Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Ultimate Guide to Ice Cream

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”

Banana-Date Ice Cream with Tahini-Molasses and Pistachios Toppings previously posted here

Nothing hits the spot like ice cream. Delectable and delicious, it is a wide open canvas for your flavour imagination. I started experimenting with formulas for the best ice cream ever, and I am my own worst critic. I wrote down every trial. I used a food processor, a blender, and once a whisk. I don’t own an ice cream machine, so all my trials also included the elusive method to get silky smooth texture and not ice crystals after it froze solid. The result? This guide that will hopefully help you satisfy your every frozen treat craving. No ice cream maker required. From the quick-and-dirty single serve ice cream with one main ingredient, to a formula for sorbets and sherberts for a fresh fruity splash, and the decadent version for when you need to get chip faced. All flavour combinations have been kitchen tested by 3 separate kitchens with rave reviews. But don’t let this list be the end of your creativity! I have other ideas for flavours that haven’t been kitchen tested yet such as Oreo ice cream, S’More ice cream with a chocolate base and mix-ins of graham crackers, mini-marshmallows, and dark chocolate squares with caramel filling, or even avocado-mango-tequila for a Mexican night. I love throwing things in a food processor and creating flavour profiles. For the adults who have just had a horrible day, Kahlua, vodka + espresso, gin, or even tequila are also welcome additions to this ice cream – call it a mudslide and drink it out of the bowl. Life is always better after a mudslide!

A note about the secret ingredient: Bananas. Frozen bananas have magical properties. When placed in a food processor, it turns into the consistency of Dairy Queen soft serve, and doesn’t really taste like bananas. Just by adding ½ tbsp. of cocoa powder, you can barely tell that you are downing a bowl of fruit it tastes so much like real chocolate ice cream. Which means of course that you can have two bowls!

A note about kitchen appliances: I have tried to make ice cream in a blender, and was unsuccessful every time. I needed too much liquid for the blender to actually blend for it to be classified as ice cream. But I hear amazing things about a VitaMix, so if you have one of those I’m not stopping you from trying! And if all you have is a blender consider the following dessert smoothies.

Perfect Ice Cream: The Formula

Bases:
Single Soft Serve: One-Ingredient Magic
1 medium banana, frozen and sliced (½-¾ cup sliced)

Sorbets and Sherberts
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh fruit, sliced
2½ cups water or non-dairy milk (flavour dependant)

The Decadent
2 large bananas, frozen and sliced (2 cups sliced)
½ cup soy yoghurt
¼ – ½ cup non-diary milk

Flavours:
Some suggested flavour combinations/stir ins:

– Vanilla: 1 tsp. vanilla

– Citrus additions:
o For the liquid, use juice such as orange, grapefruit, or cranberry
o 1 tsp. orange, lime, and/or lemon juice
o Grated orange, lime, and/or lemon rind

– Date Flavour:
o 8 dates, pitted and chopped
o 1 tsp. vanilla
o ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
o 1 tbsp. honey, agave, or brown rice syrup (optional)

– Chocolate (and Nut Butter):
o 2 tbsp. cocoa powder (or carob powder)
o 1 tbsp. nut butter: peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower seed, etc.
o 1 tsp. vanilla

– Fruit Explosion:
o 1 cup frozen fruit

– Pumpkin Pie:
o ½ cup pureed pumpkin
o ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
o ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
o ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
o Dash of ground ginger, ground cloved

– Suggested Sorbet Combinations:
o Tropical fruit and coconut milk
o Fresh citrus fruit and combination of same fruit juice, lemon, and lime juice
o Fresh berries and choice of liquid

– Suggested non-dairy milk and yoghurt: soy, almond, coconut, hemp. Rice milk may work but may be too thin.

Stir-Ins and Toppings:
Add any of the following as the mood fits:
– Frozen fruit: wild berries, chopped mango, apples, dates
– Nuts: pistachios, peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans
– Bonus items: chocolate chips, brownie/cookie dough pieces, dusting of cocoa/carob powder, sprinkles
– Toppings:
o 1:1 ratio tahini:molasses
o 2 tbsp. chocolate chips melted, with ½ tbsp. nut butter stirred in

Directions:
1) In food processor, puree all Base ingredients until smooth.
2) Add desired Flavour ingredients. Pulse to combine.
3) For Single serve add Stir-ins and Toppings. Enjoy!

4) For Sorbets and Decadent, pour into glass bowl and freeze until begins to harden, ~4h.
5) Pour mixture back into food processor. Process until smooth.
6) Add Stir-ins. Transfer to final freezer container.
7) To serve, add Toppings. Enjoy!

I hope you find this guide helpful. Any suggestions are always welcome!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Single Serve
3 ingredients + one food processor = Nirvana!

     

Banana Mango Single Serve:
1/2 cup frozen banana, sliced + 1/2 cup frozen mango, cubed + dash of vanilla


Pumpkin Kibbeh with Chard and Chickpea Filling

Kibbeh (kibbe) is another Middle East culinary offering that is infinitely adaptable, with slight regional differences abound. I have seen reference to eggplant kibbeh, walnut kibbeh, ‘plain’ kibbeh, thin kibbeh, stuffed kibbeh, kibbeh shaped like eggs, stuffed, and deep fried … really if you can dream it up it can be made! The constant seems to be a dough made of bulgur and stuffed with whatever strikes your fancy. This particular kibbeh is what I call Lebanese lasagna. It is a layered casserole with the base of a bulgur and pumpkin mixture and a stuffing of chard with chickpeas and pine nuts. I found the crust recipe on Terry Hope Romero’s blog “Viva Vegan!” way back in October when I found myself with some extra pumpkin. I changed the stuffing to be similar to that of the Fatayer Kolokithopita, because I liked it so much! The result is a mushy casserole that holds its shape with a surprise stuffing element. You get used to the pumpkin bulgur and then a burst of bright green-lemony chard hits you and keeps you on your toes! It’s a very easy recipe to throw together, and would make a great holiday side dish for something different. It is extremely filling, and goes well with some baba ganoush and fresh vegetables for a complete Lebanese dinner. If you decide to go all out, I would start with a Lebanese Lentil soup, which is a nice refreshing dish (and will be posted when I make it again with pictures!)

The complete recipe that I used is below. To make the casserole thinner, you could use two 9×13″ pans and double the stuffing amount. Another thing I may try is split the pumpkin mixture into four, double the stuffing, and make two complete layers. This would make it more like lasagna, and the tangy stuffing would be more vibrant on the palette. If someone tries this, let me know how it turns out!

Note: It took me a very long time to fund sumac, which is red in colour and brings the lemon flavour to the stuffing. If you can’t find it, lemon juice is a great substitute. Also, the pine nuts in the stuffing are a great addition, but they are not the highlight of the dish. As they are so expensive, nothing will be lost if you decide to omit them this time!

Pumpkin Kibbeh with Chard and Chickpea Filling

Filling:
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¾ of 1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch Swiss chard or 2 bunches spinach, chopped
1 (15oz.) can chickpeas (1½ cup cooked chickpeas)
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. sumac (can substitute lemon juice)
¼ cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts

Directions:
1) Sauté onion and garlic until golden brown
2) Add chard. Cook until wilted
3) Add chickpeas, salt, and sumac. Smash chickpeas a bit with back of spoon.
4) Stir in pine nuts. Turn off heat and set aside.

Kibbeh Layer:
2 cups bulgur wheat
1-1½ lb. pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and shredded or 1 (32oz.) can pureed pumpkin
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1¼ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground mace or nutmeg
½ tsp. ground black pepper

Directions:
1) Cook bulgur. Set aside.
2) In food processor, puree onion.
3) In large bowl mix pumpkin, onion, bulgur, olive oil, parsley, oregano, and all spices
4) Optional: For a smooth batter, process mixture in food processor until thick, even paste.
5) In greased 9×13” pan spread ½ of the dough mixture evenly
6) Spread chard-chickpea filling on top of base evenly
7) Add remaining dough, spreading evenly
8) With a sharp knife, score top with 1” diamond pattern
9) Brush surface with olive oil
10) Bake at 375dF for 35-40 min., or until golden and firm
11) Let stand for 10 min.


Fusion Pizza: Sweet Potato Crust with Kale and Vegetable Curry

The Moroccan Fusion Pizza was such a success I decided to create another fusion pizza! I had some sweet potatoes that had been languishing in the fridge for too long, and were begging to be used before they became a new life form. I remembered reading a recipe for sweet potato biscuits, so I decided that if you could make biscuits out of sweet potatoes, you can make pizza dough! This thought process led me immediately to crunchy kale, because nothing goes better with sweet potatoes than kale. (Except maybe black beans). Unfortunately for my fridge, I had stocked for my original weekend plan of Vegetable Curry, and now with the change of plans those vegetables were looking forlorn and forgotten. So I made the curry anyway, and topped the pizza creation with a nice spicy, saucy, vegetable curry. The result? Fantastic! These fusion pizzas are the way to go! Unexpected flavours when you say the word ‘pizza’, these heavily topped flatbreads are mouth-wateringly delicious. And as an extra bonus, you will have curry leftovers for lunch the next day.

For the vegetable curry topping, I used this vegetable curry recipe. It is very quick to throw together, and I found the idea of making a fresh tomato puree sauce unique. The tomato puree sauce is a new culinary trick that I will keep in my back pocket for other opportunities – it would make a great salad dressing, dipping sauce, or even a cold soup like gazpacho! For the vegetables I used all leftover and forlorn veg in my fridge. This version had extra cauliflower, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, and carrots. I added broccoli to the mix, because slightly charred broccoli is perhaps more delicious than slightly charred kale. But only slightly. The curry was delicious on its own, with layers of flavours reminiscent of Northern Indian curries with a nice kick at the end. The only improvement I would make would be to add some red lentils to simmer with the tomato puree sauce for extra creaminess and a bit of protein. 

As the curry already had a tomato sauce, I skipped the sauce step of the ‘flatbread + sauce + toppings’ formula of a pizza. Instead, after baking the crust I lined the base with a healthy amount of kale, and then added a mound of curry. This technique was excellent and far exceeded expectations. The kale near the edge of the pizza turned nice and crispy, and the centre pieces became soft and marinated with that delicious curry flavour! The crust itself was one of the best I have ever had. The dough is quite sticky, and parchment paper here is worth its weight in gold. The crust comes out still soft with some crispy edges, and is almost nutty in flavour, thanks to the quinoa flour. It would be delicious on its own as a flatbread, focaccia, or even baked a bit more for some breadsticks used for dipping vessels! Plus, it’s orange. Who doesn’t like coloured food? With the kale and curry topping, it is one of the prettiest pizzas I have ever made!

Sweet Potato Pizza Crust

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes, cooled (approx. 1 large sweet potato)
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup spelt flour (chickpea flour or more quinoa flour would also be delicious!)
1 tsp. baking powder
4 tbsp. cold water
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
1) In large bowl, mix all ingredients together
2) Spread onto parchment lined cookie sheet
3) Bake at 400 dF for 10 min.
4) Allow to cool slightly, then add toppings.

5) Once pizza topped, bake in oven 20 min. Allow to cool slightly.
Slice and serve!

Bet you can’t eat just one!

 


Fusion Pizza: Chickpea Flatbread with Moroccan Curried Tomatoes

Pizza. A simple concept of a base, a sauce, and toppings. Fiercely debated as to who invented the dish as we know it (the Italians vs. the USA), the definition becomes hazy when authenticity is claimed. I do not claim any of my pizzas to be authentic, and believe that the base can be a tortilla shell, the sauce a spinach-asparagus puree, and toppings from artichokes to that carrot that has been in your crisper for an unknown amount of time. From fancy to clean-out-the-fridge, it’s all pizza to me!

This creation I am calling Moroccan Pizza. It is based off of two recipes in the Millennium Cookbook by Eric Tucker, which is very quickly rising to challenge Veganomicon as the standby cookbook of choice. The crust is the Chickpea Flatbread (page 7), and the topping is the filling for the Moroccan Filo Crescents (page 114-116). The Chickpea Flatbread was extremely easy to prepare and was quite tasty by itself. It would make a great addition to a hummus and baba ghanouj platter, easily rising to the challenge of a dipping vessel! The texture of the flatbread was slightly rubbery however, which although tasty I don’t know if I would eat it alone. The Filo Crescent filling was definitely the star. The Curried Tomato Sauce is nothing short of genius, and the chickpea flatbread soaked up the wonderful flavours to savoury perfection, without becoming mushy! The additional filling is a tagine of eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, and spinach. Gloriously paired with the curried tomatoes, this pizza was a sure-fire winner. (The Filo dish is the image on the front cover, so you know it must be a star of the book!). The best description I could give is the best curried eggplant-tomato tagine you have ever had, with the pita bread already soaked with the flavours while maintaining its function as a utensil. Delicious down to the last bite, this pizza – and its components – are all now favourites!

Like other Millennium recipes I have reviewed, you can use the Google Book Preview to scroll to the Chickpea Flatbread (page 7) and Moroccan Filo Crescents (page 114-116) recipes. To cook the pizza, I made the flatbread, and allowed it to cool. To help with the flavour saturation, I stabbed the top with a fork a couple of times before topping with the curried tomato sauce and the tagine. I then baked it at 400 dF for 20 min. Enjoy your Moroccan Pizza experience!


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