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Tag Archive: nut-free

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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Olive Oil + Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan)

April 24, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Hello! Sorry for pulling a disappearing act on you all again. The past month has been quite exciting, I must admit: I visited three colleges (Cornell being my absolute favorite), spent a week in San Francisco, and got asked to prom by a complete sweetheart…so in addition to lots of prep work for AP tests next month, I’ve been busy. But, as always, I’ve been cooking, and I’d like to share one of my delicious creations today.

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I was in a performance poetry show back in March, and the day of opening night, I suddenly got a craving for chocolate chip cookies. I don’t know why it happened, but when a craving like that comes along, you’ve gotta follow your heart and go for it.

Of course, I wasn’t going to make “normal” chocolate chip cookies! No, these were (as my friends like to call them) “special” chocolate chip cookies, made with olive oil for a little flavor twist and sprinkled with sea salt for a nice contrast. Sounds strange, but these were absolute heaven.

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The best part about chocolate chip cookies is that you can really mix them up and create a million other flavors in the process. Go nuts–literally–or throw in some dried fruit just for fun. Hey, how about some crystallized ginger or cacao nibs? All are game; the cookie batter is your canvas.

For the record, these are my attempt at trying to be as traditionalist as possible. I just don’t do basic.

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Fortunately, these cookies aren’t too complicated to make, either. I would give you a detailed explanation, but I don’t think I need to describe how to mix things in separate bowls and combine them. But I will give you a picture of dough because, chances are, you will be eating more of this than the actual cookies themselves.

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Or maybe you’ll go for the actual cookie? I don’t know…depends on what kind of person you are.

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Print this page

Olive Oil + Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Think olive oil in a cookie sounds weird? Think again! These cookies are light yet flavorful, and the slightly-fruity oil and punch from the salt really highlights the chocolate chips.

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

Prep Time 10 min
Cooking Time 10-12 min
Total Time 20 min
Yield 16-20 cookies

2 cups of whole wheat flour or spelt flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1/2 cup of brown sugar or coconut sugar

1/2 cup of unrefined cane sugar

2 flax eggs (so 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons of water)

1 cup of chocolate chips

Sea salt for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, prepare the flax eggs by mixing the flaxseed meal with the water. Let stand for 10 minutes.

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

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars with the olive oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract until well-combined, then add the flax eggs and whisk again.

With a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until just combined, then fold in the chocolate chips. (Feel free to add more, if you’d like. No one ever says no to more chocolate chips…)

Using a smaller ice cream scoop or two large spoons, scoop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Each cookie should be roughly under 2 tablespoons.

Bake until beginning to turn golden-brown, about 10-12 minutes. Upon removing from the oven, sprinkle with sea salt and flatten slightly with the back of a fork, then let cool completely (or mostly) before eating.


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(By the way, that little scar on my arm is from when I accidentally hit myself with a butt scooter in gym class. Only I would find a way to get injured on a butt scooter, of all things.)

When it comes to cookies, do you like something exciting or are you more of a traditionalist? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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Olive Oil + Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 24, 2015 Print this page

Think olive oil in a cookie sounds weird? Think again! These cookies are light yet flavorful, and the slightly-fruity oil and punch from the salt really highlights the chocolate chips.

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

Prep Time 10 min
Cooking Time 10-12 min
Total Time 20 min
Yield 16-20 cookies

2 cups of whole wheat flour or spelt flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1/2 cup of brown sugar or coconut sugar

1/2 cup of unrefined cane sugar

2 flax eggs (so 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons of water)

1 cup of chocolate chips

Sea salt for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, prepare the flax eggs by mixing the flaxseed meal with the water. Let stand for 10 minutes.

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

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars with the olive oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract until well-combined, then add the flax eggs and whisk again.

With a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until just combined, then fold in the chocolate chips. (Feel free to add more, if you’d like. No one ever says no to more chocolate chips…)

Using a smaller ice cream scoop or two large spoons, scoop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Each cookie should be roughly under 2 tablespoons.

Bake until beginning to turn golden-brown, about 10-12 minutes. Upon removing from the oven, sprinkle with sea salt and flatten slightly with the back of a fork, then let cool completely (or mostly) before eating.


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