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Key Lime Pie

March 9th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

IMG_3074I don’t think I’ve ever tried the traditional version of Key Lime Pie, so you will have to tell me if this is anything like the “real thing”.  I’ve adapted the version from Cafe Gratitude** for two reasons.

  1. I don’t think there is any way I could get through a 9″ dessert in a few days, so I’ve made this recipe smaller to fit a 6″ spring-form pan.  If you have occasion to make the full recipe, just double this one and use a regular 9″ pie pan.
  2. I wasn’t sure how my adaptions would work out; hence a smaller batch as a tester (I’ve removed the emulsifier from the original recipe, and used agave instead of coconut nectar for sweetness)**.

The pie worked out quite well (although it’s more like a Key Lime Cheesecake due to the pan.  It all goes down the same way though!

Yields:  8 small slices

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Cook Time:  1-3 hours in the freezer

For the Crust:

  • 3/4 cups macadamia nuts
  • 3/4 cups walnuts or pecans
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 medjool dates

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IMG_3043For the Filling:

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (about 4 freshly squeezed limes)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat coconut milk well blended)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

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IMG_3049In a food processor, whiz the nuts, vanilla and salt for the crust until you get a crumbly mixture.  Add the two medjool dates and whiz again until the mixture starts to become sticky.

Press into the bottom of a greased (I used coconut oil) 6″ spring-form pan and place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a clean food processor, blend the avocado, lime, vanilla, agave, coconut butter, and salt.  When smooth, taste the mixture.  If you wish it to be sweeter, add a few tsp of agave, one at a time until you acquire the desired sweetness.

IMG_3063Pour the filling into the spring-form pan over top of the crust.  Freeze for at least 1 hour (I let mine sit in the freezer for 3 hours).  With a heated knife, cut the pie into 8 portions.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped coconut milk.

This would be a very refreshing summer dessert after a long hot day under the sun.

IMG_3069**note.  I do not have a sweet tooth in any way, but I found that the pie was just too tart without the additional agave.  Definitely add sweetness to your own taste before freezing.

 

Gluten Free Protein Power Cookies

January 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Wow.  Finally, a day off with no obligations!

I had hoped to bring you a plethora of delicious vegan Christmas treats and recipes over the month of December, but running the restaurant got a wee bit crazy and the days turned into nights and the breakfasts turned into lunch and dinner, and before I knew it…it was New Years and the season had come and gone.  Next year my plan is to bring it to you in November so you have the month of December to enjoy the recipes and make them over several times! But enough excuses…on to 2012!

Working in a restaurant is ironic.  I’m surrounded by food and options galore, and yet I never seem to get to eat.  Sometimes I find myself going 10-12 hours without a meal or a snack, simply because I’m running around all day.  We are always too busy feeding the masses.  Part of my New Year’s resolution was to be more organized and to have handy snacks on hand for a quick energy boost back stage.  What did I come up with?  Cookies.  Yes, that’s right.  I’m giving you permission to use cookies as a meal replacement.  This one’s for you Megan! (maybe try having a piece of fruit on the side).

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yields:  2 dozen cookies

Whole Almonds, and then ground into Almond Meal

Chia ground in a coffee grinder

3/4 cup of almond meal (this can either be bought or you can grind up almonds in a high-speed blender)
1/2 cup of gluten-free oats
1/2 cup of organic coconut flour
1 cup of sucanat (unrefined cane juice) coconut palm sugar or beet sugar
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3/4 cup of almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds (ground flax seed works as well)
1/4 cup of agave nectar or maple syrup
1/4 cup of light olive oil or coconut oil (melted)
1/3 cup of organic almond butter
1/2 cup of dried cherries
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1/2 cup of dairy-free dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper (I like parchment as it’s a quick clean up at the end).  Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the milk and chia (or flax).  Let sit for a few minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Dry ingredients combined with chocolate chips and dried cherries

In a large mixing bowl, mix together everything from the almond meal, to the baking powder.  Add the chocolate chips, dried cherries and chopped nuts and set aside.

Your milk and chia mixture (or flax if you are using flax) should have thickened considerably.   Add the agave, olive oil, almond butter and whisk together until combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine thoroughly.

Drop large spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets.  These cookies do not spread, nor do they rise considerably, so you want to basically flatten them down until they are the same thickness from the center to the edge.  You can use the back of a spoon or the back of a fork.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.  This will give you a nice soft chewy cookie.  If you prefer your cookies to be a bit crisper, leave them for another 2 or three minutes, being careful not to burn them!

Let cool on cooling racks and enjoy!  2 cookies is about 250 calories and 5 grams of protein.

Recipe adapted from Protein Monster Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Apple Crisp

November 28th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

I’ve had a few apple crisps in my day.  My mum’s was made with a crust of butter, brown sugar and flour only.  I’ve also had the “oat” variety which I always thought was a bit too “granola” for my liking. Regardless, apple crisp is a cold weather favourite.  There is something remarkably comforting about cinnamon, apples, butter and brown sugar that is like wrapping yourself up in a warm wool blanket in front of the fire.

Its been raining all day here in Vancouver.  As I set out for a run this morning and near froze my legs off, I thought that I should reward myself tonight with a heart-warming apple crisp; SwapMeat style.  I took inspiration from my mum’s version and that famous diner oat version and I think I came up with something comforting and wonderful.  After all, isn’t that what apple crisp is all about?

Yield:  8 servings
Prep Time:  20 minutes (it takes a bit of time to prep them apples)
Cook Time:  1 1/2 hours

Ingredients:

For the Filling:

4-5 large sweet apples such as Gala or Braeburn
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/4 cup maple syrup

For the Crust:

1/2 cup Earth Balance (not the spreadable kind)
1 cup whole oats (not the quick oats)
1/2 cup spelt or kamut flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup pecans
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Peel and core the apples.  Cut into about 1/2 inch pieces and place into a medium mixing bowl.  Toss with the lemon juice, the tapioca flour and the maple syrup.

Butter (with some more Earth Balance) a 9″ baking dish.  Pour in the chopped and spiced apples and spread evenly.

In a food processor (you can also do this by hand), pulse all the ingredients for the crust until well combined.  I personally don’t like whole oat flakes in my crust, so I make sure that they were processed until they were at least 1/4 of their original size and the mixture became sticky and starts to form clumps.

Pour the crust over the apples and break up any large clumps.

Bake at 350F until the crisp is bubbling and browned.  Enjoy with a scoop of home-made cinnamon ice cream (recipe below).   How’s that for comfort food?!

Cinnamon Ice Cream:

3/4 cup non dairy milk (something not too thin like almond or hemp)
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 cups coconut milk (full cream)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar (or substitute stevia drops for sugar free)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl or cup, combine 1/4 cup of the non dairy milk with the arrowroot powder and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining milk, coconut milk, cinnamon and sugar over medium high heat.  When the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat to minimum and stir in the arrowroot mixture.   You will notice the mix thicken almost immediately.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.  Let cool completely before adding it to the ice cream maker (3-4 hours in the fridge).  I often make up my ice cream mix the day before I want to serve it so that it’s ready to go right away and I don’t have to wait around in anticipation for it to cool!

 

Greta’s Strawberry Ice Cream

November 15th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Ok.  It’s cold here and I can’t seam to warm up.  It’s definitely parka season!

I just got back from Spain a few weeks ago where I was visiting my sister and niece who are currently residing in Marbella.  I had some amazing food and wine experiences and managed to soak up some of the heat before returning to the blustery, raining weather of my home town!  Since I’ve returned to Vancouver I’ve started a new job and life has been a bit hectic, however my goal over the next month is to veganize some of the most amazing dishes that I found along my journey and get them up here to share with you all!

That being said, my sister and my niece Greta have since come to Canada to spend the Christmas season, and Greta has a passion for fine ice cream (and chippies)!  Although it’s freezing cold and I am dreaming of things like warm apple pie and festive shortbread, who could say no to this face when a request for strawberry ice cream is mentioned…

Yields:  1 quart
Cook Time:  10 minutes
Freeze Time:  25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups strawberries
1 cup of almond or other non-dairy milk
2 cups full cream coconut milk
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp arrowroot powder mixed with 3 tbsp almond or other non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla
juice of half a lime (or 2 tbsp lemon)

Wash and cut the tops off the strawberries.  Place in a blender with the sugar, milk and coconut milk and blend until smooth.

In a medium saucepan, heat the strawberry cream mixture until it comes to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to low and stir in the arrowroot mixture, stirring constantly until the mixture starts to thicken.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and lime juice.

Let cool completely before placing into an ice cream maker.  Follow the manufacturer’s directions (mine takes about 25 minutes).  Keep in mind that your ice cream container needs to be frozen in advance.  I store mine in the freezer so that it is ready at any given moment!

You can also make this ice cream if you don’t own an ice cream maker!  Don’t fret!  Pour the cooled mixture into a freezer safe bowl.  Place in the freezer and ever 30 minutes, remove and stir.  Continue this process until the ice cream is the desired consistency.  I’ve never tried this method, however I would guess it would take about 3-4 hours.

Voila!  A frozen strawberry treat.  Who doesn’t like ice cream!? And who doesn’t like sharing their ice cream with friends!?

Rice Pudding

September 10th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

It may be a little early.  Maybe I should be holding on to summer a bit longer with fruit salads and ice cream, instead of heating up the house with the oven, but I couldn’t resist…

My Nana used to say to me “You’ll miss me when I’m gone”, and boy she was right.   I miss everything about her, including her rice pudding.  She used to make it with evaporated milk, cream, and sugar, and would probably tell me that this “vegan thing” is complete nonsense!   In tribute to my Nana, I’ve converted her famous recipe into MY vegan version.  Heaven…

Servings:  4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time:  2 hours

1/3 cup aborio rice
400ml can organic coconut milk **
225ml nut milk (coconut, almond, hemp etc) **
4 tbsp agave nectar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1tbsp coconut butter, or Earth Balance

** The total liquid (milk and coconut milk combined) for this pudding is 2 1/2 cups.

Preheat the oven to 300F.

With some coconut butter or Earth Balance, grease an oven-proof baking dish (a quart size works quite well).  Place all of the ingredients into the dish and give it a bit of a stir.  Place in the oven.

Stir every 20-30 minutes until the pudding is baked, there will be a nice brown skin on the top.

Serve hot or cold (ah!  there’s the summer), with fresh fruit or just devour alone.  Be careful not to burn you tongue!

 

 

 

Fig Ice Cream

September 4th, 2011 § 6 comments § permalink

Just after we got back from or wedding in beautiful Cuba, I visited my fried Jeff who gave me about 5 lbs of beautiful fresh figs from his fig tree in the back yard.  We had a chance to catch up over a frosty lager and chat about the summer garden harvest!

If you’ve never had a fresh fig you have to try one.  They are available in Vancouver from about July through early September and they are one of the most delicious, and beautiful fruits I know, not to mention probably one of the earliest fruits known to man.  They have a chewy texture and a beautiful sweet smell and were believed to be the favourite fruit of Cleopatra.  How’s that for a little history lesson?

The rich potassium content of figs helps to maintain good blood pressure in the body.  They are rich in dietary fiber (and we all could use a little more of that!), and even the leaves of the fig plant have healing properties.  According to numerous sources, eating fig leaves can help diabetic patients reduce the amount of insulin they have to take!  That’s really amazing (although you may want to look into this a little further before you chow down on he foliage)!

A few other tidbits on the fig fruit:

  • Consuming figs helps to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  • Calcium and potassium present in figs prevent bone thinning and help to promote bone density.
  • Tryptophan, present in figs, induces good sleep and helps get rid of sleeping disorders like insomnia.
  • The soluble fiber, called pectin, in figs helps in reducing blood cholesterol.
  • Figs are rich in calcium and are excellent calcium alternatives for people who do not consume dairy products.
  • Figs promote the overall well-being of an individual and are excellent as an aphrodisiac.

Fresh figs unfortunately only last about 2 days in the fridge, so I had to have a plan for these 5 lbs, and what better idea that to utilize one of our favourite wedding gifts!  The ice cream maker… (thanks Catie, Jenny, Steve and Marianne!).

I referenced a recipe in one of my favourite books of all time, The Vegan Scoop by Wheeler Del Torro for fig ice cream.   Because figs are so sweet (especially when cooked down which is what we are going to do here) I cut out most of the sugar that the recipe calls for (3/4 of it actually) and replaced what refined sugar I was going to use with agave nectar.  I’m glad I did.  This ice cream was still sweet and creamy.  Delicious!  I also made a few other adjustments that made this ice cream my own:

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  30-40 minutes
Freeze Time:  25 minutes

**I should mention here that this ice cream is a two-step process because we need to cook down the figs and then let them cool before we add them to the ice cream maker.  So, if you are planning on making this for guests, keep in mind you will need to start it the day before, or buy fig preserves as an alternative.

1 cup non dairy milk (I used coconut milk from Turtle Mountain)
20 fresh figs, chopped, or 1 cup of fig preserves
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup agave nectar
pinch of salt
2 cups full fat coconut milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract

In a saucepan, place the figs (fresh), water, agave, and pinch of salt.  Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until the mixture becomes thick, rich, and jam like.  You want most (if not all) of the water to be cooked off the figs so that you don’t end up with big ice crystals in the ice cream.  Cooking the figs down could take as long as an hour depending on how much water they contain.

Let the figs cool (preferably overnight).

Combine the fig mixture with the rest of the ingredients and place into your ice cream maker!  If you are not using an ice cream maker (and I highly recommend you get one – we love ours) – then you can place the mixture in the freezer, remove every 20 minutes and give a good stir until the mix has turned into ice cream.  Otherwise, your ice cream maker will perform the magic for you.

you can see here that after a few days in the fridge the fresh figs have lost a considerable amount of water - still tasty though!

Serve with fresh left over figs and enjoy on some of our last summer nights…

 

Banana Bread French Toast

May 1st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s just a good idea.

Ingredients

1 loaf of Banana Bread
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
pinch of salt

Place all ingredients (except the bread) into a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a large shallow bowl and set aside

Slice the bread into 10 medium slices.  I find that this recipe is hard to make in a pan.  I have used a non-stick griddle which browns the toast perfectly and you can make several pieces as once.  Submerge the bread slices in the batter and place onto the hot griddle.  Cook until golden brown, flip and cook on the reverse side.  Serve immediately with sliced fresh banana and coconut cream (and maple syrup if you so desire).

To make the coconut cream:

The trick to whipping coconut milk is to make sure the cream is very cold.  I placed two 15oz cans of premium coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight.  Scoop off the solid coconut cream and place in your mixer bowl.  I set aside the un-solidified coconut water/milk and used it in the batter recipe above.   In a mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream with 1/2 tsp vanilla and 8-12  of stevia (depending on how sweet you like it).

*Original recipe for Vegan French toast was reference from the Rebar modern food cookbook.

Pecan Shortbread with Fresh Fruit Salad

May 1st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I made gluten-free shortbread.  It was darn good.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Earth Balance
1 cup gluten-free flour blend
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup sugar
20-25 pecan halves

Combine the flour, xanthan gum and sugar.  Cut the butter into the mix and mix well with a fork.
refrigerate for 30 min.
roll out between 2 pieces of parchment to about 1/4″
cut into whatever shape you like and press a pecan half into the top of each cookie
bake 350 on parchment for 8-10 minutes or until just brown on edges, cool on pan for another 5 minutes.

Enjoy when cool.  I served mine with fresh fruit salad and whipped coconut cream.

Apple “Cheddar” Cobbler

March 27th, 2011 § 4 comments § permalink

I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but I do have a soft spot for sweet and savory together.  This flavour combination is one of my favourites.  The tartness of apple with the savory sharpness of cheddar and the sweetness of brown sugar touches every taste bud you’ve got.  This is a quick and easy dessert that will make a big impact!

Ingredients:

Fruit Filling:
1/4 cup organic sucanat sugar (1/3 cup if you are using tart apples such as granny smith)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup rice flour
6 cups diced apples (about 6 apples)

Cobbler Topping:
1 cup spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp bakin g powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup Earth Balance butter, melted
1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (I’ve used unsweetened almond)
1 1/2 cups grated Daiya cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Peel and slice the apples into 1cm pieces.  Toss with the cinnamon, flour and sugar and spread in the bottom of a 8″ baking dish.  This recipe will also fill about 6 small ramekins for individual cobblers.

To make the cobbler:

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, combine the milk, agave, and melted Earth Balance.  Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Do not over-mix.

Top the fruit with the batter.  If you are using ramekins, divide the batter evenly.   Sprinkle the top of the cobbler with Daiya cheddar cheese and bake in a 375F oven for about 45-50 minutes (ramekins take a little less).  The cobbler will rise and the tops will brown.

Let cool slightly before serving.  A scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream would be tasty with these.  Delicious!

 

Minty Chocolate Shamrock Shake

March 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s not St. Patrick’s Day until I’ve downed a green-ish Guinness and fondly reminisced over The Shamrock Shake, a childhood staple around this time of year. Actually, according to Wikipedia, the shake was first introduced in 1970 and was widely available across North America until the early 1990s. They were even brought back fairly recently and are currently available at select McDonalds during the month of March.

So … in honour of St. Patrick, and memories from back in the day, I’ve decided to recreate the shake without animal products, food colouring or sugar! You’ll have to trust me on this one … while the ingredients seem a little odd, I selected them based on extensive Shamrock Shake reinvention research … and really aren’t that odd in comparison to what you can find in the original shake!  I promise that what you’ll end up with is a creamy, minty, dessert-like frosty beverage that’s right up there with finding the gold at the end of the rainbow.

Move over, McDonalds … McMahon’s giving you a run for your money!

1 avocado
1 cup packed spinach (seriously – I guarantee you will not know it’s in there)
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 small bunch fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 cups ice
1/2-3/4 tsp peppermint extract, to taste
20-25 drops stevia liquid, to taste*
dark chocolate with mint (or plain) for garnish

*I’ve used stevia because it packs a lot of sweetness with no added calories (and its not a chemical!).  If you prefer, you can use agave to sweeten instead, but you will probably need about 1/4 cup.

Blend in a high speed blender until well combined (yes, here is plug for Vitamix! Go and buy one.  it will change your life!).

Garnish with dark mint chocolate or dark chocolate and a mint sprig.  Serve immediately.

Happy St. Patricks’s Day!

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