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.
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.
- 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.
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).
- 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).
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.