This doesn't mean I never feel sorry for myself - or want something more. I have pictures inside my closet door of “things I want.” These are not the Sears catalogue cutouts of my childhood. There is picture of a welcoming kitchen with room for friends to gather. There is a picnic table outside under a tree, a happy couple in a canoe, a reading nook with bookshelves lining the walls, a lovely plant-filled sun porch, children running along a walkway in India. (This one does not necessarily represent the desire to have children, but the option of having happy children in my life. Or maybe a trip to India.) I don’t look at the pictures with the desperation I felt when eyeing the red bike in the Sears catalogue. They make me smile, like a sweet memory. I could almost say, "See you soon."
The last few days have been stressful. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed or sad, I go to Powell's and buy books. Sometimes a nice long walk does the trick. Or a hot shower. Or chocolate. Sometimes I bake. This time, I bought some Amaretti cookies and a wedge of Spanish blue to cheer myself up. I spread the blue cheese on slices of baguette. I ate the cookies and drank wine. I made a feast of delicious vegetables, including a brussel sprout and crimini mushroom hash. I did feel better after that.
The first time I had brussel sprouts was at a beachfront BBQ in Alaska. The meat and fish were grilled to perfection, but the host boiled the brussel sprouts and served them unseasoned. I saw a little girl gag and throw the brussel sprout into the rocks. I felt like doing the same. Last year, I had brussel sprouts again, sautéed with garlic and served in a sherry cream sauce. A completely different story...
I decided to try to replicate the Amaretti cookies. I used an almond macaroon recipe and subbed a combination of ground almonds and ground apricot kernels. I failed to get the crunchy amaretto-ness. But the failed batch still tasted like delicious almond cookies. With pear gelato, even better. I will try again. Today, I am happy with what I have.
This is the pear gelato recipe I used. I would keep the lemon juice limited to 3 tablespoons, unless you want a tarter taste. And while the little chunks of pear are a tasty reminder of the flavor source, if you want a smoother texture, purée the pears before combining with the custard mixture.