August 30, 2008

Camper chili

One of the things we got to do while in Seattle recently was go camping. We went to the northern tip of Whidbey Island to Deception Pass State ParkBecause our travel plans came together late, we were unable to get a camp site next to our son and family, and had to be in a different area of the park, about four miles away. This was a little irritating because the site right next to theirs, although technically reserved, remained empty the entire time we were there. Oh well.

Although our summer vacations usually involved camping when the kids were growing up, it's been years since we've slept in a tent. I love the sensation of waking up in a tent—breathing in the cool, fresh early-morning air. On this little camping excursion, the (grown-up plus baby) kids had a rather luxurious tent with a queen-size air mattress, and the old parents had their kids' old backpacking tent. To say my husband had some difficulty getting in and out of this tent is an understatement, and he seemed quite disturbed by the extreme coziness of the interior. I, on the other hand, considered the fact that the small size meant we would sleep warmer in the tent, and since I had forgotten my p.j.s, and was basically wearing all the layers I'd brought on the trip in an effort to be warm, that seemed like a plus to me.

The park is quite scenic and we had a great time hiking and just hanging out enjoying the fresh air. We hiked up to a summit for a great view, and then down to a beautiful, log-strewn beach. The only downside to this lovely park, and I have to mention it just in case someone reads this and decides to go there, is that there's a military base on Whidbey Island, and lots (LOTS) of planes fly overhead, disturbing the quiet. I didn't hear them during the night, but the kids said they were disturbed by loud and long-lasting plane noise at midnight. This is a very popular state park, and filled with campers, all of whom seemed to have three dogs, but it was amazingly quiet in the campgrounds and on the trails. (Except for the *#$@% planes.) I'm not kidding about the dogs, but I never heard any barking and didn't see any poop. Weird.

Our son cooked dinner on a single-burner backpacker stove, and for supper he made chili, based on the recipe found on a box of Fantastic Foods instant chili! Nothing fancy — very easy but great tasting camp food. First he chopped and sauteed a large onion. He added the chili mix, following the box directions for water quantity.

He added a can of drained pinto beans and a can of undrained crushed tomatoes. He served it over leftover rice brought from home in the cooler, and topped it with avocado and tortilla chips. You could also serve carrot sticks for an almost instant meal. 6 servings. (He added an extra can of black beans to stretch the chili and we had it for lunch the next day.)

Although we brought cooked rice from home, my other son recently introduced me to a product that would be very handy for camping or lunch at work. It's fully-cooked brown rice sold at Trader Joe's. It's something I would never have even thought to look for, but he brought me some and it actually tastes really good. (It costs $1.69 for 10.5 ounces.) When we used to go camping with the kids we had a two burner Coleman stove, and we would cook a big pot of brown rice as part of dinner, then save the leftovers to warm up with raisins, cashews and soymilk for breakfast the next morning.

So what the heck are these? They were growing along one of the trails.

August 27, 2008

Sandwiches coming out of my ears

I've been going a little crazy with the sandwich thing. The truth is that I hardly ever even eat sandwiches. All of a sudden it's sandwiches for lunch, sandwiches for dinner. I made bread again and the machine worked fine, thank heavens, after my little cleaning blitz, so I made more sandwiches. I've been slicing veggies from our garden really thin and cooking them in the wok, putting them on the bread and adding a little hot sauce. I've been using eggplant, zucchini, tomato, jalapeño and homemade vegan sausage (not from the garden, obviously).

I lightly spray the wok with oil and spray again if needed. That's the dinner version. The lunch version has hummus, cucumber, tomato and avocado. I think I'm about ready for a good home-cooked meal!

August 26, 2008

Vegan's Hundred

Number 21, heirloom tomatoes

Are you familiar with The Onion? It's that irreverent fake newspaper that got its start in Madison Wis. and is now based in NYC? Well, I clicked on the BBC "latest headlines" button yesterday to see what was up in the world, and I saw a headline that seemed to be taken right from The Onion, only it wasn't. It was real. I swear. It said, "Italian priest to hold world's first online beauty pageant for nuns." Honest, this is a direct quote. I'll say no more.

In other important news, there's a circulating list of 100 foods omnivores should taste before, you know, before they become vegan ... I've been reading lots of blogs with the The Omnivore’s Hundred. I wanted to make my own vegan list but am too lazy and too slow, so good thing Hannah has come through with a list. (I have a very short list at the bottom of this post.) These are, of course, the vegan versions of the foods on the omnivore list! And can there really be a vegan version of scrapple? Who wudda thunk it. Is there also a vegan spam? Whew.

You can help spread the list around the Internet by following the rules below. Hannah has provided links for the more unusual foods. The foods I've tried have the number bolded as well as the name. You can also view Ricki's take on this list on one of my favorite blogs, Diet Dessert and Dogs.

1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!
1. Natto
2. Green Smoothie
3. Tofu Scramble
4. Haggis (maybe no for this one)
5. Mangosteen
6. Creme brulee
7. Fondue
8. Marmite/Vegemite (we spent five months in Australia)
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Nachos
12. Authentic soba noodles
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi (my favorite thing to order in an Indian restaurant)
15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Gyoza
20. Vanilla ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Ceviche
24. Rice and beans
25. Knish
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Caviar (I've only had real caviar, not vegan—long, long ago)
29. Baklava
30. Pate
31. Wasabi peas
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi (does mango smoothie count?)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float (hate root beer)
36. Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food french fries
41. Raw Brownies
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
43. Dahl
44. Homemade Soymilk
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Stroopwafle
47. Samosas
48. Vegetable Sushi
49. Glazed doughnut (just recently had my first Mighty-o in Seattle)
50. Seaweed
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Tofurkey
54. Sheese
55. Cotton candy
56. Gnocchi
57. Piña colada
58. Birch beer (just like root beer. ugh)
59. Scrapple (oh God, must I be reminded of my past? I am from Philadelphia)
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Soy curls
63. Chickpea cutlets (homemade)
64. Curry
65. Durian
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu
69. Fried plantain
70. Mochi
71. Gazpacho
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies
73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can
76. Pomegranate
77. Fauxstess Cupcake
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
79. Jerky
80. Croissants
81. French onion soup
82. Savory crepes
83. Tings
84. A meal at Candle 79
85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and “cheese”
88. Flowers
89. Matzoh ball soup
90. White chocolate
91. Seitan
92. Kimchi
93. Butterscotch chips
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti
97. Potato milk
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Raw cookie dough
And on and on ... Have you had agé, a fresh Thai spring roll, bun salad, cinnamon buns, gomasio, wasabi, sweet white miso, pickled ginger, forbidden black rice, red rice, roasted chestnuts, wasabi toasted almonds, black sesame seeds, carrot cake, kasha and bowties, farro, red russian kale, purple carrots, squash blossoms, yuba, black soybeans, Newman's Os ...
update: The Italian priest has called off the pageant due to public discontent.

August 25, 2008

Aaron's grilled tofu sandwich

When we ate at our son Aaron's apartment recently, to go with spinach salad and roasted green beans, he made grilled tofu sandwiches. He based his recipe on a sandwich he had at Baguette Box, a restaurant in Seattle, where he lives. These sandwiches were delicious and satisfying, although he said the original ones have deep fried tofu, making them even more tasty. However, grilling the tofu is healthier and less fattening so I'd go with this version. This recipe is a bit more involved — it requires some marinating, and making an easy sauce— but the result is really worth the modest effort.

Grilled tofu sandwich
•1-pound block of tofu, sliced into 1/2-inch slabs and marinated (recipe follows)
•thin-sliced red onion
•ripe avocado slices
•2 marinated carrots (recipe follows)
•vegan dressing (recipe follows)
•good quality bread or baguette, 8 slices

carrot marinade
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar

1/4 cup veganaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper

tofu marinade
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup lime juice
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
black pepper
hot sauce or chili peppers (opt.)
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (opt.)
Marinate the tofu slices in a shallow pan for at least one hour (or overnight). After the tofu marinates, Aaron cooks it on a George Foreman grill that someone gave him. I don't have one of these so I'd probably just pan fry it in a small amount of olive oil, or maybe use the grill on my waffle iron.

Julienne (or grate if you're feeling lazy) two carrots and marinate them for an hour in the 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.

Mix together the 1/4 cup veganaise with the 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 clove minced garlic, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, salt and pepper to make the vegan dressing.

Assemble the sandwiches with grilled tofu, red onion, avocado, marinated carrots and cilantro. Spread the bread with dressing.

I was in the kitchen thinking about the great sandwiches Aaron made for us, and I started wishing there was some bread in the house so I could make a sandwich. I considered baking bread, but it was way too hot. Too, too hot. I was thinking I would stroll on down to Trader Joe's and have a look around, when out of the corner of my eye I spied the breadmaker, sitting unused on the counter. I hardly ever use the breadmaker to bake bread. It's mostly used to make pizza or bread dough that gets baked on a stone in the oven. But I COULD use it to bake bread. All the ingredients were in the cupboard. I was feeling a twinge of guilt. So I spent about five minutes adding ingredients to the machine and went off to accomplish something while it made bread. It made a very credible loaf of 100% white whole wheat that made an excellent sandwich of thin sliced sautéed eggplant, avocado, tomato, cucumber and homemade vegan sausage.

And here's the problem. After I soaked the pan, I discovered a lot of crusty gunk under the washer-thing on top of which the mixing blade sits. I don't think this washer-thing is even supposed to come off, but at this point in the bread machine's life, it does. After I scraped everything out with a toothpick and examined it, I couldn't tell if it was old dough gunk or old washer gunk. What if I scraped out the hardened remains of some dried out rubber part? The shaft seemed a bit wobbly. So off to the Internet I went to look up replacement parts just in case, and was disturbed to find that the the only replaceable part on my machine is the little dough paddle. Some models have a replaceable pan (not my model) but the cost with shipping is about $55, making such a purchase seem weird. That machine is BIG and will take a lot of space in a landfill if I've wrecked it. I hate this. I just hope the unsavory gunk I obsessively cleaned was old dough and not old, unreplaceable machine part. By the way, I have a Breadman Ultimate TR22ooC.

August 22, 2008

Chinese dinner

My husband is a college professor and he advises many graduate students and hosts visiting scholars from a lot of different countries. Last night, one of his graduate students from China, and a visiting scholar from China, invited us for dinner. They prepared numerous dishes and cooked a vegan meal for us. Each dish was unique and delicious. We started with a tofu and corn soup and then we had:
asparagus with red pepper

green beans with Chinese black mushrooms

broccoli with garlic

spicy tree fungus with cucumbers and ginger

fresh fruit salad

and the only thing store-bought, chocolate cake.

And I forgot to photograph a yummy large, round potato pancake that I wish I knew how to make!.

August 20, 2008

Oven roasted green beans

I love oven-roasted vegetables, but have always roasted root vegetables and winter squash. The night we ate at my son Aaron's apartment in Seattle, along with a spinach salad and sandwiches, he also served roasted green beans. They looked very weird—all shrivelled and shrunken, but they tasted fabulous. I'm definitely going to make these—as soon as it cools off enough to run the oven! After a string of days so beautiful I hated to leave Wisconsin, we headed to a Seattle heat wave. Now I'm back home and the heat wave has struck here. I think I'll stick to foods not requiring much heat. But if your weather is pleasant or you have air conditioning, try these green beans. It's a simple dish with great taste.

I planted scarlet runner beans this year because I wanted the beautiful flowers to make the garden prettier. Well, they do look great and taste great but they are infested with Japanese beetles. Ugh. The beetles seem to prefer the foliage, which leaves the tender pods for me, but I find the beetles creepy. When I was a child living in Philadelphia, we always had a large population of Japanese beetles every summer. One of our neighbors, who had lots of roses, used to pay the neighborhood kids to pick the beetles off his bushes. He told us his wife made them into "beetle cookies," and while I didn't quite believe him, part of me wasn't sure. He always gave us a certain kind of flat raisin cookie after each picking session that he said were his wife's beetle cookies. I remember years later, as an adult, I came upon these cookies in a store and was shocked to discover they were packaged cookies, not homemade. I think we should be more honest with children, or at least make sure they know when we're joking.

The beans Aaron likes to use for this dish are the long skinny ones.
Oven-roasted green beans
Preheat the oven to 450˚
Toss a pound of long, skinny green beans, washed and with stem end removed, with one to two tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place the beans in a cast iron skillet and roast in the oven until shrivelled and cooked. This takes about 30 minutes. Halfway through cooking, stir the beans. A few minutes before they are done, stir in a clove of minced garlic. The beans will be crisp-cooked and brown in spots when done.

August 18, 2008

Spinach salad

I'm going to continue with the theme of presenting recipes from from my kids' cooking. I'm in Seattle this week visiting with the kids, and enjoying some great food and company. Our first night here we had dinner with our middle son, Aaron and his wonderful partner, Erica. Aaron cooked a delicious and beautiful meal that started with an excellent spinach salad. Aaron doesn't really use recipes - he makes things up as he goes along - but he tried to pay attention to measurements because he knew I wanted to post the recipes.

Spinach salad
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 clove garlic, minced
5-10 raspberries (or 3-5 strawberries)
handful fresh mint (or basil)
Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

1 large bag spinach, washed
1 thinly sliced red onion
sliced strawberries
1/4-1/2 cup toasted walnuts
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and serve.

August 15, 2008

Potatoes on a plate

Sometimes I'm just amazed at how the simplest food preparation can produce such wonderful results. I wanted to use up some potatoes that were getting kind of old, and I was thinking of all the different ways I could prepare them when I settled on peeling, cutting into large hunks and pressure-cooking for five minutes. The resulting potato chunks were put on a plate, sprinkled sparingly with salt, dusted with freshly ground pepper and drizzled with a bit of olive oil. Perfection.

The pressure-cooker really is a time saver, a flavor enhancer and an invaluable aid to lazy cooks. I will start using it more to cook vegetables and beans. In the case of the potatoes, I put about one inch of water into the cooker with the potato chunks, brought it to pressure, turned the heat down a little and set the timer for five minutes. When the timer went off, I turned off the flame and let the pressure come down. The result was full-flavored, perfectly cooked potatoes.

August 12, 2008

Black bean salad

One of the reasons I started writing this blog was as a way to pass recipes and family anecdotes to my three kids. Especially at holidays, they would ask me how to make certain dishes that we always had when they lived at home. So I started posting recipes and stories for them. Then, of course, I just kept going with whatever recipe I was interested in at the moment, and little bits of my life. Initially I tried to keep the commentary focused on food, but that's not always the case. Now, the recipe thing seems to have come full circle, and my kids are starting to send recipes to me! Recently I received a recipe for black bean salad from my oldest son. He said he made it twice in one week at the request of his wife because she liked it so much.

Today, my youngest son, a college student who is home for the summer, was complaining that there was nothing in the house to eat. This was not 100% true from my perspective - I found things to eat - but from his perspective the cupboard was bare. Hmmm. I needed a banana for another recipe. I was thinking it would be very handy for him to walk down to Trader Joe's for black beans and a banana, make the salad for his early dinner before he had to leave for work, and have enough salad left for our dinner. And a blog post, too. "So," I said. "Look at this black bean salad recipe your brother sent. We have all the ingredients except for the beans. Why don't you go get the beans and make it. Oh, and could you also please get a ripe banana?" So he did.

Black bean salad
2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained well
2 carrots, diced or shredded
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, squeezed through press, or minced
1 cup of frozen sweet corn, thawed
1 avocado, chopped
2 teaspoons of whole cumin seeds, toasted for 5-7 minutes in skillet
1 cup of chopped fresh herbs (eg. basil, parsley, chives, cilantro)
1 tomato, chopped (From the garden! Yay)
olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
juice of 2 limes or lemons

Mix everything to make a salad. Makes about six servings. (We used basil for the fresh herbs.)

August 09, 2008

Frozen fruit sorbet

Now, this is my kind of frozen dessert. The cashew ice cream was great, but I think a sorbet is more refreshing. Plus it's really easy. I got this recipe from someone I was great friends with for one summer many years ago when we lived in Syracuse, NY. Then she moved to California and we lost touch. The original recipe contained beaten egg whites that got folded into the frozen fruit mixture, but you don't really need them. Besides, do people really even use raw egg whites any more?

So, Friend and I were both grad students the aforementioned summer — she in speech pathology and I in experimental open education (yup) — and my husband and I were house-sitting in an amazing suburban home with a swimming pool and a lunatic Brittany spaniel. The house's owner spent the summers as a nurse at her kids' overnight camp, and the dog's canine brother and sister also went to camp. Timmy, the dog, couldn't go to camp because he was slightly deranged. Among other things, Timmy was afraid of thunder, as many dogs are, but just before we had arrived for our house-sitting stint, Timmy, unlike most dogs, jumped through a plate glass window. This house was located on a totally private lot with gorgeous landscaping that could be easily appreciated because two sides of the sprawling house were entirely made of glass. This was of some concern to us, but Timmy did not jump through the glass on our watch. He did, however, bite the Culligan man, creating a bit of a fuss. I love dogs, and did my best to provide loving care for Timmy, but he was ... difficult.

Lots of other weird things happened while we were at the house - like an neighbor's entire wedding party showing up for an afternoon of swimming saying they had the owner's prior permission. (They didn't) "Oh didn't she tell you ...?" And, after finally getting over my 'city-girl' privacy issues, walking into the living room inappropriately dressed for public, and seeing the gardener on the other side of the glass. Not to mention the time the gas tank in our car leaked into the gravel floor of the garage and filled the house with gas fumes. We hiked to the closest pay phone (the house phones were out of order — another story) to call the fire department to ask if there was any danger, and the next thing we knew, there was a fire truck with lights and sirens racing past us on the road. "You don't suppose ...?" We raced back to the house as fast as we could and found firefighters with hoses and hatchets running around the house and yard and all the neighbors standing in the road. Fortunately, everything was okay. And about those phones. I was quite annoyed with the phone company for letting the phone be out of order for more than a week. The only way we could call them was from other locations — this was before cell phones — and they kept insisting there might be a phone off the hook. Then I discovered there was a phone we hadn't known about in the basement that the cat had apparently knocked off the hook. When the phone repairman finally did show up, unneeded, we were skinny dipping in the pool. Whew.

So, Susan and I had a lot of free time that summer. I was teaching a couple of art and music classes to young children at the Y, and I don't remember what she was doing. We spent a lot of time lounging around the pool, swimming, cooking and eating. We were always trying to find interesting new things to cook. This recipe is the only one I remember from that crazy summer. But, it's a good one.

Frozen fruit sorbet
  • 2 bananas, sliced and frozen (or 1-1/2 cups mashed, unfrozen)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice (or 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • sweetener to taste (optional, and I think unnecessary)

I froze my bananas ahead of time because I knew I was going to make this, but it also works with unfrozen, mashed bananas. The quantities are kind of flexible and I wrote what I used and in the ( ) I wrote what the recipe actually says. Blend up everything in a blender or food processor until it's really smooth. (Frozen bananas probably work better in the food processor.) You can either freeze in a container until firm but not hard, and then beat with a mixer, or use an ice cream freezer. If you use the freeze/beat method, you'll have to repeat the process two or three times to achieve a smooth and creamy texture.

August 06, 2008

Vegan chocolate ice cream - from cashews

I've done a little internet research on ice cream makers, and discovered that although users of the Donvier ice cream maker that I have are generally satisfied, the "experts" rate it very low. It's very easy to operate, and if you have the freezer space to store the metal canister, ready at a moment's notice. However, the pricier electric machines apparently make a creamier product. In addition, some machines create a product that stays creamy in the freezer during storage, something that the Donvier does not. Also, you must refreeze the canister for 7 hours if you want to make a second batch. (And, I can tell you for a fact that this is true.) I don't take ice cream making seriously enough to warrant buying a new machine. You can spend $50-$700 on a machine, but I plan to continue using my $5 garage sale Donvier. You can read an article about ice cream makers here.

This recipe is dairy and soy free and tastes amazing. It is creamy and smooth and maybe a little too sweet. My husband disagreed with me about the sweetness. He thought it was just like ice cream, and what most people expected from a frozen dessert. I was inspired by a recipe on a cooking video on you tube. Lilla, the ice cream chef, says in the video that you must use a professional blender to achieve the right level of creaminess. (Hers is an enviable Ktec Champ HP3 that costs $400.) But I used my regular KitchenAid with great success. I blended the mixture for several minutes until there was no trace of grainy texture. She also used an interesting ice cream maker that made the ice cream in the freezer.  I will also note that Lilla used raw ingredients including something called really raw chocolate. I used natural cocoa powder. (I would share the video but it's no longer available.)  By the way, this ice cream did not get icy in the freezer. After several days, it's hard but still smooth and creamy.

Easy vegan chocolate ice cream
2 cups cashews (soaked and drained)
2 cups water
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup agave syrup
1/4 to 1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Soak the cashews in water (in the refrigerator) for four hours or overnight. Blend the first six ingredients in a blender or food processor until extremely smooth and creamy. Blend, blend, blend! Stir in the chocolate chips and chill the mix for an hour or overnight. Freeze in your ice cream freezer.

note: My son tried to make this, and while it was delicious, it was a challenge for his blender to get the cashews really blended to a creamy consistency. You might want to do a little test to see if your blender is up to the challenge before making an entire batch.

August 02, 2008

Non-dairy ice cream

First, I'd like to say that it's been really hot in Southern Wisconsin, and we don't have air conditioning in our house. The kitchen seems to be the hottest room and this makes me not want to cook. It also makes me think of cool foods like fruit, salad, iced tea and ICE CREAM. Actually, I wasn't thinking specifically about ice cream until I read my friend Claire's post about making tofu ice cream, and how it was so amazingly creamy and delicious. She made it the hard way by repeatedly freezing and beating it until it was sufficiently aerated to be "creamy and delicious." When I saw the pictures of her ice cream, I became a little obsessed with making something cold and creamy of my own. But like I said, it was just so darn hot. By the time I walked home from work, and we got around to throwing something together for dinner, it was too late and I was too tired and hot to do it. I ended up convincing my husband to walk down to Trader Joe's and buy some soy stuff.

Well, this weekend I finally decided to experiment with making two kinds of ice cream. One is tofu based, and the other is made from raw cashews. Both are chocolate, although there's no reason you couldn't make other flavors easily enough. The tofu one that I found on Claire's blog came from Marie in Dodgeville, Wis., and was a reader-contributed recipe on the Web site of Dr. Zorba Paster. Paster has a show on Wisconsin Public Radio called "Zorba Paster On Your Health." (I guess it's a national show.) Paster lives and practices family medicine in a small community just outside the city where I live. (Recently, I heard his familiar voice and turned to find him standing behind me in line as I waited to enter the building where the Dalai Lama was to give a public address. Then he appeared on stage to introduce the governor, who was introducing the Dalai Lama.) Anyway, in spite of my general skepticism (health and taste related) about sweetened tofu desserts, based on Claire's raves, I decided to give this one a try. I have a one quart Donvier ice cream freezer that needs no salt or ice. You just keep the metal insert in the freezer until you need it. (I found mine at a garage sale a number of years ago, and just bought another one for Claire at a garage sale this weekend. It had been used once and I paid $5. They work well and are extremely easy to use. More about ice cream makers later...)

The resulting ice cream was, in fact, creamy and delicious, and it was very easy to make. However, I could detect just the slightest tofu mouth feel, if you know what I mean. My husband had no such problem and loved it. And there is still the little problem I have with tofu as a dessert. But, it's still hot, and a little ice cream, even tofu ice cream, on a hot day can't be all bad. You can find the original recipe here. This is where I got the recipe but I don't know where Marie got it. I can only assume she perfected it herself.

Marie's chocolate tofu ice cream (somewhat altered by Andrea)

1/4 Cup Cocoa powder
2 packages Mori-Nu Silken Tofu
1 Tbs Vanilla
1/2 Cup Sucanot
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 Cup Banana (or 1/2 banana, whatever)
If you are using a Donvier or similar ice cream maker, place the canister from the ice cream maker into the freezer overnight.

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until very, very smooth and creamy. (I can't emphasize this "smooth and creamy" part enough.) Transfer to pitcher and refrigerate to chill for at least an hour. Place frozen ice cream maker bowl onto ice cream maker. Add mix to bowl then start the freezing process. (About 20 minutes) Serve cold and enjoy! Or follow the directions for whatever ice cream contraption you have.

Servings: 5
Why the changes. My stevia was so old that it smelled and tasted weird so I used 1/2 cup of sucanot and 1/4 cup of agave syrup. I added the extra sweetener because the mix didn't taste quite sweet enough to me. I also used 1/2 of a banana which was probably closer to 1/2 cup. And I put the plastic blade of the ice cream maker into the refrigerator to chill while the mix was chilling.

Coming up next: Chocolate ice cream made from cashews. Then, frozen fruit sorbet.