Summer Homemade Ice Cream- Fresh Mint


Summer is coming to an end, but that’s okay because I got an ice cream maker! My wonderful co-worker, Charlotte, gave me this amazing Cuisinart Ice-20 machine. Oh the possibilities of ice cream flavors are endless! And have I mentioned how much I love ice cream! Of course being impatient, I’ve made a few rookie mistakes like not having pureed my fruit thoroughly, resulting in icy bits of fruit. And for best results, the canister should be completely frozen.

So excited to get started, I purchased the book Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. I made two desserts from her book and both came out excellent! This mint ice cream has a very strong, fresh herb flavor. It may seem a bit weird being that has an earthy and even grassy taste. However, I find the ice cream to be quite refreshing for the summer. It is best to mix in small bits of chocolate to balance the strong mint. I do really enjoy this mint ice cream and will make it again!


Backyard Mint Ice Cream
Recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

2 cups whole milk
1 Tb + 1 tsp cornstarch
3 Tb cream cheese, soften
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tb light corn syrup
A large handful of fresh mint
2 trays of ice cubes
Optional: chocolate bits


1. Mix 2 Tb milk with cornstarch to make a slurry.
2. Whisk cream cheese and salt in medium bowl until smooth.
3. In a saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup and bring to a rolling boil over med-high heat. Boil for 4 more minutes.
4. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in slurry. Bring mixture back to boil and stir until slightly thicken, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
5. Gradually whisk the hot mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.
6. Roughly tear the mint leaves into small pieces and add to the mixture.
7. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
8. Pour the ice cream mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge into the ice bath. Let stand until cold, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate to steep for 4 to 12 hours.
9. Strain out the mint leaves.
10. Pour ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy, about 25 minutes. Add chocolate into the mix during the last 5 minutes.
11. Pack ice cream into storage container and put in freezer until firm. Makes about 1 quart.




Updates plus coconuts

Yes it’s been a long time… finally feeling some urge to blog again. So what have I’ve been up to these couple of months? Short answer : work. Business is doing well, which means busy. My company Ipomoea Films have increased our number of engagement sessions and weddings this year. Thankful for the word of mouth and people liking our work:) We’re attending lots of fun events and then editing, editing, and more editing! Whenever there is a break, I really become a lazy couch potato… One bad news is my Bumbe bike got stolen. I am really sad my personalized bike and birthday gift from Yip is gone:( I’ve been riding it everyday to work for the last 4 years… But the happiest news of all, is my closest friend recently gave birth to her first baby. It’s a boy!

Now that another summer is coming to an end, I’d like to share with you my favorite treat this season, COCONUT!  Coconut water is a great refresher and feel so tropical too! We brought 2 cases of young coconuts to help us manage this crazy heat.

On my moodest day this summer, Yip made this wonderful dessert! It tastes extra creamy when you scoop up the coconut meat with the ice cream.

Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Honey Pecans in a Coconut Shell

Art Show + Ice Cream on Top

Last weekend, I went to the Meridian Interns Program (MIP) reunion show’s opening reception at Meridian Gallery. When I was in high school, I worked at this non-profit art gallery, located in downtown San Francisco. For this year’s reunion show, alumni interns were asked to submit their artwork, so I was really happy for the opportunity to display my work.  I submitted a painting, drawing, and a collaborative video with Yip about our business Ipomoea Films. And of course cat inspirations in all three pieces:) I got to see some friends, wonderful art work and even made a little speech! The show will up til August 20th. So check it out, if you’re in the area.

Also on our way back home that day, we stopped by Berkeley and got some ice cream at Ici! Wonderful creamy ice cream with quality ingredients you can taste. They have some creative flavors and hand rolled cones. Their shop is just cute and pretty and I love their logo.

Got the Candied Cacao Nibs! Perfect end to a great day in the city:)

(Yea I’m wearing a sweater because summer in the bay is cold.)

Happy Birthday to Yun Yun!

My cat Yun Yun is 5 years old today! To the kitty who never sit stills, sweet, curious, and always up to something: Happy Birthday! We got Yun Yun when she was 3 months old at the SPCA. She was a tiny kitty with a squishy face and beautiful colors. Yun Yun just brings a lot of amusing moments into our daily lives and is a very special member of our family. For her birthday, I made her a pink princess strawberry cake.

Cake didn’t turn out so good. It was too hot, everything just ended up melting:( The ball and string is Yun Yun’s new favorite toy.

Let’s make a wish! You’re a big kitty now 🙂

Cat Days of Summer

Another heat wave has arrived. As you know my little window AC unit is weak and I’m on the second level, so the apartment get HOT! Surprisingly, I’ve been coping quite well, with the exception of a few whining here and there. As for the cats and their furry coats, they are not enjoying this temperature at all. One good thing is that it keeps them out of trouble because all they do is lie around and be extra lazy. Yun Yun likes to sun bathe by the window, however after a while, she will jump down and completely faint, all sprawl out on the floor. Bumbe has been sleeping flat on his belly on the bathroom floor, tub, and anywhere cool (if it even exists).

Recently, Bumbe spontaneously did his helpless meows at me, voicing his complaints about the heat. Poor Bumbe, he has medium length hair and is shedding like crazy. So we decided to give him a very thorough grooming. Last month, we gave him a bath. He screamed the whole time, but was happy afterwards because he smelled so nice and clean. A couple days ago, he got a good 20 minutes of combing. This part he enjoys a lot, being pampered and massaged. Cat sure knows how to live the life! At the end, we accumulated a huge fur ball all from my tubby Bumbe. Combing all the hair away actually made him look 30% slimmer. An instant makeover! Hope that helps you cool off a bit my dear kitty:)

Having fun with the kitty wig. Check out his bouffant! What do you think? Stylish look for Bumbe 😛

How do you keep your kitties cool and comfortable during the summer?

California State Fair 2011

California State Fair is here! Our schedule has been quite busy lately and there are so much activities and editing to do. We were contemplating whether we should go or not, and I’m so glad we did! The weather this week is in its 80s, sunny and a little breezy, which is perfect for walking outdoors. What I like about the state fair in comparison to other theme parks is the variety of attractions, such as animals, rides, exhibits, live shows, competitions, and yep the FOOD! Everything is deep fried and on a stick! And there are many interesting creations too like raccoon on a stick?! By far the most scary sign I saw was “Deep Fried Butter”! Aside from the weird stuff, we saw a lot of typical carnival food like funnel cakes, cotton candy, and corn dogs. We went Friday after work and I was pretty tired from the day. But once we arrived, I was so excited about our fantastic unhealthy dinner! I got the energy to last through the night!

A very popular item at the fair is the Turkey Leg. This is a huge smoked turkey leg smothered with bbq sauce. Definitely the tastiest thing we ate at the fair: cooked perfectly, fresh, moist, and big!

I also like the Catfish on a Stick and deep-fried artichoke hearts. The Giant Blooming Onion looked like a lot of fun, but it was too greasy and there was not enough dressing.

Here’s our Cherry Icee to wash everything down!

We were pretty full and grease out, so we explored other parts of the fair. The farm animals are so cute and you can get really close up to them. People bring their best animals to the state fair for prizes.

Before we knew it, the sun was beginning to set. We spent some time at the ferris wheel, games and rides section. I love looking at  all the lights and design of the rides. Given that there was no peer pressure, I opted out on participating in being locked up in any torture spinning and scary height dropping machines. Yep I’m chicken >_<!

One thing I recommend seeing at the state fair this year is the Big Bug Exhibit. Very cool giant robotic bugs!

Even though we were having fun and relaxing on our day off, Yip wanted to do some filming. So stay tuned for some short clips!

We ended the night watching fireworks before the state fair closed.  Overall, I enjoyed all the novelties of the carnival. Food was overpriced, but expected. Had more fun this time than few years ago. Didn’t have enough time to see everything, but I’m extremely happy spending date night with my sweetie. What a fun-filled Friday night and a great start to the rest my weekend!

There is still time to go! The California State Fair runs from July 14-31, 10am-10pm at the Cal Expo in Sacramento. $12 general admission + $10 parking.

Fruit Orchard, Part 2- More fruit picking

Last week, I talked about my favorite fruit to pick, cherries. Well, I’m not done yet because there are so much more fruits at my local u-pickin’ farm, Impossible Acres. They are open for picking all summer long!

Let me explain how it works: when you arrive, there is a front stand where you ask for boxes to put your fruits in. Then you may go ahead and pick any fruits and veggies you like. When you are done having fun, bring your crops back to the front stand and just pay for what you pick! The average price is $2-3 per pound, depending on the type of fruits. There is no admission fee or time limit. It is really a fun activity for family and fruit lovers, without spending a whole lot of money.

Don’t forget to wear a hat and protect yourself from the beaming sun. Even though there are lots of trees, they are not tall enough to provide enough shade.

I love the smell of peaches. White peaches are one of my favorite fruits!

Apricots trees are so pretty!

Look at all the cute name signs!

Berries are delicious!

We meet some friendly animals nearby:)

So many fruits to pick: raspberry, strawberry, and plum.

Late in the summer and fall, there are apples available for picking!

Our colorful fruits and vegetables, hand picked fresh! They are such great inspirations for cooking and baking:)

Fruit Orchard, Part 1- Cherry Picking

Sometimes I feel so lucky to be surrounded by farms. Especially this time every year, it is super convenient to pick fresh fruits. Minutes away is a fruit orchard called Impossible Acres, U-Pickin’ farm. They are a family owned farm growing a variety of fruits like cherries, peaches, apricots, plums, raspberries, blackberries. I go every year, ever since I found out there was such a place. It’s like candy theme park for me. I pick some and eat some:P

Two weeks ago, I made it just in time for cherry season. Cherries are my favorite fruit to pick and eat. Of course, not everyone is a fan of cherries, especially if you think about the artificial cherry flavored cough syrup you had when you were a kid. These cherries are absolutely the best! Fresh, sweet, and juicy! A wonderful summer fruit:) This is the last week to pick them, so go get some or pick them:)

A slice of Wendy’s delicious homemade cherry pie! Plus cherry topping vanilla ice cream :9

Happy 4th of July!

Summer’s Here

Yep, it’s finally here! This year’s weather has been bizarre. Just two weeks ago, it was raining and snowing in Northern California…in June! Now suddenly, the temperature turns to 100 degree. Yikes! Where is the in between gradual warm-up to get myself ready for the summer heat? Currently, I am roasting in my upstairs apartment. It is an old place with no central AC. The cats are not doing well in the heat too. They are laying flat and stretched out on any cool spot they can get to. Poor kitties… at least, I don’t have to wear a fur coat all year long. It is sun dresses, ice cream, and watermelons for me until fall!

Ladies, it is time to swap your LBD for a LWD.  Perfect summer outfit!