The Art of Science

Fun fact: I’m taking a sculpture class for my final semester at college.

A word of advice: Never, ever, EVER, assume that sculpture is an easy elective.

As much as I love and appreciate and enjoy submerging myself in the realm of good design by means of Pinterest, design blogs, beautiful books, etc., the whole art thing is not instinctively a part of my nature. In fact graphic design and writing, until about two years ago when I forced myself to pursue these subjects, were dreaded chores for me. They are much more intuitive now that I have studied and lived them but the truth is, I am naturally a science and math person. I like straight answers, orderliness, functionality, and dependency. I like to work with available things and patterns rather than draw inspiration out of nothingness. And everything that I represent in my nature is everything that sculpture is not.

I seriously went in imagining that I was going to make cool furniture and or creative table settings…that I was going to be building forts or something. It’s the exact opposite. So far we have made hybrid vegetable-like objects from plaster (the reason why I don’t show my hands in public anymore) and are now turning one of those into huge sized metal structure built from endless pieces of steel rod. So yes, that means welding, and sanding metal. That means that I have thus far stood in showers of sparks, singed my hair, and donned an incredibly stylish ensemble of leather and Darth Vader facemask. For the past two weeks I have been a hot sweaty mess with permanent helmet head.

And though the physical labor involved in sculpture is a bit rough at times, it is actually the conceptualizing in this class that is so difficult. Apparently sculpture is meant to be an art form where you proceed with intuition, enjoy the journey while forgetting the finished product, moving with unrestrained, unplanned, sometimes haphazard artistry. So for someone like me who likes instruction, formulas, and set goals (though I think the process and innovation is important too) you can see how this is difficult.

That is why it is so nice to know that after four straight days of rampant welding, there is always something I can turn to for a dose of formulaic stress release. That is why, even when it is below freezing outside, I still make ice cream. Baking, and especially ice cream making, is truly a science. That is why we get along so well. Ice cream likes its fat, water, and sugar contents a certain way and I respect that. I give that to the ice cream and in return I get something that comes out exactly how it should be.

This grapefruit and hibiscus flavored frozen yogurt is so smooth and dense and although less in fat than standard ice cream, is just as creamy. The tart and citrusy flavor is very refreshing that I almost consider it a palate cleanser more than dessert (that’s how I justify eating froyo in the dead of winter). And during this season where we are prone to cook meals with a bit more heartiness and maybe a little more garlic, onion, and spice, it’s nice to have this to lighten up the richness of the meals. And of you can’t neglect to admire the fact that it is bright fuchsia, imparted from dried hibiscus, which also brings about a delicate floral note to the zingy grapefruit. Greek yogurt adds a zippy quality too but don’t worry, it is plenty sweet.

So, though some may consider grinding away on solid steel or relishing in freeform art for their stress relief, I’ll stick to my frozen yogurt, thanks.

Grapefruit Hibiscus Frozen Yogurt
recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
makes 1 quart

1¼ cups 2% greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
1½ cups whole milk
2 Tbs. cornstarch
4 Tbs. softened cream cheese
½ cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
strips of zest from 1 grapefruit
grapefruit syrup (recipe follows)

Grapefruit syrup
1 grapefruit
2 Tbs. sugar
¼ cup dried hibiscus flowers

First make the grapefruit syrup. Remove the zest from the grapefruit with a vegetable peeler making long strips. Set aside for later use. Cut open the grapefruit and squeeze out ½ cup of the juice. In a small saucepan, combine the grapefruit juice with the 2 Tbs. of sugar. Bring to a boil over a medium high heat, stirring so that the sugar dissolves. Once boiling, remove from heat and add in the hibiscus flowers. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Strain the syrup through a sieve and set aside.

To prep the frozen yogurt, mix 3 Tbs. of the milk with the cornstarch and stir to form a slurry, whisk the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth, and prepare and ice bath. Set all aside.

Combine the rest of the milk, the cream, the sugar, corn syrup, and grapefruit zest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and let boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry, and return to the heat, cooking and stirring for a minute more.

Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese. Add the Greek yogurt and the grapefruit syrup and stir until combined. Pass through a sieve to remove any lumps and the grapefruit zest. Pour the mixture into a gallon Ziploc bag and submerge in the ice bath for half an hour. Once fully chilled, freeze in your ice cream machine according to manufacturers instructions. Pack in freezer safe container and let freeze for four hours until firm before serving.