Category: Food & Recipes, Human

Adventures in Nice Cream

Friday, November 6th, 2015

As much as I love banana ice cream (banana bread banana ice cream, you are the BEST!), making it can be such a pain. Waiting for the banana slices to freeze and then defrost ever so slightly; prying and wedging and knifing them apart; processing and scraping and processing and scraping, as my food processor dances on the counter as though possessed, and the motor threatens to burst into flames. And then there’s always one or two big ole chunks of bananas that refuse to assimilate no matter how long you stand over the bowl, pulsing and cursing. Yeah.

After years of this nonsense, I started to wonder: is there a better way?

Specifically, I wanted to know whether it would work if I skipped the first freezing step and just processed overripe bananas as is. Then freeze the ice cream mix, like I normally would anyway. (Even for soft serve, it’s a little too liquidy by the time I’m done with it. At least a half hour wait is typically required!)

So, instead of peel -> slice -> freeze -> thaw -> blend -> refreeze,

peel -> slice -> blend -> freeze.

I hit the internets to find out and found a few people with the same question – but no answers.

You know what that means: Experiment time!

2015-09-23 - Nice Cream - 0001 [flickr]

I tried the new method using just three bananas, to make a pint of nice cream (usually I go full-on quart). On the left is old school banana bread ice cream; on the right, newfangled chocolate cinnamon ice cream.

The results were underwhelming.

(More below the fold…)

Orange Marmalade Nice Cream

Friday, October 30th, 2015

2015-09-24 - Orange Marmalade Ice Cream - 0005 [flickr]

In the vein of purging the cabinets for that move we’re planning next decade, I give you Orange Marmalade Nice Cream. (Because “Orange Marmalade Banana Ice Cream” just feels like too much of a mouthful.)

I can’t for the life of me remember why I bought a jar of Orange Marmalade – I’m strictly a raspberry jam and peach preserves gal when it comes to my bagels – so I figured this was as good a use as any. And the end product was pretty tasty. I’ll call this one a win.

2015-09-24 - Orange Marmalade Ice Cream - 0001 [flickr]

(More below the fold…)

Vanilla Custard Ice Cream

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

2015-09-24 - Vanilla Custard Ice Cream - 0001 [flickr]

Now that I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve tried nearly every dream ice cream flavor I can think of, it’s time to get creative – like, cleaning out the cabinets creative. Also, Shane and I are thinking about moving some time in the distant future, so it’s probably best to start lightening the load now. If you could only see my pantry, you’d understand. Out of control doesn’t begin to describe it. My skepticism re: expiration dates doesn’t make things any easier on the hoarding end.

Exhibit A: the custard mix I bought roughly four years ago, back when I was reviewing Vegan Junk Food and wanted to try the Boston Cream Pie. It never materialized and so the custard powder sat. When I went rooting around in the cabinets for inspiration, I thought that surely someone must have tried to make ice cream with it. And they have! Usually with eggs and cream, but we can’t all be awesome, okay?

Anyway, this is my vegan version. I’ve never had custard before, so I can’t rate the accuracy of its flavor. What I can say it that it tastes delish: a little vanilla-y, but with a little extra something that I can only assume is the custard talking.

2015-09-24 - Vanilla Custard Ice Cream - 0006 [flickr]

(More below the fold…)

Creamy Lemon-Dill Roasted Potato Salad

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

2015-09-26 - Lemon-Dill Potato Salad - 0001 [flickr]

An exaggerated hat tip to whoever shared this recipe on Facebook. (I think it was Mylène, but I can’t be sure.)

I was a little skeptical of a potato salad absent both vegan mayo and dill pickles – both of which are potato salad staples, imho – but I gave it a shot, and you know what? IT WAS AMAZING. I love the idea of roasting potatoes instead of boiling them; not only is it easier (no more standing over a steaming pot, splashing hot water all over the place), but you get much more consistent results, without any potato loss.

I didn’t have any baby potatoes, so I used four baking potatoes – a little more than the recommended two pounds – but the dressing seemed to be *just enough* for this amount. I also didn’t bother adding water to the dressing, but other than that I think I followed the recipe to a t.

I usually prefer cold potato salad, but I’m with Janet – this tastes so much better when enjoyed warm.

Raspberry Green Tea Ice Cream

Friday, September 18th, 2015

2015-08-23 - Rapberry Green Tea Ice Cream - 0001 [flickr]

So this recipe required way more raspberry extract than I expected! The matcha powder completely overwhelms the raspberry flavoring, necessitating two teaspoons instead of one. I bet fresh or frozen raspberries (two cups, maybe?), cooked down into a jelly, would work even better, but then you’ve got a Seed Situation on your hands. So if it’s a smooth ice cream you’re looking for, best stick with raspberry extract.

This flavor pairing isn’t my all-time favorite, but it’s pretty good nonetheless. And if you eat a ton of green tea ice cream, it’s a fun way to mix things up without relinquishing the matcha.

2015-08-23 - Rapberry Green Tea Ice Cream - 0004 [flickr]

(More below the fold…)

Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies, Redux

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

2015-09-15 - VCC Soft Baked CC Cookies - 0001 [flickr]

I was feeling down, so Shane offered to make me cookies. Naturally, I chose the Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur that I tried recently and love-love-loved. And you know what? HIS CAME OUT EVEN BETTER THAN MINE!: soft, chewy, and so tender they practically melt in my mouth! Almost a bit doughy, but not quite. Baked to perfection, basically.

Of course he immediately started listing reasons why this simply could not be. (All bullshit, by the by.) He can see the writing on the wall: now that I know he’s not incompetent when it comes to baked goods, he’s gonna get roped into making me cookies on the regular.

Maybe this is why he came home with a tray of Pumpkin Spice Oreos yesterday, hmmm? Trying to head off the inevitable?

Red Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

2015-08-20 - Raspberry swirl Ice Cream - 0003 [flickr]

I wasn’t entirely sure how well this experiment would turn out; after all, raspberries are only like my third favorite berry, after blueberries and strawberries. They taste wonderful, but ALL! THOSE! PESKY! SEEDS! And seeing as the batter contains both raspberry extract and just the tiniest bit of preserves for added flavor, yeah. I worried that the seeds would ruin it. I like my ice cream like I like my doggy bellies – smooth and soft.

As it turns out? This recipe is amazaballs. For the smoothest base possible, feel free to omit the preserves (and maybe even bump the extract up to a full 2 teaspoons) – but all told, the seeds are dispersed enough that they don’t entirely disrupt the silky smoothness of the ice cream.

And then there’s the raspberry swirl, which is THE BEST. For a chunky, high impact feel, stir it in ever so gently; but for a more consistent vibe, be a little more vigorous when mixing. I usually eyeball the add-ins, and give you a range that you can adjust to your own tastes. Anywhere between 1/3 and 1/2 cup ought to do it though. Maybe even 3/4 cup if you’re feeling adventurous.

I used red raspberry preserves, since I had a jar on hand, but you can always swap it out for your own homemade raspberry sauce. Just toss a few cups of berries in a medium-sized saucepan and cook on medium until jelly-like in consistency. The less moisture, the better! Remember this maxim and you can’t go wrong. At least when churning vegan ice cream, that is.

2015-08-20 - Raspberry swirl Ice Cream - 0002 [flickr]

(More below the fold…)

Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

2015-08-18 - VCC Soft Baked CC Cookies - 0012 [flickr]

Since hitting my thirties, I’ve kind of soured on chocolate. Well, not soured, exactly (Go Max Go bars are the bomb!) … but my chocolate cravings have grown more and more sporadic. I prefer matcha cupcakes over chocolate, and plain ole vanilla ice cream to chocolate obsession. But this week I was struck with a hankering for chocolate chip cookies that just couldn’t be ignored. (I blame it on the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies I made for the dogs. They seriously smell good enough to eat, carob chips and all.) And not just any old chocolate chip cookies, either – but soft, chewy, so-moist-they-just-might-be-underbaked chocolate chip cookies like you’d find in the bakery.

Enter the Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur – which, incidentally, might be the very last chocolate chip cookie recipe I had left to try from this particular book. (Make ALL THE COOKIES!) The featured picture strongly resembles Wegman’s bakery cookies – I worked there in college, and coveted all their baked goods which I couldn’t have because LACTOSE – so my hopes were high.

2015-08-18 - VCC Soft Baked CC Cookies - 0010 [flickr]

And this recipe? VERY CLOSE to what I wanted. This even though I was missing one of the ingredients (blackstrap molasses; Shane reminded me several hours after the fact that we still have an unopened jar of homemade molasses given to us by our neighbors for Christmas; doh!) and had to defrost some applesauce on the stove before I could even get started (it’s always going bad otherwise; grrrr!).

The recipe’s easy enough, although my genius plan to dole out the dough using a tablespoon-sized melonballer was a bust. The dough proved way too sticky for its dinky scraper, and it shows in my misshapen cookies. That’s okay! They’re still delish.

2015-08-18 - VCC Soft Baked CC Cookies - 0013 [flickr]


Strawberry Lemonade Ice Cream

Monday, August 17th, 2015

2015-08-01 - Strawberry Lemonade IC - 0005 [flickr]

After the awesomeness that was my Lemon Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I started experimenting with various flavors of lemonade ice cream. I started with Strawberry Lemonade, because a) strawberries are my favorite and b) they are totally seasonal and c) bursting out of my fridge. I mean, strawberries! Hello! BEST. Just ask the Strawberry Shortcake bedsheets from my childhood.

Okay, I’m meandering. The heat is totally frying my brain.

Anyway, this recipe is pretty rad and you should totally give it a try. It’s extra-handy for those times when you went shopping with your stomach at the farmer’s market and “accidentally” bought more strawberries than you could possibly hope to eat.

Pro tip: For a smoother ice cream, you can always process the cooked strawberries in a food processor or blender (using a splash of soy creamer or milk if too thick) prior to making the ice cream batter. However, I didn’t bother, assuming that the paddles on my machine would do a good enough job breaking up any remaining strawberry chunks. And they totally did!

Alternately, if you like a few chunky bits o’ berries, hold a few tablespoons of the cooked strawberries back and add them to the machine about fifteen seconds before dispensing. Or mix them in by hand as you transfer the finished ice cream to a storage container.


(More below the fold…)

Big Boat Banana Bread

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

2015-07-26 - SeaShep BB Banana Bread - 0003 [flickr]

Banana bread is pretty much my favorite use for overripe bananas – except MAYBE for banana bread banana ice cream! – so when I saw the Big Boat Banana Bread in Cookin’ Up a Storm, I knew it was just a matter of time before I tried it. Time to remember to pick up a bunch of bananas, wait for them to properly brown – while also not eating them in the interim – and then bake ‘em instead of slicing ‘em up for future ice cream. It took me at least three tries before I got it right, you guys. The instinct to turn ALL THE BANANAS into ice cream is strong.

The end result turned out quite tasty, though procuring bananas wasn’t the only misstep I encountered along the way. Exhibit B: The recommended bake time for this bread, which is 25 to 30 minutes. Considering that banana bread normally takes ~an hour to bake, I had my doubts. Actually I thought it was a typo but whatever. I checked as directed at 25 and 30 minutes, and to no one’s surprise, the batter was still wiggly and jiggly – not even close to done. After that I let it go for a half hour and then started checking on it every ten minutes or so. Ultimately I let it bake for 90 MINUTES before the toothpick came out clean. Even then, the bottom quarter of the loaf remained a little undercooked, as I discovered when I cut it open. (You can kinda sorta see what I’m talking about in the last picture.)

Also. This recipe makes enough batter to almost completely fill a 9″x5″ loaf pan. I wasn’t even sure it’d all fit! Anyway, it’s by far the thickest loaf I’ve ever made; I bet if I were to divide the batter between two loaf pans, it’d bake more quickly and evenly.

On the plus side, I am hella glad I lined the pan with parchment paper as directed. I hate hate hate trying to cram and jam parchment paper into deep pans, but it totally paid off here. While the lower portion of the crust ended up thicker than normal, the paper kept it from burning outright.

2015-07-28 - SeaShep BB Banana Bread - 0001 [flickr]

Also awesome: The topping, which is an even mix of brown sugar, rolled oats, and crushed almonds (I used almond meal/flour). Even if I never make this exact recipe again, I WILL carry the topping over to other banana breads.

The bread itself is tasty enough, though a little plain; I think some walnuts or chocolate chips could work wonders with it.

2015-07-28 - SeaShep BB Banana Bread - 0002 [flickr]

The center seemed to firm up a bit overnight, and it only got better when toasted. I reheated a slice in the toaster oven – about ten minutes at 350F – and it seemed a little closer to done after that. A little pat of margarine added with an extra minute to melt it = pure bliss. And a thick slice is actually hearty enough that it filled me up for an entire meal.

There’s a second recipe (Chocolate-Banana Fudge Cake) utilizing brown bananas that I’m curious to try, but I don’t know if I’ll get to it before writing a review. It took me a month just to get the bananas together for this recipe!

Lemon Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

2015-06-24 - Lemon Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream - 0005 [flickr]

This particular flavor is inspired by a crazy delicious (and crazy expensive!) artisanal lemon blueberry jam I found on (I won a certificate, so.) It last for all of two and a half bagels (tiny jar is tiny), which wasn’t nearly enough crush my craving. So what better remedy than ice cream?

I wasn’t entirely sure how much lemon juice concentrate I should use; I turned to Wheeler Del Torro’s The Vegan Scoop for reference, and he only uses three tablespoons in his one and only lemon ice cream recipe (lemon basil, if I’m not mistaken). That seemed on the low side, so I doubled it. And then some.

Right off the stovetop, it appeared I’d made a horrible mistake: the lemon flavor was over-the-top and way too tangy. But. After the batter cooled and was processed, the lemony taste mellowed somewhat. Plus the blueberry jam draws a little attention away from it. I think this configuration is perfect, but feel free to swap out 1/4 cup of the lemon juice for soy milk if you’d rather play it safe.

When picking your blueberry jam, try to find a brand that has little chunks of blueberries inside. These frozen bits of goodness catapult the finished product from delicious to out of this freaking world.

2015-06-24 - Lemon Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream - 0009 [flickr]

(More below the fold…)

Apple and Potato Oven Fries

Monday, June 29th, 2015

2015-06-26 - Sea Shep Apple & Potato Fries - 0003 [flickr]

From Cookin’ Up a Storm, natch.

I have to admit, at first I was a little skeptical of the pairing of apples and potatoes in a french fry medium. But it totally works! Sure, so maybe the apples get a little mushy when baked; but thanks to the sugar, the outsides caramelize a tiny bit. Not crunchy, exactly, but kind of french fry-ish.

The recipe calls for five potatoes and two apples, giving it an almost 2:1 potato:apple ratio. Since that serves way more than two people – plus generates more potato and apple wedges than will even fit in my dinky little oven – I halved it, kind of. Two large potatoes, one apple. So a true 2:1 here.

I wasn’t sure what to use for a dipping sauce – Dakin recommends lemon wedges to garnish, but I used concentrated lemon juice – so I put some ketchup on the side and only dunked the potato fries. The apples I ate semi-separately, kind of like a sweet kick in between the tomato-covered potatoes. It sounds weird but worked out really well!

Served with leftover pizza for minimum effort. (Hey, we’d just gotten back from walking the dogs, okay.)

Creamy Maple Pecan Ice Cream

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

2015-06-17 - Maple Pecan Ice Cream - 0003 [flickr]

Recently it occurred to me that I’ve never made my own maple pecan ice cream – outside of banana ice cream, that is, which is delicious but doesn’t count. (You can always taste the bananas, so it’s not a true maple pecan ice cream – more like banana maple pecan ice cream. Good but NOT THE SAME.) This is weird because I’ve always been a fan of Tofutti’s Better Pecan ice cream.

The good news is that it’s really easy to make; you just need maple syrup and pecan flavoring/extract for, well, flavoring. You can also mix in some roasted, crushed pecans if you’d like, but I opted to use them for garnish instead. Nuts added directly to ice cream can get a little soggy and lose some of their crunch over time. Thanks, but no.

2015-06-17 - Maple Pecan Ice Cream - 0004 [flickr]

(More below the fold…)

Lovely Lemon-Garlic Green Beans: The Name Does Not Lie

Monday, June 8th, 2015

2015-05-26 - Sea Shep Lemon-Garlic Beans - 0002 [flickr]

I made a double batch of the Lovely Lemon-Garlic Green Beans from Cookin’ Up a Storm to go with some leftover pasta (nothing fancy, just a tomato-red pepper-red lentil sauce; simple but good). The name? Pretty spot on. These green beans are super-tasty and fairly easy to make, with tons of garlic; lemon juice and zest; and toasted almonds and sesame seeds. You’re supposed to use almond halves, but whole ones worked just fine for me.

To minimize your dishes, toast the almonds and sesame seeds in the same pan you’re planning to use for the garlic. Then transfer them to a microwave-safe bowl for temporary storage, and reuse it later to cook the green beans. Bam! Done and done.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

2015-05-02 - CUS Red Pepper & Tomato - 0002 [flickr]

As we’ve already established, I love roasted red peppers, and adore soup; put them together, and I damn near have an excitement aneurism. So this soup and me? Well, we were made to be. Almost. But we’ll get to that.

With three red peppers, three yellow peppers (which I had to swap out for more red peppers, due to lack of availability), eight tomatoes, and an onion, this bad girl is bursting with roasted veggies. So much so that I almost couldn’t fit them all in a pan for roasting, even after eliminating the chiles (I’m a baby, you knew this already) and subbing in canned Roma tomatoes (the fresh ones? currently out of season and flavorless). To wit:

2015-05-02 - CUS Red Pepper & Tomato - 0001 [flickr]

You only roast the veggies for twenty minutes, which is 1/2 to 1/3 of the total amount of time I usually take to bake roasted peppers. After just twenty minutes, the skins aren’t yet ready to peel away – and they don’t need to, since this recipe doesn’t require you to skin the peppers.

You guys, I was skeptical.

I really, really hate loose pepper skins, even more than I hate hand-skinning roasted peppers. But I wanted to follow the recipe as closely as possible, so I swallowed my doubt and DID NOT SKIN THE PEPPERS. Also, I can’t lie, it was hot and I was feeling lazy. Since you blend the whole shebang anyway, I was hoping/praying that the skins would mostly be pulverized into unassuming bits.

And they were, mostly. The operative word being “mostly.” There’s no doubt in my mind that the finished soup would’ve been much creamier had I roasted the peppers separately and then skinned them afterwards. That said, for the most part the skins weren’t terribly noticeable. A few times I had to stop and spit out an especially sizable piece (impeccable manners over here), but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d feared.

2015-05-02 - CUS Red Pepper & Tomato - 0003 [flickr]

But. When I mixed some corn and gnocchi into the leftovers for a heartier meal, the pepper skins became much less noticeable. So there’s that. Only skin the peppers if you’ve got your heart set on a creamy, smooth-as-silk soup, I guess.

Otherwise this soup was to die for. Or not, you know what I mean. Very similar to Candle Cafe’s Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Tofu Dumplings, just minus the dumplings and with double the peppers. Actually, in my write-up of that recipe, I raved that the soup was similar to their roasted red pepper pasta sauce, “but drinkable!” Since Dankin’s version also has tomatoes, I imagine this one’s even more on point.

All the stars.

Book Review: Vegan’s Daily Companion, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (2011)

Friday, May 8th, 2015

“…vegan is what I was meant to be.”

four out of five stars

My hope is that we can navigate through this world and our lives with the grace and integrity of those who need our protection. May we have the sense of humor and liveliness of the goats; may we have the maternal instincts and protective nature of the hens and the sassiness of the roosters. May we have the gentleness and strength of the cattle, and the wisdom, humility, and serenity of the donkeys. May we appreciate the need for community as do the sheep and choose our companions as carefully as do the rabbits. May we have the faithfulness and commitment to family as the geese, and adaptability and affability of the ducks. May we have the intelligence, loyalty, and affection of the pigs and the inquisitiveness, sensitivity, and playfulness of the turkeys.

My hope is that we learn from the animals what it is we need to become better people.

With no fewer than four cookbooks under her belt – The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, and The Joy of Vegan Baking, which is destined to become a classic – many of you may know Colleen Patrick-Goudreau as an accomplished vegan chef. But she’s also got a master’s degree in English Literature, which she puts to use as a writer and public speaker, educating the public about compassionate living and animal rights. Her exploration of the intersections between human and animal exploitation, both on the Food for Thought podcast and various short videos released on YouTube, are among my favorites.

In Vegan’s Daily Companion, the self-described Joyful Vegan brings all her talents and avenues of interest together to create a book as unique as it is informative. Part cookbook, part self-help book, part pop culture guide, Vegan’s Daily Companion offers 365 days of inspiration, knowledge, and celebration to vegans, both new and experienced. From Monday through Sunday (with the weekends sharing a recipe), each day you’ll find a short discussion or series of tips, each tailored to a specific theme:

(More below the fold…)

Cookin’ Up a Storm with Laura Dakin – and Red Lentil, Lemon, and Rosemary Soup!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

2015-04-25 - Cookin' Up a Storm - 0001 [flickr]

I don’t think it arrived in time to make it into my last Stacking the Shelves post, but I recently received a copy of Laura Dakin’s Cookin’ Up a Storm: Sea Stories and Vegan Recipes from Sea Shepherd’s Anti-Whaling Campaigns for review. (Thank you, Goodreads & Book Publishing Company!)

Initial thoughts: If you’re saying to yourself that I own more than enough cookbooks by now, you’re probably right. Totally right actually. But I just can’t help myself! Also, Cookin’ Up a Storm is unlike any other vegan cookbook I’ve seen, in that it’s as much a chronicle of Sea Shepherd’s anti-whaling campaigns as it is a cookbook. There are tons of photos of marine life; interviews with the crew; sailing terminology; and a glimpse of everyday life on board the Steve Irwin.

These recipes are eighty of Dakin’s favorites, which she regularly dishes up for a crew of fifty, using items that can easily be stored in the ship’s pantry. This makes for some interesting sea-faring substitutions; for example, the obligatory tofu scramble swaps out refrigerated tofu for shelf-stable silken tofu. Given that excess moisture can put a damper on scrambles, I’m really curious to see how this one turns out.

Also on my radar: the Vegetable Crumble (I’ve tried a million fruit crumbles, but not a single veggie-based one!); Sailor’s Delight Sausages (that’ll be Shane’s job, he’s the seitan man in our house); Rockin’ the Boat Risotto; Lemon-Garlic Green Beans; Boatload of Butternut Caponata; Big Boat Banana Bread; and the Apple and Potato Oven Fries. Oh, and all the breakfast foods, of course.

In case you hadn’t caught on, many of the recipes have nautical and/or activist-inspired names, which is kind of fun and furthers the “eating at sea” theme.

The cookbook isn’t terribly thick, but it is gorgeous and a bit different from the usual. And given the difficulties of cooking at sea, the recipes are well-suited for beginning cooks; you won’t find any complicated, multi-step recipes or uncommon ingredients here. Give it to a non-vegan fan of Whale Wars for some guerrilla activism. (As Dakin notes, while Sea Shepherd isn’t an animal rights organization, it is one of the few environmental groups that recognizes the importance of a vegan diet in combating a whole host of environmental issues.)

2015-05-01 - CUS Red Lentil & Lemon Soup - 0002 [flickr]

So. The first recipe on deck: Red Lentil, Lemon, and Rosemary Soup. Mostly because it’s super-easy to make and I already had all the ingredients on hand. Also, I love soup.

And I loved this soup! It’s hearty, comes together in a snap, doesn’t require very many ingredients (and nothing that demands much prep), and the pairing of lemon and rosemary is THE BEST. I’ll definitely be making this one again.

2015-05-01 - CUS Red Lentil & Lemon Soup - 0003 [flickr]

Making Not-tella with Hazelnut Flour and a Recipe for Vegan Nutella Swirl Ice Cream!

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

2015-04-20 - Hazelnut Flour - 0003 [flickr]

Behold: Hazelnut flour!

Along with a giant honking bag of red quinoa, the nice people at IFS Bulk also gave me 48 ounces of hazelnut flour to play around with! Prior to this, it didn’t even cross my mind that hazelnuts might come pre-ground, flour style, similar to almonds, cashews, and the like. But they do! And of course I used the flour to make my absolute favorite: vegan nutella!

2015-04-20 - Not-tella in Progress - 0002 [flickr]

My precious!

So far the only recipe that’s worked for me is the Not-tella from Veganomicon – which, you might recall, I rocked to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs a few VeganMoFos back. Anyhow, it’s the only version I’ve tried that actually results in a readily spreadable, creamy nut butter. And while it can be a little tough on ye ole food processor, it’s 1000% worth it.

Still, I wondered if maybe swapping out the whole hazelnuts for hazelnut flour might make the process a wee bit easier? After all, it’s the whole filberts that really make my food process jump and dance and just generally send me into a panicky tailspin. Once they’re processed, things go much more smoothly from there.

And you know what? Hazelnut flour FTW!

2015-04-14 - Not-Tella - 0002 [flickr]

Ooey, gooey, and spreadable at room temp.

I made a couple of batches of Not-tella – one for ice cream, one for licking from the spoon – and each time the process was pain-free. I didn’t even have to take a break to let the motor rest. From now on it’s nutella with hazelnut flour for this girl.

(More below the fold…)

Buying in Bulk, White vs. Red vs. Black Quinoa, and a Recipe for Savory Red Lentil and Quinoa Bolognese

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Red and Yellow Quinoa, Lago Titicaca

Red and Yellow Quinoa, Lago Titicaca; CC image via twiga_269 on Flickr.

You guys know how much I love ye ole bulk food stores, right? Back when I started that “frugal vegans” series a few VeganMoFos ago (which sadly turned out to be fairly short-lived, since I exhausted all my ideas in under a month), buying in bulk was one of my top/most popular tips.

Whether you’re prepping for the apocalypse or just trying to save some money, buying in bulk can be a great option. Don’t have an underground bunker in which to store all those tubs of extra goodies? Pair up with a friend or two and split your haul!

So when Alexa from IFS Bulk got in touch, I jumped at the chance to try out some of their products and create a few original recipes.* With everything from black chia seeds to dried currants and mammoth pecan halves (my favorite!) to choose from, it was hard to whittle it down. In the end, I went with red quinoa and hazelnut flour. We’ll discuss the hazelnut flour another day (spoiler alert: there will be vegan Nutella!); today it’s all about the quinoa.

Prior to this, I wasn’t even aware that quinoa came in different colors – red and black in addition to the more popular white. What’s the difference?, you might be asking. Good question! I wanted to know too, so I did a little research, and here’s what I found.

(More below the fold…)

Chocolate Banana (Paleo) Bread

Monday, April 6th, 2015

2015-03-22 - Paleo Banana Bread - 0007 [flickr]

After our rather underwhelming experience with the Blueberry Pancakes from The Paleo Bread Bible, I was a little scared to try again. I mean, I hate wasting monies, and once I fall into a baking rut, it can sometimes prove difficult to pull myself out. But I didn’t want to write the cookbook off entirely based on just one recipe, so. Banana Bread it was. Chocolate Banana Bread, to be exact.

2015-03-23 - Paleo Banana Bread - 0001 [flickr]

And you know what? It wasn’t that bad! The batter’s super-easy to pull together, and the bread smells heavenly while it’s baking. It’s got almond flour, coconut flour, cacao nibs, and walnuts (which, strangely, are mentioned in the instructions but not the ingredients list. Yeah.) This time I used flax eggs (3 TBS hot water + 1 TBS ground flax seeds; whisk and let sit for ten minutes) instead of Ener-G, and it seemed to get the job done.

(More below the fold…)