Sep 22, 2011

Apricot Cantaloupe decide

We had a few cantaloupes left after COK's Bring a Friend BBQ held earlier in September, so we gave them to our gracious host Heather Shenkman. Follow her cardiologist, vegan activist and Ironman Triathlete adventures at her own blog Vegan Heart Doc.
Here's the recipe that I gave to her for a cantaloupe sorbet. The cashews give the dessert its creaminess and the apricots are the perfect whole food sweetener.

Apricot Cantaloupe Mousse with Wild Blueberries

1 cup dried apricots (1/3 lb)
1 medium sized cantaloupe (5" in diameter)(1 lb), peeled and seeded
4 oz of raw cashews (1/4 lb)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt (optional) 
2 tsp stevia powder or 1/4 tsp stevia liquid (optional)

Combine all in high speed blender or food processor til uniform texture and smooth.
Makes 9-10 3oz servings.

Chill in the refrigerator. I added some sliced bananas and wild blueberries for a quick parfait.
Freeze in an airtight container. Because of the low fat content, it freezes like a hard ice cream, so I suggest you defrost slightly before scooping.
Stir or blend 1/2 cup into 1/2 cup of rice milk, hemp milk, coconut water or coconut milk.

click to zoom in

For each 80 gram serving you have get 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and only 5 grams of fat. Adding stevia for extra optional sweetness doesn't add to to the carbs or fat at all.

What's really impressive is you get almost half of your daily recommended intake of Vit A and a third of you Vit C just from one serving.

If you prefer honeydew melons over cantaloupes, just switch them out in the recipe. Blueberries go even better paired with honeydew. If you have raisins, dates or figs in your pantry, go ahead and switch out the apricots for any of those dried fruits.

Sep 13, 2011

What! You Put Pineapple in my Burger.

Compassion Over Killing is one of many great local organizations in Los Angeles. As a combination pre-labor day party and vegan outreach event, COK held a BBQ fundraiser social. I was more than happy to help out.

Match premium meat alternatives, one of many contributors, had pounds of their ground chicken and beef drop shipped to me so that I could get them seasoned and BBQ ready. The COK Blog has a full list of contributors to the event.

Steak Fajita Burger:
1 lb Match veg beef
1 green pepper, cored & minced
2 tbsp dried onion powder
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried garlic powder
2 tbsp cumin
1/4 cup button mushroom, chopped & sauteed/browned (optional)
1/2 tsp sea salt (optional)

1st time at the grill, believe it or not
BBQ Cajun Burger:
1 lb Match veg beef
1/2 green pepper, cored & pureed
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dried onion powder
2 tsp dried garlic
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp dried parsley (optional)

Held up great on the grill, chicken stuck to grill less.

Basil Chicken Burger:
1 lb Match veg chicken
3 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried garlic powder
2 tsp dried onion powder
1/2 tsp sea salt (optional)

Hawaiian Chicken Burger:
1 lb Match veg chicken
2/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained
2 tsp dried garlic powder
2 tsp dried onion powder
1/2 tsp sea salt (optional)

Lightly brush each side of patty with oil before grilling or lightly oil skillet if cooking on stove top. Brown well before turning. Each recipes makes 8 2oz patties or 16 1oz sliders.

Condimentwise, the Basil Chicken Burgers went well with Vegenaise, classic ketchup suits the Hawaiian Burgers and Daiya cheese melts great on the Steak Fajita and BBQ Cajun Burgers

Aug 23, 2011

Sometimes You Just Want a Cookie

Simple and sweet tooth satisfying, these cookies are packed with fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, some vital magnesium, a respectable amount of protein, some bone building calcium and oxygenating iron.

Wet ingredients:
4 tbsp ground flax or chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup safflower or canola oil (to avoid the GMO/scientifically manipulated seeds, buy organic)

Dry ingredients:
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (fair trade please**)
3 cups of  rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (optional)

Gluten Free option:
look for packaged oats labeled as made in gluten free facility
use gluten free flour in place of all-purpose wheat flour, here's one available in many stores - Gluten Free Flour

Protein Packed option:
add 1/2 cup of sprouted brown rice protein powder for a boost of 2 grams of protein per cookie, without adding any fat or additional carbs

Heat oven to 350 F.
Mix wet ingredients til uniform.
Stir all dry ingredients together in separate bowl.
Stir wet and dry ingredients together, mix well.
Drop rounded tbsp onto baking sheet (no need to oil if using silicone sheet).
Bake 10-12 minutes (til lightly browned).
Remove from oven, allow to cool.
Transfer to wire rack unless using silicone sheet.
Makes approx 4 dozen small cookies.

**3 top reasons for fair trade chocolate 
 • forced and abusive child labor practices are prohibited 
 • farming families earn a price to meet their needs 
 • environmentally sustainable production methods are required 

If you prefer to read further - Fair Trade chocolate and Why Should I Buy It?

Aug 13, 2011

Break it down for me...what's in those tarts anyway

Here's the nutritional info for a single serving of mousse. Each box has the info based on which sweetener was used. (click on box to zoom in)

The dates really plump up the calories per serving, but it also bumps up the fiber and protein. If you are watching your carb intake or your glycemic index, you should stick with the agave or the stevia option. The overall winner is agave, in terms of taste, ease of use and total calories.

Here's the info for the tart shells with the different sweeteners.

They are up there in calories, but look at the high amount of protein, iron and fiber. You also get 30% of your RDI (recommended daily intake) of magnesium, about half your RDI of manganese and over 330mg of Omega 3 fatty acid.  Imagine if you ate 2.

Lastly, here's the info for the mousse with tart shell and for a non tart option, the mousse with just strawberries. The strawberry option for those times you're too tied up to make tarts or for those times you just want some fresh strawberries.

The fresh fruit choice definitely keeps the calories and the amount of fat down. Check out the vitamin C boost! Try slicing the strawberries and spooning out the mousse as a topping, or even simpler, just dip and devour.

p.s. The mousse and the tarts hold up well in the freezer if you want to have some later or in advance. They even take on a fudgey texture once slightly thawed.

Aug 10, 2011

You're Such a Tart

Who doesn't want to make their own tart shells that are gluten free and high in soluble fiber.

2 cups of raw cashew meal (ground in food processor, no need to soak cashews)
1 tbsp ground chia seeds
2 tbsp psyllium seed husk
2 tbsp buckwheat flour
1/3 cup gluten free oats
3 tbsp agave or 5 dates
1/2 tsp pink or grey salt
1/2 cup water

Combine all in large bowl and knead til uniform. Place 8 cupcake cups into cupcake/muffin pan. Portion out into 8 cups and gently press out and up into sides of cups. Dehydrate in dehydrator for 10-24 hours at 108 F (until firm and "crisp") or bake at 350 F for 5 minutes. 

Jul 27, 2011

Dessert First

To start things off, here's an easy treat. This simple, no cook 5 ingredient dessert is rich, decadent and most importantly, dairy free.

Chocolate Mousse

2 ripe avocados (1 cup)
4 tbsp of chocolate (cocoa, raw cacao powder or carob powder)
6 tbsp of agave, maple syrup,10 medjool dates (soaked & drained), 1 tbsp stevia powder or 1/2 tsp stevia liquid
(choose your sweetener based on what you have available or based on specific dietary needs)
1 tsp of vanilla
1/8 tsp of salt

Add all to food processor and blend until smooth. No food processor you say? Mash super well with fork and stir until smooth and uniform in color. Let set in covered container in the fridge for a few hours. Serve chilled.

Optional serving suggestions:
chocolate mousse pie - pour into pie crust and top with shredded coconut or sliced strawberries
choc cinn mousse - add 1/2 tsp cinnamon
choc mint mousse - add 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

My friend Vida's pie version with sliced strawberry and banana.

To back up a little, I got the basic idea for the mousse from a documentary by actor/activist Woody Harrelson titled Go Further
"Documentary filmmaker Ron Mann joined Hollywood actor/hemp activist Woody Harrelson as the thespian traveled up the West Coast preaching the merits of natural, organic living, the result of which is Mann's 2003 film, Go Further. In 2001, Harrelson and a group of friends and other like-minded individuals hopped on bicycles -- accompanied by a psychedelically decorated bus converted to run on hemp-seed oil -- and thus created the SOL (Simple Organic Living) Tour..."
In it, Renee Loux, the on tour chef, makes a chocolate mousse for everyone to dip strawberries into. After watching the documentary, I vaguely remembered chocolate, avocado and spirulina.  She has the full recipe evolution of her dessert on her Renee Loux site. Chocolate Avocado Mousse recipe. I share my mousse using 5 basic ingredients that anyone can easily score from almost any grocery store. The whole point being that it can be done without too much of a culinary stretch, and as a no fail option for a dairy free dessert...hopefully.  :T)