Hello, December 3rd.
The Big Buddha died five years ago today, and I still remember the phone call as if it were yesterday. It was 7:15 on Friday morning, and I had just gotten home from my 5:45 spin class. I never took my phone with me so had no idea anything was wrong, but in an instant my heart sunk as I saw 17 missed calls from home. It rang again in my hand, and eyes wide open, I got the news.
I left an abrupt message on the office voicemail, and booked the first flight home I could find. I remember riding the train to O’Hare, after the morning rush, thankful that no one could see the tears streaming down my face as I sat on the empty train car.
I can’t say our relationship was all roses, but Baba, as we called him, died at a time when we finally started getting close as adults, rather than as father-daughter. It makes me sad to think of what our relationship would be today and he does creep into my mind often, invading my dreams just a few nights ago.
It’s been a strange five years without him, and for my family of three so much has changed, not all of it bad. Three and a half years ago, everyone relocated to the middle, which means we’re all within driving distance rather than suffering a day of flying down to Florida. Mom is settled and retired, and Little Buddha used all the big life changes to go back to school. And strangely for all of us, December 3rd has turned into sort of a lucky day. Two years ago, I got my call for the Today Show, and it’s also the date on which Mom happened to close on her current house to start her new life. It’s a day that we all three buy lottery tickets (though, not me in Illinois, since the state is bankrupt and not currently paying out for the lotto), hoping for a little luck from our guardian angel.
As I look back on the last five years without him around, I realize that life goes on, for better or worse. However, there will always be an empty seat at the head of the table, ever so noticeable each holiday season.
To commemorate, I wanted to make a Big Buddha favorite and settled on mint chocolate chip ice cream. Boozy though, since we’re all now grown-ups.
We generally had dessert every night and ice cream was more often than not all of our poison of choice. Flavors didn’t vary too much in the Buddha household; vanilla (topped with Oh’s cereal), rocky road on occasion, or mint chocolate chip. I honestly can’t recall many others.
Because I’m not often that forward-thinking, I didn’t have time to freeze my canister so no-churn it is. Starting with a base of whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk, the recipe rounds out with dark chocolate splinters and mint liquor. So easy, and ready to eat in a few hours.
Baba would totally approve.
You’ll note that this is white rather than green because that’s what nature intended, but if you want to, feel free to add green food coloring for effect.
This will end up being rather soft given the high ABV of the liquor I chose. Not quite soft serve, but no need to heat up the ice cream scoop either. Creamy and lovely.
Let’s use dark chocolate because it’s just so much better.
Think this is good, and like boozy things? Swap out the mint liquor for some Bailey’s of Kahlua. YAH.
Another fantastic recipe twist is to pour some hot coffee over a scoop of this as an after dinner treat. Fantastical.
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (1 cup)
- 1/4 cup mint liquor (I used brancamenta)
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Slowly drizzle in the condensed milk, careful not to deflate the cream too much.
- Add the liquor and blend well. Fold in the chocolate.
- Freeze until firm, about 4 hours and enjoy!
Written after a very very long day.
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