Cookbook Review: Vegan Ice Cream, Jeff Rogers (2014)

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Should be Called “(Mostly) Raw Vegan Ice Cream”

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through the Blogging for Books program.)

I’ve been vegetarian since 1996, and went vegan in the mid-aughts. Along with vegan pizza, vegan ice cream is my absolute favorite – and have tumblogs dedicated to each to prove it. I own one ice cream maker (a Cuisinart Ice-45) and covet a second one (the KitchenAid Stand Mixer & Ice Cream Maker Attachment). No fewer than five vegan ice cream cookbooks line the bookshelves in my pantry. I’ve been allergic to milk my entire life (technically it’s galactose – milk sugar – that’s the problem, but same diff), and have never been able to have “real” ice cream. Growing up as I did in the 1980s, I still remember the Dark Days of vegan processed food: when vegetarianism was fringe and my mom bought my dad’s meatless links in the basement of the local Unitarian Church, and I was ecstatic to have two (TWO!) vegan ice cream options in the mainstream grocer’s freezer: Rice Dream (*shudder*) and Tofutti (which will forever occupy a special place in my heart).

I’m a bit of a vegan ice cream connoisseur, is what I’m saying.

I purchased Jeff Rogers’s Vice Cream way back in 2009, but as of yet haven’t tried a single recipe. For whatever reason (the abundance of cashews? the insistence on juicing everything? the multiple steps and machines required for each recipe?), none of the recipes really appealed to me. So when I spotted a new and revised edition – now called Vegan Ice Cream – on Blogging for Books, I decided to give it a try, in the hope that Rogers had tweaked his formulas. As it turns out, the updated edition contains twenty or so new recipes – along with the seventy originals – but all use the same bases found in Vice Cream. Hopes, dashed.

Just scanning through the book, I had my doubts. From my experience using cashews to make vegan cheeses, I could tell that they alone wouldn’t thicken the batter substantially, and certainly not to the pudding-like consistency needed to make a smooth, dairy-like ice cream. Nevertheless, I did experiment with two recipes prior to writing this review: Chai and Chocolate Pecan.

(More below the fold…)

Key Lime Tarts from Rawlicious

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

2014-06-19 - HappyCow Key Lime Tarts - 0004 [flickr]

Raw tarts! Aka the easiest tarts you’ll ever make!

This is another recipe from Rawlicious in Toronto. The no-bake crust – perfect for this Missouri week, when the temps topped out at 90F – is really simple: just almonds, shredded coconut, and coconut oil.

(Though I recommend doubling it; I barely had enough for four 4″ tarts; 3 1/2″ if you measure at the base. At first I thought that maybe my tarts were bigger than the author’s but I seemed to have just the right amount of filling for four tarts. So.)

The filling is pretty easy, too: avocados, lime juice, and a few other goodies. Pro tip: it calls for psyllium as a thickener, but I swapped it out for xanthan gum without a problem.

Blend, fill, chill. Enjoy. The end.

2014-06-19 - HappyCow Key Lime Tarts - 0002 [flickr]

The filling is actually pretty great on its own, too; when chilled, it resembles pudding.

Rawlicious Zuchetti Pesto

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

2014-05-25 - HappyCow Zuchetti Pesto - 0004 [flickr]

One of the two (!) raw pasta recipes in The HappyCowCookbook comes to us, fittingly, from Rawlicious in Toronto. This my very first time experimenting with raw pasta, and I bought a shiny new spiralizer just for the occasion!

So this is a pretty tasty and filling recipe – though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the carbs. (The whole time I was devouring the Zuchetti, all I could think was how amazing the pesto would taste slathered on a giant plate of linguine!) But given that two cups of zucchini packs just 36 calories, I think I just might replace my angel hair pasta with veggie noodles now and again.

The pesto is a pretty rad blend of spinach, basil, lemon juice and sunflower seeds; for extra-lemony goodness, sprinkle a little lemon zest on the pasta before serving. It’s a little wetter than most pestos I’ve tried, which makes it easier to spread on the zucchini noodles. I used dry sundried tomatoes instead of oil-packed ones (the recipe doesn’t specify, fwiw); next time I think I’ll let the dish sit a bit so that the tomatoes can soak up the extra pesto juices.

Not bad, and all the better for super-hot, super-humid days like we had this weekend. So humid even the floors are sweating!