Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An Anniversary

I have worked for The State for 10 years.

That's 120 months.

520 weeks.

3650 days.

Or 87600 hours.

During that time I have been at work approximately 20800 hours. (I'm counting any vacation or sick or furlough time because those are things my job gives or forces on me.)

That's 960 days.

137 full weeks.

31.65 months.

Or 2.64 years.

I will retire in approximately 28.58 real years.

That's 343 months.

1486 full weeks.

10404 days.

Or 249704 hours.

Actual time working before I retire is approximately 59446.4 hours.

That's 2476.93 days.

353.85 weeks.

81.66 months.

Or 6.80 years.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

On Chocolate Chips

A few months ago I bought an ice cream maker. One that has a tub you freeze overnight before you churn. It's a good ice cream maker that's dangerous, but creates much deliciousness.

I tackled the big three right away -- vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry -- with no problems. The next on the top five list seemed easy. Make vanilla and add mini chocolate chips because big ones get too tough to chew.


Except not really.

The mini chocolate chips are easier to chew, but not by that much. Also, because the chips are frozen I couldn't really taste the chocolate.

One of the joys of chocolate is that it melts at body temperature. When it melts in your mouth is when you taste that singular flavor. Shoveling it in with frozen cream does not allow for much melt and therefore not much flavor.

Store bought chocolate chip ice cream doesn't have that problem, though. The chips melt fine and every bite is nicely balanced between the vanilla of the cream and the chocolate of the chip. What makes them chips so special?

The last time I was at the store, I looked at the ingredients of a chocolate chip ice cream: cream, sugar, blah, blah, blah, chocolate flavored chips.

Chocolate flavored chips?

Fortunately, modern ingredient lists also list the ingredients for the ingredients and I learned that chocolate flavored chips are made with bittersweet chocolate (like standard cookie chips) and coconut oil, non-hydrogenated. (In other brands it may be some other kind of oil.)

My brain went DING.

Coconut oil is solid until about 75 degrees Fahrenheit and then starts melting. Mixing the coconut oil with the chocolate brings the melting point of the chocolate down and, if you don't buy the super organic oil (oops), it doesn't taste too different. Not as strong as bittersweet chips, but more chocolaty than milk chocolate.

I felt stupid. I've been making homemade Magic Shell for over a year now. It's mostly chocolate and coconut oil. This keeps the concoction liquid at, relatively, cool temperatures and then it freezes on the scoop of ice cream (or frozen strawberry or ice cube or frozen spoon, however you take your chocolate).

The chips work, too. Now the question is what's the perfect ratio of oil to chocolate?