Monday, February 15, 2021
"Make an Italian inspired dessert:" Maria's Culinary Arts assignment this week. She watched a cooking program that featured several Italian cooks, each preparing different frozen confections, including sorbets, and gelatos. I know I posted about serendipity, only yesterday, but it happened, again, and I love it when random things occur that reveal themselves to be interconnected. I wonder... do events simply happen, and we draw connections out of will and desire, or are they truly meant to align themselves, meaningfully, inevitably?
Max and Maria joined me in a flurry of cleaning, and decluttering. Me, in the kitchen, mostly washing a lot of pots, pans, bowls, and Max in the livingroom tidying up, and putting things right, and Maria doing good and necessary odds and ends, like taking out garbage and recyling, clearing off the dining table. When there was a nice clear patch on the counter, Max brought my Christmas gift from the family, out of the livingroom... and I admit, the beautiful red manual juicer looks much better in the kitchen than in the livingroom. I think it's time we give this a try, don't you? he asked, patiently, yet intently. Max, is my angel of reason, of observation, and order, a gentle minder about many things, including when the sausages are soon to expire, whether we've made plans for dinner, do the cats need attention, or whether one thing or another is necessary, called for, ready. Without his nudging, I might have waited until next Christmas before giving the new toy a try. Bambi uses our food processor almost weekly, and I had only just used it for the first time after almost ten years. It seems I am always going to be a little too slow to make good use of things... it's not a lack of appreciation, but perhaps too much admiration for things just as they are. The juicer, sitting near where the Christmas tree used to be, made me feel lucky, admiring, happy, merely looking at it. I am often reminding myself to put things to use, to stop saving these treasures for a special occasion. I seem to be both intimidated, and too much in awe, of nice things.
So, I sent Maria out to the garden for any citrus she could find, and she returned with an armful of blood oranges, from our tree, Marceline. Max washed the fruit, and Maria turned to her phone, for recipes that might work for the class assigment. She thought maybe a sorbet, and I asked her if she'd heard of granita? And her answer was yes, they prepared that in the video. We are big fans of shave ice, and raspados, and this version, sounded like something we would love. First, we would need juice!
I had a juicer. I remember when I got it... Mother's Day, 2009. That was a gift we tried out right away, and loved! It got lots and lots of use over the years, until this year when the little form that holds the fruit disappeared. We could order a new part, but... heck, I don't know why we haven't done that! It would seem our pandemic addled brains are simply super-saturated with too many other things to figure out? (Oh. Geez. That was easy. Someday, I would like to talk to a therpist about how many years it takes to regain one's brain and processing capabilities after a concusion and collision trauma.) Where was I? I fell into infatuation with this manual beast of a juicer, and was the lucky recipient, at Christmas, and as much as we love(d) our little Krups, this new toy is super cool! We all took turns setting orange halves on the cone, and bringing down the lever. There is something satisfying about levers, about the brilliance of physics, and simple mechancial actions. We had bright red juice flowing, and plenty for Maria's granita recipe.
Maria added enough sugar, not a syrup, but straight, granulated sugar mixed into 3 cups of juice to sweeten the tart blood orange. She made the choice to keep the tartness, and only sweeten it a little. Then she poured this into a baking pan, and took it to the freezer. For five hours, every hour she broke up the freezing juice with a fork. Even after the second hour she was really happy with the results. The timing was brilliant, because we were finishing our dinner, when it was time to bring out the finished granita. Maria had eyed all of our cups and bowls, looking for something special, something to feature the beautiful red of the granita, and to highlight Valentine's Day, not too big, nor too small, and she served us her granita in milkglass teacups, which was a very pretty choice. So, is there some serendipity in all of this, or am just enarmoured of looking for attachments? The fruit in the orchard, the new juicer, the dessert assignment, the Valentine red... I suppose it's all the same, whether random, or crazy-random-happenstance, but somehow life feels a little sweeter when I imagine there is magic and fortune just waiting to be noticed, celebrated.