For my Birthday my sister gave me one of those Ancestry DNA kits. She wants us to know where we come from, who we are. So I spit in the tube and mailed it off and some magical elves will name and categorize all the cooties that make up who I am. Have you done one?
I probably talk about my Dad being from Arkansas and that we’re related to the Adams presidents once every three or four months. For whatever reason, I know I talk about my mom growing up in a Spanish speaking home in Colorado a lot more. Other than those two defining facts about where I came from, I don’t think a lot about Who I Really Am. Until this week!
I saw a thing. An incredible artistic, scientific, magical thing. I was meeting a friend in the lower east side of Manhattan for a night of dinner and music and l came upon the blu MARBLE.
If you live in New York City you have until April 14th to see this once in a lifetime Art/Science installation! It live streams the view of our planet earth from space 24 hours a day 7 days a week from 159 Ludlow. I won’t be so bold as to say it will change you... I don’t know that change is the right word.
Seeing this made me definitely think about who I am in relation to the rest of the globe. And yes, it is humbling to experience and it crystallizes how microscopic we are in the scheme of things. But I found it empowering and affirming.
Yes, I’m tiny, but I am mighty. I am magnetically standing on this big blue marble, not tumbling off of it. Am I earning my keep? Am I living up to my potential? Am I getting closer to my dreams? Am I being kind to those around me? Am I being kind to myself?
Untapped Cities, one of my favorite resources, wrote, “In 1972 as the three man crew of Apollo 17 rocketed towards the moon, they took a moment to look back towards Earth and take a picture. That picture, taken as the astronauts set out on the last manned mission to the moon, would become one of the most widely reproduced images in human history.” (I was born in 1972!)
That iconic photograph was named The Blue Marble. The artist Sebastian Errazuriz pays homage with a high tech installation titled blu MARBLE. It is wedged in an empty lot between two buildings on the lower east side.
blu MARBLE is a series of images of the planet Earth that are live-streamed from a NASA satellite and displayed on a twenty foot LED screen. It’s so Gotham City. Like a Bat Signal calling us to stop and take notice of where and who we are.
The artist, Sebastian Errazuriz, says, “Imagine if we could look up at the night sky and see ourselves, see the Earth right that moment, streamed live from space?” So he organized projecting the satellite images from NASA and did that very thing. It is like the greatest mirror of all time. He captioned one of his photos on Instagram This Is You. (Indeed! And YOU!)
I stood there looking up at this projection and searched for myself beyond the layers of the stars and clouds. Beyond the layers of the oceans and continents, the layers of countries and cities. Beyond boroughs and neighborhoods, until I got to the layer of Lisa Adams standing at 159 Ludlow.
I’ll let you know what the Ancestry DNA reveals in 6-8 weeks. I’m excited to add to the layers of who I am. In the meantime, this is one of my all time favorite and easiest layered desserts. It’s light and refreshing. There’s barely any cookery involved, it’s just being patient while the layers individually freeze.
Sorbet Terrine with Berry Sauce
3 pints of sorbet, 1 pint of ice cream (softened)
2 cups of berries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of salt (brings out the sweetness)
a crank of black pepper (gives a warm depth of flavor)
I always try to choose bright colors so they’ll make pretty layers. The ice cream layer gives it a creamy layer so the dessert isn’t all icy.
Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, go lengthwise with overhang and the width with overhang. (Once the pan is filled you need the extra to cover it, so be generous.)
Decide how you want your layers, remembering that what you put into the bottom of the pan withal be the top of the terrine. Spoon the first sorbet into the pan, smoothing it out in one layer. Place the pan in the freezer for 25-30 minutes. Next I do the ice cream. Pour it over the frozen layer carefully so it doesn’t splash up the sides. It’ll ruin the layered effect. Freeze 25-30 minutes. Repeat with the next 2 layers making sure they are solid enough before you do the next one. Pull up the overhanging plastic rapt cover the surface and then wrap the whole pan again in multiple layers. Place in the freezer for 2 hours or overnight.
During one of the freezing layers you can make the berry sauce. Place all the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool and then refrigerate.
To unfold the terrine, take it out of the freezer 2-3 minutes before serving. Unwrap the layers of plastic until you get to the surface of the terrine. Turn the pan upside down on a platter with the overhang pulled off the surface so the terrine is directly on the platter. After 2-3 minutes the pan should lift off and then you can peel away the plastic wrap. Parade it around so everyone can ooh and aah before you serve. Slice into pieces spooning the berry sauce on top.