Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'll be on the corner eating nothing a la mode.

Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream with Homemade Organic and Fair Trade Hot Fudge Sauce

     When I first went vegan, I was stoked there was vegan ice cream, even moon pies. Looking back on it, I can't believe I was ever excited for Rice Dream. It's still surprising that stores sell and and people continue to buy it. Luckily, vegan ice cream has come a long way. From cookie dough, turtle tracks and rocky road, not to mention the milk alternatives from soy, coconut and even hemp. So why did I decide to go D.I.Y. and make my own? Good question, but as Doomtree's Dessa says..."because the rest weren't it at all...". Okay, that didn't make any sense so on to the ice cream.

    There are just two vegan ice cream cook(recipes?) books: Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love and The Vegan Scoop:  150 Recipes for Dairy-Free Ice Cream That Tastes Better Than The "Real" Thing. After much research, I decided to go with Lick It! and I haven't been disappointed. I also bought the ice cream maker that Bryanna Clark recommended, the Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence. Here it is in action making the vanilla ice cream for cookie dough ice cream.

    The base for most of the recipes I've made use half coconut milk and half soymilk (I use my own homemade soymilk). It takes about 20 minutes and when it comes from the machine, it has a soft serve consistency. However, once in the freezer, it gets quite hard with frozen yogurt it's rock hard (maybe that's cause I used homemade soy yogurt). I just leave it out or put in in the oven for a couple minutes.

    (Naked) Pumpkin Ice Cream

     I used my own pumpkin puree, which I'll write about soon. I would definitely make this again, but the recipe calls for maple syrup as a sweetener. Not only is this expensive, it created a more mellow flavor. I think I'll try using organic and fair trade brown sugar next time. As for the hot fudge sauce, it was yummy, and slightly grainy from the cocoa powder. The trick is not to let the sauce get too warm; otherwise, it's more like a chocolate sauce than fudge. I froze my plate for the picture and when the fudge it the plate it was excellent. Perhaps lukewarm fudge sauce is a better name.

Up Next: Cumin-Lime Tofu with Brown Basmati Rice.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Feast Fit for A Joe

Chiptole Chile-Rubbed Southwest Tempeh with Fiery Sweet Potatoes, Wilted Red Miso Kale with Cherries and Slivered Almonds

     I got a chance to go back East for Thanksgiving, but more importantly to see my first (and second) Frames show. I stayed at my friend's house, who is an amazing and creative chef. From Coconut Bacon to Beer Battered Avocado Tacos to his seitan recipe that launched me into the cooking world, Kevin can hold his own in the kitchen. His cooking experiments are documented at, along with another awesome friend and chef.  Kevin also has a pretty good selection of cookbooks. While he was cooking up our Thanksgiving feast, I sat there and made a list of recipes that I wanted to steal. Here are the results:

Tahini-Mustard Dressing
     Bottled salad dressings are not only expensive, they're not that exciting. I think I've made the Vegan ranch from one of my favorite restaurants, NJ's Veggie Works (RIP) for years. Lately, I've been making the Russian Dressing from the Tempeh Reuben in Vegan with a Vengeance.  The two recipes are awesome so I don't stray far from them, but decided to give the Tahini-Mustard dressing from The 30-Minute Vegan. It's simple with ingredients already in your pantry and the results were great; a thick dressing with a nice robust flavor. I will definitely add this to my dressing list. Pictured with a simple garden salad with organic romaine lettuce, carrots and a few sprigs of cilantro.

Wilted Red Miso Kale with Cherries and Silvered Almonds

     While in Philly, we visited Mi Lah. It's an all vegan restaurant that was started from a chef at Horizon's (hands down the best vegan restaurant in the country). It has a stellar brunch (think beer battered seitan over Belgian waffles). Unfortunately, the owners fired the staff and chef and the food wasn't as great. The one highlight was miso kale. At Whole Foods, I saw this recipe and had to give it a whirl. It was a lighter version of the Mi Lah's but still pretty good. I left the ribs on because I like the texture that it brings to the dish. I would definitely make this again but I would leave out the onion or half the onion since it didn't really add to the dish. I would also use dried or fresh fruit. I used frozen cherries and they just fell apart. Oh and red miso was substituted for the white miso because that's what I had one hand.

Fiery Sweet Potatoes
     I know what to do with potatoes but when it comes to sweet potatoes I'm at a lost. I've tried several times to make baked sweet potatoes fries, but each time they either burn or come out limp and flaccid. This was an excellent recipe and the broiling at the end makes for an interesting crust. I would make this again but would double the curry paste, eliminate the Earth Balance and replace with an equal amount of coconut milk, and try maybe using less sugar. It was a tad sweet, not that I cared. 
Chiptole Chili-Rubbed Southwest Tempeh
     I've made the Macadamia Crusted Tofu (looks like the recipe was taken down) and Szechuan Tempeh and Veggies from the 30 Minute Vegan/ Vegan Fusion people several times and was impressed every time. So it was an easy choice to buy their cookbooks, The 30-Minute Vegan and  The 30-Minute Vegan's Taste of the East. The first entree I tried was the Chiptole Chili-Rubbed Southwest Tempeh. I'm not sure if I missed poured or used a smaller pan but the marinade nearly covered the tempeh, which caused difficulty in putting in the rub. I ended up saving half of the rub and after removing the tempeh from the dish, I rubbed it into the tempeh and cooked it for 10 minutes along with the sweet potatoes. Overall, a decent recipe, but when I make it again I would eliminate the tomatoes and onion on top (they didn't seem to add anything to the dish), blend the chiptole peppers into the marinade.
   After removing the tempeh from the marinade and adding more rub. I kinda wish there was a little marinade left over that I could drizzle over the tempeh.

Coming up next: Homemade Pumpkin Spiced Ice Cream with Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Purple Tofu Eater.

     With a soy milk, yogurt and now an ice cream maker, I run through quite a lot of soybeans. A great local source of organic U.S. grown (a Cali's worker said their source is from Nebraska) soybeans is Cali's Natural Foods, about $1.33 per pound. Right next to the bin filled with the yellow soybeans are black soybeans. I wasn't aware that black soybeans existed, but after a friend asked me why I didn't use them, I didn't have a good answer why. So I decided to experiment with black soybeans, especially after learning that black and yellow soybeans are nearly nutritionally identical. Most of the experiments were successful and nearly identical to their yellow bean counterparts.

Purple Soy Milk
     The recipe/directions comes from one of my vegan idols, Bryanna Clark Grogan. I've been making soy milk following her recipe for more than a year now and highly recommend it. There is even a recipe if you don't have a soy milk maker, though I can't vouch for it.  Depending on what recipe you use, a pound of soybeans makes between a gallon or two of soy milk. It beats the $2-$3 for a half gallon of commercial soy milk. I use the SoyQuick Premier Milk Maker 930P, recommend by Bryanna and myself.

Purple Soy Yogurt 

     I used to eat soy yogurt all the time, but I wasn't too keen on the plastic containers that piled up in my recycling. Not to mention that my favorite company, Whole Soy, didn't use organic fruit so I decided to try making my own. Plus, I can use organic/fair trade sugar. I use the Tribest Yolife Yogurt Maker YL-210, recommend by Bryanna Clark. Recipe from her as well. I'm going to try and make tempeh in the machine and I'll post if it's successful.

Purple Tofu 

     Part of the reason I justified buying a soy milk maker was to make my own tofu. It's a pretty even ratio, about a pound of soybeans for a pound of tofu. You need to make three batches of soy milk so with one machine it kinda sucks. I've refined my technique a bit but it's still time consuming and not as good as commercial tofu and not that cost effective. The black tofu came out gummy. I'm not sure if it was because of the soybeans or something I did.

     I pan fried the purple tofu and tossed in a pad thai sauce for purple tofu pad thai. Recipe from another one of my vegan heroes, Chef Chloe. It's hands down one of the best vegan pad thai recipes that I've tried.

Purple Tofu Pad Thai