Monthly Archives: July 2011

Vegan Chocolate Reviewer: The Tea Room Maté & Cacao Nibs Chocolate Fusion

Product: The Tea Room Maté & Cacao Nibs Chocolate Fusion
Price: $3.49 for 1.8 oz at Cornucopia (local health food store)
Type of chocolate: 72% cacao European chocolate
My notes: Very smooth, silky texture with a even dusting of crunchy bits (sugar? cacao?) like fine sand throughout. Soft snap. Sweet and citrusy flavor with a weird, almost coffee-like note that I assume is the yerba maté. Definitely detected the licorice-y star anise. Interesting.
Note to self: Just because it’s pricey, you don’t have to buy it.
Overall rating (out of five stars): ***

Beautiful. I wish my skin were as smooth as this chocolate.

Did my palate luxuriate in the flavor medley? I guess.

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Raw Summer Pudding for Fruits

No super-fancy photo here, just a recipe for a raw pudding that will be phenomenal with any of your fresh summer fruit: strawberries, peaches, cherries, or (ahem) blueberries. Maybe coconut, too, if you’re lucky enough to have some. I had this for lunch today and it was too good not to share.

Don’t lick it off the blades of your blender. Only I can do that.

Summer Pudding

Serves 2

  • 2 medium avocados
  • 1 large banana
  • 6-8 small dates
  • 1 plum
  • 1 scraped vanilla bean (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • a bit of (raw) agave nectar, to sweeten to your liking

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until silky smooth, stopping to stir or scrape sides of blender with a spatula when needed. Taste before adding agave nectar to sweeten. Serve topped with fresh fruit or berries.

Refrigerate this for up to two days.

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Summertime Fruit Cocktails

Here are some cures for the summertime blues.

Strawberry mojito from A cup of Mai. I blended the ingredients with ice for a slushy refresher. Find a vegan rum on barnivore.com’s list of vegan liquors.

To make a simple syrup for cocktails, stir together equal parts water and sugar, and heat over medium-high until sugar is completely dissolved. Let it boil a minute and then cool completely. Keep it stored in the refrigerator.

Agave nectar is also a great (albeit more expensive) sweetener with a summery personality that I love with fruit.

Now for my own recipe, a fruity and fizzy summer punch. You can make it with juice squeezed from the remnants of watermelon you might have after using a melon baller. I call it Watermelon Candy (because I’m sweet on candy).

Watermelon Candy

Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) watermelon juice (squeezed & strained from fresh watermelon)
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) vodka
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) pomegranate juice
  • 1 Tbsp (1/2 oz) triple sec
  • ice cubes
  • grapefruit or lemon-lime soda

Shake the watermelon juice, vodka, lemon juice, triple sec, and pomegranate juice in a jar or cocktail shaker. Serve in two glasses over plenty of ice cubes, and top off with soda (nearly as much soda as other liquids for a friendly, sweet drink).

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Nuts for Vegan Baklava

Substitute Earth Balance margarine for the butter in this baklava recipe from flagrantedelicia.com, and you have a vegan pastry full of spiced nuts and hubristic feelings of superiority.

I made rolls, layered triangles, and mini-cups. I’m sure the easiest way to do baklava would be layering your margarine-brushed phyllo sheets spread with nuts in a baking pan. After the pastry bakes up all golden-crisp, cut pieces are drenched in a flavored sugar syrup to sit. Your patience is rewarded after several hours. It’s a process, but not difficult as long as you work quickly with the phyllo. Have the oven on and all the other ingredients ready.

Sometimes I am in awe at how much I dedicate to cooking to make up for my failures as a human being. Oh… well. With these sticky-sweet, golden phyllo pastries, I may still have the world eating out of my hands, literally.

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