Double Rainbow Chocolate Sorbet

In my continuing efforts to deal with the “no dairy, no soy” dietary restrictions, I’m always on the lookout for desserts that  I can both eat without guilt, and with pleasure.  So when I saw this on the shelf at my local Harris-Teeter, I picked it up.

The ingredients are thus: Sugar, Non GM corn syrup, cocoa processed with alkali, natural cocoa, carob bean gum, guar gum, carrageenan.

It’s 99% fat free, has no dairy, uses no soy (yay!), is gluten-free, and the calorie count is reasonable for a snack (120 calories for a 1/2 cup serving, 5 of them from fat). (More info about the company and their products here.)

So, how did it taste?

Obviously, the lack of butterfat means that it doesn’t taste like ice cream.  No getting away from that.  But the chocolate flavor is rich (although with a hint of that weird plastickiness that I associate with carob – this isn’t belgian chocolate, folks, and doesn’t pretend otherwise), and the sorbet is creamy and has good mouthfeel.

Honestly, the closest thing I can say that this comes to in flavor/texture is the Fudgesicle Fudge Pops – remember those?

Fudgsicle Fudge Pops

Mind you, I like fudge pops.  So for me, having an entire tub of solid fudgepop isn’t a bad thing, but ymmv.

Antipasta Primavera

Antipasta Primavera

Jeff’s the real cook in our family (and I’m the baker) – I can follow a recipe, and throw together a few tried-and-tested things, but when it comes to creativity and artistry in meals, he’s your guy.

The following recipe literally came to him in a dream – he woke up and tried it the next day, and it was a hit!  It’s summery and clean and bright, and has no fat, dairy, soy, carbs… you name it.  Super-healthy, and super-tasty.

He calls it Antipasta Primavera.

For the squash (start this first):

1 spaghetti squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded.

# preheat the oven to 350 and cook the squash face down on a baking
sheet for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and with a fork, scrape the
cooked fibers out so that they look like spaghetti.

For the pesto:

handful of parsley (3-5 stems)
handful of mint (3-5 stems)
handful of basil (3-5 stems)
1/2 tsp red pepper or less/more to taste
salt
zest of one lime
juice of half a lime
3 tbl pine nuts
tsp of ginger paste or lemongrass paste
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp ground coriander

# Throw everything in a food processor and pulse until it’s finely
chopped but still relatively dry.  set aside.

For the veg:

1/2 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 medium red onion, chopped coarse
1 red bell pepper, chopped coarse
(If you hate peppers, as I do, substitute other green veg, like green beans,
snap peas, or anything else with a good crunch…)
1 anaheim chile, seeded and chopped coarse
1/2 a block of marinated tempeh (or for soy free use 1 japanese
eggplant, also marinated in a bit of red wine, olive oil, and
oregano), chopped into square inch cubes or so.
1/4 cp pine nuts.

# heat a large pan on medium high, add 2-3 tbl of olive oil (don’t be
afraid of olive oil, it’s good for you).  Add the vegetables all at
once and stirfry in oil and either the other half of the lime’s juice
or a splash of white wine until al dente, 8-10min.

Reduce heat to low, toss in pesto, and fold until evenly covered.
Add spaghetti squash and fold in.  Serve.

Sesame Sticks

Sesame Sticks

Once every couple of  months or so (whenever we’re in town for the third Saturday, which isn’t often), we get to the local Vegan Potluck over at a cohousing community in Durham (If you’re interested, it’s posted via the Triangle Vegetarian and Vegan meetup).  Which, of course, means bringing something vegan.  (We don’t keep a vegan household, but I essentially have to eat vegan these days except for eggs, and we both love tasty vegan food.)

I like to bring something savory and try a new vegan sweet – this week I pulled out the artisan bread dough hanging out in the fridge and made a couple dozen rolls, and looked through some of my cookbooks to get inspiration about dessert.

In Taste and See: Allergy Relief Cooking I found a recipe for Sesame Sticks that not only fit my incredibly ridiculous dietary requirements, but could be made vegan and looked really tasty.  Win! Turns out the only other dessert that didn’t contain soy was some Chocamole (avocado and cocoa, as well as some other stuff – it was kinda weird, but pudding-textured and chocolatey, so that was nice), so I’m glad I made something myself.

Back when I was in college, I used to work at the local mall for a company called National Health and Nutrition (dead now), a sort of GNC.  They sold, among lots of herbal supplements and vitamins and protein mixes, these fabulous little sesame cookies that weren’t crunchy but chewy, and seemingly made of nothing but sesame seeds and honey.  I LOVED those things.  Ate way too many.  Have never found them since – but this filled that niche quite nicely.  Not sure this is a good thing…

I made quite a few substitutions in this recipe, so I’ll write it up the way I made it, with notes about the original recipe.

Mmmmm.

Mmmmm.

Sesame Sticks
(adapted from Sesame Fingers, in Taste and See: Allergy Relief Cooking by Penny King)

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup coconut (I used sweetened because it’s what I had, but I think unsweetened would be better)

1/2 cup agave syrup (originally called for honey, but vegans are kind of split on that one, so I played it safe.  Plus, agave has a lower glycemic index than honey, so it fit better with the low-sugar thing I’m supposed to be doing)

1 TB vanilla

1 TB grated orange peel

1 TB cornstarch (or arrowroot)

2 1/2 cups sesame seeds (I used 2 cups plain, and 1/2 cup black sesame seeds, which have a sort of poppyseed taste – you could either use all regular sesame seeds, or use 1/2 cup poppyseeds if you don’t have black sesame seeds (available from Penzey’s, or likely your local middle-eastern shop.  I wanted the black color, thought it made them more interesting).

1/2 cup date butter*

1/2 cup tahini (could substitute peanut butter or almond butter)

1/4 tsp salt (optional – I forgot to add it and never noticed).

*date butter – heat together 1 Cup dates and 1 cup water until dates are soft; blend and cool.  Makes about 1 cup.  Store extra in fridge.

Method

This is one of those recipes with really terse instructions.  Reminds me of reading the Julie/Julia Project and how Julie’d always know she was in trouble when Julia got terse.  This cookbook was written in 1992 but has that good ol’ 1970’s feel to it, typewriter-y print and terse instructions and all.
1.  Mix all ingredients.  ‘Spread evenly on oiled cookie sheet’.

[it doesn’t specify how thick, or how big a cookie sheet, or or or…  I used one of my flat sheets and spread it about 1/2 inch thick, and it took twice as long to cook.  If you want something slightly crunchier, spread it thinner.  If you like chewy, maybe use a jelly roll pan and fill it.  Definitely oil the sheet, though. ]

2. Bake at 300F for 35-40 minutes (original recipe called for 20 minutes, but this was inadequate for all but the edges – the middle was still a gooey mess even after it had cooled.)  Will get crisp as it cools (this did not happen for me).  Cut.

These are good the day you make them, and good the day after. They likely keep well indefinitely, and probably ship well.