Ice Cream Test Kitchen: Hugsberry Lime

The story goes that T-Rex (of Dinosaur Comics fame) mentioned an imaginary flavor of ice cream in a comic strip and then I decided to make it for real. Sound familiar? Oh yeah, that's where the idea for MIX came from! This is what I do now I guess. I started a comics convention because of a fanciful travelogue and now ice cream because of a talking dinosaur.

Anyway, it was fun to start with a name and then create an ice cream to match! A challenge of the imagination. I decided to use a base of lime ice cream and swirl (or "hug") that with a berry sauce. After strenuous research I settled on this custard key lime recipe and strawberry swirl. Here is how to make the hugsberry sauce:
  • 2 cups fresh hugsberries (or frozen hugsberries, thawed)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine ingredients and wait until sugar dissolves and juices form, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) After churning the ice cream, layer it with the sauce before freezing.

VERDICT: tasty times!

Daddy Drinks: Ginger

Your three step plan for weekend success:
  1. Make ginger syrup.
  2. Make ginger candy. Optional but stupidly easy, so why not?
  3. Use the syrup in everything! You are a winner!


This morning after feeding the chickens I saw what looked like a white grasshopper on the ground. Was it an albino? Is there even such a thing as an albino insect? (conclusion: maybe?) Then I saw a second one and decided that they were nymph grasshoppers.

They are white because of a recent molt and "may remain white in color until adulthood," according to Neat! I don't usually kill insects unless I'm commanded to, but I wish I would have tried to nab one. Our chickens would have loved it as a crunchy snack!

UPDATE: I did and they did!

Around the Farm

Hosta are blooming. It was actually these flowers that put me in mind of Hanafuda last weekend. Very simple but very pretty.

We have eggs again! I got out of the habit of checking the nesting box but I peeked in on Sunday and found four pretty brown eggs just waiting to be harvested. What a fun surprise!

I tried to get a non-blurry photo of our pullets but that wasn't happening. They are always on the go! Also they like to travel in a pack.

Peppers are destined for salsa. All eight plants survived and are fruiting; four bell and four chili pepper varieties. The real trick to country gardening is growing things that the wild animals won't eat. They seem to be leaving these well enough alone.

Cucumbers are coming in strong. We are going to pickle them. In the meantime we're putting cukes in everything, or just eating them raw, or infusing vodka with them!

Green tomatoes. One of our three bushes tried to immediately produce fruits and then gave up the ghost. The two remaining bushes are incredibly lush.

Pumpkins are spreading! I think we have had more hits than misses with the garden this year. Still figuring out what works and improving the system. See you next time!

Ice Cream Test Kitchen: Blacknilla Swirl

This recipe is based on one of my favorite boxed ice creams that we bought one time. It's a blackberry/vanilla swirl with big chocolate chunks. It would be hard to mess up and it turned out pretty delicious.

First I made a blackberry reduction with an entire package of frozen berries. The chunks I strained out and just kept the rich syrup. Then I made a full batch of vanilla ice cream and added the blackberry juice to one half of it. I churned them separately, added two roughly chopped Hershey bars, and folded everything together before freezing.

The big disappointment was my thrift store Gelato maker. I used it once before and while it technically "works" (turns on, spins mixer) it doesn't exactly churn the ice cream. Hoping that was a fluke, I tried again this time with the same results. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, you're going in the $1 box at our next garage sale.

Ginger (f)ale

Today started off well. I took Natalie for a ride in the bike trailer, then we visited my parents for play time, with a side trip to their office at the airport. It was after we returned home and Jenna was putting Natalie down for her nap when I realized something horrible. I had forgotten to pick up my free Twins tickets from work for the game that was starting in two hours.

I made some quick calls but it was too late. I screwed up. I was really sad for a while. Then I decided to stop being sad, and start being awesome.

I started by breaking out the ginger syrup I prepared last night and pouring myself a Big Ginger. Properly fueled with awesomesauce, I enlisted Natalie's help mixing batter for chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese fillings. Jenna made pizza from scratch and I topped my half with bell pepper fresh from the garden and mushrooms tossed in olive oil. Day: salvaged!

Sad Dads magazine

I just renewed my subscription.

Projects I have made: hand-drawn Hanafuda deck

Five years ago I illustrated a full deck of Japanese Hanafuda playing cards. Here are all 50 of the cards, sorted by suit. There's way more information on my old blog; just start here. Or you can play Koi-Koi online!


Eulalia (Pampas Grass)











Blank, Tengu, Napoleon
(card back)