:
    3/4 cup half & half
    1/4 cup sugar
    one 2 inch piece of vanilla bean, split lengthwise & seeds scraped into the pan with the bean (I used vanilla paste, about a teaspoon, or you could use vanilla extract and get fine results)
Warm just until steaming over medium heat.  Stir occasionally to dissolve sugar.  When warm, whisk into the egg yolks, a little at a time so as not to scramble them.  Strain this mixture into the cold cream and mix well.  Remove the vanilla bean (if using) from the strainer and squeeze all remaining seeds and liquid from it back into the custard mix.  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Pour the custard into a 2 1/2 cup custard mold or into 4 ramekins.  Place into a large, deep pan and pour in hot water halfway up the sides of the container(s).  Cover the pan with foil and seal tightly.  Bake until the sides of the custards are just set but the center is still soft and jiggly, about 50 minutes for the large mold, 25-30 minutes for the ramekins.  Remove from the water bath and let cool.  Serve chilled with fruit, or cookies, or plain.
I made a rhubarb compote and shortbread cookies to go with these at the albatross, but anything or nothing goes well too.  As I said before, it's a clean slate.  A nice idea in the beginnings of spring.

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