Sunday, August 5, 2012

Eat Your Veggies in (Vegan) Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Format

I am totally not kidding!
This is a crazy recipe, but it tastes amazing!  More important for me, there's no dairy-hangover.

How did we run across this?  In Whole Foods--the VitaMix Guy was there doing a demo and tastings.  My children love the sample tables at the health food store and this live demonstration was intriguing to them.  They watched as VitaMix Guy threw a packed cup of spinach, ice, half of an avocado, a touch of peppermint flavoring (organic) and agave nectar in this amazing appliance and flipped it on.  Instantly, it was pulverized into a creamy, green "ice cream".  Then, they added vegan mini chocolate chips, switched it on for just a few seconds (so the chips were still chunky, but the chocolate flavor got mixed in).

My boys ate their entire portion and then, miraculously, went on an expedition to find avocados and spinach in the produce section because they wanted me to make it at home.  I looked at the VitaMix guy with incredulity as my kids sauntered back cheerfully, piping, "These are organic avocadoes, right?", and "Hey, mom, I'm not sure if this is spinach, but it looks like it." They were beet greens, actually, but they worked just fine!  VitaMix Man turned to me, took a little bow, smiled and said, "You're welcome!".

Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I don't have a VitaMix blender, so I modified the recipe:
Note: Use liquids sparingly to keep it more like ice cream and less like a smoothie.
Makes 4 servings.

  • 2 cups mild-flavored greens (we used beet greens, but baby spinach will work, too)
  • 1 tsp organic peppermint flavoring
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 ripe avocado (for creaminess)
  • 3 T agave nectar
  • almond (or other) milk in a small quantity
To aid in blending, I added almond milk sparingly to help the blades turn.
Blend until smooth.
Stop the blender.  Add:
  • 1 handful of vegan chocolate chips 
and blend until incorporated (but not completely pulverized--it will ruin the beautiful green color)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Apple Pie Battle of the Sexes

I've agreed to let my husband, Brian, battle me in the State Apple Pie contest at this year's Durham Fair. Last year we both entered items in the baking competition, but different categories. Two of mine earned "first premium" ribbons---zucchini bread and baklava---but my apple pie earned a dismal "third premium." The pie was a hippy version with a whole wheat flour crust, and my top crust cracked on the drive over to the fair. Brian scored a "first premium" ribbon for his classic French macarons in the Guys Only category. His taste of victory whet his appetite for more, and he has set his sights on...his wife.

So, the stakes are high---very, very high and it definitely feels like a Man vs. Woman thing even though Brian would argue vehemently that it's not. I have decades of baking experience under my belt and actually considered becoming a pastry chef. Brian has a strong competitive spirit and fine (read: maddening) attention to detail. We learned last year that the judges want a very simple traditional apple pie. Normally I'd say, "Screw that!" and do another hippy version, maybe with some kind of pecan streusal sprinkled on top and agave syrup for the sweetener, but I can't risk earning another third premium and suffering lifelong humiliation if Brian should score higher. So traditional it is.

We're both making trial pies tonight. I'm using the following Alton Brown recipe for inspiration and will be going for a traditional appearance with a few, hopefully delicious, taste twists thrown in.

I'll keep you posted with photos and updates and would love feedback.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cukes and more cukes

Anybody else have lots of cukes? A link to a huge collection of cucumber recipes:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oh-My-Goddess Dressing

Still waiting for most of our tomatoes (only sungolds have ripened for us so far), but we've had plenty of cukes and the herbs keep growing, so..... goddess dressing for our steak salad w/garden cucumbers. oh my!

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup packed garden herbs (I used oregano, basil, thyme, sage and rosemary)
2 cloves garlic
1 slice lemon
salt and pepper (not too much--this is so flavorful already)

Food process and chill until ready to use.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Caprese Pasta Salad

A great, easy pasta salad w/ingredients that everyone (at least everyone w/any common sense) likes:

1/3-1/2 cup olive oil (depending on how much coating you like on your noodles)
1/8-1/4 cup balsamic (how much zing do you like?)
a couple spoonfuls of pesto (optional)
1 clove garlic (or more!)
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound pasta (farfalle or orechiette work well)
1/2-1 pound fresh mozz, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 cup basil leaves, julienned

Combine oil, vinegar, pesto, garlic salt and pepper in a big bowl. Add cooked pasta, mozz, tomatoes and basil and toss. Enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Recipes from the Garden: Ham and Leek pizza

I found some volunteer leeks growing rampant in the vegetable garden (so that's what those giant, globular flowers were last summer). I got rid of most of them to make way for tomatoes and cukes, but left a few, hoping they will self-seed again this summer.

Anyway, I sauteed a vidalia onion w/the white parts of the leeks and some garlic for about 20 min, then topped the pizza w/red sauce, mozz, the onion mix and ham and the green parts of the leeks. It was a good spring-but-not-quite-feeling-like-spring-because-it-won't-stop-raining meal.