Monday, July 27, 2009

peachy peaches

peach granita

There were actually good peaches--tender, juicy, and tasting of peach--at the grocery store last week, and they only were $1.99/lb, so I bought a bunch of them with hopes of luring Rachael to my house with promises of ice cream. I'd actually intended to make peach sorbet (less fattening for calorie-conscious Rachael) after work, but it didn't quite turn out. I had my peach mixture all chilled in the refrigerator, met Rachael, went home and got the ice cream machine all set up, and then Rachael decided she needed some French fries first. We left the machine automatically stirring, hoping for the best, but when we got back it had stopped prematurely and the lid was broken. We had peach slushies, and I made the rest into granita the next day: granita has the advantage of not requiring an ice cream machine.

Peach Sorbet or Granita
makes a generous quart

2 1/2lb peaches, peeled and pitted
1/2C sugar
3T pink or white wine
2/3C water, brought to the boil with a bay leaf, then chilled

Whiz everything except the bay water in your blender till really smooth, then stick in the refrigerator till really cold. Whisk in the bay leaf water, then (for sorbet) run it all through your ice cream maker according to its directions. To make granita, pour the mixture into a shallow pan (8"x8" or so) and stick it in the freezer. Let it sit for an hour, then start giving it a good stir every half hour till it's a mass of nice big crystals. I stirred mine a little too frequently, so its crystals turned out on the small side.

If you want to use nectarines, and have a good blender, you needn't bother peeling them.

peach granita ii

Friday, July 24, 2009

ice cream

This is the most successful vegan ice cream I've ever made; its texture was just like that of the dairy kind. I used Mimiccreme and unsweetened soy yogurt for the base, and it didn't have any of the peculiar aftertastes that vegan ice creams so often have. Rachael didn't like it very well because it was so chocolaty, but everyone else who tried it thought it was good.

ice cream

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

makes about a quart

200g sugar
200ml unsweetened Mimiccreme
50g Dutched cocoa
pinch of salt
170g unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
500g unsweetened soy yogurt (if you can only find the sweet kind, use it and reduce the sugar by 50g or so)
1t vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas (250g), roughly chopped

Bring the sugar, cream, cocoa, and salt barely to the boil, then take off the heat and add the chocolate. Stir till it's mostly melted, then put in a blender along with all of the remaining ingredients besides the bananas. Blend thoroughly, then transfer to a bowl, mix in the banana bits, and let chill in the fridge. It ends up being so thick you could eat it for pudding as-is, but if you want it to be ice cream, put it in your ice cream maker and freeze according to its directions.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

bean salad

salad ingredients

Annie had me and Dakki over for dinner yesterday, the hottest day of the year (it was 90º during my walk over). We were going to have garlic soup and pretzels, and I was to bring a vegetable. I decided to bring a vegetabley bean salad, even though Annie doesn't like beans, because I thought we needed something substantial to fill out the menu. It turned out well, and Rachael and Annie both had seconds despite the beans!

I think part of the reason for its success might be the beans I used. Tepary beans stay firm and keep their shape well even when thoroughly cooked, and don't seem to have the mealiness that some find objectionable in beans.

Bean Salad

8oz tepary beans, cooked (I did them for 6 or 7 minutes in my pressure cooker)
3 medium carrots
3 stalks of celery
6oz tomatoes
1 big avocado
1 spring onion
2 cloves garlic
a handful or two of fresh herbs (I used parsley, marjoram, thyme, basil, and Puerto Rican oregano)
juice of a lime and an equal amount of olive oil
salt, pepper, and a biggish pinch of ground cumin

Blanch the carrots for a minute, then cut them into bean-sized pieces. Cut the celery, tomatoes, and avocado into similar pieces. Cut the top of the onion into hoops, and the bottom into little squares. Chop the herbs.

Whisk the lime juice, oil, salt, pepper, and cumin together in a big bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Let rest a couple of hours before eating.

bean salad i

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

lemon-squeezy tempeh

This is an easy way to add a little substance if you've planned a menu that's too vegetabley and unfilling. You can change the flavorings around to suit the rest of your dinner--add a little chipotle en adobo if you're having Mexican food, or ginger and green onion if you're having rice and miso soup.

tempeh i

Tempeh Fingers

to serve 2
1T each soy sauce, water, oil, and vinegar (pick oil and vinegar that will go with the rest of your dinner)
a couple of cloves of garlic, squashed
a few pinches of suitable flavorings (to go with the pasta in the photo, I used marjoram, thyme, pepper, and chili flakes)
6oz tempeh, cut into 1/4"-thick fingers
oil for frying

Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish, then roll the tempeh fingers around in it. Let rest 10-15 minutes, then turn them over and let them rest a while longer, till they've soaked up most of the liquid.

Fry on medium heat, about five minutes per side, till they have a nice golden crust.

Friday, July 3, 2009


cranberry kombucha ii

Rachael got us a bottle of cranberry kombucha yesterday, and while it didn't taste too much of cranberry it was really pretty and pinkish-red. My own kombucha has been languishing in a dark corner of my kitchen for months, but I was inspired by the grocery store kind to make a copycat version.

I think kombucha 'mushrooms' are really just vinegar mothers, and the resulting beverage is just fizzy tea vinegar, but it really is a nice refreshing drink in the hot weather.

My usual recipe is:
per liter of water,
70g sugar
5g tea
100ml kombucha from the previous batch

Bring the tea and sugar to the boil together, then let the tea mask for 15
minutes. Strain and let cool to 75ºF, then pour into a big jar. Add the
'mushroom' and old kombucha, cover with a cloth, and let ferment 8-12 days,
depending on the weather and how sour you want it to be. Bottle, cap tightly,
and let rest at room temp five days before refrigerating.

All I did to make it cranberry was to whiz 12oz of cranberries with a liter of water, and add that to the tea when it was done masking. I used darjeeling instead of pu erh, since pu erh would have masked the color of the cranberries.