Apartment Update and Foam Core Project Fail

The truth of this blog is that the number one post based on stats is about postcard art. I want to give the people what they want and talk more about my apartment.

apartment

But my latest project, the chalkboard fireplace, is a Monet, in the Clueless sense of the word. From this distance, everything looks great. But up close, it just didn’t work out.

fireplace

The whole thing was done on two foam core boards, which was my big mistake.

I wanted it to fit exactly in the boarded up fireplace behind it. The fireplace is so big that in order to fully fit I would have needed to piece together a lot more than the two I used. Then, despite all my measuring, I cut it wrong. Finally, the warped a lot when I painted it.

The warping is the major problem. I don’t know if a thicker foam core would have solved the problem or not. You can’t tell from the pictures, but the fireplace is in really bad shape. What I really should have done was sand it down, spakle all the holes, and repaint the whole thing, painting the chalkboard paint right onto the wall.

warped

The chalkboard part itself works well. I used about one and a half bottles of Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint from the craft store, and some cheap foam brushes. I don’t remember exactly, but I think it’s three coats of paint.

I did a little bit of measuring for the arch, but free-handed the bricks, log and fire drawing using Crayola chalk.

The reason I did it this way was because I was weary of taking on a major project when I first moved in. I’m still not sure if I want to actually repaint the fireplace white. I might try black. Or some other pop of color (yellow? blue? thoughts?). Or maybe I should take a cue from Jenna Lyons’ townhouse, which I love, and paint the wall surrounding the fireplace dark grey.

I was also didn’t want to spend a lot of time making changes I’d need to undo if I moved at the end of the year. I painted in my last place, and then had to repaint back to white when I moved a year and a half later. Now that I’ve resigned my lease on this apartment for another two years, I’m definitely going to fix the fireplace.

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The Delicious Whoppers: A Tale of Chocolate Malt Ice Cream

Sometimes, when I think about it, it makes me sad that such a stupid hamburger and such a great chocolate malt candy have almost the same name. Because one is delicious and the other isn’t. Or so I assume. I don’t think I’ve ever had a burger from a fast food place. Burgers are only good when they come from a restaurant or a BBQ. Why would you ever choose a fast food burger over chicken nuggets? Chicken nuggets are clearly superior. Wait, weren’t we talking about ice cream?

Malt and Chocolate Ice Cream

Malt Ice Cream with Chocolate Malt Ganache Swirl

Ingredients
Ice Cream

1 1/2 Cups Milk
1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
3/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Malt Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt

Ganache Swirl
1 Cup minus 1 tbsp Heavy Cream
2/3 Cup Milk
3/4 Cup Malt Powder
1 Cup Chocolate Chips

(Ganache recipe is adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes, which is an Australian blog so the measurements don’t really translate to US measurements and are all approximate)

chocolate-malt-swirl-ingredients  in_progress

Ganache instructions (make the Ganache first):

1. Put milk, heavy cream, and malt powder in a saucepan and heat until it starts to boil.
2. Put chocolate chips in a large, heat-proof bowl.
3. Pour hot liquid over chocolate chips, and stir until smoothly mixed together.
4. Put sauce in a tupperware and put in fridge (probably overnight) until chilled.

Lazy person’s ice cream instructions (aka Philadelphia Style)

1. Mix all the ingredients together. Make sure you mix until all the sugar and malt powder is dissolved.
2. Freeze in your Ice Cream Maker according to the ice cream maker’s instructions.
3. As you take the ice cream out of the ice cream maker to store, alternate scoops of ice cream with layer of ganache in your container.
4. Eat!

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Dreaming of Summer (Ale Ice Cream)

It has been bitterly, unbearably cold in New York this week, and I just want it to be summer again. To be honest, I have been ready for it to be summer again since October. I can’t decide if that makes this week’s Blue Moon Summer Ale Ice Cream a beautiful day-dream or a vicious tease. What I do know is that it is delicious.

Beer Ice cream in a bowl

I made this ice cream mainly because it’s January, and I’ve had the Blue Moon Summer Ale in my fridge since July. I live alone but don’t drink alone, so alcohol tends to linger here. Any flavor where I don’t need to go out in the cold to buy ingredients gets bumped to the top of the list.

Blue Moon Summer Ale Ice Cream

Blue Moon Beer Flavored Ice Cream

Ingredientssummer ale ice cream ingredients1 3/4 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream1 cup Blue Moon Summer Ale
2/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp cream cheese
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tbsp + 1 tsp corn starch
1 orange
1/8 tsp salt

Instructions
1. Mix together corn starch and 2 tbsp on the milk in a little bowl. Set aside.
2. Whisk together cream cheese and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
3. Squeeze orange to get orange juice (I guess you can also just use orange juice, about 2 tbsp, but I had an orange and not the juice. See earlier re: using ingredients I already had).
4. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine beer, heavy cream, milk, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil for about 4 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and mix in the corn starch-milk mixture.
6. Return to heat, and bring to a boil for about 1 minute while stirring.
7. Whisk hot mixture into cream cheese. Make sure cream cheese is completely incorporated. Add the orange juice.
8. Cool. (I usually do this in the fridge overnight.)
9. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
churn

10. Eat!
Blue Moon Beer Ice cream

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Blogger Shame: Emack & Bolio’s

I have something to admit: this blog entry has been sitting as a draft since I fell off the face of the world in 2011. So when the next sentence starts by me saying “the other day at lunch” what that really means is sometime in 2001.

The other day at lunch, I was walking around the neighborhood and saw this sign in the window of Emack & Bolio’s:

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Them’s fighting words.

One of the first types of ice cream I made after getting my ice cream maker, back before I had this blog, was pumpkin. And that may have been two years ago so I no longer remember the details of it, but homemade ice cream is almost universally better than any other type of ice cream. So, I had to try it.

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I’m just gonna say it: They were right. This ice cream is incredible.

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Forgetting My Letters and Numbers: A Tale of Greek Yogurt Ice Cream

One of the reasons I decided to start blogging again, is that it’s a great way to remember the recipes I made if I want to make them again. When I want to make mint ice cream, I don’t pull out a cookbook; I pull up this blog.

Which is all a long way of saying I don’t remember how to make any of the ice cream I made last year.

Now, it makes sense that I don’t remember how I made Orange Sherbert last January. But I made Greek Yogurt Ice Cream last October 14, and I only know that because iPhoto keeps track of your photos by date, and if it weren’t for said photo, I wouldn’t remember any of the ingredients or their measurements.

Ingredients for Greek Yogurt Ice Cream

Said photo.

Unfortunately, the photo still leaves me out of luck when it comes to corn syrup and greek yogurt measurements, unless a blob is a technical measurement for yogurt and no one told me. So the below recipe is my best guess, based off of the frozen yogurt base recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at Home.

Ingredients
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup greek yogurt (if any liquid has pooled at the top, spill it out)
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp cream cheese
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 tbsp + 1 tsp corn starch

Recipe
1. In a little bowl, mix corn starch and about three tbsps of the milk with a fork. Put aside.
2. Put the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until boiling. Let boil for ~4 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and whisk in the milk/corn starch slurry.
4. Return to stove and bring the mixture back to a boil for 1 minute, stirring the whole time.
5. Pour the hot mixture into a large bowl with the cream cheese and yogurt. Whisk until smooth.
6. Chill the mixture. I usually do this in the fridge overnight.
7. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions.
8. While the ice cream is churning, make cute labels using Greek letters and be really proud of yourself that you remember all of them from your sorority days. When you’re done realize that you got the “U” wrong and don’t remember them as well as you thought. (But the psi is such a cute letter!)

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9. Eat! (Discover that it tastes suspiciously like cheesecake, but that’s not something to complain about.)

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Hello 2013!

I bet you’re wondering what I’m doing here. “You abandoned us sometime in 2011,” you’re saying. Or possibly “I didn’t even notice you were gone.” Which works out nicely, because I’m back.

Since we spoke, I: moved (into a studio, because roommates are for suckers, or at least people who are more tolerant of other people’s messes than I am); went to Israel; threw some parties; bought a couch; made ice cream; vacationed in Savannah, GA; baked some cakes; and ate lots of ice cream. And since this is the internet, where no one believes anything without photographic evidence, here’s the proof:

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This year, I’ll be back every Friday. You can expect to see more of the homemade ice cream you’ve come to know and love, plus the addition of other baking, cooking, decorating and crafting extravaganza. See you next week!

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Coolhaus and the Problem with Ice Cream Sandwiches

The problem with ice cream sandwiches is incredibly obvious. They melt all over you; the level of gourmet-ness of the ice cream irrelevant. Which is not to say leaving the office to discover the Coolhaus Ice Cream truck parked out front wasn’t the best part of one late-September day.

Coolhaus Ice Cream Truck

Coolhaus Menu red velvet sandwichice cream sandwich ice cream sandwich

The ice cream sandwich I ate is the bottom left one. It’s vanilla ice cream with red velvet pieces and a maple-waffle white chocolate chip cookie. (If you click on the menu, you can open it large enough to read.) Everything was good. The cookies and ice cream lived up to one another.

But, don’t think I made the best choices. Despite the red velvet pieces, my ice cream was still mostly just vanilla. What I should have gotten was what my co-worker in the top right got — the red velvet cookie. It looks insane, as in insanely delicious. I think co-worker in the bottom right had the chocolate chocolate chip cookie with chocolate oreo ice cream.

You can also see Coolhaus’s creative way of trying to deal with the melt issue in these pictures. That paper on the sandwiches is edible. I ate it. It was fine. But, it did nothing to combat the melting or the sticky hands that come after. I wished I had been on my way back to my desk when I got it so that I could put the ice cream sandwich in a bowl and eat it with a spoon. But when life gives you ice cream, you don’t complain about it.

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