I have tried writing this post to you for weeks now. Even in the last two days, I’ve started and stopped and deleted and started again no less than ten different times. I think it’s because I’m nervous. I don’t know how this is going to go over, what it means for this blog space of mine that was mostly born and raised in Portland, Oregon. What it will mean, or not mean, to you, the most amazing readers who come here for home cooking inspiration. And, similarly, what this news means for me, lover of all things made from scratch and often-over-the-top. (I know, I know, I’m working on that last part.) My heart, even as I type this alone on my living room sofa, is pounding against my ribcage in a storm of excitement and fear. So I’m just going to come out with it.
We are moving.
Onto a sailboat.
In the Caribbean.
That feels a little better than the last dozen attempts at this write-up but I can still hear my heartbeats banging. This is a dream seed that was planted a few years ago but that didn’t become something we could touch, hold, see, and believe until earlier this summer. When my husband and I found ourselves standing on the bow of our 40.2-foot, 25,000-pound boat, looking up the Louisiana bayou where it currently lives, going, “Holy crap. We’re really doing this.” We kept things quiet for the most part, telling just a few family members of our plans. Fearful that if too many people found out, the dream would somehow die. We’d maybe get cold feet. Or we’d jinx it with our joy.
But we’re close, now. We’re so close that my house is literally turned inside out, each room with its own separate piles of Donate, Sell, Store, and Sailboat. We leave Portland at the end of next month, making our way to Louisiana first to practice and work on the boat and then onward towards the Bahamas.
Despite the relatively robotic approach I’ve taken to the purging and sorting of various rooms, the kitchen is the room I fear the most and also the only one that remains completely in tact for now. I know I’ll continue to cook and recipe develop from my tiny one-person galley, using the stove that swivels in tandem with the waves and sharing recipes here that are seasonal but also inspired by the islands that we will soon call home for an indeterminate amount of time before, we assume, returning to Portland. But, as I type, I’m at a loss for what to bring and what to leave behind. My beloved stand mixer? My cast iron skillet collection? My fishbowl wine glasses? The knife I got in Alaska? My favorite props? My most treasured cookbooks?
One thing I knew would stay behind is my 2-quart ice cream mixer, the one I just mastered earlier this year with one of my favorite recipe creations to date, Black Garlic Ice Cream with Cookie Crumble. It’s too bulky and too one-dimensional. Anything that can’t be repurposed for multiple different uses doesn’t have a home on our sailboat, especially when 20 minutes of churning requires practically a half-day’s worth of precious solar-generated power. Not to mention there’s no freezer on our little boat baby.
So I guess today’s post—for a creamy, tropical-inspired Coconut Pineapple Sage Ice Cream with Pistachios—is a farewell of sorts to the kind of culinary life I’ve grown into here in Portland. But it’s also an arms-wide-open welcome to the new style of living that awaits. One with more constraints and less of the comforts we so often take for granted. One with all of the opportunity to explore and expand into new ways of thinking and living, new culinary directions, in a different part of the world, in a different kind of kitchen, within the same skin cells of this body, and alongside the person I love the most.
While I’m here, I also want to thank so many of you for your sweet comments and all of the vulnerabilities you shared on last week’s exciting Saveur news and thoughts on being enough. I continue to be in awe of the support, positivity, and kindness you bring to this space and am excited to take you on this journey of sailboat living if you’ll have me! 😉
- 4 cups of coconut cream, about 32 ounces
- 2 cups of full fat coconut milk, about 14 ounces
- 1-1/3 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 heaping teaspoon of kosher salt or ½ teaspoon of regular table or sea salt
- 24 medium-sized pineapple sage leaves, plus more for garnish if desired
- 12 large egg yolks
- Pistachios, crushed, for garnishing
- Freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker.
- Add coconut cream, coconut milk, sugar, salt, and 24 pineapple sage leaves to a large pot and simmer, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and then slowly integrate about half of the hot cream into the yolks, a little bit at a time, whisking as you add. Pour the contents of the bowl back into the pot with the remaining half of the hot coconut cream and whisk again to incorporate.
- Heat coconut cream and egg mixture over medium-low heat and cook until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes and 170-degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing down on the pineapple sage leaves to extract any remaining juices, and into a large bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Pour chilled cream mixture into the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer directions, until it reaches the consistency of soft serve, typically about 20-25 minutes.
- Pour into a 2-quart container such as a loaf pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap, pressing down to eliminate as much air space as possible, and freeze until firm, about 4-6 hours.
- Remove ice cream from freezer roughly 15-20 minutes before you’re ready to serve. Garnish with more pineapple sage (if using) and crushed pistachios.
If pineapple sage is difficult to find, regular sage will also work here. However, I recommend adding the zest of ½ lemon if using regular sage to bring the sweet/citrusy flavor to the ice cream.