Friday, September 30, 2011

My Decadent Chocolate Birthday Cake

Chocolate Decadence Birthday Delight! favorite flower and my new fixed lens! You like?

I celebrated my birthday in May with this fudgey rich chocolate cake.  I have been meaning to post this recipe for quite some time now.....four months to be exact!  So here you have it.

I found this recipe on a blog and was immediately interested when I saw it contained black beans.  I love recipes like that sort of trick you like that.  Added nutritional goodness without the cost of flavor!  Me likey!  You would have no idea this cake contains black beans when biting into the dense yet mousse-y chocolate goodness.  Y-U-M!  Oh, and did I mention it is vegan and gluten-free?

Densely Decadent Chocolate Birthday Cake
1 Cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or 4-6 hours
1 Cup chocolate chips, melted but not hot
4 T virgin coconut oil
6 T honey
1 Cup Water
4 T coconut flour
6 T Cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Oil bottom and sides of a round spring form pan and dust with cocoa powder.

Melt coconut oil and chocolate chips in a saucepan until mixed well and warm (not hot).  Transfer mixture to high power blender with all other ingredients except for baking powder and cocoa powder and blend until smooth.  Add baking powder and cocoa powder last, mixing in first to avoid a dusty mess and blend well to incorporate.  (It took me quite some time to get my blender to smooth these ingredients.  Next time I may try my food processor instead)

Pour mixture into your pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Cool and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.  Serve cold with whipped coconut topping or shaved chocolate.


Apple & Porcini Stuffed Pork Loin with Roasted Apples

When I received my latest Bon Appetit magazine a beautiful looking Proscuitto-Wrapped Pork Loin with Roasted Apples graced the cover.  I have been cooking lately for a client who enjoys pork dishes so I thought I would give it a try.  It was fun to make and turned out beautifully!  The stuffing was sensational, the kale wrapping the stuffing not only added a boost of nutrients but gave it a festive flair, and the roasted apples were the perfect sweet accompaniment for the pork.  Definitely a keeper for your next entertaining occasion.

The pork loin I got from Whole Foods had a nice layer of fat on top so I decided to skip the proscuitto wrapping and scored the fat instead for a pretty look.  I also couldn't find hard cider so I used martinelli's apple juice and some white wine instead.  Click here so see the entire recipe.

Wrapped and ready to go
Pan searing all sides...barely fit in my pan!

Before the roast.....

.......after the roast
Side shot of the finished roast pork

Beautiful!  The Kale adds such nice color.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Vegan Banana Ice Cream & Maple Glazed Walnuts

My friend sent me a link on how to make an easy homemade ice cream using only frozen bananas. How simple is that!?

Yearning for a more healthful way to cure my dreaded sinful sweet tooth.....I decided to try it.

So I froze a few bananas..........contemplated which addition to the ice cream would be the most delicious, debating over peanut butter...........peanut butter and cocoa powder...........nutella.........coconut..........coconut and mango.........walnuts..........maple glazed walnuts.....oh yes, maple glazed walnuts! Done! I thought it would be a delicious compliment to the creamy sweet banana flavor. The ice cream was delicious and I was very impressed with the consistency.

Banana Ice Cream

(Serves 1-2)
1 1/2 frozen bananas sliced

Add bananas to a food processor and process until it just becomes creamy and smooth. If you desire a topping, or additional flavor (I chose maple glazed walnuts), add and pulse until incorporated into the ice cream. Scoop into bowls and serve.

Maple Glazed Walnuts
1/3 C Raw Walnuts
1 1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
Pinch of salt

Heat dry skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts, maple syrup and salt and stir to coat walnuts, stirring occasionally 3-4 minutes until maple becomes caramelized. Remove from heat and cool.

Step by step photos:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Almond Pulp Ricotta & Vegan Eggplant Lasagna

I love making my own almond milk from raw soaked almonds and am always looking for a way to use up the leftover almond pulp after extracting the milk. Rather than let it go to waste, I usually add the protein and fiber packed-pulp to muffins and breads.

Today however, it occurred to me that perhaps I could use it to make one of those fancy 'vegan ricotta' recipes you see using cashews. A quick google search affirmed that it is possible, and I was off with my experimenting!

Almond Pulp Ricotta
1 1/2 C almond pulp
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp Miso paste
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
chopped onions, scallions or shallots
dollop of tahini

Place all ingredients in a food processor and give it all a whirl. Do not over process or it will begin to liquify a bit.

I used mine to layer with strips of eggplant and homemade marinara sauce for a noodle-less eggplant lasagna, pictured step-by-step below.

Layer casserole dish with marinara sauce, thinly sliced eggplant, almond-pulp ricotta, italian herb mixture and a few thinly sliced onions and mushrooms in between until layered to top.
Top off casserole with shallots, mushrooms and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool a bit and enjoy this easy vegan delight!

If you want to make an eggplant bake but don't have the almond pulp to make the ricotta, here is my modified recipe sans ricotta.