Welcome Summer in with Roasted Berries Ice Cream

Roasted Berries Ice Cream


And here in San Diego, it came in full force today with a whomping 105 degree weather! Can you imagine what it’ll be like in July?!?

Luckily, I know of very few better ways to beat the heat than with lots and lots of ice cream. So this month I partnered again with our buddies at Safest Choice® Eggs  to whip up an ice cream that was an ode to SummerRoasted Berries.

Berries Ice Cream

Have you ever roasted berries? If not, please do so STAT because it’s a game changer! The berries become so wonderfully intensified in flavor and can be used in so many different ways. Over cakes, with yogurt, on top of meringues and in this case–in ice cream.

I chose strawberries and blackberries this time around but really, you could use any berry that tickles your fancy.

Roasted Berries Ice Cream3

Never attempted homemade ice cream before? No worries! It’s all quite simple and if you’ve got a trusty ice cream machine, it’s a breeze!

Head on over to Safest Choice® Eggs  to read my ice cream post this month and while you’re at it, click here for the recipe.

We’re ready for you Summer!!!



The Pacific Northwest and East Asia Blend at Family Dinner

April 2016 Fam Din
We’ve got two birthday boys in April — Lucas and Curtis! And as Family Dinner protocol dictates, when it’s your birthmonth, you call the theme for the menu.

Now with our Lucasaurus, he’s pretty laid back. If there’s something yummy and he gets ice cream at the end, well–he’s all set. So it was up to my BIL, Curtis, to give us some direction.

April 2016 Fam Din
is all about seafood and generally loves Japanese cuisine. He mentioned that he wanted crab and the next thing I knew it, we were in crab boil planning mode. We’ve done crab Boils quite often. Remember this time? Or how about this time?

Can you blame us? Seafood boils are freaking D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!!

But this time, since we wanted to use dungeness crab (they’re back in season–YAHOO!), we thought we’d take a different spin. We ditched our beloved spicy Cajun seasoning packets and headed for the Pacific Northwest for inspiration.

April 2016 Family Dinner
But first–one small order of business.

A few months ago, we decided that while we were prepping/cooking/enjoying Fam Din, everyone would stay off their cellphones or tablets and spend some QT with each other. Only exception? You could use it briefly to snap pics of food or family.

The girls even made a sign for our “docking” station that would rotate from house to house each month.

April 2016 Fam Din
So what did we do while off our phones?

We play tennis of of course! Well….Wii Sports but that’s nearly as good.

The pics below may not be as clear as I’d like but I love them. Look at their intense facial expressions.


April 2016 Fam Din
Speaking of GAME ON–check out Lucasaurus. One moment he’s all “sweet face” and the next “100% slugger”.

He’s such a playah’ that he even squeezed in a fast T-Ball game with the homies before dinner was ready.


April 2016 Fam Din
And what did my seestrahs and I do in between the cooking?

Drank some draannnnkkks of course!

Our cocktail of choice was a concoction that seester T had with her friends one night – Pomegranate Soju with Sparkling Korean Grapefruit Rice Brew.

What does a “sparkling rice brew” taste like? Think of a less sweet, more carbonated wine cooler but a gazillion times better. The whole thing was floral, fruity, and went down dangerously smooth.

April 2016 Fam Din
At this point, you may be wondering how this cocktail fits the Pacific Northwest theme.

Well…..that’s where the East Asia meets the Pacific Northwest. At least, the first time for the night.

April 2016 Fam Din
Oh–and of course we took a minute or two to snap a few pics.

April 2016 Fam Din


April 2016 Fam Din
Meanwhile, Lucas had come back from his game, showered and then decided to show his uncle some of his badass roundhouse kicks.

Did I mention our little man just passed his Tae Kwon Do black back examination?

Yeah…I keep him around as my personal security these days.

April 2016 Fam Din
Then at some point throughout the shenanigans, big sis whipped out some appetizers – Shrimp Crostinis!!

April 2016 Fam Din
And then we got down to some serious cooking.

How serious?

So serious we had to break out the step stools.


April 2016 Fam Din
And then the girls started getting all kinds of silly.

Not sure if they were getting hypoglycemic from all the waiting or if it’s just their true nature.

You’re right….. it’s the Aliens.

April 2016 Fam Din

Grab the bibs, refill the drinks, plunk yourselves down in a chair because it was finally DINNER TIME!!!

April 2016 Fam Din
Sweet dungeness crab, prawns, clams, corn, new potatoes and crusty bread. The “boil” was made from crab stock, lemons, garlic and an insane amount of fennel and coriander seeds. Very, very aromatic.

Oh–and tons, and I mean TONS of garlic butter to dip it all in.


April 2016 Fam Din
And you bet we sure as heck did! Totally natural–birthday celebrations and all.

Though no matter how full we are, there must be dessert! And with two birthday boys, we had to have TWO desserts. One made specifically for each of boys’ favorite flavors.

April 2016 Fam Din
With Curtis, we went for the East Asian flavors because the man loves him some green tea! And after all these years, it’s become quite the challenge to make him a different green tea dessert. We’ve done Matcha Green Tea Icebox Cheesecake, Green Tea Souffles, and Matcha Green Tea Layered Cake filled with Matcha Mousse and the list goes on and on.

Hey–at least he’s consistent.

April 2016 Fam Din
So after squeezing my brain to the core, I decided to make him a Green Tea Tiramisu–also known as a Matchamisu!

I used this recipe to make the fantastically easy and light dessert. I took packaged lady finger cookies and dipped them in a mixture of honey and a strongly brewed green tea. It was then layered with a fluffy filling of whipped mascarpone cheese, egg yolks, sugar, clouds of whipped cream and of course, matcha powder.

Oh! Did I mention that I threw in a few splashes of Grand Marnier? It is a type of tiramisu after all.

April 2016 Fam Din
It was a WINNER!

Not only was it crazy easy to pull together but it was so well flavored and light. Birthday boy gave me the stamp of approval! So much in fact, that I’m making a bunch of individual sized Matchamisus for his big birthday bash this weekend.


Better start thinking about his next year’s green tea dessert!

April 2016 Fam Din
As for Lucas’ dessert – my nephew being MY nephew, LOVES ice cream — mint chocolate chip ice cream. And like me, if it’s isn’t green mint chip then we want nothing to do with it.

So as a nod to the “Pacific Northwest”, I made our little guy a Baked Alaska — something I’ve never attempted before. And guess what? It was really easy too!

First off, I used store bought ice cream (I know, I know–but I was short on time!) and let it set out for about 30-45 minutes to soften. I lined a large metal bowl with plastic wrap (for easy removal) and packed the ice cream in it. Then, I pressed a layer of brownie on top to form the base.

Lukey doesn’t like cake—we’re all a work in progress.

April 2016 Fam Din
I covered the top with more plastic wrap and then let the whole thing freeze for several hours. When it was about time to serve, I took the bowl out of the freezer and set it on the counter while we got to making the meringue.

In a stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment, I whisked up 2 large egg whites, 1/2 cup sugar, 1-2 pinches cream of tartar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and until stiff peaks formed.

We then inverted the bowl onto a plate, piped meringue rosettes all over and then brought out the torch.

April 2016 Fam Din
Most Baked Alaskas, well—are baked. But instead of placing the whole thing in a high heat oven, I opted to use a kitchen torch. I felt more comfortable with this method for a more even browning.

I think it all came out beautifully well. Fluffy-marshamllowly meringue, VERY green ice cream and a chocolately brownie base.

April 2016 Fam Din
It got a thumbs up from this adorable birthday boy….

And if you follow me on Instagram, then you would have saw a video of Lucas face planting into his dessert plate–on his own volition!!!

Silly boy.

April 2016 Fam Din
Another delish and FUN Family Dinner in the books!

Happy Birthmonth Curtis and Lucas!


This Month’s Family Dinner Menu
Pacific Northwest – East Asian

Cocktails: Pomegranate Soju with Sparkling Korean Grapefruit Rice Brew
Appetizers: Shrimp Crostini
Entrees: Pacific Northwest Dungeness Crab Boil with Prawns, Clams, Sausage, Potatoes & Corn
Sides: Toasted Ciabatta and French Bread
Dessert: Matcha Tiramisu and Baked Alaska with Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream and Brownie Base

Almond Joy Milkshakes

Almond Joy Milkshakes

It’s been really hot these past few days.

How hot you ask?

HELLA hot.

Darn too hot to cook or even warm up food. So instead, I opted to make milkshakes for dinner the other night.

Almond Joy Milkshakes

I rummaged through the freezer and found some chocolate and coconut ice creams which I threw in the blender with some other goodies. And some how, I inadvertently made the most delicious milkshake with the flavors of Almond Joy. ‘Cause….

Sometimes you feel like a nut…
Sometimes you don’t…..

It was decadently yummy and helped keep me cool during the .5 seconds it took me to inhale the whole thing.

I love it when I make delish things by accidents.


Almond Joy Milkshakes
Serves 1


1 heaping scoop chocolate ice cream
1 heaping scoop coconut ice cream
½ cup almond milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon coconut extract
1 ounce creme de cacao (optional)
2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes
1 teaspoon toasted almond slices
1 teaspoon cacao nibs or chocolate chunks

In a blender, add both ice creams, almond milk, both extracts, creme de cacao (if using) and 1½ tablespoons coconut flakes. Blend until the shake is smooth and frothy. Pour the contents into a glass and sprinkle the top with the remaining coconut flakes, almond slices and cacao nibs (or chocolate).




Macadamia-Java-Chip Ice Cream for King’s Hawaiian

Macadamia-Java-Chip Ice Cream

I scream, You scream…

We all scream for Ice Cream!

With Summer in full effect, the heat has been blazing here in Southern California. Somewhat uncomfortable at times but it’s the perfect Ice Cream weather!

Channeling the flavors of the islands, I put together this onolicious Macadamia-Java-Chip Ice Cream for the King’s Hawaiian O’hana. The recipe is quite simple to pull together and is packed full of the balanced island flavors of coffee, chocolate, and rich macadamia nuts. Click here to find my post and recipe for the KH O’hana as this is the perfect way to end the week.

Happy Aloha Friday Friends!!!

Boozy Mint Chip Shakes — Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Boozy Mint Chip Shakes

Need something green to help you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Well you’re in luck because I’ve got a super green, super delish and super boozy shake for you.

Boozy Mint Chip Shakes

Tons of mint chocolate chip ice cream blended with Baileys Mint Chocolate Irish Cream and topped with swirls of mint flavored whipped cream. Green, minty deliciousness!



Boozy Mint Chip Shakes
Serves 2


Mint Flavored Whipped Cream
½ cup chilled heavy cream
½ tablespoon sugar
2 drops mint extract

2 heaping cups mint chocolate chip ice cream
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon malt powder
2½ ounces Baileys Mint Chocolate Irish Cream
1-2 drops green food color (optional)

Prepare the whipped cream. Using a standing mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment, whip the chilled heavy cream on high until it just holds stiff peaks. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar until you reach a thick consistency. Add in the mint extract and whip until combined.

In a blender, combine ice cream, milk, malt powder, Irish cream and food color (optional). Blend until the mixture is smooth and combined.

Pour the shake into two chilled glasses and top with swirls of whipped cream. Add sprinkles and enjoy!

Godiva Coffee-Chip Ice Cream

Godiva Coffee-Chip Ice Cream

It’s no secret that I began drinking coffee at an early age…..like at 11 or 12.

But before you judge my upbringing, you’ve got to remember that I’m Vietnamese and cà phê (Vietnamese Coffee) practically runs in our veins. Well, that and nước mắm (fish sauce) of course🙂

Godiva Coffee-Chip Ice Cream

So you can imagine my delight when a box arrived at my door with a few bags of Godiva’s new line of coffee to play around with. There were so may different routes I could have gone with but since July was National Ice Cream month, I decided to make a coffee flavored ice cream using Godiva Chocolate Truffle Coffee.   And of course, adding in chocolate was a must!

The end results were AH-MAY-ZING! The coffee flavor was the star but the chocolate shards were such great little bits of surprises throughout the whole thing.

And you want to know a secret?

I didn’t even use an ice cream machine to make this! Yup….totally old school! Thanks to David Lebovitz, all you need to make your own homemade ice cream is a few ingredients, a cold freezer, and a little patience.


And if you’re looking to make an adult version of this ice cream, throw in some Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur! Because after all, why the heck not?🙂


Godiva Coffee-Chip Ice Cream
Makes approximately 1 Quart


1½ Cups Whole Milk
1½ Cups Heavy Cream
3 Large Egg Yolks
2 Large Eggs
½ Cup Sugar
½ Cup Strongly Brewed Coffee (I used Godiva Chocolate Truffle Coffee)
1 Teaspoon Instant Espresso
5 Ounces Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 Cup Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur (optional)

Dissolve the espresso into the brewed coffee. Allow the coffee to cool to room temperature.

In a mixing stand, whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl for 2 minutes until its pale yellow in color. Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan until it is near-boiling and turn off heat. Turn the mixer on medium-high and gradually drizzle in ½ of the hot milk/cream into the egg mixture. Once the mixture has been tempered and combined, pour it back into the saucepan with the remaining milk/cream. Heat medium low, stirring constantly, for a few more minutes or until the consistency is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon when dipped in. Turn off heat. Whisk in the coffee/espresso and Baileys (if using). Pour the custard base into a bowl and chill over an ice bath.

Once the custard has chilled, pour it into a glass baking dish and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. Pull out of the freezer and use a rubber spatula to vigorously stir the mixture, breaking up any frozen bits. Place back in the freezer and continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously as it’s freezing.

When the custard is nearly frozen, take the chocolate and heat over a water bath. Take out the dish and drizzle the chocolate over the top of the custard. The chocolate should harden fairly quick and use the rubber spatula to break it up into small pieces. Transfer the ice cream to a covered storage container until ready to serve.

*If using machine, add the chilled custard base into the machine and follow manufacturer’s directions.

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received Godiva Coffee. However, all views and opinions expressed here are my own.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry Ice Cream

Have I ever mentioned that I’m the youngest of 5?

Over the years, it’s really had its perks. Don’t let people tell you otherwise.🙂

Sure, I’ve had my share of hand-me-downs. But by the time my parents got to me, they were way too worn out by my sibs…..so admittedly, I had it MUCH easier than them. My grandparents babied me and in fact, even my elder sibs were known to indulge me from time to time.

When I was in kindergarten, my sis P, would often meet me at my bus stop to walk me home. And on some occasions, she would make a pit stop at Dairy Queen on our way home to indulge me in some VERY special treats. I would fluctuate between ordering a Lime Mister Misty Float—a Peanut Buster Parfait-–or even a simple Dipped Cone. All of them were amazing delights!

Strawberry Ice Cream

So when I began making a Strawberry Ice Cream the other day (due to our excess of berries from Tanaka Farms), my sis P said the house smelled like Dairy Queen.

Quite the compliment, if I do say myself.

Sweet. Tangy. Fragrant.

Just how strawberries should smell.

And the end result tasted even better than it smelled. Creamy and packed FULL of berry flavor. Due to our super fresh berries, I even halved the amount of sugar in the recipe. But if you find that your berries are slightly lacking in punch—by all means, go the full amount.

In my opinion, iconic desserts like this should always evoke childhood memories. But I do wonder, did Dairy Queen put vodka in their ice creams too?🙂


Strawberry Ice Cream
From America’s Test Kitchen


1 ½ Cups Heavy Cream
1 ¼ Cups Whole Milk
1 Cup Sugar
6 Whole Egg Yolks
1 Quart Strawberries, hulled and sliced
Pinch of Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Vodka

Set a fine mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl and set the bowl over a large container of ice water. Heat the cream, milk, and ¼ cup sugar in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, until steam appears and the liquid is hot (175 degrees) about 5 minutes.

When the milk mixture is hot, in a separate bowl, whisk the yolks and remaining ¼ cup of sugar together until smooth. Slowly whisk about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture (temper) into the yolks. Then slowly whisk the tempered yolk mixture back into the remaining hot milk mixture. Continue to cook the custard mixture over medium heat until it is very hot but not simmering (180-185 degrees).

Strain the custard mixture into the bowl set in the ice bath and let cool, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Remove the custard mixture from the ice bath, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours.

Meanwhile, bring the strawberries, salt, and remaining sugar to a simmer in a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, smashing the berries slightly, until they have released their juices and are broken down, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until needed.

Strain the berry mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Stir the strained juices, vanilla, and lemon into the chilled custard mixture. Pour the mixture into the ice cream canister and churn following the manufacturers instructions until the mixture resembles soft served ice cream. Toss the strained strawberries with the vodka and add to the machine when there is about 2 minutes remaining before the churning is complete.

Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and press plastic wrap against the surface. Cover the container and freeze the ice cream until it is firm—about 3 hours.