Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

Continuing on my obsessive Rick Bayless kick…

(Okay, it’s really more of a Mexican food kick.)

And inspired by the ridiculous humidity here…

I give you….

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream. Oh. Yes.

I started seeing a lot of homemade ice cream recipes on Foodgawker months ago. People were obviously getting ready for summer early & had no self-control. Typical ūüôā

From tropical sorbets to creamy, decadent peanut butter & chocolate combinations… everyone was making their ice cream at home. Still are… I think. So, naturally, I wanted in too. And I made a wonderful, albeit not very creamy, lemon-coconut ice cream (more like sorbet). It was very delicious but I used light coconut milk, despite all the information that said FULL fat and it wasn’t exactly creamy ice cream texture. We still ate it all. In April. In State College. It was still cold outside.

This Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream is like WHAM, full-on Mexican Chocolate flavor. It’s creamy and delicious. You can taste the cinnamon in the background & the kahlua emphasizes the powerful chocolate flavor. You can use ordinary chocolate, but the flavor profile will definitely be different. If you can find Mexican Chocolate (like Ibarra) I recommend you use it, at least in part. This would be delicious with any good quality chocolate. I mean, honestly, it would be good with any chocolate!

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

2 Cans FULL Fat Coconut Milk (15 oz)

6 oz Mexican Chocolate

2 oz Piloncillo/Panela (Mexican Sugar*)

3 Tablespoons Kahlua

1/2 Tsp Vanilla

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1. Heat coconut milk in a medium sized saucepan or pot over medium heat. You want it barely a simmer.

2. Add chocolate & sugar to melt. Stirring frequently.

3. When chocolate had melted & sugar has dissolved, add Kahlua & vanilla.

4. Bring mixture to a boil. This helps reduce the mixture – hello creaminess.

5. Boil gently for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

6. Remove from heat and let cool a bit before pouring into a large container for refrigeration.

7. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Or until mixture is cold & ready for the ice cream maker.

8. Pour into prepared ice cream maker & follow directions for your particular appliance.

9. Freeze.

10. EAT.

*Brown sugar is an acceptable substitute.

Advertisements

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce

I’ve been wanting to make this Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta for a while now. When I first began perusing vegan recipes I came across the ingredient Agar Agar as a substitute for gelatin. Of course, I had to buy this unique ingredient when my favorite store, Echo Hill, suddenly stocked it after I mentioned it once. They offered both the powder & the flakes but as the flakes were much more expensive I, of course, purchased the powder. Then I felt doomed when I went to search for recipes using Agar Agar and found they all called for the flakes.

Until I came across an excerpt in Hannah Kaminsky‘s Vegan Desserts¬†in which she says she prefers to use the powder. HALLELUJAH. I also love her blog Bittersweet – thus why I was checking out her cookbooks. After I made this discovery about Agar Agar powder, I immediately found her recipe for Lemongrass Panna Cotta. Okay, that was it, I was going to make some darn yummy vegan Panna Cotta.

And I did.

This dessert is so simple & elegant. The texture is silky & smooth. The flavor is wonderful and unique. And the strawberry sauce is the perfect compliment with a splash of brightness. It embodies summertime. In your mouth. So I suggest you make it. And then eat it.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce

    2 Cans Coconut Milk, Full Fat

2 Vanilla Beans

1/4 Cup Sugar

2 1/2 Tsp Agar Agar Powder

1 Cup Fresh Strawberries, sliced & mashed

1 Vanilla Bean

3 Tbsp Sugar

1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

Before you start… You’ll need about 6 5oz dishes or 8 4oz dishes. So maybe get out about 7 ; )

In a small bowl combine your sugar & agar agar thoroughly. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine your coconut milk & the scrapings from your 2 vanilla beans. When the coconut milk is hot add the sugar mixture. Whisk gently & increase heat to high. Bring the coconut milk to a boil while continuing to whisk gently. Boil for about a minute or two.

Pour into various ramekins/small dishes.

Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before putting in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. If you move the mixture into the cold too soon the mixture could separate.

For the Strawberry Sauce:

In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine the smashed strawberries, vanilla bean scrapings, sugar & cinnamon. Allow to cook over heat for about 10 minutes until the strawberries completely break down. Stir frequently to prevent it from burning.

Pour evenly on the dishes of chilled panna cotta & serve or return to refrigerator to allow sauce to chill. Whichever you prefer! I served it both ways. I think I prefer the cold.

Don’t forget to serve with spoons ūüėČ

I used the vanilla beans liberally because I bought them in bulk at a very good price. You can substitute a teaspoon or two of pure vanilla extract if you don’t have vanilla beans or don’t want to use 3 in one recipe. I definitely recommend at least one for the panna cotta… the tiny black vanilla bean specks are so wonderful to see!

Stuffed Peppers & Adobo Sauce

Oh. My. Lord. I just discovered that Rick Bayless has a television show. Where he cooks incredible Latin food. For 30 minute segments.

If you don’t know who Rick Bayless is, well then you’re not eating enough (or obsessed with) Mexican food.

I attribute this obscure find to the History Channel special “3 Night Event!” of the Hatfield & McCoys. And Stephen’s dad. I don’t watch a lot of TV. And by that, I mean on the actual TV. I’m a netflix junkie. I like my television shows portable (by way of laptop) & with back-to-back episodes. SO. Stephen’s father loves shows about cars. ¬†And antiques. Thus, I was introduced to American Pickers over Memorial Day weekend. In between every 10 minutes of American Picker footage was a 3 minute homage to the Hatfield & McCoys spectaculAR. So I just HAD TO watch it when it premiered Monday night to find out whether it was gold or shit. And I was sucked in to watching episode 2. And 3. Upon searching the television guide trying to find the History channel in order to DVR the second episode… to fast forward through the HEINOUS overload of commercials, of course… I stumbled upon the mighty random Live Well Network featuring a show called “Mexico: One Plate at a Time“. My reaction went something like “Mexican Food?…. Why yes, I think I will.” Then I read the “info” and found that a man named Rick was going to prepare some common Mexican street food (or something). RICK? Could it be Rick Bayless?!?! So I tuned in. And fell in love. And set out to record every episode for the next week.

He made this kickass looking Adobo Sauce and when I decided to make stuffed peppers this morning I knew I should change it up a bit. Cumin & Chili Powder are great but I needed something different. Something special. Something RICK BAYLESS makes. I tried to replicate the recipe but I couldn’t remember the proportions so I did as best I could.

Okay, I’m obsessed. But if you love (and I mean deep in your bones – want to eat it every single meal – LOVE) Mexican food, then you should be too.

Stuffed Peppers with Adobo Sauce

Adobo Sauce:

  • 3 Ancho Chiles, dried
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • Dash of Cloves
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • Salt
Cut open the ancho chiles and remove the stem & seeds. Over medium heat, toast/fry chiles in olive oil by pressing flat on both sides. In a large bowl submerge chiles in 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover with a bowl or plate to help them stay submerged. Let soak for about 20 minutes. In blender, combine chiles and their soaking water with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high until mixture is smooth. Strain through medium strainer to remove any extra seeds or large bits of chile skin.

Stuffed Peppers:

  • 3 Bell Peppers
  • 1 Large Poblano
  • Olive Oil from heating anchos
  • 1/2 Large Spanish Onion, diced
  • 1 Medium Zucchini, diced
  • 1¬†Jalape√Īo, minced
  • 1 – 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Medium Tomato, diced
  • 1 Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 2/3 Cup Quinoa
  • 1 Chipotle, minced (from can) OR 1/2 Tsp Chipotle Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Adobo Sauce
  • Salt
  • 1 – 2 Lime
Preheat oven to 450F. Roast the poblano, rotating until skin is mostly blackened all the way around. Let cool a bit before removed seeds, ribs & stem. Dice for the mixture.
Lower oven temp to 425F. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise & clean out stems, ribs & seeds. Bake in oven while you’re preparing the filling. This is a bit of a time-saving tip. When the peppers start to brown, remove from oven. They should just be golden on the edges.
Over medium heat in a medium-large pot, saut√©¬†onions,¬†jalape√Īo¬†& zucchini in oil leftover from light frying the chiles for the adobo. When the onions just begin to brown add the poblano, garlic & tomato. Combine & let cook for a couple of minutes.
Add black beans & quinoa and stir to combine. Add enough water to just cover. Cover pot & bring to a boil to cook quinoa. About 10 – 15 minutes.
Lower heat & add canned, minced chipotle and adobo sauce. Stir to combine. Salt to taste.
You want your mixture to be nice & moist for the oven. Add more adobo sauce to taste/moisten.
Fill peppers to the brim with prepared mixture and return to oven for about 15 minutes.
Remove  from oven & squeeze fresh lime juice over each pepper.
Serve with homemade guacamole & extra adobo sauce & Mexican hot sauce (preferably Tapatío).
And perhaps a glass of nicely chilled dry white wine ; )
Absolutely delicious ‚̧ And filling : )

Magical Brownies

Wow, it’s been a month. I’d tell you I’ve been busy, but I’d be lying. It has been an eventful month though. Don’t worry, I won’t disappear again. I have some great recipes to share for summer ūüôā

What happened this May:

  • My oldest brother got married! Now, I have a wonderful big sister : )
  • Stephen graduated the SAME DAY from Penn State. And I had to miss it : / Bridesmaid duties.
  • But then I helped him move out of his apartment in State College.
  • I scheduled my classes for the first semester of my Global Environmental Policy¬† program at AU.
  • And bought the books for one of my classes… not including the one yet to be released. I also started to read one of said books… A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (it’s pretty fantastic).

These are celebratory brownies!

These are amazing brownies!

These are magical brownies! (No, not “special.”)

These are the brownies I never thought I’d ever be able to make from scratch ūüôā

Let alone, make vegan.

They can be enjoyed by themselves. With a nice glass of your milk of choice. Or topped with a huge scoop of ice cream & some fudge sauce <—- yes, please. Brownie sundaes ‚̧

And make them I will, again and again and again for the rest of my life… so long as chocolate is available. I read an article recently that said the demand for chocolate is increasing so rapidly that the production of chocolate won’t be able to meet the population’s “needs.” Apparently, cocoa farmers/producers are straining their farms to produce greater quantities of cocoa than they realistically have the capacity to produce. AKA, the cocoa plants need more TLC than they’re receiving & are becoming weak. I wish I could remember where I read this. I’m sure, in our modern age, you can “GOOGLE” it.

Magical Brownies

1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips + (1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips optional)

1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder

4 Tbsp Coconut Oil

4 Tbsp Neutral Oil (Veg/Canola/Olive)

2 Ener-G Eggs

1 Cup Sugar

1 Cup AP Flour

1 Tsp Baking Powder (scant)

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Vanilla

1/4 Cup Almond Milk

Directions:

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper & preheat oven to 350.

In a double boiler, over low heat, melt chocolate chips with cocoa powder, coconut oil, and vegetable oil.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, prepare Ener-G eggs (or flax eggs). Set aside.

In a medium-sized, mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.

When the chocolate is completely melted, add to dry ingredients.

Add the ener-g eggs, vanilla & almond milk.

Stir to combine completely. Add additional chocolate chips (for best results… aka chocolatey-ist) and stir.

Pour batter (it should be a bit thick) into lined pan.

Bake until toothpick/knife inserted in center comes out clean. EDIT: About 35 – 45 minutes.

I suggest checking on them every so often. I’ve baked them in a le creuset enamel pan & a glass pan and the time varied a bit.

Now cut them and….. (oh yeah, let cool a bit)…. NOW….

Devour!!!

Okay, I’m running to the grocery store so I can make these again today. These pictures are making my stomach RAWR!!

Homemade Egg-Free Pasta

Left to his own devices, Stephen feeds himself about once a day. Okay, okay, maybe twice. And he’s taking 18 credits, won’t buy plastic, eats a vegan diet, and isn’t a microwave-meal kind of guy. I still harp on him all the time to eat more so he ends up spending extra money on delivery items like THE BEST PIZZA EVER – Corrinado’s Vegan Salad Pizza. Or falafel pita sandwiches from Pita Cabana.

So… even though we make many things from scratch, I encourage him to buy snacks like applesauce & essentials to make quick meals like Muir Glen pasta sauce. Yeah, well that worked up until the time he decided to eliminate as much single-use plastic from his life as possible. Bye-bye pre-made pasta. Curse you for either coming in a plastic bag or cardboard box with a plastic “window.” Just had to go & turn one of the easiest meals ever into one of the most difficult. Okay, it’s not that hard to make homemade noodles. Unless you’re a perfectionist who wants them to be less like dumplings or more like store-bought pasta. Me.

I know the color of the pasta sauce would have popped & looked much better in a white bowl but we’re also the kind of people who re-use the bowl in which we made the dough.

For the sauce, I used Muir Glen’s Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce, roasted some red bell peppers & added them. Then sliced up some black olives to mix in. Plus a bit of Zinfandel for that extra punch of flavor & a splash of olive oil. The noodles turned out pretty perfect. This whole meal was delicious. And I believe (after internet research) you can make the noodles ahead of time and either dry them out or freeze them. So it could, once again, be one of the easiest (and tastiest!) meals ever.

Homemade Pasta

Serves 2 to 4 depending on your apetite.

  • 2 Cups AP Flour
  • 1/2 – 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup + 1 to 2 Tbsp Warm Water

In a large bowl, combine flour & salt. Add warm water & begin to mix with hands. The dough will be very heavy & a bit dry. Knead the daylights out of it for about 10 to 15 minutes. Let sit for about 20 minutes covered with a wet paper towel so the dough doesn’t dry out.

Flour a flat surface for rolling out the dough. Flour the top of the dough & roll with rolling pin until very thin. Or if you’re in your boyfriends apartment & he happens to own no rolling pins, but does happen to have 20+ empty wine bottles, use one of those.

I rolled half at a time. This dough is kind of a pain in the bum. I used all my strength to roll it out as thin as I could. About 2 – 3 millimeters.

With a very sharp knife cut the dough lengthwise into long noodles. The flour should keep them from sticking.

To cook, bring salted water to a boil, add a splash of olive oil to prevent sticking, and boil for 3 to 6 minutes.

They turned out quite perfect!

Vanilla Birthday Cake

This beauty was Stephen’s birthday cake! His birthday was April 4th, haha. And I believe I made this cake somewhere around the 5th or 6th. And am now posting it on the 26th. Oh well, good things come to those who wait – you!

I think I made this cake just to use the multi-colored heart-shaped sprinkles I picked up from the Farmer’s Market. Way cuter than ordinary, run of the mill, multi-colored sprinkles! Oh, and because I tried to make this beautiful Chocolate Guinness Bundt cake & failed. Hard. I’m sure the recipe is usually wonderful. I blame the Nordic Ware Cathedral Bundt Pan. Nooks & crannies galore.

The vanilla cake turned out moist and flavorful. And the ganache was delicious… I mean, it was chocolate ganache… of course it was delicious. I usually use Cathy‘s Chocolate Ganache recipe (my favorite) but had just run out of maple syrup & powdered sugar making treats for a bake sale. So I made a variation that worked out quite well. It was a bit thinner¬†without the powdered sugar so I stuck it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up.

We couldn’t stop eating this cake. If you have a keen eye you may notice the last picture only has one piece of cake missing but the others have two. And there’s already chocolate smeared across the bottom of the plate! What can I say? It was yummy!!

Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Makes one 8×8 sheet cake.¬†

  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Canola Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups AP Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Grease 8×8 cake pan.

The ingredients are listed in the order of addition. In a large bowl combine almond milk & vinegar. Let sit for about 5 to minutes until milk curdles slightly. Add vanilla & oil. Stir to incorporate oil. Add salt & sugar and stir to combine. Sugar should begin to dissolve. Add flour, baking soda & baking powder. Combine thoroughly. Pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until light golden in color and knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool before spreading ganache.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Almond Milk
  • 4 oz ¬†Chocolate, use best quality for best results
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp White Sugar

Melt all ingredients together in a double boiler. If you’re making this cake in your boyfriend’s apartment & find yourself without a double boiler… or even the means to create a makeshift double boiler… melt very slowly over low heat directly on burner. Some may recommend the 30 second increment microwave technique but I never use it. I’ve tried in the past with disastrous results. And since you’re using the best quality chocolate you can find, proceed with caution!

If you find that your ganache is not firming, place the mixture in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or freezer for 5 to 10, to speed along the process. It will still have a slight gooey quality at room temperature but will not be runny.

Once the cake has completely (or mostly, for those of you with as much patience as me!) cooled, pour the ganache on, to cover completely. Spread to make even, if necessary.

Decorate with desired sprinkles and serve!! Sooooo yummy.

Go-To Recipes

These are recipes from other bloggers that I absolutely LOVE to make & make often. They’re my go-tos, my arsenal, my standbys, my fallbacks, my favorites. I make them repeatedly because they’re just. so. good. Oh, and they’re all pretty easy. One pot or one bowl recipes.

So, without further ado, here are our “go-to”s.

This is a serious favorite for Stephen & me. I make the Rye Bread from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and we dip chunks into this wonderful broth. It’s the perfect combination of garlic, dill & lemon. This is probably one of my favorite recipes ever. And I love Peter’s blog – his photography is fresh & wonderful. Do be careful if you decide to make this incredible Greek dish… you may just eat the whole pot.

Arakas Me Patates from Souvlaki for the Soul

This one is our go-to veggie burger.They’re full of flavor & nutrition – packed with carrots, herbs, oats, flax & black beans – and have a great texture. I love to pan fry them in olive oil from a crispy crust. Hardly necessary to say, but Angela is a vegan blogging idol. Her recipes always use the best ingredients & everything I’ve made from her blog has turned out really delicious. Definitely, try these.

Perfect Veggie Burger from Oh She Glows

Stephen & I have made this next recipe so many times I don’t even need to think about measuring the ingredients. I found this recipe about 1.5 years ago when Stephen wanted to recreate is favorite Indian dish. Honey gives you step-by-step instructions that make it a great starter recipe for anyone who’s never made Indian food and it’s incredibly tasty. It’s definitely one of our staples. (Apparently we love peas & potatoes.)

Aloo Matar from Honey, What’s Cooking?

We also love lentils and make Mesir Wat allll the time. It’s one of the easiest recipes ever & tastes wonderful alone or with some Ethiopian collards or chickpeas. I have no idea where I found the recipe I use…. just like the Aloo Matar, I’ve made it so many times I don’t even think about measuring out the ingredients. After some browsing for examples, Michael’s recipe is definitely closest to the original I use. And I also absolutely adore his blog. He has so many recipes I have bookmarked, waiting to be sampled.

Mesir Wat from Herbivoracious

Of course, I have to include some dessert recipes. This was my first genuinely successful vegan cake and man did it set a precedent. I’ve made it a few times. The ganache is to-die-for. I was so excited when I made this recipe… it’s one of those cakes where no one would ever know the difference between vegan & non-vegan. And it’s supremely chocolate.

Vegan Chocolate Cake from What Would Cathy Eat?

¬†I’ve made these a dozen cookies a dozen times because they’re quick, easy, and so freaking tasty. Plus they’re versatile & Stephen loves them. They’re addictive but still seem healthy. They’re not greasy & they use wholesome ingredients. I’ve used rice flour & wheat flour, additional spices, and alternative nuts. They turn out great every single time.

Maple Walnut Jam Cookies from Feasting Freds

I must impress upon you the sheer awesomeness of all of the recipes above & implore you to try them all, immediately. They’re simply the best.

*Note: All of the pictures posted above are from the blogs from which the original recipe comes.