December 28, 2011
Have a cup of cheer.
Arbitrary as our notions of time are, I can’t help but relish the excuse that the season running from Thanksgiving to New Year’s brings when it comes to indulging in good stuff. We know that January will bring a time of austerity, reflection, and prioritization, and I for one enjoy having these ritualized practices set in the calendar.
Looking back on this particular year, Jill and I have a great deal to celebrate. This time last year, she had a cancerous tumor in her chest; now she doesn’t. We fought hard, were championed and bolstered by our incredible community of friends and family (including all of you out there), and pulled together, finding intimacy and joy in the most unpredictable of places.
We know how lucky we are; this could have easily been a much longer and rougher road for us. And though the cancer is gone, I find myself wishing quite earnestly that the clear-eyed perspective that came with it, will stick around. What you spend your time on, what you spend your money on, whom you spend your time with—these choices are made quite plain when life is being lived against such a sharp backdrop.
Cancer (or fill-in-the-blank here with another grief, sickness, emergency, accident, etc.) reminds us that we are, in fact, not in control. Of everything. Of anything, I make plans as if I will most assuredly be able to see them through, as if life is going to go the way I imagine it will. But it almost never does, in both the most difficult and the most wonderful of ways.
As someone for whom planning is almost like breathing, I have to say that it’s pretty liberating to realize that planning, in a lot of instances, is totally overrated and a waste of my time. Will I still plan things? Of course. When it comes to lessons, menus, schedules, etc., planning certainly has value. But as I look ahead to 2012, I’ve got to admit that I don’t know exactly what the year will bring, and I am, for once, okay with that.
HOMEMADE IRISH CREAM RECIPE
(via Serious Eats)
Irish cream is a delightfully sweet and boozy concoction that makes a wonderful mixer for winter cocktails and is also right at home in your (decadent) morning cup of coffee. We are planning to set our bottle of it out for guests who will be visiting on New Year’s Day, since the cream is one part celebration and another part hair-of-the-dog.
Disclaimer: The eggs are included as an emulsifier, to make the cream more unctuous and viscous. For this type of preparation, I personally feel more comfortable using fresh farm eggs versus store-bought, factory farm eggs, but if you feel uncomfortable consuming raw eggs period, you can certainly leave them out.
1 ¼ cups Irish whiskey (I used Jameson’s)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
4 raw eggs
½ cup heavy cream
2 T honey
1 T each: instant espresso powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
Blend the eggs and heavy cream together until the eggs are fully incorporated. Add the honey, cocoa and espresso powders, & almond and vanilla extracts and blend again. Finally, add the cream and whiskey and mix until the mixture is uniformly colored and frothy.
Funnel into the jar or bottle of your choice and refrigerate for at least two hours before consuming (this is the hard part!). Be sure to shake the bottle well before serving. The cream will keep, under refrigeration, for one month.