Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Rosemary Pine Nut Brittle

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Hey hey! Did you notice that the site has a new vibe? I am really excited to reveal the logo for Grits to Grace on the site, and glad that it is the first thing you see when you drop on by. I can't say that my "compass rosemary" is a new thing, I've had it in my head for a long time before I imagined how to combine the two different elements gracefully. I am really into symbols and signifiers. They give shape to our lives over decades and remind us to reflect periodically on the forces that are leading us, or perhaps luring us off course. Identifying with animals, objects, or forces of nature is an ancient human activity. We sense that we are not closed off entities, we are energized by the sun and reinvigorated by immersion into the cold salt water. We long to be alike and to set ourselves apart, these two longings waltz within us and live through all sorts of signals, songs, names, and tattoos.

The best symbols are not just mirrors in which we view our attributes, but catalysts that draw us to explore new dimensions of our spirits and minds. A compass can bring you home to port or put your metal to the test in seldom-ventured seas.

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The compass rose symbolizes my early life on the ocean, helping my grandfather to navigate through a thick fog as we cut through the waves in the boats that he built. The sea is my home, and whenever I am not there, the compass points me back. As Melville so brilliantly quipped, " meditation and water are wedded forever." There is a small island called Cuttyhunk, it has always been one of my favorite harbors. In the middle of a crossroads on this island is painted a compass rose, a celestial footprint for the temporary sailor ashore. A compass will keep you grounded as long as you listen, learn, and become a member in your enviroment.

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Rosemary is a sturdy, pine scented herb, and my cooking magic of choice. It often grows by the sea in the Mediterranean and needs very little water to sustain it. Its name means "dew of the sea" and according to legend, Aphrodite was born out of the salt waters draped in this evergreen plant. It symbolizes wisdom and remembrance. Together these two talismans, if you will, represent who I feel that I am and who I would like to become. Not everybody goes in for this kind of thing, and that's totally cool. To me the world seems too alive and abundant not enjoy the diversity of its expressions, making meaning as surely as we breathe. Favorite dinner question: what is your spirit animal?

While you ponder that one, let's get to the creamy bit of this post. This is an absolutely seductive dessert thrown together across the hours of a lazy afternoon. If it you want a slightly mysterious and sophisticated ice cream dessert this 4th of July, this it it. Break out the fairy wands (sparklers)! And dust off those ice cream makers. Making your own ice cream is one of the world's greatest delights. Also, you can actually tell what it in your ice cream (corn syrup free!), and add as many goodies as you want á la Ben and Jerry.

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The goat cheese adds a pleasing tang to the cream, and fig jam is swirled in to create some extra sweet spots to find. Pine nut and rosemary are reminiscent of Tuscan cuisine and go beautifully together, all earthy and deep. The pairing of these traditionally savory elements in a dessert is a bit heady and perfectly irresistible.

Goat Cheese Ice Cream  Recipe adapted slightly from Samantha Weiss Hills

2 cups heavy cream 1 cup whole milk 1/3 cup honey 1/4 teaspoon salt 4 egg yolks 5 ounces good quality goat cheese 1/2 cup fig jam, I use Dalmatia

1. Place cream, milk, honey and salt in a smallish sauce pan and heat until just simmering. Lightly whisk egg yolks in a separate bowl.Temper the eggs with the hot milk, whisking in a small amount for a few seconds. Return egg mixture to the saucepan. Cook on low heat, whisking constantly and until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon. It can take 6-8 minutes. Once thickened remove from the heat.

2.Crumble the goat cheese into a bowl. Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer over the goat cheese. Stir or whisk to fully incorporate the cheese into the custard. Let the mixture cool on the counter top for at least 30 minutes, cover and chill for 2 hours or overnight.

3. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker. Once it is frozen, transfer it to a container, layering your scoops with spoonfuls of fig jam. Once all the creamy crystals are transferred, swirl with a spoon to distribute the jam. Put ice cream back in the freezer and keep it there for a couple of hours. I couldn't wait for the requisite 4 because my brittle was cooled and I like my ice cream melty style. Enjoy with attractive and charming dinner companions. It will keep up to a week in the freezer.Find the recipe for the Pine Nut Brittle right here my friends.

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A wonderful part of moving to Australia in August is that we get a second summer, since the seasons between the two continents are topsy turvy. A second summer! It sounds like a wonderfully romantic and quiet film about someone starting their life over in a pastoral village in Italy. For me it means that I can settle even deeper into my season, escaping the inside all day routine. I think my compass is compelling me to live a very different kind of life than I have lived in the big city. Simpler I hope, and out of doors more. Perhaps I will live on a boat instead of in a house. Perhaps I'll let myself go down to the sea, again and again. That's always a good direction.

A Second Summer

out from under a Bronx haze we consider the curved bodies and corroded hulls of ships imagining their lines and spines sinking into clean, gently populated gem- blue water

we prefer sleepy, old inexpensive rigs

we can rehabilitate and bless and dress with solar panels and turpentine

imagine a name for her a new world un-hemmed navigated above ground sailing like the sun people again salt-limbed and barefooted

all this we dream as the wild cats dance between brick and abandoned mattress yowling territories and trading scratches

the sirens murmur weakly and then are drowned under the deepness of what is just another island

The tide has come in lifting up and carrying out one white seal, who watched us and beckoned like a second summer

~Caitlin Kenzie Scott

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