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Dairy-free Chocolate Orange Ice Cream

September.14.2012

When I was thirteen or so I spent a few sunny Saturdays at Golden Gate Park.  A typical Bay Area weekend destination, right?  I’d agree, except my days weren’t spent riding the carousel, climbing the beautiful Strawberry Hill, or watching the buffalo graze.  Instead, I was at the casting pond with my dad, learning how to fly fish (or, more accurately, f*&king around with a rod and fishing line and biding my time until we could drive past the buffalo again.)

I remember going back to the casting pond at least a handful of times, though.  No, it wasn’t because I developed a passion for the sport.  I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any thirteen year old girl eager to fly fish.  My return to the pond was built upon the promise of post-casting visits to Swensen’s, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.  Apart from the kitschy atmosphere, Swensen’s offered one thing that you wouldn’t find elsewhere: the coveted Swiss Orange Chip flavor, reminiscent of those foil-wrapped chocolate oranges you find during the holidays.  So, while my dad never instilled in me a passion for fishing, he did pass on his good taste in ice cream flavors.

Though there’s no ice cream maker involved, this simple dessert sets up beautifully.  The bit of fat from the coconut milk allows it to retain its creaminess in the freezer.

If the chocolate orange flavor profile isn’t your thing, change it up!  Leave out the orange and/or chocolate, add a different type of fruit, or drop in a few spoonfuls of peanut butter for my favorite classic variation.  I know banana ice cream has been featured just about everywhere, so there’s no lack of ideas around the internet.
Chocolate Orange Banana “Ice Cream”

  • 4 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 3 or 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • pinch of salt
  • optional: chocolate chips and sweetener – sugar, agave, stevia (Depending on your tastebuds and the ripeness of the bananas)

1.  Place all ingredients in food processor and grind until smooth and creamy.

2. If too thick, add more coconut milk.

3. Taste and adjust sweetener to your liking

This can be eaten immediately or stored in the freezer.  After freezing, allow the ice cream to sit out for 5-10 minutes to thaw out a bit, as it will be difficult to scoop straight out of the freezer.

Vegan Tacuba-style Enchiladas

August.28.2012

It’s time to divulge a secret: I’ve been completely addicted to Trader Joe’s frozen corn and black bean enchiladas for the last two years.  As much as I love to cook, this is one of two packaged meals that continuously pop up in my rotation (the other being Kashi’s Mayan harvest bake).  It started a couple years ago, when I often found myself rushing to grab food on my lunch break.   Enter the magical $1.99 meal – the best vegan deal around town.  Heated up in just a few minutes and sprinkled (ahem, covered) with nutritional yeast, this quickly became my favorite lunch.

Until recently I’d never actually made enchiladas.  Despite my love for the TJ’s variety, which are doused in a traditional red tomato-based sauce, I went the green route when making my own.  I consulted with the king of Mexican food, Rick Bayless, who pointed me towards his Tacuba-style enchilada sauce (read: I looked it up on his website, though I wish I could say he personally advised me).  A little bit of veganization later I had whipped up a jar of gorgeous, bright green poblano sauce.

The filling was the next of my concerns.  I stuck with the corn and black bean theme that I know and love and mixed them up with a blend of tomato paste and smoky jarred chipotle. I added in a roasted sweet potato for a contrast to the spice of the sauce and chipotle.

Once baked, I topped the enchiladas with some cool, tangy cashew cream to round out the dish.

This was truly one of the best meals I’ve ever made.  Truth be told, I ate these three times in a span of three days.

And so ends the tale of my dependence on the Trader Joe’s enchilada gods.

TACUBA STYLE ENCHILADAS

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 batch enchilada sauce (recipe below)
  • Fillings of choice (i.e. beans, tofu, tempeh, and vegetables)
  • Cashew “sour cream” (recipe below)

To assemble:

1. Mix cooked protein and vegetables with 3/4 cup of the sauce.

2. Wrap tortillas in a damp towel and microwave for 30 seconds.  Keep them wrapped in the towel as you assemble the enchiladas

3. Add 1 cup of sauce to an empty baking dish large enough to fit all of your enchiladas.

4.  Working one at a time, add about 1/4 cup of filling to each tortilla.  Roll up and place inside your baking dish, sealed side down.

5.  Once all the enchiladas are rolled, cover them with the rest of the sauce.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

ENCHILADA SAUCE (Adapted from Rick Bayless)

  • 3 poblano peppers (sometimes labeled pasilla peppers)
  • 1/2 cup thawed frozen spinach
  • 2 cups unflavored, unsweetened almond milk (or other neutral non-dairy milk)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • Salt

1. Roast peppers directly under broiler until completely charred, turning every few minutes to evenly cook.  Place in a bowl and cover with a towel.  Once cooled, peel the blackened skins off of the peppers and remove the stems and seeds.

2. Heat the broth and milk together over medium-high heat

3.  In a sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and onions, saute for two minutes.  Add the flour and stir for one minute.

4.  Increase heat to medium-high and add the broth/milk mixture.  Whisk until the sauce boils, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes.

5.  To a blender, add the spinach, roasted peppers, and the sauce mixture.  Blend until smooth and season to taste.

ENCHILADA FILLING

These enchiladas can be made with any vegetables and protein you have on hand.  Generally, you’ll want to mix your precooked filling with about 1/2 to 1 cup of the enchilada sauce.  When I made these I seasoned the mixture with a separate sauce (because I can’t pass up the opportunity to add chipotle to something), but they’d be equally delicious and simpler using just the green sauce.

Try tempeh, tofu, or beans along with a mixture of your favorite vegetables or whichever ones you’ve got on hand.

Mine included:

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • 2 jarred chipotles
  • Sweet potato, cubed and cooked
  • Corn, cut from the cob and sauteed with a clove of garlic
  • Black beans, cooked

CASHEW “SOUR CREAM”

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least four hours
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • pinch of salt

1. Drain cashews

2.  Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.  Add water as needed to reach desired consistency.

 

 

Simple vegan meals: Traveling edition

July.16.2012

Hallo from Vienna!
I’m about halfway through my trip now and am having the greatest time. I’ve found vegan eats around Amsterdam, Berlin, and Vienna, which I’ll post about when I’m home. As much as I love exploring what each city has to offer in terms of vegan restaurants, some days all I want to do is have a homecooked meal. I went to an outdoor market (Naschmarkt – completely awesome) today to pick up ingredients for dinner. I found the littlest eggplants ever and some mini chanterelles, which are much cheaper here than back home. Score.
With my produce in tow, I headed back to my lovely little hostel (getting completely lost along the way).

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Dinner was simple, but delicious and comforting.

PASTA WITH WHITE WINE CREAM SAUCE AND VEGETABLES
– 1 serving pasta, any shape
– Olive oil
– 1 medium sized shallot, diced
– 1 or two cloves garlic, minced
– 1/4 cup white wine
– 2 tablespoons vegan cream
– Vegetables of your choice: mine had eggplant and mushrooms

1. Cook pasta according to directions for size and shape
2. In a saute pan over medium heat, cook shallots and garlic in 1 tbsp. olive oil until translucent
3. Add white wine to deglaze pan
4. Add cream and vegetables and cook until tender
5. Drain pasta and add to sauce + vegetables

& enjoy.

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And some scenes from the market:
1. Vinegar shop. 24 kinds of vinegar on tap

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2. Beautiful produce

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3. Spices

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4. Goji berry cone!

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Vegan German chocolate cake

July.15.2012

Sometimes the tastiest things aren’t the most beautiful.  Case in point: this cake.  I had visions of the most perfectly constructed mini layer cake with flushly aligned edges over which I would spread thick, sweet ganache, enrobing the cake in a smooth chocolatey blanket.  Instead I ended up with a cake that looked eerily similar to Gloppy, resident of Candyland.

After some time in the freezer, the ganache firmed up and I was able to make the cake look presentable.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE

(recipes printed below)

  • Chocolate cake
  • Coconut frosting
  • Chocolate ganache

1.  Once all three elements are prepared and properly cooled, begin assembly

2. Slice cake according to desired layers/shape.  I baked this in a loaf pan, cutting the cake in half widthwise and then slicing each half into two layers

3.  Spread coconut frosting on top of each layer before stacking the next.  Do not spread on top layer

4. Cover entire cake in ganache.  If ganache is too runny, let sit in freezer for 20 minutes.

Chocolate cake

I adapted the cake recipe found here, reducing the amount of sugar and oil in anticipation of the two rich frostings that would envelop the cake. I also used coconut oil rather than canola

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 -3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease your baking pan (I used a loaf pan so that I could make a mini layer cake.  You could also use a 9″ circular cake pan or make cupcakes)

2.  Sift dry ingredients (first five listed) together

3. Add in coconut oil, vanilla, vinegar, milk, and water.  Mix until smooth, adding a bit more milk as needed.

4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Adjust baking time for type of pan you’re using.

Coconut (pecan) frosting

I used this recipe as a base, but decreased the amount of frosting made.

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup canned coconut milk (light or otherwise)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used half brown and half white)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1.5 tablespoons water until smooth
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans are traditional, but I only had walnuts on hand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring milks, sugar, and vanilla almost to a boil.  Add in cornstarch mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until thickened.  Remove from heat and add coconut, nuts, and salt.  Cool before frosting cake.

Chocolate ganache

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk or creamer

1. Heat chocolate chips and milk over medium high heat, stirring until completely smooth.  Cool before frosting cake.

Cashew Cheese

July.10.2012

I shudder at the thought of eating most storebought vegan cheeses, particularly the kinds that try to imitate the texture and meltyness.  As a general rule, I stick to vegan cheesy products that I can prepare myself (tofu ricotta/chevre, cashew cheese, walnut parmesan)

This is a recipe I’ve had bookmarked for months now.  I ended up making two versions, and they definitely didn’t disappoint.  One was the original, flavored with liquid smoke.  In the second, I omitted the liquid smoke and instead included a couple pinches of dill.  They were both delicious on crackers and pizza, or warmed up inside a toasty torta roll.

When I was flipping through these photos on my computer, I realized how similar the smoked cheese looked to the babybel wax-encased gouda I ate as a kid.  The stripe of smoked paprika garnishing the wheel of “cheese” must have been a subconscious nod to my childhood love for the stuff.  When I think about it, though, the cheese in itself wasn’t all that great.  It was just so fun to tear out that center strip of wax and, subsequently, roll the wax into balls and have fights with my older brother using the little red pellets.   (Sidenote: my brother is far from vegan, but he was surprisingly willing to try a slice of this.  The first thing he said was, “how does it taste so cheesy?”.)

Since I’m a devoted lover of vegan pizza, here’s one I made using this cheese.  Topped with smoky cashew cheese, fresh corn, mushrooms, and tempeh. So great.

Vegan mushroom risotto

July.7.2012

Father’s Day wasn’t a big ordeal this year.  A simple match of tennis with dad and a homemade dinner followed by his favorite dessert (Veganized, of course. German chocolate cake post to come. )

I think the meal made up for the defeat on the court (sorry, pops).  He declared this the best risotto he’d ever eaten.  And I didn’t even complain when he tainted his vegan dinner with cheese.  Yeah, happy Father’s Day.

Risotto is such a simple dish that it’s flavor comes down to the quality of the ingredients used.  I sprung for the most gorgeous mushrooms available – fresh morels, chanterelles, and basic brown shrooms

When I tasted the cooked risotto, I couldn’t help but feel that it was a bit flat.  I took a risk and added something I’d never thought of before: A squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  It brought the dish from earthy to perfectly balanced in a second.

MUSHROOM RISOTTO (serves 4)

  • 2-3 cups assorted mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Saute mushrooms in a bit of oil until tender. Set aside.

2. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat, until onions soften (about 2-3 minutes)

3. Add arborio rice.  Saute until rice is translucent.

4. Add white wine.  Stir until absorbed

5. Add stock 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly.  Repeat until rice is fully cooked.

6. Stir in cooked mushrooms and lemon juice.

Happy Vegan Pizza Day!

June.30.2012

It’s Vegan Pizza Day, and I’m going to keep this post short and sweet.  Pizza doesn’t need much explanation.

Pizza is delicious.  Vegan pizza is seriously delicious.  Vegan pizza is worth celebrating.  And celebrate I did.

This pizza is a perfect combination of spicy, sweet, creamy, and tangy.  With chipotle garlic tomato paste, creamy tofu chèvre, caramelized onions, and a bit of fresh arugula, there’s no room to miss melty cheese.

CARAMELIZED ONION AND TOFU CHEVRE PIZZA

  • Favorite store-bought or homemade pizza dough
  • 1 recipe chipotle garlic tomato paste, below
  • Tofu chèvre, below (adapted from Keepin’ it Kind)
  • 1 onion, caramelized (instructions below, if needed)
  • Handful of baby arugula, optional

(preheat oven according to your own pizza dough recipe or instructions)

1. Stretch/roll pizza dough to desired shape and size (as you can see, I go for a rustic look- AKA as thin as I can get it, no matter the shape).  I bake my pizza on a pre-heated pizza stone for optimal crispness

2. Spread tomato paste on pizza

3. Top with caramelized onions and crumbles/balls of tofu chèvre

4.  After baking: top with arugula, if desired.

Chipotle and garlic tomato paste:

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons adobo sauce from can of chipotles
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • olive oil

1. Smash garlic cloves.  Saute in a teaspoon of oil until lightly browned and softened. Mince.

2. Mix garlic, tomato paste, and adobo sauce.

Tofu Chèvre (adapted)

  • 8 oz. super firm tofu
  • 1.5 tbsp white miso
  • 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in food processor, blending until smooth. Adjust salt to taste

Caramelized onions

  • 1 large onion (any color)
  • Olive oil

1.  Slice onion in half, and then into segments about 1/2 cm. wide.

2. Saute onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat.

3.  After 2 minutes, reduce to simmer, cover with lid, and cook for about 30 minutes.

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