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Zucchini “Meat” Balls with a Warm Cherry Tomato Salad

October 6th, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

My good friend Dalyn of The Best i Ever Had, sent this recipe to me the other day when we had zucchini overtaking the garden.  A challenge came to life.  I LOVE Italian.  Garlic, basil…..olive oil and gooey cheese.  Not only that, I watched a fantastic episode of Iron Chefs a few nights ago in which the secret ingredient was mozzarella.  All the signs were pointing to a post about said ingredients.  I give you Zucchini Meatballs.  Adapted from Chef David Rocco.

Serves:  6 as main course
Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  30 ish minutes

For the Meatballs:

8 cups chopped zucchini (about 1″ cubes)
1 1/2 cups Daiya Mozzarella
small bunch fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
2 chia “eggs” **
1 cup (250 ml) kamut or spelt breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) extra virgin olive oil, for frying
salt and pepper to taste

**4 tbsp chia mixed with 1 cup of warm water.  Set aside for a few minutes until it is an egg-like consistency.

For the Tomato Salad:

20 cherry tomatoes, halved
5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
14 fresh basil leaves, torn
salt to taste
olive oil for sauteing

Preheat the oven to 300F.  Fill a dutch oven with salted water (about 8 cups) and bring to the boil.  Add the chopped zucchini and boil for 4 minutes.  The original recipe did not mention whether or not to peel the zucchini.  I didn’t, but I probably would in the future for aesthetic purposes.   Drain the zucchini and set aside to cool.

When the zucchini is cool enough to work with, you want to remove as much water from it as you can.  I put the pieces in a clean tea towel and squeezed as much water out as I could.  the zucchini will become almost half the volume as you started with.  You’ll be astonished how much water will come out of it.

Place the dry-ish zucchini in a large mixing bowl and add the breadcrumbs, chopped mint, cheese and chia egg.  Season with salt and pepper and roll the mixture into golf ball sized meatballs.

In a saute pan, cook the meatballs in about 1/2cm hot olive oil until golden on all sides.  Transfer to a paper towel lined dish to absorb the excess oil, and then transfer to a cookie sheet.  Repeat with all the meatballs (I’m assuming you don’t have a saute pan big enough to do all the “meat” balls at once.  I did mine in about 3 batches.

When all the meatballs have been fried, put them in the oven for about 30 minutes to make sure they are nice and crispy and cooked all the way though.   About 5 minutes before the meatballs come out of the oven, heat some olive oil in a saute pan, add the garlic, cherry tomatoes and basil and saute for about 1 minute, just until the basil has wilted slightly.  Remove from heat and serve with the hot meatballs.

Cheesy, gooey, garlicky heaven!  Enjoy.



Hummus Two Ways: Jalepeno Cilantro & Lemon Dill

September 25th, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

I decided to do a brown rice cleanse the past 7 days to break the bad habits that I had picked up over the summer, ie. everyday is our wedding day in Cuba (booze, booze, booze), potato chips are a main staple, and coke zero in the afternoon is a nice treat.  How easy it is to pick up those kinds of habits!  Shameful!

Well, it’s day 7 of said brown rice cleanse, and I’m no worse for ware.  I ate lovely whole grains, created my own version of potato chips, explored the amazing fruits and vegetables that are in season at this time of year (many from our very own garden), and cleaned out all those cobwebs to get ready to start a marathon training program this week.

One of the clean recipes that I enjoyed over the past 7 days was hummus, and to keep it interesting I kept putting a twist on this wonderful bean dip classic.  Jalepeno Cilantro and Lemon Dill were two of my favourites.

Yields:  about 2 cups
Prep Time:  10 minutes

1 14oz can organic garbanzo beans, rinsed
2 tablespoons organic tahini
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-6 cloves of garlic
juice of 1 small lime
1 cup cilantro (or one healthy handful)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed (if you like it extra spicy, leave a few seeds)
sea salt to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon)

**For the lemon dill version, replace the cilantro will fresh dill and the lime juice with the juice of one small lemon.  Do not include the jalepeno pepper.  Also note that photos of the dill version are not shown here.  I’m working on it though!

Process everything in a food processor until creamy.  Taste, season with salt and blend again until combined.

For my cleanse I enjoyed this dip with rice cakes topped with sprouts, tomatoes and avocado, or as a dip with Mary’s vegan Caraway Crackers.

It's time to bring out the old light box again! Dark kitchens = dark photos. Blah.


Cheesy Zucchini or Kale Chips

September 21st, 2011 § 5 comments § permalink

Potato chips are my most favourite food on the planet.  If they didn’t
have pretty much zero nutritional value and a silly high BAD fat
content, I think I would choose to live off them.  Sigh.  Ok, so I’ve
figured out a way to get around it.  Are you ready?

This mix works well with both kale and zucchini.  Don’t knock ‘em till
you’ve tried them.  You would never know these are kale or zucchini in
a blind taste test!  The chips will shrink down in the dehydrator
quite a bit, so I recommend using chunks of kale about 5” long and
zucchini no less than 3” in diameter (otherwise they will shrink to
pretty much nothing).  If skinny zucchinis are all you can find, don’t
let that stop you!  You can cut them on an angle to create a larger,
more substantial chip.

These chips do take about 24 hours to dehydrate, and make about 3-4
cups of zucchini chips, or about 5 cups of kale chips.

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Dehydration Time:  24 hours
Adapted from The Green Chefs

*note:  I make these in a food dehydrator, however Dalyn at The Best i Ever Had, has made them in the oven.

½ cup raw cashews, soaked at least 2 hours.
2 small red peppers chopped into chunks and seeds removed
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
5 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
3 medium-sized zucchini or 2 large bunches of kale

If you are using zucchini, slice them very thinly on a mandolin.  I did mine at .75mm.  For kale on the other hand, wash and spin in a salad spinner and tear into 5″ x 2″ pieces.  I don’t use the woody stem parts of the kale.  I tear the leaf off the stem.

Place all the ingredients (other than kale or zucchini) into a food processor and process until smooth (or as smooth as it’s going to get).  In a bowl, massage the mixture into the kale or the zucchini slices.  I hand place each piece onto the dehydrator tray rather than spreading them around by the handful, making sure that each chip well covered in the red pepper paste on both sides.  It takes a few minutes, but it’s WELL worth it.

Dehydrate at a about 135F for approximately 16-20 hours.  I usually put mine in the “oven” before going to bed, and then in the morning I flip each chip over.  Regardless, try to flip the chips over at about the 8-9 hour mark.  It just gets them extra crispy.

Let them cool before putting them in an airtight container for storage, if they make it that long!  Chippies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake

September 18th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Gluten-Free.  The phrase sends shivers up and down my spine.  Veganizing something is pretty easy, but gluten-free baking is a challenge that has been an epic fail in my kitchen more times than I can count.

Gluten is a sticky storage protein that is found in many grains such as wheat, rye, spelt and barley (to name a few).  This protein is what gives baked goods their structure and texture, but for people with a gluten allergy, it can cause serious digestive problems and even in extreme cases, anaphylaxis.  Scary right?

Gluten free baking is also scary.  Textures can end up being grainy, projects crumble their way to the garbage can, not to mention that taste is usually compromised.  I’m not sure what possessed me to take one of my mum’s fantastic recipes and make it gluten-free (and vegan – that part’s a given).  I must have had a momentary lapse of reason, but this time instead of epic fail – we have a winner!  To my all my friends with gluten allergies (I’m surprised how many there are), this one’s for you!

Serves:  16
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Bake Time:  40-45 minutes

1/2 cup margarine (I used Earth Balance Butter Sticks)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups organic cane sugar
3 teaspoons egg replacer with 4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
4 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons xanathan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9 x 13 cake pan.  I actually used mini loaf pans for mine, but if you do this you will need less baking time.

Cream the margarine with the vegetable oil and sugar.  Add the egg replacer and vanilla.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda.

Slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet.  The batter will be thicker than a regular cake batter.  Don’t worry.  This is normal.  Add the grated zucchini.

Scoop the batter into the pan and spread it evenly (like I said, it will be thick, so you will need to spread it around).   If you have a real sweet tooth, you can sprinkle the top of the cake with chocolate chips.  I chose not to do this, but my mum usually bakes it this way.

Bake for about 40 minutes and test to make sure it’s done by inserting a toothpick.  If it comes out clean, the cake is baked, otherwise I might need a few more minutes!  If you are using muffin tins or mini loaf pans, you will only need to bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Also, if you choose to use muffin tins, I recommend cupcake liners.  This is definitely cake and NOT muffin!

This cake is rich and moist, and although the batter had a strong garbanzo bean flavour (the main flour used in Bob’s Red Mill is garbanzo bean) the finished product was delicious – no beans detected!


Avocado Potato Salad

September 17th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

We were invited to a BBQ last weekend and I was asked to bring a potato salad.  Although I have an amazing “traditional” vegan potato salad recipe, I thought I’d stir the pot a little and try something with a twist – and what better time to make something up from my head than when it needs to be served to a group of near strangers!  Luckily (seriously, it could have gone either way), the results were really good and I had a few emails after the party asking for the recipe.

When something comes out of my head and onto my plate, I’m usually pretty critical about what I can do to improve it before it is blog-worthy.  Sometimes a little tweaking is required.  In the case of the potato salad recipe, the flavours were all there, it was the texture that I wanted to play with.

To me, flavour is # 1 of importance on the Good Recipe Scale (that’s a scale that I just made up in my head).  The flavour has to be there, or it’s not worth putting it in your mouth in my opinion.

Texture is a different story; somewhat.  I’m often willing to give a little in this area depending on what the recipe is.  Generally, when I think up a dish, I want my version to be as close to the “real” version as possible if it’s a simple “veganization”.  My vegan Caesar Salad is an excellent example of this.  It’s as close to the real thing in texture and flavour as possible – I dare you to tell the difference in a taste test!  On the other hand, there are also some things in vegan cooking that you just need to accept.  Meat substitutes are a great example of this (although it often baffles me if you choose to eat a vegan diet, why you would want something to taste and feel like meat in your mouth). If you’re not using soy products or wheat gluten as a meat substitute it’s not going to have the texture of meat.  That is just a fact of life. So, when it comes to that Mexican Bean Burger recipe we made up this summer (it’s one of my favourites), I’m ok if it feels more like beans in my mouth than beef!  It’s the flavours that won me over on that one.

Back to the potato salad!

I prefer the chunks of potato to be a bit larger in this salad than I would make them in a traditional potato salad.  The reason for this is the potatoes get lost with the other ingredients during the mixing and you could end up with something that looks more like guacamole, and is essentially mashed potatoes with guacamole flavours.  Tasty, but textually not optimal!

Serves:  8
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  10-15 minutes

12 small waxy style potatoes (about 2” in diameter)
2 ripe avocados
½ medium red onion, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced and seeds removed
3 tbsp. olive oil
Juice of half a lime
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and half the potatoes.  Rinse and bring to a boil over high heat.   Boil until just tender (about 10-15 minutes).  Do not overcook.  Let the potatoes cool until they are comfortable to handle.  Cut the potato into bite sized chunks (about 2cm by 2cm).

Add the jalapeño, onion, and cilantro.  Salt the mixture (I used about 1 tsp).  You can adjust the salt at the end as well.

In another bowl, mash the avocados with the lime juice.  Add the olive oil and combine.
Gently combine the avocado mixture with the potato mixture  I like to do this with my hands.  Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.

Voila!  Avocado Potato Salad!  You might like to make a themed meal of it and try it with our Mexican Bean Burgers!

Summer Zucchini & Apple Curried Soup

September 11th, 2011 § 4 comments § permalink

My friend Dalyn (The Best i Ever Had) and I shared a garden plot this summer.  The plot was in her back yard, so I have to say, she did most of the work.  I managed to get around for the occasional weekend weeding session over a few glasses of white wine and a tomato harvest or two.  It was lots of fun, and I think we learned a lot for what to do, and what not to do next year.

Photos Courtesy of Dalyn "The Best i Ever Had"

One of our crops was zucchini.  We let a couple of these bad boys get a little out of control in terms of size, but mostly because there was so many we couldn’t keep up with ideas on what to do with them!  I’ve had three “monsters” in my fridge for about a week, and I spent the afternoon brainstorming on zucchini baking ideas (most of which I poo pooed since I don’t consume a whole lot of baked goods in general).  Then I started thinking about dinner and it came to me – I could make a summer harvest soup!

The fruits of our labour:

Serves:  6
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  30 minutes

1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 (or more) cloves of garlic
Grapeseed oil for sauteing
2 medium zucchini, chopped, about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
2 apples, diced
3 cups vegetable broth
4-5 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven, saute the onion until translucent over high heat.  Add the zucchini, garlic, and apple and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so as not to burn.

When the apple and zucchini starts to become a bit mushy, you can add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.  At this point I turned the heat down to minimum and  started to blend the soup in batches in my high-speed blender until all the soup was pureed. Stir in the nutritional yeast.

This is when the soup becomes your own.  Everyone likes a different level of flavours and spice.  I used 5 tsp of curry powder here, but your curry powder may be stronger or weaker than mine, so add 1 tsp at a time and taste often until you’ve reached the flavour that best suits you.  Do the same with the salt and pepper, just adding a half a teaspoon at a time until you’ve reached the level of flavour that you like.  I have to admit I did add quite a bit of salt to mine (about 3 tsp).

Once the soup is seasoned to your liking, serve it up!  This would be lovely with some crusty bread and some vegan herbed cream cheese.  Yum.


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!




Pasta Puttanesca

September 8th, 2011 § 6 comments § permalink

A fellow vegan blogger, Maya, from The Keen Kitchen, posted a Vegan Spaghetti Puttanesca yesterday.  It brought back a lot of memories as puttanesca was one of the very first raw vegan dishes I made way back when I decided to swap the meat for better health.  I have to tell you, I follow about 5 blogs religiously, and I love the Keen Kitchen.  It often touches a part of my past or my taste buds, and she has inspired me more than once in my own blogging.  Puttanesca is one of the many examples thus far that I’m very excited to share with you.

Back in the day, when I was racing, I was invited to an Italian themed dinner party.  It is often a toss up when I get invited to a dinner party as to whether or not I should attend.  Not everyone cooks vegan, and I’m never quite sure if there will be something for me to eat (which if often very important when drinking copious amounts of brilliant wine), nor do I want to put anyone out when I have been invited into their home to break the bread!

On this particular night, I decided to make a pasta trio by Green Chef Chad Sarno.  This  is another one of my favourite blogs, as I come from a carnivorous fine dining background and the food on the Green Chefs is of the same caliber of fine dining excellence.   The presentation alone keeps me inspired and excited about vegan food. One of the three recipes offered here was a raw vegan Puttanesca, and I love it to this day.

I’ve made a few adaptations to this recipe tonight as I wanted to serve it with spelt spaghetti (I didn’t have the time to make zucchini fettuccine).   I’ve also hit is with a considerable amount of lemon juice and olive oil which is slightly different to the original recipe.

Serves:  4
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  12 minutes

1/2 cup olives, Kalamata, green and black olives (pits removed and finely chopped)
3 tbsp capers
½ c sun-dried tomatoes re-hydrated and julienne
3 tbsp olive oil
lemon zest of half a lemon
juice of half a lemon
2 cloves garlic minced
1 small red onion fine diced
1 fresh red chile minced
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Bring enough water to boil for your favourite pasta.  I used a spelt spaghetti tonight.  Do not over cook!

Prepare the puttanesca, making sure the ingredients are finely  and uniformly chopped.  It can be tempting to use a food processor here, but you will get the best results hand chopping (trust me, I’ve attempted the short cut).

Toss everything together with the cooked pasta and enjoy!  Quick, simple, and delicious!

**please note, most of the protein from this dish comes only from the pasta (which isn’t huge).  You could add some toasted nuts or nutritional yeast to bump up the protein if you like.

Frijoles Negros (Cuban Black Beans and Rice)

September 5th, 2011 § 5 comments § permalink

We were recently married in beautiful Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba at the Melia Las Dunas (which, by the way, we highly recommend – great resort with great food).  We had 17 guests and what we like to call a week long reception because there was nothing but fun to be had for the 7 days that our guests were with us.  It truly was one of the best experiences I have ever had in the Caribbean – and the ONLY way to get married in my opinion.

17 of our closest friends and family!

One of the other best experiences we had while at the resort was the Frijoles Negros, Cuban Black Beans and Rice.  Being vegan in Cuba was a bit of a challenge, and if I had been really smart (or had the time before we left) I probably should have prepared a little better and thought to bring more sources of vegan protein with me.  Alas, I didn’t (think or have the time before we left – although I’m pretty sure the thought crossed my mind and quickly passed) and therefore lived off this traditional Cuban dish for 14 days.

You would probably think I’d be sick of this dish by now (and maybe I am a little), but I will tell you this:  I love culinary challenges.  I thrive on them.  For me, rice has always been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to cook (and I don’t get it because your average “non-cook” can do it with their eyes closed!).  I can saute, roast, flambe, broil, make a roux, thicken a sauce, julienne, dice, make my pasta the perfect al dente….but can I cook rice?  To save my life – NO!  It always turns out mushy or crunchy or just gross (in my opinion).  I follow the directions and measure the rice to water to salt ratio PERFECTLY and still I get yuck rice.

Ok, so not big deal because I don’t actually love rice.  I can live without it.  I love quinoa, barley, millet, the occasional cous cous, aborio rice (risotto) and many other great grains and starches.  There are lots of alternative grains that I can cook and love to eat that have kept me out of the rice cooking line of work!  But now that I’ve tasted another classic Caribbean rice and beans, it’s a challenge that I’m determined to overcome.

So what’s going to be different about this kitchen adventure that really should be one of the easiest things in the world to cook?  Our new rice cooker.  This may be my saving grace on the one thing that I have never been able to cook!  There was a recipe for Orleans Spicy Beans and Rice in the rice cooker cookbook, so I’ve just taken the rice to beans proportion of that recipe and added Cuban Frijoles Negros spices.  Here goes nothing!

Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves:  4

1 15 oz can drained and rinsed black beans
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tsp olive oil for sauteing
1 celery stalk, trimmed and diced
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
5-6 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp oregano leaves
1/8 – 1/4 tsp dried chipotle pepper (optional)
1 bay leaf
6 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro for garnish
1 lime sliced in 6 wedges, to serve with the rice & bean

1.  Put Cuban guitar music in the CD player.  Very important.

So here’s what I did in the rice cooker.  If you are doing this stove-top, you would do exactly the same thing, but let the rice cook for about 30-40 minutes, until the stock has been absorbed) but really, lets be serious – what do I know about cooking rice!

Rice Cooker Method

2.  Place the olive oil in the rice cooker bowl, cover and turn on for 1 minute.  The covering part is quite important, because without the weight of the lid, the cooker will only turn to “warm mode”, at least on my rice cooker.  I’ve determined that the rice cooker works on a weight basis (that’s my theory anyway).

Add the onions and celery and stir to coat with the hot oil.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions and celery are translucent.  Add the garlic and stir in the rice and spices.  Stir until the rice is opaque which will be about 3-4 minutes.  Throw in the bay leaf, the vegetable stock and the rinsed black beans.  Here my rice cooker turned to “warm mode” again, so I had to turn it back to cook (just be on the lookout for your cooker turning modes on you).  Cook until the rice cooker switches to warm.  It should be about 18 minutes all together from this point -but I don’t ask questions.  Rice cooker, you are the boss.

When the rice is done remove and discard the bay leaf.  Add the chopped cilantro and toss to combine.

Serve up hot with a Cuban beverage of your choice!  Now where did I put the rum…

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…