Cooking, to me, is free of baking's constraints: the careful measuring, the planning ahead, the 'measure twice and cut once' attitude.
When I cook, I can heat up a pan, toss in a little of this, some of that, decide at the last minute that it really needs a handful of the other thing, and I can do all this with an expectation that it will all come out tasting.. well, at least decent. This philosophy lends itself best to tomato sauces, soups, and chili, but I've managed to apply it to ice cream too.
The point here is that baking requires a knowledge of chemistry, and cooking does not.
Some context: I tasted some great lemon frozen yogurt a few weeks ago (it was at the Fancy Food Show, which was an awesome and all-around mind blowing experience that I really need to write about, but it was so incredible I'm not sure where to start). It was, not surprisingly, from Jeni*, and since I had three limes sitting in my fridge (you know, the ones I didn't use for the Thai Lime Chile sorbet- which turned out pretty well, after I refroze the canister and churned it again), I figured I'd just replace the lemons in the recipe with my limes.
Jeni's frozen yogurt recipe is pretty much her ice cream base, with the addition of some strained (i.e., greek) yogurt. So I did the milk+sugar+corn syrup mixture in the pot, and added the peel of my three limes (per the instructions, the peel is easier to strain out later than using a grater to zest it). I also put together a lime syrup of sugar and fresh squeezed juice.
And here's where we get to the whole chemistry thing. The recipe calls for bringing the milk mixture to a boil for four minutes, which I've done many times, including for my Lemon Mint ice cream.** But this time.. it separated. Pretty badly, too.
When I added the yogurt (unstrained.. I didn't have any cheesecloth in the house), it (mostly) hid the milk curds.
And worst comes to worst, I'll eat it myself. I just hope I don't need to learn chemistry to continue my path towards world domination through ice cream. That sounds too much like work.
* Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of David Lebovitz's recipes, and I'm sure if he decided to start selling his ice cream, it would be incredible. But his recipe uses egg yolks, and I think Jeni's technique is a little faster and easier (read: it appeals to my laziness). Plus, I don't end up with a handful of left-over egg whites.
**I just realized I haven't written about the Lemon Mint or the Bacon Peanut Brittle ice creams I made. (Katie tells me I'm getting a big head, but I really think those came out well.) Man, I need to get on the ball. My bad.