Monday, July 20, 2009

À la mode!

Everywhere you look, it's vegan ice cream! Adding to the list of vegan ice cream cookbooks, I'd like to point my dear readers to À La Mode, an e-book from the author of My Sweet Vegan.

For five bucks you get 13 recipes, plus variations and whatnot. All I have to say about the book is: Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream. Seriously, this woman is a freaking genius. Buttered (or, rather, Earth Balance'd) popcorn is my favorite snack ever, and now I can have it with ice cream. In ice cream. As ice cream.

And since I'm not producing any recipes (Lyme disease really sucks, FYI) to share, this is a great treasure trove to get you through the hot summer months. Be sure to make the White-Peach Rosemary Ice Cream recipe for me. I've been wanting to develop a Lavender-Rosemary Ice Cream (and infusing some vodka too) for ages, and this sounds equally delicious.

If that's not enough for you, then let me just say again: Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream. What isn't to love?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Strawberry Sauce

I bought a half-flat of strawberries a few days ago. They were beautiful--deep red and perfectly ripe. And then I started eating them. Such a disappointment! I'd say that three of every four were either bland or downright sour. But the sweet ones were little punches of happiness. Still, it wasn't worth plowing through the sour berries for the occasional sweet one.

The solution? Strawberry sauce! Cooking the strawberries and adding a little sugar turns even bland and/or sour berries into something wonderful. The recipe measurements are very forgiving--it's really one of those "a bit of this" and "a pinch of that" compositions. But here's what I did:

3 cups strawberries, trimmed and halved (or quartered, if you prefer)
2 tablespoons sugar or agave syrup (I used sugar)
a splash of lemon juice
a pinch of salt (to enhance the sweetness)

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat. Cook until the strawberries start to fall apart and everything is a big, bubbling mess. Taste for sweetness. If needed, continue simmering until the sauce is reduced to your preferred thickness.

Done! You can refrigerate it and serve over ice cream. Pour it over shortcake or a big slice of vegan cheesecake. Or, following my example, you can eat it straight out of the sauce pan with a giant spoon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wow! Another dairy-free ice cream cookbook!

Vegan ice cream recipes are popping up all over the place. I just found out about yet another dairy-free ice cream cookbook, this one published at the end of last year. I don't yet have a copy, but it looks interesting.

The Ice Dream Cookbook says it contains "dairy-free ice cream alternatives, with gluten-free cookies, compotes and sauces."

I don't know much else about the book. One review on Amazon states: "The Ice Dream Cookbook also focuses on low glycemic, using a combination of agave nectar and stevia in most of the 'ice cream' recipes. As best as I can tell, this is also a soy-free cookbook; the 'ice creams' are primarily coconut milk or nut-based. All of the recipes are vegan-friendly, but I would like to note that there are choices given, such as honey or agave and gelatin or agar agar."

This sounds like it could be a winner for those with gluten allergies and those who are looking to avoid using cane sugar. And there are suggestions for stevia, which is great because I get these questions all the time and I have no idea what to do with stevia. (My husband hates it and I'm none too fond either.)

Sadly, the cookbook isn't all vegan--see the note about honey and gelatin above--but we vegans are nothing if not creative, and it appears that you can work around any non-vegan suggestions. I should also note that the author is clearly not vegan (her blog has all the typical bullshit about the wonders of grass-feed meat). And I always prefer to support fellow vegans when I spend my money, so I'm not sure if I'll buy this book.

But, wow. I'm so excited that there are more and more vegan/dairy-free ice cream products--from hemp ice creams to cookbooks to new dreamy flavors in the supermarket.

Now if I can just get my butt in the kitchen and actually make some ice cream, that would be even better.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another vegan ice cream cookbook


OK, so I don't yet own a copy of The Vegan Scoop. But since I just reviewed Lick It, I figured I should note that there's another new vegan ice cream book out on the market!

And with a much better title. Because it doesn't make me think dirty, dirty thoughts.

How do the two rivals compare? Can't tell you (yet), but I'm excited. Add these two to Vice Cream, and we've got a slowly growing canon of recipes.

A few people have asked me why I haven't written The Great Vegan Ice Cream Cookbook. Because, you know, I'm pretty awesome and who wouldn't buy my book? Right? So I like to claim that I'm all about new media, the democratization of information, the power of freely shared ideas. But, really, the truth is that I'm lazy (and more recently have been stuck with Lyme disease), and I'm more than happy to leave the real work to others.

Anyway, I'm psyched to check out The Vegan Scoop. And I'd also love to hear what you, my beloved readers, have to say! What do you think of our growing collection of vegan ice cream books? Hungry vegans want to know!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lick It! (A Review)


A new vegan ice cream cookbook is on the market! Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love, by Cathe Olson, is sitting here on my desk. Overall, I recommend the book, but I'll go into the positives and negatives:

Positives: The first thing I noticed that I know many readers will love is that nearly all of the recipes can be made with agave syrup instead of sugar. I've been asked many times about using non-sugar sweeteners, and this book has plenty of options. In most cases, you can use an equal amount of granulated sugar or agave syrup.

There are also lower-fat options, alongside the really decadent recipes. And a bunch of sorbet recipes, which I have to say are going to tempt me away from ice cream for a little while. So you've got ice creams, frozen yogurts, sherbets, and sorbets.

And the book also has recipes for ice cream cakes, ice pops, and other frozen treats. Plus recipes for sundae toppings. I am particularly happy about the butterscotch sauce recipe. Mmmmm...butterscotch.

Yeah, so all the recipes look amazing and you could spend all summer making a wide variety of frozen yummies. This book will rock you.

Negatives: I feel so nitpicky with my list of negatives. But I want to get them out of the way. The most unfortunate thing about the book is the design. There are stock photos all through the book, as well as on the cover. The pictures of coconuts or coffee beans are fine, but the pictures of happy people eating ice cream are just...meh. They look kind of goofy and somehow already dated, even though the book just came out.

And the title. Lick It! I mean, maybe I'm the only person with a filthy, filthy mind, but ice cream isn't the first thing that pops into my head when I hear "Lick it!"

Finally, I'm not a fan of the shades-of-purple interior design--text, pictures, etc. It's just not very attractive.

The verdict: All of the negative things I have to say about this book are cosmetic. Which makes me a shallow husk of a person, I suppose, and one with a filthy mind. But I can look past the cover (maybe slap a book cover on it) and re-label the title (something like, "Vegan Ice Cream That Doesn't Remind You of Oral Sex in Any Way, Thank You"). Because the recipes are gonna rock you. Your (my) filthy mind will be so distracted by the (potentially orgasmic) recipes that you won't even think of other, more adult pleasures. Despite the title, which I really must cover up.

Stop thinking about the title. Think about the recipes! The glorious plenitude of recipes!!!

So despite my filthy mind and nitpicky habits, I heartily recommend Lick It! It's here just in time for summer.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Peanut Butter Pillows

I've not been feeling well enough to whip up new ice cream flavors, but today I decided that I had to try the Peanut Butter Pillows recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen blog.

It's basically peanut butter fudge wrapped in a thin layer of chocolate cookie dough and baked until the dough is just firm enough to handle. And then you take them out of the oven and shove them in your mouth and they're all melty and gooey and ZOMG you just want to die right there because nothing in your life will ever be better than that moment right there. But then you take another bite, and OMG it's still amazing.

(Photo from the PPK blog/Flickr pool. Their pictures are prettier than mine.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Apple Crumble Ice Cream

One of my all-time favorite desserts is Annie's Apple Crumble, so named because a wonderful lady named Annie shared her recipe with me. This particular apple crumble is always a huge hit at potlucks. My husband likes it best when served with a scoop of ice cream. So tonight, with an apple crumble baking in the oven, I thought...why not mix them together? Genius! (And the best part is that you only need part of the apple crumble for the ice cream, so you will have more crumble leftover!)

First, the apple crumble recipe. Then the genius mash up.

Annie's Apple Crumble

5 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced approx. 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
1 cup sugar, divided into two ½ cups
½ cup flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
½ cup vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the apples with lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Place the apples in a lightly oiled 8 x 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking dish. Sprinkle ½ cup sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes.

While the apples are baking, make the crumble topping. Mix the flour, remaining ½ cup sugar, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Cut the margarine into small pieces and mash it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers. The mixture will be crumbly and coarse.

When the first 10 minutes of baking are over, spread/sprinkle the topping over the apples. Bake (still at 350) for another 30 – 35 minutes, or until the topping is golden.

Ice Cream

2 cups soy creamer (or any non-dairy milk)
1 cups soy milk (or any non-dairy milk)
¾ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
dash nutmeg
2 tablespoons arrowroot
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Annie's apple crumble, with the apple bit kind of chopped a little so it'll mix in easier

Mix ¼ cup of soy milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Mix the soy creamer, soy milk, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a saucepan. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Stir in vanilla extract.

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. Meanwhile, take your apple crumble--be sure it's not hot anymore!--and scoop out about 1 cup. If there are any large apple slices, cut them up a little so they will mix more easily into the ice cream. Break up the crumble topping if it's baked into a solid mass. The goal will be to spread the crumble bits throughout your ice cream base.

Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add the apple crumble in the last 5 minutes of freezing.

Monday, December 08, 2008

All I Want for Christmas

Cross-posted from my other blog:

One of the most challenging aspects of being sick has been that I can't do all--or even a fraction--of the things I used to do. Some things I miss are small, like burlesque dance classes or trying new cookie recipes. Other things are much larger, and the one thing I most want to do again is leaflet for Vegan Outreach.

I'm an activist. But the key component there is "active." And I just can't be active the way I want to be. Back in 2003, when I realized that my calling was animal rights activism, I had this light bulb moment--this is what I'm supposed to do during my time on this planet. It was a moment of absolute clarity of purpose.

When I started volunteering for Vegan Outreach, I found what I believe to be the single most effective way to channel my activist energy. I leafleted schools in Arizona, and when we moved to California, I jumped in with both feet. I leafleted across the Bay Area, and I'd go on road trips to Southern California to leaflet schools in San Diego and Orange County. All told, I've handed out over 54,000 Vegan Outreach booklets on college campuses.

In the past year, I've handed out zero booklets. I've simply been too sick get out into the field. Which is where I know I belong. But I can't do it right now.

Which is where you come in. Yes, you, dear reader! Because Vegan Outreach doesn't run on energy alone. We've got the most amazing staff and group of volunteers, and our outreach efforts have been massively successful. In the fall semester of 2008, we reached over 130,000 more students than we did in the spring semester. And while we couldn't do this without the energy of our members, we also couldn't do it without financial support.

As you know, I'm on the VO board of directors, and I get the financial reports. I can tell you that we don't waste money. Our paid staff members take exceedingly modest salaries, so that the money donated can be used for our stated purpose: to decrease suffering.

Every Christmas Nick and I ask for donations to Vegan Outreach, so this request is not going to come as a surprise. However, this year I'd like to ask you VERY LOUDLY. Because I've been sick, I haven't been able to contribute my physical energy to Vegan Outreach. I honestly cannot express how frustrating (and depressing) this has been. So if I could have one magic wish this Christmas, it would be to regain my full health so that I could jump back into leafleting and making this world a better place, one little piece at a time. But I'm not going to be well by Christmas. I've got months, if not years, ahead of me.

So I'm asking that, rather than purchasing a gift for me, you make a donation to Vegan Outreach in my honor. Vegan Outreach runs on energy and generosity. You can't give me energy, but you can direct your generosity. Any money you would spend on a gift for me, no matter how small, I would prefer be given to Vegan Outreach. Nothing could touch me more, especially this year.

You can donate securely online at VeganOutreach.org. We currently have a matching donation challenge, so your donation will be doubled--so remember to mark your donation for the matching challenge in the "comments" section of the donation form!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cranberry Sorbet

Growing up, I never had fresh cranberries. The only cranberries I'd have all year were that disgusting cranberry jelly stuff in a can. Luckily, my horizons have expanded since then. Still, I don't much care for any sort of cranberry relish on Thanksgiving.

Luckily, Habanero reminded me about the magic that is cranberry sorbet. So mix it up a little this Thanksgiving and Christmas, and replace your relish--or that nasty jelly stuff--with sorbet!

I don't have my own cranberry sorbet recipe (I use one from a cookbook), but here are some fabulous links to get you started on your sorbet adventure:

Fresh Cranberry Sorbet from the Fat-Free Vegan
Cranberry Sorbet with Grand Marnier from About.com
Cranberry-Pineapple Sorbet from Recipezaar.com

I like to top my cranberry sorbet with some toasted chopped walnuts, but candied orange peel would also be lovely. Or go naked and just enjoy the sorbet on its own!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Spotlight

Next Thursday (November 27) is Thanksgiving here in the United States. I hope all of my readers will have a wonderful holiday. Unfortunately, vegans can end up feeling out of place at many tables, if celebrating with friends or family who insist on having a huge dead bird on the table. And proposing your own vegan Thanksgiving might not go over so well with everyone (but give it a try anyway). Often a compromise must be reached--even if we don't like it.

So this year I'd like to spotlight Pumpkin Ice Cream. It's one of the first ice creams I ever tried, back in the day when it was absolutely impossible to find more than four flavors of vegan ice cream, even at specialty stores. I still love this ice cream, and it's perfect this time of year. (If you want to make it really decadent, you can use part or all coconut milk.) I think it will please even the most critical non-vegan relative.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gluten-free ice cream?

I recently received an excellent question: Which of my ice cream recipes are gluten-free?

I am not super-familiar with strict gluten requirements--much of this will depend upon how sensitive an individual is to gluten. Many foods may have been exposed to gluten during manufacturing, so when in doubt, ask the company. For example, you might need to check if your preferred brand of chocolate chips or vanilla extract is totally gluten-free. Companies are usually good about responding to consumer questions (and they might already have a FAQ on their website). Also, the more companies hear that there is a demand for gluten-free products, the more likely they are to produce them! (Same goes for vegan products--so make your voices heard!)

In general, most of my recipes are gluten-free if your non-dairy milk is totally gluten-free--and it probably is. My recipes tend to follow this formula:

non-dairy milk + sugar + flavor base (fruit, extracts, spices, etc.) + arrowroot = ice cream

So usually you're in the clear. And some of the recipes that would otherwise contain gluten can be made gluten-free if you make simple substitutions. For example, if you use gluten-free cookie dough in the Cookie Dough Ice Cream recipe, even if other people would use a wheat-based dough.

However, if you are in doubt, play it safe and pick another recipe that you know you can enjoy. If you have questions about a particular ingredient (or gluten-free diets in general), this is an excellent resource. They've got lists of safe and unsafe ingredients, info about particular companies, and much more.

If any of my readers have tips or gluten-free vegan recipes to share, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Anyone got a great GF brownie recipe? Cookies? Got a GF vegan blog? Inquiring minds want to know.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Barack-y Road Ice Cream

Can we make a delicious rocky road ice cream? Yes, we can! Can we make it without dairy? Yes, we can! Can we make it without soy? Yes, we can! Gluten-free? Yes, we can!

To celebrate Barack Obama, I wanted to bring together bipartisan elements--coconut and chocolate, marshmallow fluff and almonds--to create one amazing ice cream. An ice cream that celebrates multiple flavors at once, that reaches out even to non-ice-cream-lovers, offering a friendly hand, inviting them into the ice creamery of our country.


Just as we can change coconut milk, sugar, and chocolate during the ice-cream-making process, our support of Barack Obama can lead to massive and much-needed change in our government. Can we make ice cream? Can we create change? YES, WE CAN!

3 c. coconut milk

1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

2 T. arrowroot

1 t. vanilla extract

1 t. chocolate extract
(optional, but yummy)
1 c. Suzanne's Ricemallow Creme (or 1 c. chopped vegan marshmallows)

1 c. chopped or sliced almonds

Mix arrowroot with 1/4 cup coconut milk and set aside.

Mix the remaining coconut milk, sugar, and chocolate chips in a pan, heating gently to melt the chocolate, whisking every minute or so. Once the chocolate has melted, bring the mixture to a low boil. When the mixture has just started to boil, remove from heat and immediately stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should cause the mixture to thicken a little; it will thicken more when cooled.

Add vanilla and chocolate extracts.


Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. Freeze according to ice cream maker instructions, adding the chopped/sliced nuts in the last five minutes of freezing.
If you are using chopped marshmallows, add these with the almonds. If you are using the marshmallow creme, transfer the ice cream to your storage container in batches. Layer the marshmallow fluff with the ice cream. You could also drag a butter knife through the mixture to additionally swirl the fluff (kind of like when you make a marble cake). Stick the thing in the freezer to bust out at your next campaign party.

-----------------------------

Now that you've got your ice cream, I'm stepping aside for my guest blogger and sous-chef, my wonderful husband, Nick:

Hello fellow ice cream fans,

In 2004, I watched both presidential debates, and vice presidential debates. I shouted at the screen, I picked over the rhetoric afterward, and when election day came I voted. That night I watched the results come in, one state at a time, with a mounting sense of dread and disbelief. How, I asked myself, could the country made such a fundamentally wrong choice? It was only this winter, as the new presidential campaign got underway that I realized one of the major problems in 2004.


I hadn't gotten involved.

The country chose the way it did partly because I (and others like me) sat on the sidelines and expected the world to change. Which is why I'm writing you today. This year I'm involved.

I'd like you to join me.

If you remain unconvinced that Obama's the best choice, I'd like an opportunity to convince you a few paragraphs from now. But if you already know you're going to vote for Obama, then here's what you can do to take your support to the next level:

1. Register to vote. Depending on where you live, the deadline may be fast approaching!

2. Volunteer for the campaign. The Obama campaign has made it really easy to volunteer. For instance, this spring, I called voters in key primary states. All I had to do was click a few links and dial some numbers. If you're not into calling people, there are dozens of ways to get involved. You can volunteer a few hours a week and make a difference.

3. Donate to the campaign. Even just a few dollars can make a difference! (This is my personal fundraising page.) Small donations make a big difference in this campaign. Unlike previous campaigns, a huge percentage of Obama's money comes from ordinary citizens like you and me. More money will help the campaign hire organizers, make phone calls, and take our message to every state in the country.

Ok, I hope you're already clicking on links and getting involved. Thanks in advance for your support, I know that your effort will pay off on election day.

I'll sign off now, but not before I present my summary case for Barack Obama.

--- Why I'm Supporting Obama ---

There are lots of reasons I think Obama will be the superior president. Here are the top 3:


1. Climate Crisis

There's no greater threat to our society, prosperity, and the planet than unchecked global weaming. I'm pleased to say that John McCain has actually engaged with this issue, and may even do something about it if he's elected. However, a brief look at each candidate's website reveals who is really serious about the issue. John McCain's energy plan starts with ... more drilling for fossil fuels.

Compare for yourself:
Obama
McCain

If you need any further proof, John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, is on record as of October 2 saying that she does not believe that climate change is caused by humans. The planet can ill-afford four more years of head-in-sand climate change policy.

2. Leadership
I started working for the Obama campaign in early spring, shortly after I spent some time online watching the top Democratic candidate speeches. As I listened to Obama's message, and the way he phrased it, I realized that I was watching a leader I could support. Not just "hold my nose and vote for." Here was a leader who spoke to what was best in us as a nation, who believed that we could rise above our differences and deliver a better future for the world. Here was a candidate who inspired me.

I think that he will be able to inspire others too. This nation needs change, and change can be hard. We'll need a leader who can get us all pulling in the same direction.

If you want a taste of what I'm talking about, Obama's convention speech is an excellent example. I also thought his speech on race was powerful.

3. Iraq
I believe that the Iraq war has been a national nightmare--a long, bloody distraction from urgent issues that we could be solving. I could go on and on, but you all have heard enough about this terrible disaster.

In short:
Obama has opposed this war since 2002. McCain has stood with Bush and backed the war since the beginning.

Obama's top priority is bringing an end to the war. McCain's is "succeeding" (whatever that means).
I trust that Obama has the judgement and temper to bring a swift end to the war and turn us back to saner (and safer!) foreign policy.

4. (Bonus!) Economy and Taxes
Obama's tax plan funds our government in a significantly more progressive way, while John McCain's plan increases the tax inequality that began in the Bush administration. Check out this
analysis.

---- Why Obama Needs Our Help ---

While millions of Americans support Obama, and I still think he'll win, the recent media circus around his running mate has boosted John McCain's campaign. Obama's fortunes have always depended not only on the voting public, but on his supporters. Those who donate time, money, and enthusiasm. I'm hoping to expand his base.


Thanks for listening, and I'll see you on the campaign trail,


Nick

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sabbatical

I apologize for the lack of new recipes. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been ill for some time. And as much as I love ice cream and blogging, I'm reserving what little energy I have for more mundane tasks. My illness is not life-threatening, but it's a major pain in the ass. I'm running at about 20% capacity, both physically and mentally, and I've had to put much of my life on hold.

It's been a difficult time, but I've used the experiences I've had to learn and grow. Clouds and silver linings, lemon and lemonade, all that crap. Seriously, though, while I am very frustrated with being ill, I think that this period in my life has taught me a lot about patience, acceptance, and what I value most.

I have started a new course of treatment (combining Western and "alternative" medicine), and along with the support I've received from Reiki and shamanic healing, I have reason to be cautiously optimistic about my prospects for recovery.

I'd like to thank all my readers who have expressed concern and offered support, even though I've not been delivering the recipes for which this blog was created. I hope that soon I will return from my little sabbatical and dish up some crazy delicious vegan goodness.

Stevia, Splenda, and Other Sweet Things

I'm asked about sugar alternatives so frequently that I figured I should just write a post about the topic. I have no personal experience with using stevia or artificial sweeteners. My husband and I don't care for them at all. My husband has a very strong dislike of stevia in particular. So I've never used it in my ice cream recipes.

However, a little Internet research has led me to believe that you could probably substitute 1 teaspoon of pure stevia (no fillers to bulk up the powder) per cup of sugar in my ice cream recipes. I think that Splenda can be substituted cup for cup (1 cup sugar = 1 cup Splenda). Of course, there are many other sugar alternatives out there, but with a little experimentation, you can probably find something that works for you.

I'd love to hear your comments about what you discover. It will help other readers, too, because I have no plans to abandon my evaporated cane juice (or whatever you want to call it).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Measurements

When I started this blog, I didn't realize that I'd have so many readers, much less that they would come from so many different parts of the globe! So I hope I can be forgiven for not mentioning until now that all of my ingredient measurements are "we're afraid of the metric system and refuse to join the rest of the world" American-style. Furthermore, I tend to abbreviate cups to "c." and teaspoons to "t." So here's the breakdown of what it all means:
  • C. = cups. If liquid, it means a 8-oz liquid cup. If dry, it means a dry measurement cup.
  • t. = teaspoon.
  • T. = tablespoon.
Here's a handy website for converting cups and teaspoons and the like into grams.

P.S. I again apologize for the lack of new recipes. I've got one in the works, but I'm still rather ill. I'm exploring both traditional and non-traditional, Western and non-Western treatments, but it is a very slow process and very little is helping. My illness is not life-threatening, but it does slow me down quite a bit.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Coconut Bliss: A Review

Fear not, dear readers! My recent absence from blogging is not because of my very bad veganness or because I'm bored with ice cream. Unfortunately, I've been ill for a few months now, and haven't had the time or the energy to make up any new recipes. (And, no, before you ask, I am not ill because I am vegan. I've seen four internists, six specialists, two naturopaths, two acupuncturists, and one shaman. No one has suggested that my diet has any relation to my ongoing illness.)

Anyway. Since I'm not up to making my own ice cream, my poor husband has had to start buying his ice cream at the grocery store. However, this led to a wonderful discovery! I heard about Larry and Luna's Coconut Bliss from a reader quite some time ago, but I didn't purchase any until recently. My husband found it at our local co-op, and it was on sale. Normally this runs about five or six dollars a pint--yikes! Since it was on sale, though, he picked some up for us to review. Our sample: Cherry Amaretto.

The verdict: I love that I can recognize all the ingredients on the label: organic coconut milk, organic agave syrup, organic cherries, organic vanilla extract, organic almond extract. Cool. (They're also gluten-free, which is great for those with allergies.) Also, the texture was quite creamy, though it does freeze pretty hard. The label says to let it sit at room temperature for five to ten minutes before serving. I'm too impatient and would just microwave it for a few seconds to soften it up. And, most importantly, it was yummy. I think my husband polished off the entire pint in about four days.

Unfortunately, this brand isn't available nationwide
yet. Their website says you can check stores in Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. If your local Whole Foods or other health/natural food store doesn't carry it, you can always request that they try carrying it!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Very Bad Vegan

Apparently, my last post about Guinness Ice Cream has alienated about half my blog readers, who are convinced that I am a VERY BAD VEGAN.

They are so very right. I am a terrible vegan. Once I bought fortified juice that contained vitamin D3. I eat in restaurants that serve meat, and I don't harangue the staff about whether my food is cooked on the same grill as animal products. I have accidentally purchased cereal that contained honey--and then ate it anyway. I don't own a copy of Animal Ingredients A to Z.

Actually, I did own a copy once, shortly after becoming vegan. I remember flipping through the pages and feeling overwhelmed that I would have to memorize this long list of often obscure ingredients and contact each company from whom I purchased food or other products to ask if they used, at any point, any one of thousands of animal-derived ingredients. Part of me thought that this would make me way hard core, the baddest-ass vegan on the block. The rest of me thought that maybe this vegan thing was, like all my friends kept telling me, way too extreme and difficult and not at all practical.

Since then, I've come to realize that obsessing over minute traces of hidden ingredients (or accidental "contamination" in restaurants) makes veganism look like it's not very much fun and takes way too much work. I'd much rather people spend time with me and come away with the impression that veganism isn't a militant all-or-nothing battle to prove my street cred, but rather a way to reduce the suffering of animals. I personally agree with Matt Ball, co-founder of Vegan Outreach and generally supernice guy,

Conversely, for every person we convince that veganism is overly-demanding by obsessing with an ever-increasing list of ingredients, we do worse than nothing: we turn someone away who could have made a real difference for animals if they hadn't met us! Currently the vast majority of people in our society have no problem eating the actual leg of a chicken. It is not surprising that many people dismiss vegans as unreasonable and irrational when our example includes interrogating waiters, not eating veggie burgers cooked on the same grill with meat, not taking photographs or using medicines, etc.

Instead of spending our limited time and resources worrying about the margins (cane sugar, film, medicine, etc.), our focus should be on increasing our impact every day. Helping just one person change leads to hundreds fewer animals suffering in factory farms. By choosing to promote compassionate eating, every person we meet is a potential major victory.

Admittedly, this results-based view of veganism is not as straightforward as consulting a list. Areas of concern range from the example we set to the allocation of resources, asking questions such as: Do I bother asking for an ingredient list when with non-veg friends and family, perhaps not eating anything, and risk making veganism appear petty and impossible? How should I spend or donate my limited money and time?

Situations are subtle and opportunities unique, thus there can be no set answers. But if our decisions are guided by a desire to accomplish the most good, we each have enormous potential to create change. (link)


That said, if you don't want to use Guinness in your ice cream because it might contain isinglass, I'm sure you can find a different beer. I don't know of one, because I don't drink beer. I couldn't tell you the difference between a pale ale and a stout. When I do buy beer for my husband, it's almost always from one of our local microbrews and I have no idea if they use isinglass or not. Because, as we have established, I am a very bad vegan.


I'm OK with being a bad vegan. You can stop reading my blog if you want, as some have threatened. You can even modify my recipes to your standard of veganism. That's cool with me.

I'm more concerned with making veganism fun and accessible, and in pursuit of that goal I play around with ice cream, write this blog, and do a lot of volunteering for Vegan Outreach, handing out thousands of copies of "Why Vegan" and "Even If You Like Meat" on college campuses, at festivals, and outside of concerts. Is that enough to let me into the vegan club?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Guinness Ice Cream


Danielle F. sent me this recipe. She says, "I'm not a vegan, and frankly, I know nothing about it, but I have a friend who is lactose intolerant, and I found this recipe for Guinness ice cream that I wanted to try but wanted her to be able to eat, so I adapted it using your website and recipes. Thought I'd share. I realized afterwards that Guinness is actually a genius choice for vegan ice cream because it already has a creamy flavor."

I use arrowroot powder to thicken my ice creams, but Danielle skipped the arrowroot altogether, so I'll leave it out of the recipe, as well. Here's Danielle's awesome creation:

2 c. soy creamer (or other non-dairy milk)
1 c. soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
12 oz. Guinness
3/4 c. sugar

Whisk ingredients together by hand. For best results, chill before freezing. Then freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions. Enjoy! Raise a scoop in honor of Danielle!

Danielle notes that this recipe made more liquid than her ice cream maker could handle in one freezing cycle. So you can either scale back the amounts, or freeze in batches. Don't overfill the ice cream maker. It makes the baby Jesus cry.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chocolate Candy Cane Ice Cream

Chocolate and mint go so well together, and now that candy canes are everywhere, I just had to mix the two. If you want to skip the chocolate for pure candy cane bliss, just follow the recipe variation listed below.

2 c. soy creamer (or any non-dairy milk)
1 c. soy milk (or any non-dairy milk)
¾ c. sugar
1½ c. chocolate chips
2 T. arrowroot
1 t. vanilla extract
2 t. peppermint extract
1 c. chopped candy canes

Mix ¼ cup of soy milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Mix the soy creamer, soy milk, sugar, and chocolate chips together in a saucepan. Heat gently until the chocolate melts, then bring to a boil. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and immediately stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts.

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add the chopped candy canes in the last 5 minutes of freezing.

Variation:

Candy Cane: Omit the chocolate chips. Add an additional cup soy milk.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Prickly Pear Ice Cream

Below you will find two recipes for prickly pear ice cream: the recipe I actually made, and the recipe I would eventually like to make. See, I used to live in Arizona, where I took prickly pear fruit for granted. You could just walk out to your yard (or your neighbor’s) and pick the prickly pears. Now I’m in Seattle and have a great plum tree, but no cacti. My mother-in-law graciously gave me a bottle of prickly pear syrup, which I used in the first recipe below. The syrup would make a great addition to lemonade or margaritas, but sadly tasted more like sugar than prickly pear. (This didn’t keep us from enjoying the ice cream, mind you!) I think if I could find prickly pear concentrate, this method would produce better results.

The second recipe is what I will try to make when I get my greedy little paws on some prickly pears. It will also be a great chance to use agave nectar in ice cream, since you’ll have this whole desert thing going on.

Recipe #1:

2 c. soy creamer, or any non-dairy milk
1 ½ c. soy milk, or any non-dairy milk
¾ c. prickly pear syrup
2 T. lime juice
2 T. arrowroot powder
2 – 4 T. tequila (optional)

Mix ¼ cup of soy milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Mix the soy creamer, soy milk, prickly pear syrup, and lime juice together in a saucepan. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. After the mixture is cool, stir in the tequila, if using. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Recipe #2:

5 - 6 ripe prickly pear fruits
2 c. soy creamer, or any non-dairy milk
1 ½ c. soy milk, or any non-dairy milk
½ c. sugar (or ¼ c. agave nectar)
2 T. lime juice
2 T. arrowroot powder
2 – 4 T. tequila (optional)

Carefully (they have spines!!!) peel the prickly pears and puree in a food processor.

Mix ¼ cup of soy milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Mix the pureed prickly pears, soy creamer, soy milk, lime juice, and sugar (or agave nectar) together in a sauce pan. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. After the mixture is cool, stir in the tequila, if using. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New Non-Dairy Cream!


The Urban Housewife brought my attention to a new non-dairy, soy-free cream! It's called MimicCreme, and the main ingredients are almonds and cashews. You can buy both sweetened and unsweetened varieties. Unfortunately, my cashew allergy prevents me from actually trying this, but it sounds like a winner to me! You could use it to replace some or all of the soy creamer/non-dairy milk in ice cream recipes. You can learn more about it here. If you try it, please leave a comment and let us all know how it is!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Have you voted yet?

More specifically, have you voted for me? The VegNews Awards polls close on September 1, so get your voting action on. Do it for the children. Or, you know, for me. Either way is OK.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Carrot Cake Ice Cream

This ice cream recipe has two awesome results. The first, obviously, is the ice cream. The second is that you have to make carrot cake, and you won’t use it all, so you’ll also have carrot cake! You can eat carrot cake topped with carrot cake ice cream! It’s carrot cake insanity!

I used the carrot cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but you can use any carrot cake you want. But seriously, y’all, the recipe in VCTOTW is freaking fantastic—absolutely the best carrot cake I’ve ever had. I also use the vegan cream cheese frosting recipe in the book, but I decrease the margarine and increase the cream cheese for a little more zing. Please note that the carrot cake chunks in the ice cream are unfrosted—wait to frost the remaining cake/cupcakes until after you’ve taken out the cake you need for the ice cream.

2 c. soy creamer (or other non-dairy milk)
½ c. soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 8-ounce container vegan cream cheese
¾ c. brown sugar
½ t. cinnamon
¼ t. powdered ginger
pinch allspice (optional)
pinch nutmeg (optional)
2 T. arrowroot
1 t. vanilla
2 c. crumbled carrot cake chunks

Mix ¼ cup of soy milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Mix the soy creamer, soy milk, vegan cream cheese, sugar, and spices together in a saucepan, and heat. As the mixture is heating, gently whisk the ingredients together to break apart the cream cheese. By the time the mixture starts to boil, the cream cheese should be completely mixed in. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Stir in vanilla extract.

Set aside the ice cream mixture to cool. While this is cooling, line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper. Spread the carrot cake chunks across the baking sheet and place in the freezer. If you do not freeze the carrot cake chunks, they will crumble completely when you add them at the end of the freezing process. This still produces an awesome ice cream, but if you want chunks of carrot cake in your finished product, you need to freeze the cake pieces in advance.

Freeze ice cream mixture according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. In the last five minutes of freezing, drop in the individually frozen pieces of carrot cake.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cherry Ice Cream (with Variations)

My first attempt at making cherry ice cream involved a bleak winter day and frozen cherries from Albertson’s. The results were predictably flavorless and rather dismal. Good cherries are essential for cherry ice cream. So this time I purchased fresh, organic cherries and pitted them myself, flinging bright red cherry juice all over the kitchen so that it looked like something you’d expect on CSI, minus Gil Grissom and the little flashlights. The clean-up was a pain, but it was totally worth it. (I personally recommend making the Cherry Almond Delight variation.) P.S. The red food coloring is totally optional, but it makes the ice cream much prettier than the reddish-brown natural cherry color.

2 c. pitted cherries, quartered
½ - ¾ c. sugar, depending on how sour your cherries are
Splash of water
2 c. almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
2 T. arrowroot powder
1 t. vanilla extract
½ - 1 t. almond extract (optional)
Few drops red food coloring (optional)

Directions:

Place 1¼ cup of the pitted cherries and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Add a tiny splash of water and bring to a boil, stirring to mix the sugar and the cherries. Once the cherries are getting soft and yummy and sweet, pour them into a blender and puree.

Pour the puree back into the saucepan and add the almond (or other non-dairy) milk. Bring the mixture back to a boil. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and immediately stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Add the vanilla and almond extract (if using). Add red food coloring until you’re happy with the shade of pink/red.

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add remaining cherries in the last five minutes of freezing.

Variations:

Cherry Almond Delight: Definitely use 1 teaspoon almond extract. Add ½ cup sliced, toasted almonds along with the sliced cherries in the last five minutes of freezing.

Cherry Chocolate Chip: Add ¾ cup chocolate chips along with the sliced cherries in the last five minutes of freezing.

Dandy Brandy Cherry: Add ¼ to ½ cup cherry brandy after the ice cream mixture has cooled, but before you freeze it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s about time I drew up a FAQ, isn’t it? Thought so. So here are the answers to a bunch of questions. Yup.

Q. Do you have any general guidelines or advice?

A. You bet. Check ’em out here.

Q. What kind of texture should I end up with after freezing? My ice cream is too soft! My ice cream is too hard! I want my ice cream to be just right!

A. After you’ve finished freezing the ice cream in your ice cream maker, it’s usually the texture of soft-serve ice cream. You probably won’t eat it all right away, so you can store the rest in the freezer. It will harden. A lot. It’s going to be harder than store-bought ice cream because it’s not whipped around and aerated the way commercially made ice cream is. If it’s too hard to scoop, just zap it in the microwave for ten seconds or so.

If your ice cream is too soft after freezing it in your ice cream maker, you may have fallen to a couple of common pitfalls. First, the colder the ice cream liquid is before freezing, the easier it is to freeze. I usually leave my liquid in the fridge for several hours to overnight. Second, if you have an ice cream maker that utilizes a freezing container that must be frozen first, make sure that it’s properly frozen. My ice cream maker has one of these, and I just leave it in the freezer at all times.

If you want to make the ice cream softer/creamier right of the freezer, you can do a couple of things. The first is to increase the fat content. The more fat the ice cream contains, the softer it will be in the freezer. You can use a non-dairy milk with a higher fat content (e.g., coconut milk), or you can add fat yourself. Adding ¼ cup flax oil is a great way to give your ice cream an omega-3 boost while making it creamier, too. You can use any other oil you like, but if you use flax oil be sure to whisk it in after the cooling period (prior to freezing) because heat can damage flax oil.

Adding alcohol to your ice cream will also prevent it from freezing as hard. If you’ve ever put a bottle of vodka in the freezer before making martinis, you’ve noticed that it doesn’t freeze. So mixing in ¼ cup to ½ cup booze after the cooling period (so it doesn’t boil off) will make the ice cream more difficult to freeze. If you choose this route, be sure to use a flavor that blends well with your ice cream. For example, brandy goes well with chocolate; tequila goes well with lime or lemon; rum is essential for rum raisin. Please note: This will not make you get drunk on your ice cream. You might notice the flavor of the alcohol, but you won’t get tipsy. Bummer, I know.

Q. What about using sweeteners other than sugar? Can I use agave nectar? Brown rice syrup? What about sugar-free ice cream?

A. I like using plain sugar in most recipes because it has a very neutral flavor that won’t influence the overall flavor of the ice cream. If I want a deeper molasses flavor, I’ll use Sucanat or brown sugar, or even molasses. (I even have a recipe for molasses ice cream!) If you have concerns about how “vegan” white sugar is, I would encourage you to first read this, and then if you’re still upset with me for using white sugar (or “evaporated cane juice,” as I do), rest assured that you can find sugar that hasn’t been processed using bone char.

I will probably eventually experiment with brown rice syrup, agave nectar, and maple syrup. In the mean time, if you experiment with any of these sweeteners, let me know how it goes! Your input is valuable!

As for “artificial” sweeteners (or their natural counterparts), I don’t care for these at all, and my husband won’t touch them. So I haven’t experimented with them. But I imagine you could use products like Splenda or stevia to make sugar-free ice cream. Again, if you try any of these, let me know how it goes so I can be better informed!

Q. What kind of ice cream maker should I use? What if I don’t have an ice cream maker?

A. Check out my post on this here.

Q. Can I use agar agar or cornstarch instead of arrowroot powder?

A. I haven’t used agar agar or cornstarch, but you could always try it. (And let me know how it turns out for you!) You could also try skipping the arrowroot completely, especially in recipes that produce a very thick liquid (like my avocado ice cream).

Q. Can I use xanthan gum instead of arrowroot powder?

A. Again, I haven't tried this, but here's what Myra Kornfeld says in The Voluptous Vegan (which has a few awesome ice cream recipes!): "[Unlike arrowroot powder, which must be heated] you need only to blend the xanthan gum with the ice cream base." So I imagine you could skip the heating step altogether, unless you want to make it easier for the sugar to dissolve, and just toss everything together in a blender or whisk it together by hand. If you do heat it to blend the sugar, then I guess you'd just blend/whisk the xanthan gum in at the end with the vanilla.

Q. What is this “soy creamer” you keep mentioning?

A. I am not talking about Coffeemate or those other “non-dairy creamer” powders. Yuck! What I’m referring to are products like Silk Creamer (there are other brands, too, but they are harder to find). It’s basically soy milk with added fat and sugar to mimic the properties of dairy cream or half-and-half. You can find this in the dairy section of the grocery store near the soy milk or the liquid Coffeemate-type creamers.

Keep in mind that you do not need to use soy creamer at all, even if I use it frequently. You can replace it with any non-dairy milk, and if you want that little extra fat, think about using coconut milk instead (or even whisking in ¼ cup oil).

Q. Can I use something other than soy milk?

A. Of course! I personally like soy milk, but you can use rice milk, oat milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, cashew milk…you get the picture. Each milk with have its own properties (fat content, nutritional information, allergy issues), so choose what you like best and go with it!

Q. What does "c" mean? What about "t"?

A. I finally got around to explaining in this post. Sorry for the delay.

Q. You have won the International Lottery. Please to send assistance and your financial information so we can process your prize.

A. ZOMG really?!?!? w00t!

Friday, July 20, 2007

VegNews Awards!!!

Holy crap. My blog has been nominated for a 2007 VegNews Award. I am so totally flattered and excited and I'm all in a tizzy. So if you like my blog and you like ice cream, please vote for me! And if you don't like my blog or ice cream, then you are clearly a communist sympathizer and a hippie and you hate freedom and probably kittens too, and I don't want to be your friend anyway. So there.

And can I just say again, LIKE OMG I AM SO EXCITED! OK, enough of that. Let's be dignified here. And vote. Click on the pretty banner to take the survey! (Also, if you take the survey, you will be entered to win cool prizes from VegNews.)


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Chocolate Almond Ice Cream

I'm spending the day cleaning my basement. It's a dank, smelly, drafty place, and it's full of spiders. Big spiders. Luckily, my husband is on Spider Duty, whereby he catches them and lets them go in the yard. Still, today pretty much sucks and I don't have time to make ice cream.

But, lo! I present a fellow blogger's awesome recipe for Chocolate Almond Ice Cream. It sounds awesome and I wish I were making it right now instead of preparing to do battle with spiders the size of New Mexico.

For something completely different, I give you a picture of Bean:





Friday, June 22, 2007

Chick-O-Stick Ice Cream


Oh hell yes.


1½ c. coconut milk

1¾ c. soy milk, or other non-dairy milk

¾ c. sugar
1/3 c. peanut butter

2 T. arrowroot
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped Chick-O-Stick pieces

Mix ¼ cup of coconut milk with the 2 tablespoon of arrowroot and set aside.

Mix the coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, and peanut butter together in a saucepan, and heat. As it heats, whisk the mixture so the peanut butter blends into the milk. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Stir in vanilla extract.

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add Chick-O-Stick pieces in the last five minutes of freezing.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rum Raisin Ice Cream


Yo ho ho and a bowl of ice cream! Indulge your inner pirate with some rum-flavored ice cream. Coconut milk works very well here (I use half full-fat and half "light" coconut milk), but any non-dairy milk, or any combination of non-dairy milks, will work.

¾ c. raisins
¾ c. dark rum
3½ c. coconut milk, or any non-dairy milk
¾ c. sugar
2 T. arrowroot
1 t. vanilla extract

Place raisins into a bowl and cover with rum. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. Longer soaking will produce a more intense rum flavor. (I soak mine overnight.)

Mix ¼ cup of coconut milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Mix the remaining coconut milk and sugar together in a saucepan, and heat. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Stir in vanilla extract.

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool.

After the raisins have finished soaking, strain the raisins, reserving ¼ cup rum. Stir reserved rum into ice cream mixture. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add raisins in the last five minutes of freezing.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Health Nut Ice Cream

I wanted to try adding flax oil to ice cream, since it is such a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. So I figured I'd try to make a "healthy" ice cream, which isn't really healthy, but it's not too bad for ice cream. It's got berries (I used blueberries) and flax oil and granola! How crunchy hippie could I get? Well, crunchy enough to break out the Sucanat, a type of unrefined sugar that has a much more pronounced flavor than my usual "evaporated cane juice."

A word of warning: the Sucanat is a dark brown color, so it will make your ice cream darker. The blueberries and Sucanat combined to make my ice cream look kind of like cement. Not very attractive, but still yummy!

1 c. soy creamer (or other non-dairy milk)
c. soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
2 c. berries of your choice (fresh or frozen and thawed)
¾ c. unrefined sugar, such as Sucanat
2 T. arrowroot
1 T. vanilla
¼ c. flax oil
1 c. granola or ¾ c. granola and ¼ c. chopped nuts (if your granola is nut-free)

Mix ¼ cup of soy milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Slice 1 cup of berries (if necessary; obviously you don’t slice blueberries) and set aside.

Combine the remaining berries, soy creamer, remaining soy milk, and sugar together in a blender and puree. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and immediately stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Add the vanilla.

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. When the mixture is cool, whisk in flax oil. (Heat damages flax oil.)

Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add reserved berries and granola in the last five minutes of freezing.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ginger Ice Cream

I think that coconut milk is a natural choice for this ice cream, but you can use any non-dairy milk you like and omit the coconut extract. Need a chocolate fix? See “Variation” below for Chocolate Ginger Ice Cream. Finally, you’ll notice quite a range in the amount of minced ginger you can use. My husband loves ginger, so I’d use the full ½ cup, but that might be too much for some people.

3½ c. coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)
¼ - ½ c. minced ginger (depending on how gingery you like it)
¾ c. sugar
2 T. arrowroot
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. coconut extract (optional)
¾ c. crystallized ginger, chopped into small pieces

Directions:

Mix ¼ cup of coconut milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Mix the coconut milk and minced ginger together and bring to a boil. Take off the heat and set aside for 25 minutes to steep. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove the minced ginger. Keep the milk; throw out the ginger.

Mix the coconut milk and sugar together and bring to a boil. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Stir in vanilla extract and coconut extract, if using.

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add crystallized ginger in the last five minutes of freezing.

Variation:

Chocolate Ginger Ice Cream: Add ½ cup chocolate chips and/or ¼ cup cocoa powder with the sugar. For an extra chocolate kick, add 1 teaspoon pure chocolate extract in addition to or in place of the vanilla or coconut extract.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Coffee Ice Cream (with Variations)

I personally love making the mocha variation of this recipe. Depending on how much of the coffee flavor you want to shine through, you can use regular drip coffee or espresso. Espresso will produce a much stronger flavor, but coffee will be fine too (and not everyone owns an espresso maker). Of course, the better the coffee you use, the better this will taste. If you use Starbucks coffee, well, don’t blame me if it sucks. (You could also use decaf or half-caf if you don’t want too much caffeine, but where’s the fun in that?)

2 c. soy creamer (or any non-dairy milk)
1 ¼ c. soy milk (or any non-dairy milk)
¾ c. fresh, strong coffee or espresso
¾ c. sugar
2 T. arrowroot
1 t. vanilla

Directions:

Mix ¼ cup of soy milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Mix the soy creamer, soy milk, coffee, and sugar together in a saucepan. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Stir in vanilla extract.

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Variations:

Add-ins: Add in ½ cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans during the last five minutes of freezing.

Mocha: Reduce soy milk to 1 cup. Melt in ¼ cup chocolate chips during initial heating phase. For more chocolate excitement, add a couple tablespoons more chocolate chips, or use chocolate non-dairy milk instead of plain.

Kahlua: Reduce soy milk to 1 cup. Stir in ¼ cup Kahlua or other coffee liqueur after adding vanilla.

Matthew Scudder: Reduce soy milk to 1 cup. Add a plug or two of bourbon after adding vanilla. Then go catch a criminal or solve a murder or something.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Coconut Squared!

When you really need your coconut, this is where to turn. (As always, you might want to check out the General Guidelines and Advice before starting.)

3½ c. coconut milk (full fat or light, or a combination of the two)
¾ c. sugar
2 T. arrowroot
½ t. vanilla extract
½ t. coconut extract (optional)
¾ c. coconut shreds or flakes

Mix ¼ cup of coconut milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Mix the coconut milk and sugar together in a saucepan, and heat. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Stir in vanilla extract and coconut extract, if using.

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add coconut shreds or flakes in the last five minutes of freezing.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas List

Yes, another post that's not about ice cream. I was going to make soy nog ice cream this weekend, but I couldn't find any soy nog! Whole Foods had it in stock the week before, but this week they're all out. Boo. I could make homemade nog, but, dude, I'm totally too lazy.

Anyway, since the winter holidays are coming up, I wanted to share an idea for Christmas (or other holiday!) giving. Nick and I are pretty fortunate that all of our basic needs (food, clean drinking water, shelter, clothing, medicine) are met easily. As for our wants, we can usually afford the reasonably priced toys (camping gear, books, iPods, kitchen gadgets, etc.), and if we can't afford something, we can save up for it. If we can't save up for it, then we probably don't really "need" it
(i.e., want it enough) anyway. So asking for material goods at the holidays isn't really what we prefer to do.

After all, I think most of us would agree that, if we had a magic wand or three wishes or whatever, we'd wish for things like peace, happiness, and a better life for the people, animals, and planet around us. With that in mind, Nick and I have for a couple of years now requested charitable donations to Vegan Outreach for Christmas. Vegan Outreach is an amazing organization that is directly working to reduce the suffering of animals who are forced to live on factory farms and die in slaughterhouses to satisfy our preference for the flesh of other creatures. Plus, we volunteer for them, so they must be cool, right?

We worked together to draft letters to send to our families to express our Christmas wishes. The following is the letter I sent to my family. I wanted to share it in the hopes that it might provide a little holiday inspiration. Here it is:

Hello all,

As Christmas approaches, I wanted to send out my Christmas "wish list." This year it's pretty simple. Nick and I are tremendously blessed with friends and family and a comfortable life, so we don't really need or want any material gifts. We would prefer something that, at its heart, would make the world a better place. As you know, we both are actively engaged with the animal advocacy group Vegan Outreach. They fight against factory farming as a way to reduce the suffering of animals. They are a dedicated, honest, and productive organization. Also, as a non-profit, all donations to them are tax-deductible.

Additionally, Vegan Outreach has been awarded the "Best In America" seal by the Independent Charities of America and the National Council of Nonprofit Associations--one of 1500 so designated, out of more than 50,000 that participate in the Combined Federal Campaign.

So instead of material presents, we would prefer donations to Vegan Outreach! You can donate securely online on their website here.

Finally, I'd like to note that you don't need to be vegetarian or vegan to donate, nor should you feel awkward about donating to a "vegan" charity. None of us are perfect, and we just do what we can to make the world a better place. Indeed, this is a major part of the Vegan Outreach "philosophy," as explained in one of their booklets called "Even If You Like Meat" (seen online here). We can't fix all the world's problems tomorrow, but we can chip away at injustice a little at a time!

Peace,
Agnes

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

Whew! Thanksgiving is over. The last week has been full of activity, and I've had a great time. Now Christmas is looming on the horizon, and I'm looking forward to making some holiday-themed vegan ice creams, like candy cane and soy nog.

On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Nick and I visited the California Farm Sanctuary shelter for their "Celebration for the Turkeys." Instead of eating a turkey, you get to feed the turkeys! The turkeys especially liked the cranberry stuffing the Farm Sanctuary staff prepared. We also got to meet many of the other rescued animals at the shelter. And I just can't resist sharing pictures!

Here's Nick meeting Hank. Hank liked having his face petted.


Here's me and Linus. I'm brushing Linus's cheeks, and he just loved it.


Here's us feeding the turkeys!



Many of the turkeys we met were recently rescued by the Peninsula Humane Society in nearby San Mateo. Farm Sanctuary notes, "These turkeys were among over 11,500 birds transported from Detroit to San Francisco via Northwest Airlines. Upon arrival at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on July 13, Northwest employees discovered that over 9,000 of the birds had perished in transit from Detroit to SFO. According to the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (PHS/SPCA), which was the first to take in some of the surviving birds, said they 'believe the massive loss was due to overcrowding. The turkeys couldn't breathe, became overheated, dehydrated and died.' Approximately 1,900 surviving birds were sent to their final destination to become "breeder" birds, whose offspring would be sold for food." Amazingly, after such cruel treatment at the hands of humans, the rescued turkeys were sweet as pumpkin pie!

All in all, the trip to Farm Sanctuary was beautiful and inspiring for both me and Nick. It's easy to forget sometimes that the animals we're working to help are all interesting individuals with their own stories, just like the cats we've rescued and made a part of our family.

Anyway, after our pre-Thanksgiving celebration at Farm Sanctuary, we had our own vegan celebration at home with some friends. I was very good this year and didn't get completely stressed and overwork myself trying to make twenty different menu items! I kept it simple (simple for me, at least), and the results were great!

The menu:

- Winter Vegetable Pot Pie (a veganized version from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone), with butternut squash, celery root, parsnips, turnips, carrots, shallots, oyster mushrooms, and brussels sprouts, in a creamy herbed sauce, covered with a (store-bought) puff pastry crust.

- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic (from Vegan with a Vengeance).

- Green salad with toasted walnuts and dried cranberries.


- Homemade whole wheat rolls (I was inspired by the
Vivacious Vegan).

- A can of that nasty gelled cranberry sauce that my husband snuck into the house to torment me. (I made him eat it. Revenge! Ha ha ha!)


- Apple crumble.


- Pumpkin squares!!! This is really a pumpkin cake, but my family calls it pumpkin squares for some reason. This year I veganized the recipe and it was so freaking good I'm going to make it again later this week and turn them into cupcakes. I frosted the cake/squares with the vegan cream cheese frosting from
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Yes, this is "holding back" for me. And we had only four guests! Yet somehow we had very few leftovers...