Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mango-Tequila Sorbet spiked with Serrano Chilis

Originally uploaded by vapidchick
So a friend told me about a spicy mango sorbet he had at a local Ice Creamery... And well... me being the cocky cocky cook that I am thought "Anything they can do I can do better."
There are many reasons I don't really like eating out, that extend beyond my vegan values... and that mantra is one of them.

While I have never eaten this purveyor's spicy mango sorbet, I have no shortage of affection for this one. On the spiciness factor, all but one friend was fine with it. The latter claimed that I assaulted her with it and made her eat it, "but the cilantro one was really good." I know that after a few bites I am I need a glass of (almond) milk.

Onto the recipe!

Mango-Tequila Sorbet spiked with Serrano Chilis

1 Umeboshi plum (Eden)
32 oz Frozen mango chunks (Trader Joes/365 Organic)
1 pinch salt (Pink Himalayan)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 T jaggery (Thai taste)
3 T tequila (Salza brand, Hornitos)
2 T lime juice or to taste
3 Serrano chillis, seeded (or more, depending on preferred spiciness)
1 T raw almond butter (maranatha)

Make a simple syrup with the water and sugar (bring to a boil in a sauce pan, for a few minutes, then let return to room temperature)


Chill. Churn according to ice cream machine's instructions...

Substitute sugar mix with an agave/water blend (sweetened as you like) to make raw.

Also I recommend checking out the up close close full size photo here..

Tis pretty :)

Coming up were the accompanying sorbets... a Cilantro-Rum Lime Sorbet, and a savoury Roasted Red Pepper and Chipolte ice cream.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Winter Kept Us Warm...

One of my favourite food items has to be the simplest of simples; brown rice porridge. This dish is a staple in Asian kitchens, where it is known as jook, or congee. It can be jazzed up with tofu, slivers of ginger, vegetable stock, cinnamon, nut butter, coconut milk, vanilla, toasted nuts... the sky is the limit. I have been there, done that, but nothing will ever compare to straight up cooked brown rice, reheated with water until it becomes a creamy porridge.

This winter I finally swung myself a dedicated morning yoga partner, and every morning after yoga we would sit down to a bowl of brown rice porridge with a cup of genmaicha (roasted brown rice tea). After yoga, if you told me that I could only have this to eat for the rest of my life, and that would be it, I would be happy. Any type of rice works, brown, or white, short grain, long grain, basmati, jasmine, etc. Better than that, you can do this with any leftover grain... millet, buckwheat, quinoa, etc. However, brown rice has my heart. I am not keen on quinoa... it never breaks down into creamy goodness.

The directions are simple... put as much (or as little) leftover cooked rice or other grain into a heavy bottomed bot, and cover with a half-inch of water. Cook until it is the consistency that you desire. I like my congee to really be pudding-like, others prefer it where the rice has maintained its shape.

I often add nothing, just a little salt. Today, in the name of using them up, I tossed in some of the tapioaca 'grapes' leftover from the recipe I am in the middle of illuminating... and here is another close up of those funballs, for the heck of it..

Speaking of simple pleasures... A piece on shared experiences making us happier than material acquisition... And here is where I note that I have never sat down and had this centering dish by my lonesome.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Malted Peanut Butter Ice Cream

OK, so maybe the pictures were not as bad as the first one implied... Though this one could use some serious photoshop mopping on my lovely concord grape balls, as well as the plate. Oh well, I'm working on it, I'm working on it.

Appropriately enough, better pictures come with better recipes (Srsly? You mean it gets better than salted concord grape tapioca balls?!) So I am starting to release the more substantial stand-alone items of this concoction. The first, and probably best to make without any grander purpose is the peanut butter ice cream. Sure, the melting ice cream does go beautifully with the crunchy home made cracker jacks, tangy sesame yogurt cubes, and salty-sweet-chewy tapioca balls, but I don't just whip those out of the cupboard.

Anyway, this was sourced from a number of peanut butter ice cream recipes, and I gave it my own twist... I felt it turned out quite lovely, but it turned out even better when paired with a dark chocolate ice cream, recipe forthcoming... I am going to note I used a super blender for this, so you may want to stick to very smooth peanut butters if using a normal blender. The addition of maca root can be omitted, rendering the peanut butter non-malted. I felt it was missing something, though, which is why I added it. I am sure the type of peanut butter one is using can significantly change this, though.

Malted Peanut Butter Ice Cream

1 12 oz package silken tofu, frozen, thawed then drained
1 cup peanut butter (I used a mix of ground-at-store, Maranatha, and Trader Joe's Valencia)
3/4 c maple syrup (think I used grade A, Kirkland brand)
dash cinnamon
1/4 t Xanthum Gum
1 T gelatinized maca root powder
1 3/4 C unflavored hemp milk (or milk alternative of choice)

Blend ingredients together.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Elizabeth Falkner's Concord Express, veganized

Alas, first item.. I feel like the photo could be much better.. but photo editing/corrections is not my forte.. So the photo you see is the photo I shot (and I was in a hurry). It is a shame as I feel like any multi-component dessert I make deserves as much time after making it as I put into it (including relishing its consumption). Alas, I really was in a hurry, but also excited to put this forth. Oh, what a quandary!

Anyway... I do like my cook books (who doesn't?), and I appreciate my food porn, but there aren't exactly a lot of cook books out there for the vegan food-porn voyeurs. I don't know what it is that compelled me to go through Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake but I did, and then I bought it, and brought it home. It isn't vegan, it isn't whole-foodie, but damned if it isn't creative, inventive, and compelling to the last page. I have had a great time going through it and finding inspiration for a number of recipes. Until now I had only done aspects of her desserts, singular entities that often build up to something greater. I had been wanting, for a long time, to attempt one of her multi-component desserts, but had not the excuse. Finally a friend said he'd buy me dinner, if I made him the dessert I showed him.


I will be releasing this recipe in parts over the next week or so... But right now, I will begin with part one.. The frog's eggs (no, not really).

Concord Grape Tapioca:
3 C water
2 t kosher salt
1/2 C large tapioca pearls
2 C Concord grape juice
3 t sugar

Bring the water and salt to a boil, add the tapioca pearls (the big bubble tea ones sold at Asian grocers), and cook uncovered for 45-60 minutes, until they are mostly cooked through but still a little firm on the inside. Strain the pearls, and return to the stove, with grape juice and sugar. Return to a simmer, keep heat on medium low and cook uncovered for 15 minutes or so.. Or until the pearls reach the desired consistency. Al dente is a popular firmness.

I will state a little annoyance with the inconsistency of tapioca pearl firmness. It varied significantly. Some pearls were sublime, others had hard centers similar to corn kernels. Anyway... More is coming in future days.

Next up!

Malted Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Old Fashioned Pear Cake

Ah, pears... It is safe to say most (or all) fruits and vegetables are best when they are fresh, picked-ripe, local and organic... All that jazz. But there are some pieces of produce where anything but the former leaves you feeling like you might as well be eating cardboard. The texture, aroma, and juicyness of a pear is so very characteristic of the fruit and certainly unlike anything else. Oranges have grapefruits, apples have... other apples? Anyway, this recipe is from the fall, when I found my self with a fair portion of pears from the CSA. Not enough to eat all at once, so I had to find another vessel for them... I tried a pear crumble (meh, yet the recipe will probably show up here in the future) and this simple pear cake. It stole the show. The sugar and butter (substitute) candied the cake, leaving it crisp and carmelized... I amalgamted several recipes, all non-vegan, and made this cake... more than once. I imagine you could substitute apples, plums, or peaches, but the earthy texture of the cooked pears infusing the cake was pretty divine...

So onto the recipe...

Old Fashioned Pear Cake

1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup canola oil
All-purpose flour for dusting
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar
1 medium banana, well mashed or pureed*
1 egg replacer (I used Bob's red mill)
4 bosc pears, firm but ripe (any pear works. I had boscs)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Spray a 9-inch round springform pan with oil (or brush it your self), and dust the pan with a thin, even layer of flour, tapping out the excess. Set aside.

Whisk together the whole-wheat pastry flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat together the fats and the sugar on high speed until pale, light, and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg replacer and banana. Beat again until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients just until combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and neatly arrange the pear quarters on top, skin side up. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing it from the pan.

*I often do this with the egg replacer in my blender

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring Awakenings, with Pinkly Peppered Lemon Yogurt Cake

So my blog has been long neglected. Just as the earth has been buried under snow and ice. Unlike winter, though, things in my kitchen have been far from dead. Indeed, this time has been a lovely proliferation of new and exciting recipes. All too many will be lost to the halls of my memories, dust growing ever thicker... Some strong recipes have survived, and will be popping up here in the coming weeks, like the crocuses and daffodils in my yard. Appropriately enough, to welcome this blogging springtime, is a lemon cake! I made this to attend a Time Trade Circle meeting in Cambridge, and it went down very well. When I grabbed the plate to take off people started saying "You are the one who made that? What is it?" and a multiplicity of voices started saying how the TTC should start a cookbook of shared recipes. So as usual I am trying to buy as little as possible and liquidate as much as I can...

One of the things I need to use up are my experimental batches of home made soy yogurt. My house recently acquired one, and I decided I wanted to try my hand at soy yogurt (I have also tried my hand at sesame yogurt.. interesting, and not bad.. could be delightful for baking with). So while I seem to have making soy yogurt down, the milk our machine makes is more of a soy porridge and needs to be strained. This works ok for baking yogurt but not the silky creamy sort of thing. So I have a fair quantity of this grainy yogurt and baking seems like a lovely way to use it up. I first made some of the chai cupcakes from VCTOTW. Dissapointed with them, but much like curries... the flavor did improve the next day. So here I had a potluck, and some soy yogurt to use up. So I hunted down yogurt baking recipes, and Alpine Berry had a tasty looking French-Style Yogurt Cake.

I glanced over the recipe, easy to veganize. and I certainly had every thing on hand. I made a couple of changes though, more lemon peel, and rather than poppy seeds I crumbled some pink peppercorns in a pestle and added them... I feel the flavors were very complimentary, and I would definitely make again. So, onto the recipe. Oh, an unhelpful note.. I have a suspicion I may have ground up half of a vanilla bean.. but cannot remember. Still, a dash of vanilla rarely hurts anything.

Lemon Yogurt Cake with Pink Peppercorns

3/4 cup plain soy yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 lemon's worth of finely grated lemon zest
3 egg replacements (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 T crushed pink pepper corns
1/3 cup canola oil

The juice of a squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Line with a parchment circle and butter the paper.

In a large bowl, mix the yogurt, sugar, and lemon zest with a wooden spoon. Mix in egg replacer.

Add the flour, baking powder, and poppy seeds. Mix until flour is just incorporated.

Add the oil and mix well. The batter will look curdled at first but it will come together.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan.

Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, until your cake tester is clean and the cake springs back when lightly touched.

Allow cake to cool in pan on a rack for about 15 minutes.

Gently remove cake from the pan and set on a rack to cool completely.

Combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar and spoon it gently over the cake. The glaze will be thin and will soak in like a syrup.

I then cut off "corners" of the cake, to shape it like a sun. I thought it was a nice after-touch, and the people at the pot luck seemed especially impressed with it.

Coming up, sorbets!