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.
I made this to celebrate the end of finals this week and to satisfy a craving my boyfriend had… That’s all I’m good for.
I love leaving the kitchen window ajar while the wind and rain blow around. The cold air helps my ice cream freeze better as it churns. Later, a hot oven full of baking goodies fills the indoor air with warmth and tasty aromas.
Composition of the ice cream cake:
- Two layers of chocolate cake. I made One-Bowl Chocolate Cake from Better Homes & Gardens, leaving out the eggs and substituting soymilk for milk.
- Two layers of mint-chocolate chip ice cream that owes its flavor and color to lots of fresh mint leaves. The method is explained in the recipe from David Lebovitz. I omitted the egg yolks, substituted the whole milk and cream with full-fat coconut milk and vanilla soymilk (I didn’t want it too rich and creamy), and blended the steeped-mint mixture with 1½ Tbsp liquid soy lecithin and ¼ cup tapioca starch before reheating.
- On top, I drizzled 3 oz. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mint UFOs melted with 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening. I also used chopped UFOs for the ice cream. Mmmmminty.
Wooowooowooowooo… We are beamink you up. Do not rezist, Earthlink. We are flyink you to galaxy of minty chocolate. Woowooowooowoo…..
…I refused to bake him a cake!
I swear it’s what he wanted. For his birthday last March, he requested a raw chocolate cake, rich and decadent with no baking involved.
This was based on the Mocha Cake recipe in Sweet Gratitude: A New World of Raw Desserts. I covered it with Chocolate Glaze, Mocha Cashew-Free Frosting, and sliced almonds. I spoil my baby so.
Dates, coconut oil, almonds, cacao, and cold-pressed espresso were blended into a dense fudgy cake. Can food be sinfully nutritious?
And those are normal-sized birthday candles. This was a special tiny cake just for the two of us. And all the leftover Chocolate Glaze was for me. I can drink it like coffee.
Lover that I am of food and pumpkins, I cannot resist any recipes featuring my favorite cucurbit. While Whole Foods Market’s website has a trove of vegan recipes stressing natural/organic/healthful ingredients, the following do not specifically sport the “vegan” tag. But why let that limit your culinary progress? Here’s how I did these:
- Turkey Pumpkin Chili—Substitute the turkey with mushrooms, tempeh, or your own choice of vegan “meat substitute.”
- Pumpkin Bread Pudding—I used Ener-G Egg Replacer for the eggs, coconut milk for the half-and-half, and coconut cream for the cream. I also tossed in two handfuls of golden and dark raisins. Serve warm with love.
- Pumpkin Chocolate Cake—Just forget the eggs. Sweet and moist and not too high in fat, this cake is a great snack for a fall afternoon.
- Creamy Pumpkin Brown Rice—The aroma of pumpkin cooking into a creamy, risotto-like supper for a drizzly autumn night drives me wild with happiness.
- Pumpkin Streusel Bread—I actually used crushed Cheerios in the topping since I had no walnuts or chestnuts, doubled the apples, and substituted canola oil and Ener-G Egg Replacer for the butter and eggs. Results were irresistible.
But there are even more pumpkin recipes to explore! I haven’t had the time or money to try them yet, so it’s up to you to make these vegan and delicious: