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Tag Archive: easy

Sorbet 101 (vegan)

August 8, 2015 Print this page

Are you absolutely terrified of making your own ice cream? Has your ice cream machine sat untouched in your closet for years? Do you just eschew from frozen treats because of all of the cream and sugar? Then this recipe is for you: there’s no cooking involved, and all you need is a blender–you don’t even necessarily need an ice cream maker!

Use whatever fruit is in season, or use thawed frozen fruit or tropical fruits (like a combination of bananas and mangoes) in the wintertime.

Pictured in recipe index is an almond-dragonfruit sorbet I made in Hawaii. 🙂

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time
Total Time 24 hr
Yield 6-8 servings

4-6 cups of fruit of choice (I love the combinations of strawberry/banana and raspberry/peach)

2/3-1 cup of unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar

1 tablespoon of vodka or alcohol of choice

1/2-1 tablespoon of vanilla, almond, or citrus extract (optional)

1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice (optional)

Handful of herbs, like thyme, sage, or lavender (optional)

Directions

Here’s how it works: first, put all of your fruit in the blender with NOTHING else. Blend until everything is pulverized, then look on the side and see how many cups of fruit puree you have.

My rule of thumb is to use 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of sugar for every cup of fruit puree: for example, if you have 4 cups of fruit puree, use 1 cup (or a little less) of sugar. It doesn’t have to be exact: just round up or down to the nearest whole number if you have, say, 3 1/2 cups of puree.

Feel free to scale back the sugar a little bit, but DON’T overdo it. Because sorbet has no fat, you’re in a battle against liquid to prevent your frozen treat from becoming too icy, and sugar helps keep things from becoming an edible igloo. With tarter fruits–like strawberries and blueberries–you’ll definitely need more sugar, but with sweeter fruits–like bananas and really ripe peaches–you can use less.

Once the fruit has been blended, add the calculated amount of sugar, vodka (this also helps prevent the igloo problem), and extract/citrus juice/herbs, if you’re using them. This is your chance to be creative with your flavors, so go crazy! Here are some combos I’ve made:

  • Strawberry/banana puree with lemon juice and vanilla extract
  • Raspberry/peach puree with lavender
  • Dragonfruit puree with almond extract

Blend again. Once everything has been well-incorporated, pour the puree into a bowl and place it in the fridge to cool for 4-6 hours. This is critical: you don’t want to be putting warm ingredients into the frozen ice cream machine base.

When the cooling time has elapsed, pass the puree through a sieve to remove any seeds or big pieces of herbs that didn’t get blended properly. Now you’re ready to get things rolling!

Here are the two methods for churning the sorbet:

ICE CREAM MACHINE METHOD: Pour the fruit puree into the ice cream machine’s base and churn according to your manufacturer’s instructions. (I churn mine for half an hour, usually.) Once churned, pour into a glass loaf pan or plastic container, cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a lid, and let harden in the freezer overnight (or for at least 12 hours).

BLENDER METHOD: Pour the fruit puree into a large flat glass dish, cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and freeze until just solid, 1-2 hours. Remove the dish from the freezer and cut the contents into squares–it doesn’t have to be perfect–and put them into the blender. Blend until just incorporated, about a minute, then pour the puree back into the glass dish and freeze for another 1-2 hours. Repeat this process twice more, then pour the finished product into a glass loaf pan or plastic container. (The purpose of this is to add air to your sorbet, which will make it creamier and also allow it to freeze better.) Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a lid, and let harden in the freezer overnight (or for at least 12 hours).

Let the sorbet sit out and thaw for 10 minutes before scooping and eating.


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Fire Roasted Corn and Black Bean Burgers with Mango Salsa (gluten-free + vegan)

June 16, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Happy summer! The sun is shining! Birds are singing! No math for two and a half months! (Sorry, conic sections, but I’m giving you the Cee Lo Green treatment.) I am now officially a senior! I can read books I want to read! I can use exclamation points freely in writing without looking like a fool! HOORAY!!!

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the beginning of this beautiful season than with a fresh yet hearty veggie burger.

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How did these gorgeous burgers come about? Basically, I was in a very big cooking mood after taking my SAT subject tests last month, so I made homemade buns, black bean burgers, and salsa, all from scratch, and then proceeded to artfully arrange them for photographing purposes.

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Here are the buns I made that I’m not going to give you a recipe for…because it’s TOP. SECRET. (OOHHHH.) Actually, I’m just lazy, so you’re stuck with a photograph. Sorry bub.

To give you some perspective, these burgers were about half the size of my head, and neither of my parents could actually fit the entire thing into either of their mouths at once. Sorry to disappoint you, but this dish won’t stay this perfectly-assembled for very long.

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While these burgers aren’t meaty, I’d say, they have a wonderful chewy texture and are loaded with flavor. Black beans and corn are already a winning combination, but when you pair them with juicy mango pieces, luscious avocado slices, and crunchy fresh vegetables, you have a recipe for awesome. Studded with cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika, this dish has the perfect amount of seasoning without being too spicy.

Best of all, both the burgers and the salsa are super easy to prepare, especially if you’re using store-bought buns or making a veggie burger salad instead. (This, however, was not the case for me: to quote my AP chemistry class, “Abby, you always take the complicated way.”)

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Really, though, the process is simple. You saute everybody in a pan…

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…then for a pulse in the food processor and an orderly formation…

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…and finally a bake in the oven until beginning to crisp and tender in the center. And the salsa, well, it’s basically just mixing things together in a bowl. I think you can do that.

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But if you still need a recipe, I’ve got you covered for both below. 😉

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Mango + Cucumber Salsa

Fresh, simple, and sweet, this salsa makes for a fabulous summer accompaniment to anything grilled or simply on its own. Feel free to substitute basil or cilantro for the mint and lemon or orange juice for the lime.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time
Total Time 5 min
Yield 6-8 servings

2 mangoes, fully ripe

1 small cucumber or 1/2 of a large cucumber

A handful of mint leaves, finely minced

The juice of 2 limes (about 3-4 tablespoons)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Peel, slice, and dice the mangoes into 1/2-inch cubes. Peel and de-seed the cucumber and dice it about the same size as the mango.

Mix the mango and cucumber in a bowl with the mint leaves, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Stir together and taste, then add more lime juice, salt, or pepper if necessary. For best results, let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before eating.


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What is your favorite summer burger? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know! 🙂


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Mango + Cucumber Salsa

May 20, 2015 Print this page

Fresh, simple, and sweet, this salsa makes for a fabulous summer accompaniment to anything grilled or simply on its own. Feel free to substitute basil or cilantro for the mint and lemon or orange juice for the lime.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time
Total Time 5 min
Yield 6-8 servings

2 mangoes, fully ripe

1 small cucumber or 1/2 of a large cucumber

A handful of mint leaves, finely minced

The juice of 2 limes (about 3-4 tablespoons)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Peel, slice, and dice the mangoes into 1/2-inch cubes. Peel and de-seed the cucumber and dice it about the same size as the mango.

Mix the mango and cucumber in a bowl with the mint leaves, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Stir together and taste, then add more lime juice, salt, or pepper if necessary. For best results, let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before eating.


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Banana Bread with Toasted Coconut + Chocolate Chips

May 13, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Hello everybody! The adventures of a soon-to-be-senior in high school continue, featuring some food, some homework, and lots of tests. This chica just survived her third AP test, word.

What’s new with me? Well, for one, I went to San Francisco to visit some colleges…

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…and while I decided that I think I want to shoot for a really good school on the East Coast first (it’s a secret which one–shh), I had so much fun visiting the West Coast. They also have excellent ice cream out there: pictured above is a scoop of smoked sea salt chocolate and Vietnamese coffee from Humphry Slocombe.

I also got asked to prom (no, not by a cat or a sweet potato), which took place last Friday. I had so much fun dressing up and hanging out with my friends and my date!

 

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I’ve known my friend Jeromy for twelve years now, and let’s just say we’ve come a long way.

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…actually, I think the only differences are that he is now about a foot taller than me, and we changed who was wearing the vest.

Anyway, I was recently inspired to bake some banana bread, since Jeromy and I had a long conversation at a diner after prom about the wonderful ways of bananas. I decided to throw in some coconut and chocolate chips, too, because both of us love those foods. 🙂

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I forgot how much I love making banana bread. It’s so simple to prepare, yet so pretty when you take it out of the oven, and so comforting when you take a bite. The only reason I don’t make it more often is that we never have any extra bananas at my house, considering I’m basically at monkey status when it comes to banana eating…

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Want to know how simple this is? Well, it involves mashing bananas (which I find way too much enjoyment in)…

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…toasting coconut…

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…mixing a bunch of things together in a bowl (there’s no better way to describe that)…

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…then baking and slicing and EATING!

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YASS.

By the way, this banana bread recipe is adapted from the one from Flour Bakery in Boston. I updated it with a healthy twist, because healthy twists are kinda my jam.

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Banana Bread with Toasted Coconut + Chocolate Chips

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 min
Yield 1 loaf

1 2/3 cup of organic whole wheat flour, spelt flour, or your favorite gluten-free mix

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of unrefined cane sugar

1/3 cup of coconut sugar or brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup of refined coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

4 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup of almond milk (I love using toasted coconut almond milk)

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1-1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut, toasted

1/2-3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and grease well with coconut oil. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk well and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully whisk in the oil, then add the mashed banana, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk well to combine.

Add in the dry ingredients and gently fold with a spatula. Once no specks of flour remain, add the toasted coconut and mini chocolate chips and fold to incorporate.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, using a spatula to help you out. Then, place the loaf pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 1 hour.

Let the banana bread cool in the pan for at least an hour (preferably two), then transfer the bread from the pan to a cooling rack to come to room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or slice and freeze for later consumption.


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So, how do you feel about bananas? (Interesting question, I know, but I have answered so many questions in the past ten days that I need something straightforward.) Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!

Also, some words of advice before I go: when given a photo booth, go HAM. No, not literal ham. Proof is below.

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Banana Bread with Toasted Coconut + Chocolate Chips

May 13, 2015 Print this page

Bananas. Coconut. Chocolate. Are we on vacation in some warm, tropical place already? Oh well, we’re not…but this banana bread is still delicious and makes an awesome breakfast or snack.

Adapted from Flour’s Famous Banana Bread recipe 🙂

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 min
Yield 1 loaf

1 2/3 cup of organic whole wheat flour, spelt flour, or your favorite gluten-free mix

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of unrefined cane sugar

1/3 cup of coconut sugar or brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup of refined coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

4 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup of almond milk (I love using toasted coconut almond milk)

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1-1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut, toasted

1/2-3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and grease well with coconut oil. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk well and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully whisk in the oil, then add the mashed banana, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk well to combine.

Add in the dry ingredients and gently fold with a spatula. Once no specks of flour remain, add the toasted coconut and mini chocolate chips and fold to incorporate.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, using a spatula to help you out. Then, place the loaf pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 1 hour.

Let the banana bread cool in the pan for at least an hour (preferably two), then transfer the bread from the pan to a cooling rack to come to room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or slice and freeze for later consumption.


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