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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

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.

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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.

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This was my first foray into the realm of ice cream making,  and all I can say is that I wish I’d invested in an ice cream maker and tried this sooner!   No preservatives, no stabilizers, no artificial colors or flavors, no gums or thickeners darkened this doorway.   A handful of wholesome ingredients, including some gorgeous seasonal figs,  was simply transformed into an amazing summertime treat that bests any commercially-made vegan ice cream I’ve tried.

Caramelized Fig and Tree Nut Ice Cream

[Makes 1 pint]

Ingredients:

2 cups full fat coconut milk [I use AROY-D because it is preservative and BPA-free.]

1/3 cup organic dark brown sugar, packed

1 T coconut or macadamia nut oil [I used macadamia nut because of its rich and buttery flavor.]

4 figs, diced

½- ¾ cup nuts [I used macadamia nuts and cashews]

1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Heat oil over medium heat and add in brown sugar.  Once the sugar has melted add the diced figs and a pinch of salt.  Cook for a few minutes until soft and bubbly.  Slowly add the coconut milk and vanilla extract.   Stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Transfer the mixture to a container and place in the refrigerator to chill.

While the ice cream mix is chilling preheat the oven to 400°F.  Place the nuts on a cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes or until they begin to turn golden.  Set aside.  [Transfer the nuts from the cookie sheet to a cool container so that they do not continue to cook and burn on the hot cookie sheet.]

Once the ice cream mix has chilled, add to your ice cream maker and follow your manufacturer’s instructions.  Once the ice cream is semi-solid, add in the roasted nuts and continue to freeze until it sets up.

Serve immediately as soft serve or place in a container in the freezer to harden further.

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What are we thankful for this year?  For many things.  We are thankful for the presence of one another.  We are thankful for the fortune that those we love are healthy.  We are thankful that we have been graced with the ability to make better choices than at any other point in the past,  and that these choices have led to more compassionate lives with the prospect of a more healthful future.

Wild Rice and Millet Stuffing

I’ve always made a bread-based stuffing for Thanksgiving in the past but for whatever reason, I just wasn’t feeling the urge to do that this year.  Instead, I wanted to make something earthy and, to my mind, far more wholesome and sustaining.  It also happens to be gluten-free, which gives those with gluten intolerances another option for holiday dressings.  I thought the combination of wild rice and millet would make a beautiful duo when melded together with seasonal fruits and vegetables.  This dish set the tone for a gorgeous holiday meal.

Ingredients:

1 cup wild rice

1 cup millet

2 stalks celery, finely diced

4 golden beets, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered

1 cup dried cranberries

½ cup hazelnuts

½ leek, sliced thinly

2 shallots, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup fresh parsley, minced

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh sage

6 cups vegetable stock, divided

Sea salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Add the millet to a hot pot and toast for a couple of minutes.  [You will hear the seeds beginning to pop when they’re ready.]  Add 2 cups of vegetable stock and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and then drop to a simmer.  Cover and cook until the millet is light and fluffy.  This should take about 20 minutes.

In another pot, bring 3 cups of vegetable stock to a boil and add the wild rice.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the rice is soft.

Place the bite-sized pieces of beet and the quartered Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan.  Place in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes or until the edges of the vegetables have caramelized.

Add a drizzle of olive oil to a pan and add the celery, shallots, leek and garlic.  Cook over medium heat until softened.  Add the fresh herbs. [I like to tie mine together with kitchen twine so that removing the stems isn’t a hassle.]  Add the hazelnuts and dried cranberries and mix well.  Add one cup of vegetable stock and reduce heat to a low simmer.

When the millet is ready, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.  Drain the wild rice when ready, if necessary, and add to the bowl with the millet.  Mix in the contents of the pan, removing the herb stems.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Lastly, gently fold in the roasted beets and Brussels sprouts.

I served this in a roasted pumpkin.  If this is how you’d like to present this dish then you will need to get a medium-sized pumpkin and cut a round out of the top.  Clean out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon.  Place the hollowed out pumpkin and the top you removed on a baking sheet.  Place into a 400°F oven for about an hour or until the pumpkin has softened.  Remove from the oven and place upon a plate.  After that it’s just a matter of filling the pumpkin with the stuffing and serving it at table.

 

 

 

Tempeh, Walnut and Roasted Pear Loaf

Roasted pear purée was the key to giving this loaf an amazing seasonal flavor and moist texture.  The ingredient list reads like a Who’s Who of healthful botanical phytochemicals, polyphenols and antioxidants as well as omega-3s.

Ingredients:

16 oz tempeh

4 pears, divided

1 cup shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, diced

½ leek, sliced thinly

2 shallots, minced

2 stalks celery, finely diced

8 cloves roasted garlic

¼ cup ground flax seeds

½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 T fresh rosemary, minced

1T  fresh thyme leaves

4 large fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut 3 pears in half and core.  Place them upon a baking sheet and roast for an hour.  Thirty minutes into the roasting time, add the garlic cloves [wrapped up in some aluminum foil with a small bit of olive oil].

Sauté the leek, shallot, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms in a drizzle of olive oil until softened.  Add the herbs and mix well.

Place the tempeh into a food processor and blend until well crumbled.  Add to the sautéed vegetables, mixing thoroughly.

Remove the pears and garlic from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Place the roasted pears and garlic into the food processor and blend until homogenized.  Add to the tempeh mixture on the stove.  Add the flax meal and bread crumbs and stir to combine well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Core the remaining pear and cut into slices.   Line the bottom of a oiled loaf pan with them, overlapping each piece with the previous one.   Spoon out the loaf mix atop the pear slices and fill the pan.  Press down with the back of the spoon to compress the contents well.

Bake for an hour.  Allow to cool slightly and then gently invert onto a serving plate, pear side up.

 

 

Persimmon and Cranberry Gravy

I served this over some steamed green beans with roasted chestnuts [pictured above] as well as spooning it over the tempeh, walnut and roasted pear loaf.  This tart, tangy and sweet gravy tastes wonderful with savory dishes.

Ingredients:

3 cups organic unfiltered apple juice

1 persimmon, peeled and cut into a large dice

4 cloves garlic, smashed

4 sprigs fresh thyme

Zest of one orange

1 T while balsamic vinegar

½ cup fresh cranberries

Sea salt

Directions:

Place the apple juice, vinegar, garlic, persimmon, orange zest and thyme into a pan and bring to a simmer.  Reduce volume by half [~20 minutes].  Add reduced contents to a blender and blend until homogenous.  Return gravy to the pan and add the cranberries.  Bring to a low simmer and cook until the cranberries have popped [~10 minutes].  Season to taste with salt.

 

Raw Pumpkin Custard

The notion of a raw pumpkin pie has been tugging at my brain for a long time now.  Thing is, I wasn’t in the mood for a high caloric raw pie crust full of nuts and dates and such things after having such a large meal, so I opted to simply make the filling.  It’s all anyone ever really eats anyway, right?

Ingredients:

a small sugar pumpkin [mine yielded ~2 cups peeled pumpkin flesh]

one young Thai coconut [mine yielded ~1.5 cups coconut meat]

coconut water from the Thai coconut

6 medjool dates, soaked and pitted

¼ cup almond meal

4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 T fresh ginger, minced

1 tsp cardamom

½ tsp freshly-grated nutmeg

½ vanilla bean

1 tsp lemon zest

pinch of salt

agave syrup, to taste

Suggested garnishes:  raisins, almonds, roasted pumpkin seeds, citrus zest, freshly-grated nutmeg, cinnamon

Directions:

Seed and peel the pumpkin [I reserved and roasted the pumpkin seeds to use as a garnish].  Cut into a medium-sized dice.  Set aside.

Hack into the coconut [Great how-to video here], reserving the coconut water and flesh.  Set aside.

Add the pumpkin, dates and coconut flesh to a food processor and process until smooth.  Add the coconut water to aid the blending until you get a thick but smooth consistency, remembering that you can always add more liquid but can’t remove it.

Split the vanilla bean and remove the seeds with the back of a paring knife.  Add to the food processor along with the other spices.  Blend well.  Add the almond meal, ginger,  lemon zest and pinch of salt.  Process until smooth.   Add agave syrup to taste.  Place in the refrigerator to chill.

The almond meal will help to thicken the pumpkin pudding just as the coconut water will loosen its consistency.  You can adjust this to your tastes as you wish.

This is really nice served with a ginger cashew cream like the one I made here, and garnished with raisins, zests, nuts and seeds.

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Sweet Potato and Pear Strudel with Dark Chocolate

Desserts can be decadent and good for you!   While sweet and satisfying, this simple strudel contains nutritious fruit and vegetables with fiber to help mellow out those sugar rushes. 

Ingredients:

1 cup sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes

1 pear, peeled and cubed

4 squares Endangered Species dark chocolate, roughly chopped

⅓ cup turbinado sugar, divided

¼ cup raw walnuts, chopped

1 T whole wheat flour

6 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

walnut oil

Pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Add the pear, sweet potato, ½ the sugar, walnuts, flour and salt to a bowl and mix well.

Lay a sheet of phyllo upon a baking sheet and, with your fingertips or a brush, dot it gently with walnut oil.  Add another sheet atop the first and repeat.  Repeat once again and then sprinkle with 1 T of the reserved sugar.  Add another sheet of phyllo atop the sugared sheet and repeat the oiling process.  Add two more sheets, oiling them the same way.  [You should now have 3 oiled sheets of phyllo on either side of a layer of sugar.]

Spread the filling out in a line, length-wise about 3 inches from the bottom edge of the sheet.  Sprinkle with the dark chocolate.  Roll the phyllo over the top of the filling and tuck in the sides as you would while wrapping a present.  Continue to roll until all the pastry has been used.  Set the strudel seam side down and gently rub the entirety with walnut oil.  Dust the remaining sugar over the top.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the phyllo is golden brown on the edges.

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This was an entirely decadent endeavor from start to finish and an event so rare, I cannot remember the last time I made something so indulgent.  Our friend Marti came over for dinner the other night and I decided that she would be the perfect specimen upon which to test a wicked chocolate dessert.  She loved it,  so it went into the recipe vault and earned a post here. 

 

Chocolate Cheesecake with a Citrus-Nut Crust

Ingredients:

2 cups non-dairy creamer [I used So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer]

1 cup plain non-dairy yogurt [I used Nancy’s Soy Yogurt]

1 cup simple syrup* [1:1 sugar to water dissolved over heat], or agave nectar

1 recipe homemade tofu at curd stage [which is what I used for this] or 2 blocks firm regular tofu

1 ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder [I dig Dagoba], sifted

1 tsp espresso powder

2 oz organic cornstarch [@8 tablespoons], sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 cup mixed raw nuts, ground [I used ½ cup cashews and ¼ cup each sunflower seeds and hazelnuts]

zest of one orange

[*Agave syrup is my go-to sweetener of choice and I would have used it in this recipe except that my friend is allergic to agave.  For this reason, I used a simple syrup solution as a substitute.  If you do choose to use agave rather than the simple syrup, you may want to begin with adding half a cup and tasting for sweetness.  If it is sweet enough, simply add half a cup of creamer to make up the volume lost.  If you prefer it sweeter, then add the full cup of agave.]

Directions:

Place nuts and orange zest into a food processor and grind until crumbly.  Add a wee bit of agave or other liquid sweetener at a time and pulse until the nuts hold together.  Press the nuts into the bottom of a sprayed [I use an aerosolized coconut oil] 8-inch springform pan.  Place in the refrigerator.

Crumble the tofu and place in a cheesecloth.  Squeeze until all the liquid is removed.  Transfer to a blender and add the yogurt, simple syrup or agave, vanilla extract and salt.  Blend until smooth.  Set aside.

Add creamer to a pan on the stove and slowly add the cornstarch and cocoa powder while the creamer is cold, whisking until it is fully incorporated and there are no lumps.  Add the expresso powder.  Heat to a simmer, whisking continuously and making sure to rake the bottom of the pan to bring up any settled layer.  Continue to cook until well thickened.  Transfer to the blender containing the tofu mixture and blend until silky smooth.

Pour the contents of the blender into the springform pan and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to set.  Overnight would be best.

Hazelnut cream

Ingredients:

½ cup hazelnuts, soaked for at least an hour in water

½ cup cashews, soaked for at least an hour in water

½ cup non-dairy creamer

simple syrup or agave nectar, to taste

pinch of salt

a couple grates of fresh nutmeg

Directions:

Drain the nuts and place into a blender.  Add creamer and salt.  Blend until smooth.  Add sweetener to taste and grated nutmeg.

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Apple and Pear Strudel

Ingredients:

1 apple, peeled and cubed

1 pear, peeled and cubed

juice and zest of one lemon [chop up the zest so there aren’t long strands]

⅓ cup turbinado sugar, divided

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ cup raw walnuts, chopped

¼ cup raw sunflower seeds

⅓ cup raisins

1 T whole wheat flour

6 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

walnut oil

pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Add cinnamon to the sugar and mix well.  Remove 2 T and set aside.

Add apple, pear, lemon juice and zest, cinnamon sugar, walnuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, flour and salt to a bowl and mix well.

Lay a sheet of phyllo upon a baking sheet and, with your fingertips or a brush, dot it gently with walnut oil.  Add another sheet atop the first and repeat.  Repeat once again and then sprinkle with 1 T of the reserved cinnamon sugar.  Add another sheet of phyllo atop the sugared sheet and repeat the oiling process.  Add two more sheets, oiling them the same way.  [You should now have 3 oiled sheets of phyllo on either side of a layer of cinnamon sugar.]

Spread the filling out in a line, length-wise about 3 inches from the bottom edge of the sheet.  Roll the phyllo over the top of the filling and tuck in the sides as you would while wrapping a present.  Continue to roll until all the pastry has been used.  Set the strudel seam side down and gently rub the entirety with walnut oil.  Dust the remaining cinnamon sugar over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes,  or until the phyllo is golden brown on the edges.

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