holmdelpark

Sometimes, as I’m running, I hold my head high, close my eyes, and inhale deeply. Feeling the wind blow through my hair, smelling the lingering scent of fresh blossoms in the air, and opening my eyes just once every ten seconds just so I don’t crash into a tree… man, it’s a wonderful feeling. This weekend has been good to me, and it has been filled with glorious sunshine, clear blue skies, and good company.

I recently bought a Nike Plus to track my progress in training for the half. While the progress hasn’t been what I had hoped for, it’s forced me to run everyday. Yesterday morning, I drove to Holmdel Park, resisting the urge to stop at every turn to take shots of the beautiful view. By the time I finished my run, the park was starting to get busy and families were pouring in, having picnics and playing with their dogs. I went home, showered, baked some banana bread, and got the ingredients ready for the green tea ice cream Clare and I had planned to make.

thepark!

What do you know, a couple of hours later, I was back at the park. The place was literally swarming with people who looked as if they had been deprived of sunshine for the past year. We even bought a frisbee at Sports Authority for the occasion. In between playing frisbee and tossing a lacrosse ball around, we watched the family across from us launch one of those robotic planes. It was the perfect afternoon.

plane!
HAHA! The kid on the right is like, “What the heck! Why aren’t you flying it anymore?”

Holmdel Park is one of the prettiest parks in New Jersey and it’s 565 acres of dirt, grass, and water. There’s close to 9.5 miles of hiking trails and one of them is home to one of the nation’s toughest cross country course (7th, I believe). It even has an on site farm! The only thing its missing is a lake to kayak on, but at least there’s a lake. Lately, the trees around the lake having been going into full bloom, which makes for a truly magnificent view.

clare!

Clare doesn’t go anywhere without this pillow. In fact, when it flooded awhile back, she had this in her car with the intention of sleeping in an empty parking lot. How prepared.

It was around this time that we were inspired to have a barbeque. Alex had already planned on grilling, but our excitement made it official. We were going to have a feast. Wings and green tea ice cream.

alex!
Alex got quite good at frisbee throwing…

[hungry] sheep!
But wait! I have a funny story. We spotted a sheep, which turned into like 20…

A man started walking toward the sheep with a box cradled in his arms and out of no where, a herd of sheep literally come roaming out of the barn, as if it were an exodus. Mind you, the man was at least 50 meters away and all of us had no idea what was going on, but obviously the sheep did. The man ended up having some leftover matza and I guess the sheep knew he had food. The man would throw matza at one spot and the sheep would chase after that spot. After awhile, the man looked into his box and realized that only the crumbs where left. He turned the box upside down, stuck his arm over the fence, and dumped the crumbs straight down, which all haphazardly fell onto one of the sheep’s back.

sheep!
Immediately, all of the other sheep started chasing the matza on the back of that one sheep. That sheep had no idea what was going on and started freaking out, running away with the other sheep chasing after it. It had to be one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever witnessed…

tandoori chicken
Back at Clare and Alex’s, we started preparing the grill. Alex made Chicken Tandoori, which is ridiculously better than any I’ve ever had (then again, I’ve only had it once).
chickentandoorimix
ANITHA MASALA!

He gets the spice mix from India, where he’s originally from. He mixed it with some yogurt and let the chicken marinate while we were out.

alexgrills

And then, the moment that chicken hit the grill, you could hear that sizzz. You know, that sizz that says, “I’M GOING TO TASTE SO FINGER-LICKING GOOD…” Alex then diluted the leftover sauce with a bit of water and based the chicken with it while it was cooking on the grill.

tandoori
So how do you know it’s done? Alex says the ends of the chicken (the bony part) will significantly shrink. But to fully make sure, just cut into it and see if it’s still red. If it’s slightly pink and tender, then you know it’s done. Actually, when you can see the grease bubbling on the skin, that’s also a good indication.

I almost forgot, Clare made a salad! Just thought you should know. We didn’t just douse ourselves in protein…

For the next course, Alex made wings. He had intended for them to be buffalo wings, even specifically buying Frank’s Hot Sauce, but that didn’t turn out the way he planned. Instead, it tasted like those honey wings with a slight hint of paprika. They were so good!

wings!
For the sauce, Alex mixed together butter, paprika, salt, hot sauce, and honey. That’s it!

Last but not least, what you’ve been waiting for- the recipe for green tea ice cream! This is the first time I’ve made green tea ice cream and I was quite happy with the results, or with the flavor at least… The ice cream machine got a bit warm so the churning didn’t quite work. We even transferred the mixture to another machine but we were too impatient to wait. Eventually, when we let the ice cream harden, it produced the perfect consistency.

greenteaicecream

Each bite is filled with creamy semi-sweet goodness. It was one of the best green tea ice creams I’ve had (Clare agreed)- not too bitter and not too overly processed/sweet. Be sure to use good matcha powder!

Green Tea Ice Cream
LA Times

Total time: 25 minutes, plus freezing time
Servings: Makes about 1 quart

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons matcha powder*
5 eggs
1/3 cup sugar

*Original recipe calls for regular green tea powder. Clare says that alot of the green tea powder out there is filled with sweeteners and preservatives, definitely not what you want. So if you can get your hands on matcha powder, use that.

Recipe:

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream, milk and salt to a bare simmer. Whisk in the green tea powder until dissolved. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar.

Whisp 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture to temper the eggs, then slowly pour the eggs into the saucepan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to a custard (it will be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon). Immediately remove the pan from the heat and strain the custard into a medium bowl set over a bowl of ice water. Stir the custard until it is cold.

*Upon looking back, now I realize why the ice cream didn’t freeze… We forgot to cook the mixture into a custard form and strain it. Well, I guess that just tells you how full proof this recipe is!

Freeze the custard in an ice cream maker until frozen and transfer to an airtight container and freeze until hardened.

Each one-half cup serving: 269 calories; 6 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 21 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 198 mg. cholesterol; 115 mg. sodium.

Photo du jour: Splash! I’m especially proud of this one…

Inspired by Siebe. Siebe, if you’re out there, somehow reading this, I LOVE YOUR PHOTOS! (It’s alot easier to say that on my blog and actually stalking you on flickr and telling you [which I secretly do anyway, at least the first part]).

[15/365] Starbucks Splash Co.