Tag Archives: peanut butter

White Bean Farro Soup and West African Mafe

On the surface, these Italian and West African soups have very little in common – aside from being served in a bowl. Dig a little deeper and you will find both in Terry Hope Romero’s new(ish) cookbook Vegan Eats World. When I learned that she was planning a new cookbook as a follow up to the excellent Viva Vegan! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. It took some serious constraint and a severe warning/spoiler that I would be getting it for Christmas so I wouldn’t jump the gun. One of the best Christmas presents ever!

Vegan Eats World clearly demonstrates Terry’s love for authentic dishes from around the world. All are researched to the hilt to make them as legitimate as possible, which is a must. My general approach to opening the world in my kitchen is to Google a country, find some traditional dishes, and write down the ingredients and troop to the appropriate ethnic market. I never escape the market without more unplanned purchases than what was on the list. Back in the kitchen, I cook to my heart’s content and Google what exactly to do with the splurge purchases (often with no labels in English). Terry clearly shares this approach – right down to making your own spice mixes. Touching on dishes from all 6 continents with a significant population (i.e. humans >> penguins), you have a dish for every occasion! My first two dishes, White Bean Farro Soup and West African Mafe were hits. I have made many more since, and I have yet to be disappointed! An added bonus is the humour throughout – what other cookbook do you have that references both Boy Meets World and Brave New World with puns?

(Note: there are some recipes that are clearly updated versions of those found in Veganomicon and Viva Vegan! as well as the spanakopita recipe from Isa’s Vegan with a Vengeance. However, there is still plenty of new material for this to be an absolute must in your cookbook arsenal. The updates also add to the dish – making them even better than the original!)

White Bean Farro Soup

Italian Kamut and White Bean Soup

This is like Italian Wedding Soup. Or a warm hug on a winter night. Hearty, filling, and something that will remind you of log cabins and skiing in the winter. I made it with kamut instead of farro, because I forgot which one to get at the bulk store. Kamut adds a chewy texture and was fantastic – I am sure farro is just as delicious! It’s a simple soup, but beautiful in composition. Terry has posted her own review as well as the recipe here. (Slurp!)

West African Mafe

West African Mafe

It has been debated that I could live off of peanut butter. I am a sucker for savory peanut butter recipes, and when I saw this West African Mafe recipe I knew I had to make it. Peanut butter lovers take note – there are not one, but three peanut butter soup recipes – all from different cultures! It amazes me that with a slight tweak to spices and the vegetables you throw in you can be transported to Chile, Asia, or West Africa. Similar to the Spicy Peanut and Eggplant Stew (from Asia), this West African Mafe was superb. Full of protein due to the tofu and the peanut butter, the broth is rich and hearty with plenty of spice to go around. It is definitely a distinct dish from the Asian counterpart, with a more subtle heat ‘punch’ – it sneaks up on you and makes you crave more. The eggplant soaks up the broth flavour wonderfully, and the addition of greens give the stew some colour. Serve with a green salad and your grain of choice and this is a superstar meal that will fuel you for whatever adventures take your fancy!

The recipe is on page 160 of the cookbook, and can be viewed via Google Book Preview: Deluxe Tofu Vegetable Mafe.

Vegan Eats World delivers some amazing recipes with a healthy dose of humour and fun. It’s a pleasure to read and delicious to cook!


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


Spicy Peanut and Eggplant Stew

This gem of a stew is probably my idea of heaven in a bowl. Like the title indicates, it combines all my favourites: peanut butter, eggplant, and spiciness. Eggplant is one of my favourite vegetables because it’s nice and meaty and can either be enjoyed lightly seasoned and grilled or marinated to the hilt. Any way you cook it, it is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and in this soup the eggplant assumes the spicy peanut broth flavour that makes it virtually impossible for me to not go back for thirds. The green beans add some colour and crunch, which I think is necessary to any stew. The broth is one of the best uses of peanut butter out there, deftly combining tomatoes, peanut butter, and spices into a velvety broth that should be bottled as ‘nirvana broth’.

 

This recipe is originally from Veganomicon, but Isa Chandra Moskowitz has been kind enough to post it on her blog as well. (The PPK – Spicy Peanut Eggplant and Shallot Stew).  I made the recipe slightly healthier by only using 2t. of peanut oil instead of the 1/4c. called for, and I dry roasted the spices before the sautéing began. As I cut down the oil, I didn’t pre-sauté the shallots and eggplant in separate steps. Shallots, then eggplant, then onion. This also cuts down on prep dishes, which I am always a fan of.

 

If someone told me I had to prepare for nuclear holocaust and could only bring one dish to the bomb shelter, this would be the one. It’s that good.


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