Cookie & Cream & Mint Milkshake from Awesome on 20

Cookies and Cream and Mint Milkshake

Cookie & Cream & Mint Milkshake from Awesome on 20

Two of the things we love most in this house are animals and ice cream. They’re connected. Just give me a second.

My almost teenage daughter is with us for the month, and I’ve sort of let her take over the blog a bit, at least when it comes to picking recipes. Loco moco? Yeah, that was her idea. And today she wanted cookies and cream milkshakes with mint chocolate chip ice cream. She’s my baby. She can have whatever she wants. Sort of.

Here’s the catch. We’ve been trying to reduce our use of palm oil in this house. Like with most things, I’m not puritanical about it. I try to take a balanced approach, and I do my best to avoid it. 

See, palm oil is grown and harvested in delicate ecosystems in the tropics, like Indonesia and Malaysia. The fields that are cleared to grow palm oil are home to many endangered species including orangutans and Sumatran tigers. Palm oil production threatens their habitats and makes them vulnerable to poachers. Every time we buy products with palm oil, we are contributing to that destruction. 

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Okay, that was kind of a bummer, but there’s a touch more bad news. Most commercial cookies found in your grocery store aisles, including Oreos, which I love, are made with palm oil. So, we set out on a mission to find palm oil-free cookies. This took us to whole foods, where after reading a few labels we were successful in finding cookies at a reasonable price, about four dollars. What a relief!

We tossed about five cookies in the food processor with some milk, crushed them to smithereens, and then let them hang out for a couple of minutes to soften up. Then we threw some minty green ice cream into the mix, gave it a buzz, topped it with fresh, sweetened whipped cream, and of course, sprinkles. Almost teenage girls don’t eat anything without sprinkles.

Cookie & Cream & Mint Milkshake from Awesome on 20

We struggle to make ends meet in this house, which means that organic sustainable food can sometimes seem out of reach. But a bit of extra effort can sometimes lead to pleasant surprises. I love it when ethics come in the form of cookies.  Cookies which turn into milkshakes that taste awesome and save cute animals are the awesomest!

Cookies and Cream and Mint Milkshake
Serves 1
A milkshake loaded with cookies, chocolate chips, and a cool mint punch
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 chocolate sandwich cookies
  2. 1/4 cup milk
  3. 2 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream (Trust your eyes and make it as thick as you like)
  4. Whipped cream
  5. Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Put five cookies into your food processor or blender with the milk and pulse until the cookies are smashed up.
  2. Leave the cookie mixture to soak up the milk for a few minutes. This might be a good time to whip your own cream by hand, if you're into that sort of thing.
  3. Add the ice cream and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the milkshake into a tall glass and top with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cookie.
  5. Put a straw in that baby and try not to implode your face. Or just eat it with a spoon. That's what I'd do.
Notes
  1. This would also be totally awesome with a shot of creme de menthe liqueur and maybe some Bailey's or Kahlua. Whatever you have on hand. Obviously, not for almost teenagers.
Adapted from Food Network
Adapted from Food Network
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Loco Moco from Awesome on 20
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Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

Loco Moco

Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

Honolulu is one of the most diverse cities in the world. We have a huge Asian population, mostly Japanese, plus constantly rotating military families. Throw in the Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans, and other Polynesians, along with us regular haoles (technically, I’m hapa, or part Hawaiian) and you’ve got yourself one serious melting pot of awesome.

Also awesome is the fact that Hawaiians love to eat. Growing up, I remember my Hawaiian grandmother’s house felt like one constant party. It seemed like there were always visitors playing music and cooking and enjoying plenty of food. Out here in the middle of the ocean, comfort food is taken to a whole new level. All those different influences combine for some unusual, but very tasty dishes.

Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

Today, at my daughter’s request, we’re sharing loco moco. She helped me make it, and gleefully wolfed down almost this entire portion by herself. This dish can be found at just about every local eatery on the island. It may not be sophisticated, but it’s for real. You’ve got to try it.

Loco moco is simple and delicious. It starts with a bed of white rice, topped with a juicy hamburger steak, a sunny side up egg, and enough gravy to drown the entire thing. Truthfully, I held back on the gravy a bit to make the photo a bit more pretty, but that’s not what loco moco is about.

Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

This is what the locals call ono grinds. It’s not fancy. You could try to make it healthy. You could try to make it snobby. But I think that if you mess with a good thing, screw with tradition, then maybe you’ve created something else all together. It might still be good, but is it still loco moco? 

Loco Moco from Awesome on 20

Loco moco should be dirty, greasy, down home, made with aloha, and probably eaten on styrofoam. Try to avoid the last bit if you can. It won’t be easy. Unless you make it at home, which you should. It’s dead easy and kind of amazing. It might even make you a better ukulele player. I haven’t tested that theory.

Loco Moco
Serves 4
A local Hawaiian favorite of rice, hamburger, egg, and gravy. Ono kine grindz!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
For the rice
  1. 2 cups white rice
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
For the hamburger steaks
  1. 1 pound ground beef
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  4. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  6. 2 tablespoons green onions, the white parts only, finely sliced (or scissored)
  7. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  8. 1 tablespoon oil
For the gravy
  1. fat from cooked burgers
  2. 1 to 2 tablespoons flour
  3. 1 to 1-1/2 cups beef stock
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
For the egg
  1. 1 tablespoon butter
  2. 4 eggs
  3. Green onions, the green parts, thinly sliced (or scissored)
For the rice
  1. In a medium pan with a tight fitting lid, bring four cups of water to a boil, then add salt.
  2. Stir in rice, put the lid on, and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to continue steaming for five minutes or until water is absorbed.
  4. Or just put it in the rice cooker if you are awesome enough to have one of those. I don't.
  5. When it's ready, divide the rice between four plates so it's ready to have juicy hamburger steaks placed on top.
For the hamburger steaks
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine beef, seasonings, soy sauce, onions, and egg. Work quickly with your hands and try not to handle it excessively.
  2. Form into four patties.
  3. Add oil to a large skillet and heat to medium high. Cook patties about 4 minutes a side or to desired doneness. Just make sure you get some good browning on the outside.
  4. Place a hamburger steak atop each mound of rice so that the juices will soak into the rice. Don't waste the flavor.
For the gravy
  1. First, remember that gravy making is as much an art as a science, so go with your gut and adjust as needed for your conditions. Everybody likes it a little different. Do what you love.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low on the remaining fat and delicious bits in your skillet. Sprinkle flour over the fat, just enough to absorb the fat and create a paste. Cook for a few minutes until the flour mixture turns brown.
  3. Add stock about a quarter cup at a time, stirring well to remove lumps. Also make sure you scrape up any bits off the bottom of the pan. They are full of flavor. Keep adding liquid until you get your favorite consistency and season to taste.
For the egg
  1. Add butter to a nonstick skillet and melt over medium low heat.
  2. Crack you eggs into the pan and season with salt and pepper if desired. Cook slowly until whites are just set.
Assembly
  1. Rice goes on the bottom.
  2. Put your hamburger steak on top right out of the pan to catch all the juices.
  3. You can put the egg or gravy on next, it doesn't matter. Just don't skimp on the gravy. (Unless you're crazy and want to take your food's photo)
  4. Scatter green onions over the top.
  5. Dig in and live the aloha.
Notes
  1. This recipe serves four normal humans or two big Hawaiians. It's easily scalable for a small family or a big gathering.
Adapted from Big Island Grinds
Adapted from Big Island Grinds
http://awesomeon20.com/
Bluenami Burger at Islands

Burgerology: Island’s Fine Burgers

Welcome back to Burgerology: Today we’re checking out Island’sFine  Burgers in Ala Moana Center. 

Islands Fine Burgers and Drinks at Ala Moana Center, Honolulu

We often leave the house with the best of intentions, but we usually end up eating something we shouldn’t before we can make it back home. When Mai Tai bar is full, it’s just too tempting to walk twenty yards to Islands Burgers. Before you know it, what was supposed to be a quick drink after work turns into a huge burger and fries.

Bluenami Burger at Islands

This place is in a mall, so it’s not the hippest, but it’s located on the upper level, and they have an open air lanai. The bar across the “hall” has live music on the weekends, so you can get a table and still watch the band while you eat your dinner. The staff has always been quite friendly, and the food comes out on time; not exceptionally fast, but not slow either. Just baby bear. 

Mangorita at IslandsMangorita at Islands

They have a nice cocktail selection, and they’re pretty expensive, but not the most expensive I’ve seen. There’s a good choice of drinks for under $8. This time I had the mangorita. It was delicious, and huge. There was no need to order a second round. The sweet and slightly tart mango puree complimented the Suaza tequila perfectly. It’s one of the nicest margaritas I’ve ever had. And when our bill came, it was magically a dollar cheaper then what was listed in the menu. I don’t know why, and I didn’t ask. Just in case.

Bluenami Burger at IslandsBluenami Burger at Islands

I ordered the Bluenami burger, which had blue cheese dressing and crumbles. My burger was cooked precisely to my specifications and still nice and juicy. It was a bit skimpy on the blue cheese, and I thought the wheat bun was perhaps a bit too heavy. Maybe I’ll try a white bun next time. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t make me sing. I give it a B. I did love that I could order macaroni salad instead of French fries. For some strange reason, I absolutely love mac salad, and even though I wasn’t really hungry anymore, I couldn’t stop myself from eating it.

Kilauea Burger from Islands

Geoff ordered the Kilauea burger, which was loaded with black pepper. He reports that he thought the black pepper was perhaps overkill, as that’s all he could really taste. He really liked his fries, which had a hint of garlic and still had the skin on.

This is definitely a date night, visit occasionally sort of place. The burgers are in the $12-$15 range, and the drinks start at around $6 for beer and $8 for cocktails. If you get there after 3:00 try and get a seat in the bar area. It’s happy hour from 3:00 ’til close in that section, and you can get drinks and appetizers on special for around $5. This makes the restaurant much easier on the wallet.

Kilauea Burger from Islands

I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here again, but if it was convenient, and I was hungry, I’d definitely stop in. It’s good, but not great.

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