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Masala Chai Latté Pudding

 

This is the perfect season for chai lattés.  It’s also the perfect season for comfort foods.  This dessert combines the two in a rich and deliciously Indian-spiced pudding that begs to be enjoyed on a comfy sofa while wrapped in a blanket.

 

Masala Chai Latté Pudding

Ingredients:

2 cups non dairy milk [I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut milk]

6 oz non dairy vanilla yogurt

½ cup date sugar

1 block organic firm silken tofu

4 T organic cornstarch

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

12 cloves

8 green cardamom pods

1 stick cinnamon

½ tsp ground mace

4 bags Assam Black tea

1 inch ginger, sliced

¼ tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions:

Pour  1 ½ cups milk into a pot and heat over medium low.  Add the cloves, cinnamon, mace, cardamom, ginger, pepper.  Steep for ten minutes.  Add the tea bags and steep for an additional five minutes.  Strain over a fine mesh strainer and wring out the tea bags.  Return the pot to the stove.  Dissolve the sugar into the flavored milk.  Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining ½ cup of milk and pour into the flavored milk.  Bring to a low simmer until the mixture thickens. 

Add the tofu, vanilla and yogurt to a blender and pulse until homogenous.  Add the thickened flavored milk and blend until smooth.  Pour into ramekins and chill until set.

I garnished mine with some Indian-spiced sliced almonds, but any toasted nut would be a great choice to add a bit of crunch on top.

Carrot Tagliatelle

 

Carrot Tagliatelle

It occured to me recently that I’d never posted the recipe for the homemade tagliatelle I’d made to accompany the saged carrot pasta sauce.  Since Autumn in all its glory is on my mind these days, I figured this would be a good time to add the method for this wonderfully autumnal-hued pasta.    If you’d like to recreate the dish pictured above, just top this carrot tagliatelle with the velvety sauce found here.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup semolina flour

1/2 cup unbleached flour

1 tsp walnut oil

few tablespoons carrot juice

Directions:

Place dry ingredients into a food processor.  Pulse to mix.  Add in oil and then add the carrot juice a tablespoon at a time while the machine is running until the dough pulls off the sides and forms a ball.  Move to a floured surface and knead a few times.  Shape into a flattened disc and wrap in plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to relax for at least an hour before rolling.

Flour the dough and run it through a pasta machine at the highest setting a couple of times.  Progressively run it through higher settings until the thickness you wish is achieved.   Cut into long strips and lightly dust with semolina flour to prevent sticking.  Let pasta rest for 15 minutes or so before cooking.

Fresh pasta takes only a couple of minutes to cook.

Garlicky Zucchini Noodles

These are, hands down, my new favorite food.  I eat them solo, as a base for pasta sauces and float them atop soups as a super flavorful garnish.  They are wonderful hot right out of the pan or cold the following day.  They are a great way to add more potassium-rich vegetables to your diet,  and if you’re looking for a pasta replacement, gluten-free or not, these lean green noodles are an awesome substitution. 

Garlicky Zucchini Noodles

Ingredients:

zucchini [For these noodles, I look for medium-sized, straight-necked zucchini.]

garlic, sliced thinly

olive oil

red pepper flakes

salt

Spiral slicer [preferred, I use a World Cuisine Tri-Blade Slicer] or vegetable peeler

Directions:

I’ve not given amounts of zucchini and garlic because it’s ultimately up to you to decide how garlicky you like your food.  I use one clove per two medium-sized zucchini.

Spiral slice or using a vegetable peeler, peel your squash making sure to turn it after each down stroke in order to keep the squash evenly peeled all around.  Once you hit the center and begin to see the seed bed, toss the core.  You do not want the seeds for these noodles.  Generously salt the noodles and set aside for 30 minutes in a colander.  Once the salt has pulled the water out of the noodles and wilted them, rinse them thoroughly under running water.  Squeeze the excess water from them and then pat them dry using paper towels or a clean dish towel. 

Pour a bit of olive oil into a pan and heat over a medium flame.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant but not browned.  Add a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Add the zucchini noodles and toss periodically for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat, and serve hot.

Mexican Chilled Chocolate

Here is a quick and easy, chilled and spicy treat for a hot late Summer’s night when you’re craving something thick, rich and abundantly chocolate.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients:

2 boxes firm silken tofu

1/2 cup + 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp ground cinnamon

chili powder, to taste [I used 1/2 tsp.]

cayenne pepper, to taste [I used 1/8 tsp.]

1/2 tsp espresso powder

pinch of salt

agave syrup, to taste

Dandies vegan marshmallows

Directions:

Add tofu to a food processor and pulse.  Add cocoa powder, extracts, salt, espresso powder and spices.  Process until incorporated, scraping down the sides at times.  Add agave syrup until it’s as sweet as you wish.  [The agave will also loosen up the consistency a bit because the cocoa powder will thicken the tofu.]  Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill.

Anytime I get to use my kitchen torch is awesome.  I love this nifty little tool and used it to toast the tops of the marshmallows.  Serve in a mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick, and/or dried chile pepper.  Toasted almond slices would also rock the top of this.

Tempeh Tacos

If you’re craving Americanized Mexican food, this is a wonderfully quick meal to toss together and makes a great portable lunch the following day rolled into a tortilla.  Garnish them up with freshly cut radishes, crisp romaine and heady cilantro, or grilled onions and green peppers.  You could, and I often do,  add some diced bell pepper, kale, carrots, zucchini or any other vegetable to the onions as they sauté and add yet more goodness to the mix.  It’s also wonderful garnished with some chili beans.

 

Tempeh Taco/Burrito Filling

Ingredients:

8 oz tempeh, ground to crumbles in a food processor [Careful not to overprocess and turn it pasty.]

1 medium onion, diced ~ ½ cup

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 T tomato paste

8 oz tomato sauce

1 T chili powder [I used Ancho chili powder]

1½ tsp cumin

1 tsp Mexican oregano

¼ tsp onion powder

¼ – ½ tsp red pepper flakes, depending upon your tastes

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

water

oil for sautéing the onion and tomato paste [I use a small dollop of coconut oil, macadamia nut or olive oil.]

Directions:

Sauté the onion and garlic until softened.  Add the spices and cook until fragrant.  Clear a spot in the pan and add the tomato paste.  Cook for a couple of minutes to rid it of the metallic flavor from the can.  Add the tomato sauce and tempeh.  Mix well and add water to the consistency you prefer, I used ~4 oz of water. 

Serve with chili beans and garnish with fresh cilantro.

This is a fabulous way to serve this classic flavor combination while tomatoes are abundant, fresh and local.    I like to serve this with some rich and crusty pan-fried olive oil croutons made from a baguette and a handful of fresh basil. 

 

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs tomatoes cut into halves

1 large onion cut into large chunks

6 cloves garlic

vegetable broth

olive oil

2 cups fresh basil

sea salt 

freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Lightly spray tomatoes, onions and garlic with olive oil and place into oven.  Roast for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes have caramelized. 

Transfer to a blender and add the most of the basil, reserving a few sprigs for garnish.  Blend until smooth.  Return to the stove and add broth to the desired thickness.  Season with salt and pepper.

There is a reason that street foods are eternal and craved relentlessly; they’re just damned good.  When you load your diet with legumes, you’re always after new ways to be creative with them.  In my opinion, the queen bean is without a doubt the garbanzo.  Call it ceci, chickpea or Bengal gram, it’s still the reigning sovereign of many vegan’s diets and a favorite of omnivores the world over. 

Here I celebrate and pay homage to panelle, a Sicilian street eat that is traditionally served as a simple sandwich filling on a bun.  One of the reasons that I love panelle so much is because, when pan-fried and warm,  it has that contrasting textural thing going on with the crispy edges and a velvety soft interior.  It is, hands down, a great sandwich.

Panelle [Chickpea Polenta]

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups garbanzo bean flour

2 cups vegetable broth

2 tsp dried oregano

Pinch of salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Olive oil

Directions:

Slowly add broth to the flour while whisking to avoid lumps.  Add in the oregano, salt and pepper.  Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat, stirring the entire time.   (It does not need to boil and shall spit molten chickpea lava at you if you do let it boil, so be careful.)  It is going to be very thick once finished but you want it to have that consistency because you want a substantial texture for a sandwich filling.

Transfer panelle to a non-stick pan and tamp down with a spatula. (I used a loaf pan sprayed with olive oil.)  Place into the refrigerator until chilled solid.  Invert onto a cutting board and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.  You can either pan fry in oil (as is traditional) to crisp it up or do as I did and simply give a quick spray of olive oil to each slice and place in a pan until the sides are golden.

As always, my predilection for the savory-sweet combination shines through here.  I like to add a nice slather of apricot jam to my panelle sandwich, though it’s entirely up to you how you wish to assemble your own masterpiece.

 

[This slightly-modified post/recipe was originally published at VelvetPark last year.  I wanted it here, on my personal blog, because it is one of my favorites and I felt it was important to include it here in my collection/index.]

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