If only I could lie on the couch forever, with the windows open, listening to people mowing their lawns and smelling fresh-cut grass as npr announces the state of the stock market. That would indeed be nice, the epitome of relaxation that is given to a student every once in a while in the summer.
Yes, we’re right in the middle of summer. Things are humming into a new rhythm that isn’t the rhythm of school and homework, but the rhythm of things with less weighty importance. One can experiment a little in things generally put on the back burner throughout the year and not worry as much about wasted time or not finding an answer. Actually, that’s what I love most about summer, you don’t need to always have one perfect solution, one finished product, loose ends all tied up.
This is a season when you can ponder loads of possible answers. You can read and read and read and read just to fill your mind with inspirational ideas to discuss at long length with people without the worry of having to take notes or forming a thesis.
True, it is ephemeral, and it’s a bit of an illusion. You can bask in the sun and ponder the meaning of life or the best water park construction and be satisfied with your ideas. Without someone trying to fit your ideas into a binary system or picking apart your argument piece by piece, your thoughts can hold whatever validity you wish to attribute to them. Maybe it’s an illusion of vast intelligence, but in that way, it’s a necessary illusion. Sometimes one just needs to let ideas run free.
Speaking of things that are summery, and a little out of the box, is this sherbet. Now, I will regretfully inform you that I came up with very similar ideas last summer but failed to follow through with them. As such, Bon Appétit beat me to publishing a recipe. Since the ideas for sour cream and buttermilk/ roasted fruit in a frozen dessert are such good ones, I just have to give you their recipe anyway. My two favorite things about it: there’s no risk of eggs curdling because there aren’t any eggs and the sugar dissolves when you roast the berries, which I think made the finished product less icy.
Now I’m off to go read, and ponder, and learn, but definitely take no notes, allowing wild ideas to bloom and add to summer’s easy satisfaction.
Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet
Barely Adapted from Bon Appétit
4 cups of strawberries (about 1 pound), hulled and halved, or quartered if large–to clarify I believe this means 4 cups of strawberries before hulling, and halving, as it definitely was less than that after
1 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 teaspoon vanilla)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup (I use 1/2 cup) sour cream
Pinch of salt (I almost think a little extra would be good)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and adjust oven rack to the middle position. In a 13 by 9 by 2 inch baking pan (I used a 9 by 9 pan which worked but which may have prevented some extra cooking and lost some depth of flavor) mix strawberries, sugar, scraped seeds from vanilla bean, and pod. If not using a vanilla bean, just leave it out here. Cook for 15-20 minutes so that the mixture is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Remove the pod of the vanilla bean. In a blender or food processor combine remaining ingredients with the strawberries and puree until smooth. Freeze in an ice cream making, according to the instructions provided. If using vanilla extract, add in the last minute or so of freezing.
Put the sherbet in an airtight container in the freezer until you want to serve it. It can be frozen for as long as a week, just let it sit out to soften a little before serving.