I've learned a lot this year. And I've gone through a lot of change this year, too, none bigger than the transition from high school girl to college girl.
My first semester at Tech was pretty much a whirlwind. Truthfully it turned out exactly nothing like I expected and I learned a lot: about Cholesky factorizations, how to calculate the effective temperature of a black body orbiting the sun, and other nerdy and generally uninteresting things (to the average person, that is). I learned how to study for exams, that you have to swipe your BuzzCard multiple times to get your clothes to dry properly, and the lyrics to more Taylor Swift songs than I'm willing to admit. I learned that I'm actually capable of succeeding at Tech, both academically and socially. I learned that I can take care of myself, too: buying groceries, taking medicine when you're sick (during finals...), and doing laundry. (Man, I feel like such a grown-up sometimes.)
And while I normally don't bother making New Year's resolutions, for some reason I feel compelled to this year. Perhaps it's my newly discovered independence. Likely it's the need to make lists and year-long goals that runs in the family. Either way, there are a few things that I want to hold myself accountable for in 2011.
The first is to keep my grades up. I'm taking harder classes this spring and I'm on track to take my first major (IE) classes in the fall, and I'm eager to see what it's all about.
My second resolution is to stay more organized. I've never been a huge organizer, so this will probably be the toughest for me. What usually happens is that I start out with a nice system for keeping things in their place, but after a week or two I get lazy and the clutter becomes overwhelming. Hopefully I can put an end to that cycle in 2011.
The last (and most prevalent to this blog) is to post more regularly over here. While it's difficult to post recipes from school because I can't cook that often, I don't want to use that as an excuse to post infrequently. I'm establishing a once-a-week goal for myself.
I haven't ever said it before (and I probably don't let it show that often), but this space here means a lot to me. I love sharing my ideas (and eccentricities) with everyone who reads the blog, and I only want to make this blog better.
For the new year, I want to share a delicious ice cream that we've made a few times in the past, most recently for this Christmas. It takes all of five minutes to prepare, and then the ice cream maker does the rest. The base is a lush vanilla flavor, and a heap of rum raisins adds a sweet and slightly spicy flavor. You could use this recipe as a starting off point for all kinds of variations. Other dried fruits like cranberries or figs would also work great. Liqueurs like Grand Marnier or even wines like port would do a fine job plumping up the fruit, but you could also use orange juice, apple cider, or cranberry juice if you wanted to keep things non-alcoholic.
Enjoy the New Year, and Happy 2011 to you all! Tell me - do you have any resolutions, food-related or otherwise?
Rum Raisin Ice Cream
Having the evaporated milk and cream cold makes this ice cream come together really quickly. It's important to have the base cold when it goes into the ice cream maker so that it freezes faster and more smoothly. I used spiced rum because it's what we have on hand. We also had only a 12-ounce can of evaporated milk, which was 1/2 cup short of the recipe's two cups. I supplemented the rest with 1% milk and it turned out fine. Either combination (16 ounces of evaporated milk or 12 ounces of evaporated milk plus 4 ounces of milk) would work.
Yield: about 6 cups (1 1/2 quarts)
1 cup raisins
1 cup heavy cream, cold
2 cups evaporated milk, cold (see note above)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
Put the raisins in a small bowl and add enough rum to cover. Set aside for about an hour, or until the raisins are plump.
Once the raisins are plump, combine the cream, evaporated milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the sugar, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. If the base is not cold, put the mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour to chill.
Freeze the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Meanwhile, reserve about 3 tablespoons of rum from the rum raisin mixture, draining off the excess rum. When the ice cream has reached a soft serve consistency (usually after about 25 minutes), add the rum raisins and reserved rum. Adding the alcohol will make the ice cream melt a little in the machine. Keep churning for a few minutes more, until the ice cream has returned to soft serve consistency and there is no liquid cream at the surface.
Transfer the ice cream to a plastic serving container, cover, and freeze until hardened. The ice cream won't stiffen up completely (because of the rum), but it will firm up into the perfect consistency for serving.