Tag Archives: banana

An Ode to Tahini

I am a tahini addict. I love the stuff. Some may shudder at the thought of eating it straight out of the jar, but I consider that on par with peanut butter straight. Heaven. So often tahini is a backup singer in a recipe – unappreciated and unassuming, you only notice when it’s not there. Hummus. Falafel. Fudge. Halva. Dressings and sauces. I am often hesitant to use my favourite ingredient in such applications, as I feel that the list of ingredients and flavour combinations are not up to tahini-standards. And so, to all my fellow tahini-lovers out there, I offer you these three ‘recipes’ (I use the term loosely) that feature tahini as the star. And rightly so!

Tahini-Miso Dressing

This idea originally came from a flip through Veganomicon. As a single cooker, I never ever make salad dressing. Too many mason jars have ended up with interesting bacteria cultures from half-finished dressing. I took the idea of tahini and miso, added my own single-serve ratios, and method from my single-person Asian peanut sauce (taught to me by a former roommate). As the title suggests, this dressing combines tahini with miso, another favourite ingredient. A dash of vinegar or lemon juice for acidity, and you have an amazing dressing for any salad you create.

1 tsp. tahini

1 tsp. miso

1 tsp. white vinegar, lemon or lime juice

1) In a measuring cup, combine all ingredients.

2) Whisk vigorously with a fork, until the vinegar acts as an emulsifier and everything is combined. Adjust viscosity by adding water (1/4 tsp. at a time).

3) Serve!

*This recipe is easily scaled up for the size of your salad. Just keep the 1:1:1 ratio of tahini:miso:vinegar, and you’re set!

Simple Tahini-Sriracha Crudités

Lovely Lovely Vegetables!

Lovely Lovely Vegetables!

I have been known to eat an entire plate of fresh vegetables from the farmers market for lunch. There is nothing wrong with this! And my favourite way to eat these vegetables is with this simple presentation. The tahini and Sriracha are a marriage in heaven, while still letting the vegetables shine through. After all, when you have farmer’s market carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and tomatoes, you don’t want to wreck that freshness with a heavy dressing.

This isn’t really a recipe, as such. Arrange your raw vegetables of choice on a plate or in a bowl. Drizzle tahini on top (to taste). Finish off with Sriracha. Enjoy!

Tahini + Sriracha. Amazing.

Tahini + Sriracha. Amazing.

Frozen Banana Tahini Molasses Split

As the saying goes, desperation is the Mother of invention. This dessert was born from the need desire to have banana soft serve one summer evening. However, it was also over 40dC, and the frozen bananas were turning into an unappetizing brown mush before even exiting the food processor! Add to this all those extra dishes, and I went the lazy route. Since I have yet to make my banana-date soft serve – this dish is the dessert of the summer!

Similar to the crudités, slice a frozen banana into approx. 1″ long pieces. Split each piece in half, and place the banana pieces flat side-up on a plate. Drizzle tahini overtop of the banana pieces. Follow up with blackstrap molasses. Enjoy!

Tahini + Blackstrap Molasses. A perfect topping for frozen bananas. Divine!

Tahini + Blackstrap Molasses. A perfect topping for frozen bananas. Divine!

I hope these three simple ‘recipes’ featuring tahini bring you as much joy as they do me. Try them out – I can think of no other ingredient that can hold its own with miso, Sriracha, and blackstrap molasses with such delicious results! Oh Tahini, I love you so.


No Bake Nanaimo Bars

Decadent, delightful, and delicious! Bet you can’t eat just one!

Nanaimo bars: Canada’s contribution to the culinary scene. Traditionally a Nanaimo bar is composed of a chocolate walnut graham cracker and coconut bar base, a custard middle layer, and a bittersweet chocolate coating.  Nanaimo bars were a big treat growing up, and would appear once every five Christmas’. Although one of my favourites, I would always leave the custard on the plate and the crunchy chocolate top annoyed me when it meant that the delicious bottom got smooched into the custard when biting in. So I decided to change all of this, and make these healthy, decadent Nanaimo bars that far surpass the original!

My creative criteria were as follows:

1) Due to the heat wave, absolutely no cooking! This means no oven, no stovetop. As a result, these Nanaimo bars are 100% raw!
2) No coconut to bind the base
3) Ditch the custard, and make the top less crunchy (but no less chocolaty!)
4) Make the bars as nutrient rich as possible, in case of a power bar emergency (or guilt complex for eating half the pan!)

I was successful on all four counts. The stove stayed off, no coconut was used in production, and the custard was ditched for a banana soft-serve pudding. The topping is a no-bake ganache that retains the bittersweet chocolate flavour but allows you to bite into every delicious morsel of bar. Finally, with my substitutions the bar is roughly equivalent in nutrition to a Larabar, complete with the appropriate protein:glucose ratio for the perfect post-workout snack. The bars themselves don’t take long to make, and with the chill time between layers you have the opportunity to clean the food processor, if you are so inclined. So dig into these decadent bars with zero guilt and enjoy this modified Canadiana treat!

Recipe notes: This recipe can easily be made gluten free if you use gluten free oats. Also, due to size variations of dates this recipe has only been tested with dried dates. 60g. dried dates is roughly one cup, but 60g. Medjool dates may only be 1-2. Finally, I keep all my bananas in the freezer for banana soft serve creations. I’m sure the filling layer would work with fresh bananas, but you may have to chill the layer longer to allow the filling to set.

Filling flavour suggestions: Although the one below is similar to the classic custard, why not mix and match flavours? Any soft serve flavour would work here. Top choices would be adding 1-2 tbsp. peanut butter, or a fruit medley mix – let these bars be your canvas!

No-Bake Nanaimo Bars

Base:
1 cup rolled oats, divided
60g. dates (~15 dried) *if dried, soaked in 1 cup water, reserve liquid
1 cup almonds
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon

Directions:
1) In food processor, pulse ¾ cup oats until flour consistency
2) Add almonds and cocoa powder. Process until crumbly
3) Add dates, vanilla, and cinnamon. Process until dough forms. *If using dried dates, add reserved soaking water as required
4) Add remaining ¼ cup oats. Pulse to combine
5) Press into greased 9×13” pan. Chill in freezer.

Filling:
5 tbsp. almond milk or soy yogurt (or other non-dairy milk and yogurt offerings)
¾ cup frozen banana, sliced
¼ tsp. vanilla
pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Directions:
1) In food processor, process all ingredients until smooth.
2) Spread on top of base. Freeze.

Chocolate Ganache:
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
½ tsp. ground flaxseed

Directions:
1) In food processor, process all ingredients until smooth.
2) Pour over filling. Freeze.


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


Banana Date Ice Cream with Tahini-Molasses Topping

I have a love affair with frozen bananas. Consuming fresh bananas to me is akin to some sort of creative torture, but when frozen the bananas lose their texture and penicillin-like mouth coating and become something entirely different and delicious. My favourite snack is a piece of frozen banana dipped in peanut butter or sunflower seed butter. This mad love for the frozen fruit made me search out and ultimately create my own ice cream after recovering from the price shock of a pint of non-dairy ice cream. Who needs to shell out $7.50/pint when you can make it at home?

I have a base ‘recipe’ which is more of a guideline, which I tweak as the mood strikes. This particular version was created to match my Egyptian feast and so to keep with the theme I made banana-date ice cream. I remembered reading from a Vegan MoFo post that a popular dessert topping was tahini and molasses, and since my love of tahini knows no bounds, I decided to give molasses a shot at stardom. Too often molasses is disguised in bread products – it needed its chance in the limelight! Finally, I added some pistachios to sprinkle on top for a little crunch. The end result was a delectable, not-too-sweet, dangerously addictive (but thankfully healthy) ice cream that I cannot get enough of!

Banana Date Ice Cream

1 3/4 c. frozen bananas, sliced
6 pitted dates
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. water, or your favourite non-dairy milk for extra creaminess

Directions:

Before you start:
It is important that the bananas are frozen first. This is super easy – peel and throw into the freezer on a cookie sheet. When frozen, just stick in a Ziploc bag to use later!

Tip: If you are using dried dates, soak them in 1c. water for ~10min., to soften. Use the water as your liquid in the recipe.

1) Place all ingredients in food processor. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides as necessary. To adjust for consistency, add water as necessary
2) Pour mixture into a glass bowl, cover, and place in freezer. Freeze until the mixture is somewhat frozen, ~4h. I usually judge by the sides of the bowl are solid, but the centre is still poke-able with a spoon.
3) Pour mixture in food processor. Process until smooth. This step is very important! It helps prevent ice crystals from forming in your ice cream.
4) Pour mixture into final storage container (yogurt containers, old nut butter jars …) and place in freezer.

To serve, take out of freezer and let thaw for ~5min to make the scoops look nice and pretty.

Tahini-Molasses topping:
2 tsp. tahini
1 tsp. Molasses – this can be date molasses if you are feeling fancy/have it, or the normal cooking molasses, blackstrap molasses, or whatever is in your pantry.
*Note: you can adjust the quantity to taste or to the amount of ice cream you have. The ratio is 2 parts tahini to 1 part molasses.

Directions:
1) Drizzle tahini and molasses on top of ice cream
2) Add shelled pistachios for extra decadence

Update: For more soft serve ideas including flavours, toppings, and mix-ins, check out my post Ultimate Guide to Ice Cream. Banana Date Ice Cream with Tahini-Molasses Topping was so addicitve I had to go crazy and try other combinations to find the next addiction!


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