When I was little, mint cookies and cream was my absolute favorite. Every time we got ice cream (which in our house was VERY frequently) my vote was for mint cookies and cream. I thought that when I found Ben and Jerry’s Mint Oreo (now Mint Chocolate Cookie), I had been given the the world’s most perfect mint cookies and cream ice cream. I am happy to say I have proven myself wrong, though their recipe was the basis for my own recipe, I changed it enough that I’m not afraid to call it my own.
Yield: about 1.5 quarts
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
blue food coloring
2 tsp pure peppermint extract
1 cup chopped up Oreos* (as big or as little of chunks as your heart desires)
1. Add cream and half-and-half to sauce pot and gently bring to a light boil. Remove from heat.
2. Put egg yolks into a bowl and whisk until they become light in color. Add in sugar about 1/4 cup at a time and whisk. Add in just a drop or two of the blue food coloring to turn the yellow yolks mint green.
3. Add the hot cream mixture to the eggs about 1/2 cup at a time and whisk each time until about 1/3 of the cream mixture has been added.
4. Add in remaining cream mixture to the eggs, and let sit for 3o minutes. (for a firmer ice cream, cook the whole mixture to about 170 degrees, so that it has a chance to thicken)
5. Add in peppermint extract and stir.
6. Cover and place in refrigerator for 4-8 hours. At this time, place the chopped up Oreos into the freezer.
7. Add mix to ice cream maker according to instructions.
8. When there is about 2 minutes left, and the ice cream has thickened substantially, take the Oreos out of the freezer and add them to the ice cream.
9. Eat right away or pack it into air-tight containers. The longer you store it, the less crisp and crunchy to cookies will be.
*blah, blah, blah, “Oreo” is a registered trademark of Nabisco, blah, blah, blah, legal stuff.
I don’t want you guys to think I’m all doom and gloom (well, not all the time). When I’m not thinking about how the world is going to end, I sometimes think of awesome business ideas. Most of them are restaurants. I don’t know why that is.
This restaurant would have a focus on high-quality local ingredients. The restaurant would serve foods that are not only grown locally, but hopefully foods which grow naturally. I would be willing to pay top dollar for local hunters to send a portion of their kill my way. Imagine sitting down for a nice meal of elk, venison, or buffalo. I would also hope to find a local expert on edible foods. Wouldn’t you like to sip some nice warm rose and juniper tea? Perhaps a bit of wild raspberry crumble on bread with some local honey? It wouldn’t be for everybody, but I think this one has promise.
There is a reason that the vast majority of people buy stuff from grocery stores instead of foraging in the wilderness. With such an emphasis on wild, local produce, it may be hard to keep up a steady supply to keep a restaurant going.
5. Fancy Malt Shop
We all know the basic premise of a 1950s malt shop: You go there with “the gang” to get burgers and ice cream. Hijinks ensue as a laugh track plays in the background. This place takes the same basic idea and turns it up a notch (and takes away the laugh track). You would be able to order kobe beef burgers for dinner and homemade hazelnut ice cream. Where the focus of Hunter-Gatherer is on getting quality local ingredients, the focus here is on taking ordinary things and making them extraordinary through expert presentation and quality ingredients from around the world.
The biggest problem would be keeping the menu fresh and modern while adhering to the traditional idea of a malt shop.
4. Custom Burgers
With a million other burger joints out there, how does this one stand out? Well, at Custom Burgers you get to build your burger from the ground up. Don’t you ever get annoyed by the fact that burger places will charge you 50 cents to add cheese or bacon, but then they won’t credit you back that amount if you ask for the same thing removed? Custom Burgers fixes that problem by letting people pick the bun, meat and toppings that go on their burger. There would have to be a large variety of meats, cheeses and toppings to really make it worth it. You want an ostrich burger on rye with kimchi? Go for it!
Inventory! With so many options, chances are that you will need a substantial inventory to make sure you have everything in stock at all times.
3. Surf and Turf
The general concept of the surf and turf is that you get the best of the surf and the best of turf. I’m often surprised that this is rarely taken beyond the idea of lobster and steak served together. Surf and Turf would have an international and regional focus. In addition to the traditional steak and lobster, I would encourage a middle-America surf and turf with buffalo steak and trout. How about a Japanese surf and turf with lobster tempura and teriyaki-marinated steak? What about a Hawaiian surf and turf with braised pork and pan seared ahi tuna?
Finding a chef that is well versed in all of the world’s cuisines may be a bit of a challenge.
2. Ye Olde Grocer
I think that we have grown accustomed to wandering down the isles of the local mega-mart sorting through 500 types of cereal; sometimes less is more. I would love to have a store that has the basics that are provided locally when possible. Go to the store and pick up a jar of Mrs. Maple’s prized peaches. Go and talk to the grocer. Get locally-produced treats and confections. The focus here is community; I would like going to the store to be more of an experience.
People are accustomed to getting grapes at any time of the year and might not take too kindly to a grocery store that has a seasonal selection of groceries.
1. Hillery’s Chinchilleries
What is a “chinchillery”? A word I made up for a place where you raise chinchillas. I’m not really sure why chinchillas exist. Is it a rabbit? A mouse? A hamster? Wikipedia tells me that they are used for fur and kept as pets. Common sense tells me they look like pikachu. I want to mix their DNA with electric eels and sell them to overzealous Pokemon addicts. If Jurassic Park scientists can mix dinosaur DNA with frog DNA, then chinchillas and electric eels should be a piece of cake.
None. This is the best idea ever.
PS – I don’t often read web comics. But when I do, I read Basic Instructions.
I like to live the Boy Scout motto: “Be Prepared.” When your mind is wandering what do you think about? Sugarplums? Taxes? The rule against perpetuities? Not me. I assess the situation I am in and prepare for ridiculous scenarios. If we’re ever in the same room, and I have that glazed look on my eyes, I’m probably planning for a:
5. Nuclear Attack
I’m not sure why I think of this one so frequently. Maybe I’ve watched too many of those 1960s era PSA’s. Maybe I’ve just watched too many movies (I’m looking at you Dr. Strangelove). Whatever the reason, it can’t hurt to be prepared, right?
Not really much you can do. Always be aware of your surroundings. You could always keep a pocket knife on you in case you are thrust into a survival situation. Yeah, a pocket knife.
When it happens:
Look for what appears to be the sturdiest wall in the room I am in. Don’t go near any windows because when they blow out, you could get severely damaged by the glass. Also don’t go near anything that could fall on you. I estimate that 80% of my day is spent in close proximity to bookshelves that could, conceivably crush me, so yes, this is a valid concern. At school, I would rather be in a classroom that in the library; the library has lots of windows and glass to injure you. Also, books. Lots of books. The classrooms were built during the 70s, when people were thinking about “what if we get hit by a nuke.” I am pretty sure they are safe.
Obviously, there are concerns about the long-term health effects of radiation exposure. I would pick a direction and start walking (or if possible driving). The goal is to get as far away from the fallout as possible. You don’t want to go to where the next bomb is going to go off, so some place remote and unpopulated is ideal.
4. High Speed Chase
Let me add a small caveat. When I think of this, I always assume that nobody will get hurt, and the roads are clear (and I won’t have an insurance rate spike). I’m never sure what sort of situation would lead to a high speed chase, but I figured it is better to be ready than unprepared.
Simplest way to avoid a car chase? Don’t make anybody angry. That includes the police and the mafia. If you live a lifestyle where this is not an option, then I suggest getting a small car with an excellent suspension and handling. You’re going to be taking lots of turns at high speeds, remember? You need something practical to get you around. Also, watch lots of Top Gear (If you have any dignity you’ll just watch the British version).
When it happens:
The goal is to get to the freeway and not let your foot off the gas. Granted, this type of driving tends to burn through the gas quickly, so have someplace in mind that you are going to. On the run from the mafia? go to the police station. Deadly assassins? best to try and lose them before you go home. Always keep in mind who is following you, always.
You’re going to have to get a new car. If they’ve been chasing you, they obviously know what kind of car you drive. Change cars and lay low for a while.
3. Zombie Apocalypse
Much has been said about what to do in case of a zombie apocalypse, so I know this isn’t the most original entry. But it never hurts to have a little something extra planned out.
I guess this all depends on the type of zombie we are talking about. I don’t really believe in magic, so let’s assume this is a highly-contagious virus that changes people into zombie-like creatures. Now that we have that established, I think the best preparation you can have is to stay in shape. Zombies aren’t exactly known for their speed or agility, so the best defense is to be fast and nimble. Keep a healthy supply of food and tools on hand. Food keeps you strong, and tools can often double as weapons in a pinch.
When it happens:
Stay calm. Don’t try to meet up with family or friends unless you are absolutely sure they have not been infected. Yes, family is important, but do you really want NOBODY from your family to survive? Also, despite what may seem to be a great idea, don’t go to the gun store. Of all the places to try and get supplies, the gun store is probably the worst idea. Don’t you think the owner is prepared (and willing) to defend his store? Don’t go to the grocery store, there will be a lot of people there trying to get supplies. Where there are lots of people, there are lots of germs. The goal here isn’t to kill as many zombies as possible, it is survival.
Head north; go slowly. Zombies are not prized for their intelligence, and the further north you go, the colder it will get. Get far enough north and the zombies will turn into meatsicles. Of course, you will need winter clothes for you to survive, but zombies just wander around waiting for brains to come their way. They will freeze as they wander around the frozen wasteland that is Canada.
2. Deserted Island Survival
Many islands that can reasonably be inhabited, are inhabited. If you end up on an island with nobody else on it, be prepared for a rough ride.
Considering that the most likely reason you will end up on a deserted island is from surviving an ocean landing from an airplane, there isn’t much you can do to prepare in terms of equipment. Know at least the basics of how to swim and dive underwater. Know several decent knots and how to make a wooden spear. Know how to make some simple traps couldn’t hurt either.
When it happens:
Let’s assume that you have survived the crash, and that you are now on the island. You are probably exhausted from your swim, and want to curl up and take a nap. Remember, without food or water to replenish you, this may be the most energy you have for a while. After you catch your breath, it would probably be a good idea to circle your island to see if there are any fresh water sources that run to the sea. Keep a lookout for food sources that are easily accessible and easy to store.
Build a shelter and get a small fire going. Try to keep the fire going and do what you can to not go crazy. Recite poetry. Write down something every day, even if it is just in the sand. Keep plenty of food and water and hope for the best. At least you won’t catch the zombie virus!
Ever since I saw Jurassic Park as a kid (I believe I saw it about 14 times in theater), I have been preparing for this.
According to the movie, the one thing velociraptors cannot due is hack computers. In real life, a general awareness of your surroundings coupled with physical fitness should be enough to keep you safe . . . for a little while.
When it happens:
For this scenario, my goal is generally to get up where the raptors cannot reach you. These guys can jump pretty high, so you need to get up high and stay there for a while. I usually see if there is some high ledge that you can get onto. Or the roof of a house. Really, they’re going to eat you no matter what, so there isn’t much you can do.
You will be dead. There is no long term.
A short while ago, Roni found a recipe for a cake that looked tremendously delicious. We knew we had to try it. It was for a chocolate pumpkin cake (original recipe here). We both love pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and this recipe sounded like the natural extension of that love.
For those of you who don’t know, the problem is that we have neither a real oven, nor do we have a real stove. We do have, however, a toaster oven and a portable butane stove to bake and cook with. Despite our significant handicap, we decided to give the recipe a go. We were not disappointed.
So, other than carrot cake, I had never made a cake without using a boxed cake mix as a base. I was a little bit nervous that the cake would come out all wrong when we tried to make it. But, we made the batter and it was actually quite good. The pumpkin purée went into the batter, but it wasn’t as overwhelmingly PUMPKIN as I expected.
We baked the first layer, and popped in some Perry Mason to pass the time while the first layer cooled. We leveled the layer and we were both surprised at how moist and chocolaty the cake was. A definite winner! Sadly, by the time the second layer was done, the Bwun was in bed, so we couldn’t really fire up the mixer to get started on making the frosting.
However, as soon as the Bwun woke up the next morning, I started on the frosting. The frosting had a bit of cocoa powder in it; this made it wonderful and rich. The only thing I would change would be to leave out the cinnamon that the recipe calls for (It almost feels like it detracts from the rest of the cake). We put the frosting on the cake, and let the it sit in the fridge for a good long while.
The final step is what really brought this cake into perfection; we started making the ganache topping. It was very simple, and very tasty. Just a little cream, chocolate and butter, and it was ready to go!
We waited for a few minutes for the ganache to cool, and then poured it over the top of the cake and let it run down the sides. Here was the end result.
Not the prettiest looking thing we’ve ever made, but wasn’t bad for having been made in a glorified toaster! The pumpkin made the chocolate cake moist and delicious, and the combination of the sweet cream cheese/whipped cream frosting and the rich ganache made for the perfect topping. If you’re in the mood for some seasonal fun, this cake is a must try! I think it was certainly good enough to make it into our cookbook.
I was looking through my old blog posts and I found one about fads that I didn’t miss. It got me thinking about some of the awesome things from my childhood that I miss. Here my list of 7 things that made the 90s bodacious!
7. The Arcade
Yes, there are still arcades, but they don’t hold nearly the pull of the old arcades. I remember riding my 10 speed out to the local arcade to play amazing games that you couldn’t get at home. In the modern era of HD game consoles and motion controls, you would be hard pressed to find an arcade game that looks better than a game you can play at home.
6. LASER backgrounds
Who didn’t want to have the laser background for their school pictures? By the time I was in high school, your options were basically grey or blue.
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
These pizza-obsessed crime fighters occupied much of my Saturday morning routine. Have you tried watching kid cartoons these days? I’m pretty sure that the Ninja Turtles could kick Dora’s butt. I don’t even know how many of the TMNT action figures I had, but I remember being jealous of the kids that had the Turtle Van.
4. Lisa Frank
What list of awesome things from the 90s would be complete without Lisa Frank? The psychedelic stickers went on everything. Binders, shoes, bed stands. I remembered that if there was a girl you liked, you made sure she got the Lisa Frank valentine. What better way into a first grader’s heart than neon dolphins dancing over neon penguins?
3. LA Lights
High tops were all the rage back in elementary school, and LA lights were the king of high tops. These were especially cool for when you were out playing during the night. I’m pretty sure that at least once I had a sleepover just to show off my LA Lights at night.
2. Trapper Keeper
I’m almost positive that every single kid in my class had a Trapper Keeper. It has all sorts of pockets for pens and pencils. It was half backpack and half binder. Science cannot explain why, but putting some velcro on a binder suddenly made it awesome.
1. Slap Bracelet
Slap bracelets were the ultimate fashion accessory. I’ll never forget the day that my sister came home with a slap bracelet; it was magic. It looked straight, but then you put it on your wrist and BAM! now it is a bracelet. You could get all of the cool styles (zebra print, neon green, neon zebra print, etc.) and just swap them out as needed.
Did I miss anything?
Sometimes, we do things that don’t make sense; becoming a parent falls squarely in that category. Financially, it is probably the worst thing you can do (except that tax credit, right? right?). You spend money on clothes, diapers, education, diapers, toys, extra food, diapers and hundreds of other things that you would never have to buy otherwise. It limits where you can go, what you can do, and how you spend your time. It certainly isn’t sanitary.
That being said, becoming a father is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Now, I will be the first to admit that I would have been happy with waiting a bit longer to have kids. It was something I wanted to do, but there were other things I wanted to do first. I wanted to travel abroad with Roni. I wanted to be able to finish school, and get settled. I was convinced that there wouldn’t be any way to make ends meet. However, knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t trade being a dad now for any of those things.
There is something about seeing the Bwun or Jr. for the first time that just filled me with a love that made me want to protect and look after them at any cost. It is the greatest thing to see the Bwun return that love to me. I love that when I come home from classes, he calls out “Pa!” right when I open the door (no matter what room he is in). I love that when I leave, he begins to frantically search for his shoes so he can come too. I love that he will run up to me just to give me a hug. I love that I can say “where’s my smooch??” and he will come over and give me a kiss on the cheek. I love that I can tell him that he’s my guy, and he said “yeah. guys.”
Being a parent this past 1 year 8 months and 17 days has taught me more about life than any of those other experiences could have. Yes, it means we can’t go out whenever we want. Yes, it is pretty much the reason that for 2 years we haven’t seen a movie in the theater. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
tl;dr- being a parent is the best!