Release. I love to release. Unless it is food. If it is food and it has made it to my (not so) delicate mouth, you had better back off! Or keep at it, tugging and prying relentlessly, until you save me from myself (some food is bad for me but I never learn).
I love to shake. Shaking is a great form of release, just like a big sigh. Deep, bottom of the soul kind of sigh. I love to sigh. I love to shake. I love to release. My brother Buddy (yes, I been known to refer to him as my brother now) has a really unique shaking technique; he always has had. When he first came to live with us, his shake was a little weak but the technique was fun to watch. I think it was then that I knew he was one I could love someday. He needed work though, and by work, I mean what he really needed was love and care. I didn’t give him obvious love, but I was teaching him (with love) nonetheless. Mom didn’t think so though; she thought I was jealous of and mean to him. But I saw it as tough love. His first lesson of course, was to learn who was boss. After he learned that, there was a large agenda to fill.
I taught him to stretch. He came to us crotchety and stiff.
I taught him to sit on the couch, waiting for the snacks to come to us, rather than jumping down and chasing Mom each time she goes into the kitchen. This has taken some time, but he still does it often enough. There is a whole syllabus that could be built around etiquette and maximizing the efforts in the kitchen. It took a while for him to get a passing grade in this class and sometimes I wonder if he could use a refresher course.
I taught him to scratch, fervently behind the ears to get Mom to rub them, or sometimes just for attention. If that doesn’t work, proceed to chewing your crotch. That always works for gaining attention.
I taught him to move from room to room, following the sunbeams and switching up which bed to nap in. Now that he is my brother, I let him take his pick. And sometimes, I even let him choose first after Mommy and Daddy leave for work.
I taught him to snarf. Snarfing must come from the nose, and the head needs to tilt with a quick flick of the neck. It should sound wet but not dripping (although Daddy disagrees with my assessment and continues to declare, “snarf-free zones”, like the front seat of the car; silly Daddy). It should start softly and get louder until the intended action is taken. Snarfing is a gentle way of asking for something that you want. Don’t ask me why it works but I have found that it does. It is also a good method of release. Just look at the dashboard.
I also taught him to sigh!
He used to make little sighs that you couldn’t hear, but I’m talking deep down, from the belly to the nose and back through to the toes kinds of sigh. People pay good money to learn this technique I’m told.
He too likes to sigh big now and we both like to shake. When Buddy shakes, he looks like a propeller starting to take-off. It begins at his head and echos down to the small of his back where it effortlessly builds momentum, lifting his little butt upwards and back legs off of the ground ending in his little stubby tail. This happens very quickly, yet it still seems like it is happening in slow-motion because he is a blur. I think he used to be a cowboy. I can almost see him on a bull-ride, hanging onto the reins as it whips him too and fro. He’s a little scrappy guy but I bet he would hang on, back hunched forward and bottom flying up and down in the air. His (rather large) nose would be pointing up to the sky, eyes squinted and tongue tucked at the corner of his lip where his missing tooth used to be.
When I shake, it is much more graceful. It is proceeded by a languished stretch; front paws fully extended, pushing into the ground. Chest forward, it dips down and my arms buckle, my back arches and my short nose skims the floor. I sit like this for a bit, letting the stretch work it’s way through my belly from my pelvis to my lungs, then my head guides my chest back up and I shake it out. A whole body at once, a side-to-side kind of shake. Legs firmly planted, posture intact and a deliberate motion shake. I was a dancer before and take movement very seriously. Even when it appears to be a crazy move; the move is always intentional. This goes for the moves I make with my eyes, intentional and all-knowing. I see everything. I plot out each move. I work hard each day and then I need to release – sleep, sigh, stretch, then shake!
Time to eat!!!
The logical thing, I realize, would be to make a shake. I am a dog now though (yes, it’s true) and this is not the thing I think of eating when I say, “it’s time to eat”. So Buddy and I are off to eat our duck. It isn’t just duck; there are veggies too, but it is raw. I don’t think you want to hear about raw duck and I doubt Darwin’s will give up their recipe (or else I might just let Mom make it for me instead), so I think it is best to describe a good little “pick me up” that Mom is making from her “big mistake”. It happens to be a shake (or at least that icy thing you use to make a shake).
Bonefide Tiramisu Gelato
This recipe came about from a bad batch of birthday “cake”, a spark of an idea from my niece, Julia and the leftover batter from said birthday cake. I should also mention that the cake had not been traditional cake but actually tiramisu. You can read about that story [here]. When I made it for my Mom’s birthday, it was a bit of a mistake because the eggs did not have enough yolk. Long story short(ish), at dinner, my niece spoke of a tiramisu gelato being a favorite when she heard that tiramisu was for dessert. This got me thinking, with all of the leftover cream, I could make gelato (or just ice cream).
I could not find my ice cream maker (since it was not in the freezer, it wouldn’t have done me any good anyways). Remembering that my Blendtec claimed to make ice-cream, I decided to give it a try. I whipped out the booklet which showed a recipe using batter frozen into ice cubes. I proceeded to put some of my cream “batter” into the only ice tray I could find, a bone-shaped one for Ginger and Buddy’s Summer frozen yogurt. Problem…this is a rigid tray and I couldn’t pry them out once frozen so I had to let them sit on the counter and melt enough to release. By this point, I decided to skip the bother of any device and just put the whole lot into the freezer in a glass container. Several hours later, it had frozen into a soft, supple, delicious pile of tiramisu gelato. Julia, this one’s for you. Ciao Bella!
1 batch of cream batter from My tiramisu (click here for recipe)
1 (additional) 8oz tub of mascarpone
Cocoa powder or carob powder for dusting
Ladyfingers for optional garnish
When you make the tiramisu cream batter, add the extra tub of mascarpone to the called-for-in-the-recipe quantity.
Regardless of whether you end up with a thin or a creamy batter, transfer it to a freezer safe dish with tight-fitting lid. Put it in the freezer for several hours.
It should be a soft velvety consistency when it is ready to serve. The longer it stays in the freezer, the harder it will be. If it is quite firm and too hard to scoop, simply let it rest on the counter until it comes to the desired consistency. If you are serving at a dinner party or just know you will be having a little scoop for dessert, plan ahead and set it out about 10-20 minutes in advance.
Sprinkle the scoop with a dusting of cocoa and serve with a ladyfinger.