The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes

Green-Go Bean Burger 3Yield: 4 burgers

I love developing recipes, like these “Go Bean” green-themed burgers, exclusively for Tofutti Brands, Inc! 

These simple, delicious and nutritious Mexican-spiced patties hold together beautifully and their pleasantly chewy texture is the perfect counterpoint to their spicy-tart Green Chili “Cream Cheese” Topping made with Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese.

Lima beans may sound odd for a bean burger–though you can use whatever bean you prefer–but I had some fresh ones on hand from our farmer’s market; and they are, in fact, what spawned the whole “green” approach: butter lettuce instead of a bun, a thick slice of green tomato, the Green Chili “Cream Cheese” Topping with lime zest, and a garnish of fresh lime.

And about that topping:  it’s delicious on these burgers, but it would be fabulous on an old shoe…it’s that good!  Your beef burger-eating friends will be green with envy!

Note that Tofutti makes two types of Better Than Cream Cheese and Better Than Sour Cream, one with transfat and one without, each in its own color carton.  So read the nutrition information to make sure you purchase the one you prefer. 

1 3/4 cup fresh cooked lima beans (or 1-15.5 ounce can of your favorite bean, rinsed and drained)

1/3 cup walnuts (or your favorite nut)

1/3 cup uncooked oatmeal

1/3 cup vital wheat gluten

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Liquid Aminos or soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

Optional: 1 tablespoon water

4 toasted hamburger buns or 4 butter lettuce leaves

4 slices green tomato

Green Chili-“Cream Cheese” Topping (recipe follows)

Optional Garnish: lime zest and/or thin slices of lime

 

Place all ingredients, except tomato, topping, and bun–using only 1 of the tablespoons olive oil and optional water–in a food processor and pulse until mixture is well combined.  Then run motor for a few seconds until mixture holds together; avoid over processing.  Shape mixture into 4 patties about 3/4-inch thick.  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high in a large cast iron skillet.  Add patties and cook 5 minutes or until golden brown, adding another tablespoon of oil and swirling around pan if needed halfway through.  Flip, add remaining tablespoon of oil, swirl, and cook another 5 minutes to brown remaining side.  Place each patty on a bun or lettuce leaf, top with a slice of tomato and 1/4 of the sauce, and serve immediately.  Garnish, if desired, with lime zest and/or thin slices of lime.

 

Green Chili-“Cream Cheese” Topping

8 ounces Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

1 can chopped green chilies, drained

Zest of 1 small lime

In a small bowl, heat cream cheese for about a minute in the microwave or until very soft and stir-able.  Add green chilies, salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

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Fresh Ginger, Anise, Golden Tomato, and Red Bell Pepper JamYield: approximately 1 1/2 cups

 

This savory jam shimmers like jewels. Enjoy it alone or with vegan cheese spread or cream cheese on toasted bread as a simple but striking crostini, inside a wrap for a burst of flavor, or dabbed atop all manner of cooked vegetables or proteins.  It is most beautiful, though, served in a glass dish where it can really sparkle.

 

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, slivered

1/2 of a large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 pint golden grape or pear tomatoes

1 teaspoon turbinado sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon anise seed

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

 

Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high.  Add onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper, and saute, stirring, for approximately 3 minutes or until softened.  Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.  Add tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften and break down, about 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently, another 5 or so minutes until tomatoes break down further, and most of moisture has cooked off, creating a thick, pulpy, very textured, and beautifully colored jam.  Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.  Reduce heat at any point if cooking too fast.

Fresh Ginger, Anise, Golden Tomato, and Red Bell Pepper Jam with Star Anise 2

 

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Middle Eastern Pomegranate and Eggplant Melange

I always love the opportunity to develop recipes for Tofutti, and you can find the original post here.

Yield: 6 servings

This versatile Middle Eastern-inspired mash-up is equally addicting as a creamy dip, stuffed in a pita or baked pepper, or piled atop a grilled flatbread.  Heck, it is delicious just heated and eaten with a spoon as I’ve done every day this week for my school lunches!

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small yellow onion (or 1/2 of a medium), diced

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 medium eggplant, stemmed and diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup red wine (a Merlot is nice)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Optional: 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or tamarind syrup (available at Middle Eastern/Mediterranean markets)

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

1/4 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream

Optional: 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste; available on the international aisle of grocery stores)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Zest of 1 large lemon

Optional garnish: olives, fruit (fresh or dried), fresh herbs, nuts, etc.

Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes.  Add eggplant, garlic, and another pinch of salt plus a pinch of pepper, and sauté, still stirring frequently, until some color develops, about 3 minutes.  Add wine, balsamic vinegar, and optional molasses or syrup, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until eggplant is fairly soft.  Mash firmly with a potato masher.  Stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.  Mash the mixture again.  Add Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese , Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, and optional tahini, and cook, stirring, until melted and completely combined.  Stir in all remaining ingredients until heated through and flavors are well-combined.  Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.  Serve as a dip, stuffed in a pita or baked pepper, or piled atop a grilled flatbread.  Garnish, if desired, with olives, fruit (fresh or dried), fresh herbs, nuts, etc.

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Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Tarts--3Yield: 6-4.5 inch tarts

Our farmer’s market still has local eggplant, and I hope yours does, because you will not want to wait until next summer to savor these simply beautiful and delicious tarts.  They were another of my contributions to our annual  Julia Child Birthday Bash in August.  Everyone loved them and I’m sure Julia herself would have approved!

The recipe is one I adapted from TheFoodDiaries.com.  It calls for either spreading the cooked shells with mustard or pesto.  I didn’t read it carefully and used both and LOVED it: Different, but subtle, and not weird at all.  The mustard provides a nice little unexpected zing.  I hope you agree!

 

1 recipe Press-In Tart crust (recipe follows)

1 recipe Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (recipe Follows)

1 approximately 12-inch long Japanese eggplant, cut into 24 1/4-inch slices, oiled and baked on an oiled baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until softened

2 tablespoons Dijon or stone-ground mustard

2 generous  tablespoons vegan pesto (homemade, preferred)

Pinch sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Garnish: 6 sprigs fresh basil

To assemble, spread each cooked tart crust with 1 teaspoon mustard followed by 1 teaspoon pesto and 1/12 of the sauce.  Arrange about 4 slices of baked eggplant on top of the sauce, add a pinch sea salt, and then top with another 1/12 of sauce, allowing eggplant to show around the edges.  Sprinkle with just a hint of salt and pepper and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool enough to remove sides of tart pans without burning yourself and serve warm.  Or, allow the tarts to cool completely, remove sides, and serve room temperature.  Garnish with fresh basil sprigs.

 

Press-In Tart Crust:

Ever since I found this recipe at www.steptalk.org, it has been my go-to crust for everything!  It is so easy, never-fail, requires no rolling, and is quite flavorful.

2 cups flour (unbleached all-purpose, white whole wheat, or whole wheat)

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cup canola oil

3  tablespoons unsweetened soymilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center, and pour in oil and soymilk.  Whisk together just until combined.  Divide dough evenly among six 5-inch tart shells with removable bottoms, and press evenly onto bottom and around edges.  I like to break the dough into pieces and distribute it around the bottom of the tart pan so that maintaining an even crust is much easier.   Use a drinking glass to assest with the pressing if desired.  Bake 10-12 minutes and remove to a wire rack.  While tart shells bake, make sauce.

 

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

2 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, stemmed, seeded, broiled until charred, and skin removed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, diced

Sea salt

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

 

Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of sea salt and sauté about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.  Add garlic and sauté, stirring, for about 1 minute.  Place peppers, onion mixture, and balsamic mixture in the bowl of a food process, and process until fairly smooth.  Check for salt and adjust if necessary.

 

Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Tart

 

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White Bean, Caramelized Sagey Onions, Fresh Fig and Pepper Relish TartYield: 8 servings

I am so ashamed that my last post was on August 26–good grief!  But, alas, as you may know,  I am a high school art teacher, and the beginning of school is almost all-consuming (pun intended!).

The first day of our pre-service week was Monday, August 25, so I’m actually surprised I was even able to make one post that week.  Last week was the first week of school with the kids back, so it was very packed.

The pre-service week is never my favorite–and this year’s was particularly stressful with a lot of major policy changes and a lot of resulting contention–but I love it when the students return.

Today’s recipe is a delicious and beautiful one I made for  one of my contributions to this year’s iteration of our annual Julia Child Birthday Bash on August 15.  It was a big hit.  I noticed figs still available at the Farmer’s Market this morning, so I hope you can still get them where you live and create your own hit!

 

1 press-in tart crust (recipe follows)

1-15.5 ounce can cannelini or other white beans, rinsed and drained

Optional: 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1/4 cup water + 2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, slivered

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons fresh whole sage leaves (if leaves are large, slice into 1/4-inch slivers)

Fresh figs, halved (the number depends on the size; mine were tiny and I used about 13 small figs about the size of large grapes)

1/4 cup prepared red pepper relish (I used Braswell’s brand)

Optional garnish: sprig of fresh sage leaves

 

While crust bakes, puree in a food processor beans, optional nutritional yeast, and water.  Set aside.  Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high, add onion, sea salt and pepper to taste, garlic, and sugar, and saute, stirring frequently for about 5 to 7 minutes or until caramelized.  Saute a few minutes longer if a deeper color and flavor is desired.   Stir in sage leaves during the last minute or two.   Spread bean puree evenly on bottom of crust, evenly distribute caramelized onion over the top, arrange figs in a pleasing design, nestling them into the onions, and then dot teaspoons of the relish between the figs.  Return to oven and bake about 15 minutes to heat through.  Remove from oven to a wire rack.  Cool just enough to remove sides of pan without burning yourself if serving warm.  Or cool completely, remove sides, and serve at room temperature.  Garnish with fresh sage leaves if desired.

 

Press-In Tart Crust:

Ever since I found this recipe at www.steptalk.org, it has been my go-to crust for everything!  It is so easy, never-fail, requires no rolling, and is quite flavorful.

1 1/2 cups flour (unbleached all-purpose, white whole wheat, or whole wheat)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

2  tablespoons unsweetened soymilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center, and pour in oil and soymilk.  Whisk together just until combined.  Transfer dough to an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, and press evenly onto bottom and around edges.  I like to break the dough into pieces and distribute it around the bottom of the tart pan so that maintaining an even crust is much easier.   Use a drinking glass to assest with the pressing if desired.  Bake 10-12 minutes and remove to a wire rack.

White Bean, Caramelized Sagey Onions, Fresh Fig and Pepper Relish Tart--detail

 

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Chili-Cheese Dog with Bandana on RightYield: 4 “dogs”

I created this recipe as a Tofutti Brands exclusive in honor of National Dog Day!

These are not your mama’s Chili-Cheese Dogs!  The chili refers to the red chili peppers in Thai Red Curry Paste (readily available at Asian markets and the international aisle of many grocery stores).  And the “cheese” refers to Tofutti’s delectable Better than Cream Cheese.

These two ingredients combine with a  very few others to make a knock out “sauce” for you dog, while juicy crunch is provided by a Fresh Cucumber-Carrot Slaw.  

You will want these Thai-American top dogs to “sit” and “stay” at all your picnics, indoors or out!

Cucumber-Carrot Slaw (recipe follows)–make first and set aside

4 lightly oiled and grilled or toasted hot dog buns (I chose potato rolls)

4 grilled or broiled vegan “hot dogs” (widely available on the organic aisles in grocery stores)

Thai Chili-“Cheese” Sauce (recipe follows)

Garnish:  4 teaspoons lightly roasted, salted and chopped cashews or peanuts plus 4 fresh Thai basil sprigs (widely available in Asian markets)

To assemble each dog, squirt or spread about 1/8th of sauce onto a grilled or toasted bun.  Layer with 1/4 of the slaw, and top with a grilled dog.  Then zig-zag about another 1/8th of the sauce over the top–squirting or drizzling–and garnish with about a teaspoon of chopped nuts and a Thai basil sprig.  Serve immediately.

 

Fresh Cucumber-Carrot Slaw:

*1 medium cucumber, seeded, but not peeled, and julienned or shredded

*1 medium carrot, julienned or shredded

**2 tablespoons finely chopped Thai basil

2 tablespoons vegan “fish” sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a  medium non-reactive bowl and allow to sit for 5 or so minutes.  Transfer mixture to a strainer or sieve, and place over the same bowl.  Allow to drain while you continue with recipe.  Gently press on the vegetables with the back of a spoon before using.  Save the juice for another purpose because even though the sauce calls for the same ingredients, here they are diluted with vegetable juice and, hence, not potent enough for the sauce.  *I use a food processor with a grater attachment for these tasks.  **Note, you may use Italian basil, but it will not have the pronounced anise-like flavor of Thai basil.  

Thai Chili-“Cheese” Sauce:

3 tablespoons Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese, softened

3 tablespoons Tofutti Better than Sour Cream

2 tablespoons vegan “fish” sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Thai Red Curry Paste

In a small non-reactive bowl, whish together all ingredients until very smooth.  I like to transfer to a plastic squirt bottle from the dollar store for dispensing.

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Green Tea Soy Frappuccino--Homemade StarbucksYield: 1 “venti” frappuccino

In the past, I had tried (unsuccessfully) to recreate my beloved Starbucks Green Tea Soy Frappuccino, since this beautiful and luscious green indulgence costs a lot of green.  It is the perfect start to my day–it gets me all the way through first block!–and with school starting tomorrow, it is imperative that I get it right!

I order the frapp unsweetened, as there is PLENTY of sugar in Starbucks’ soymilk as well as in their frappuccino syrup which prevents the beverage from being icy.  Why it never occured to me previously to simply ask what was in the latter, I haven’t a clue.  But recentlyI did, and was told it is a simple syrup (equal amounts of water and sugar simmered together until sugar is dissolved) with xanthan gum.

Last year, I gave a package of xanthan gum to a gluten-free baker friend, as I don’t care for it in baked goods–and hadn’t used it in years since I tried and tossed a recipe–but I bought some more with which to experiment, albeit a little dubiously.  As it turns out, I needn’t have been concerned!

Since I didn’t know how much xanthan gum to use, but found a Starbucks coffee frapp look-alike recipe online that said to add a “pinch” to approximately 2 cups of liquid (coffee and milk) and 2 cups of ice, I did just that, but it wasn’t nearly enough and it was too much ice.  So, I decided to start with alot of xanthan–2 teaspooons per two cups of soymilk–and backed down from there.  I also experimented with the amount of ice and reduced it from 2 to 1 cup and the amount of matcha from 1 tablespoon (my guess) to 1 teaspooon and then 1 1/2 teaspoons, ultimately deciding on 2 teaspoons.  Ratios are critical as the only ingredients in these bad boys are ice, soymilk, green tea matcha powder, and simple syrup.

All that remained was striking the right balance with the xanthan gum:  2 and even 1 teaspoon was too much unless you crave a “smoothie” texture, i.e. ultra creamy and very thic– almost spoonable–which is not the consistency of the Starbucks frapp.  However, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon is just right; I really thought either one was virtually a dead ringer for my green tea Holy Grail from Starbucks.

I prefer not to consume a lot of sugar on a regular basis, so it’s Stevia for me.  I ended up adding 5 individual packets which sounds like a lot, but with unsweetened soymilk and that earthy matcha, it takes that much to achieve the Starbucks flavor.  I plan to purchase some in bulk and experiment with a stevia-sweetened simple syrup that I can keep in the fridge.

But, for now, here is the magic formula:

1 cup ice

2 cups unsweetened soymilk (feel free to substitute plain or vanilla)

2 teaspoons unsweeteend green tea matcha powder (I use Kiss Me Organics purchased on Amazon)

5 individual packets Stevia or to taste

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (I purchase on the organic aisle of Kroger)

Place all ingredients in the container of a blender or Nutri-Bullet (I use the latter), and blend until completely combined and no ice chunks remain.  Enjoy sipped through a straw!

 

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Thai Buddha Spring Roll BowlYield: 4 servings

A spring roll crisped and perfectly puffed in the microwave forms the adorable edible bowl for this delectable Thai-influenced layering of fresh ingredients: limas cooked in coconut water; onion, eggplant, and garlic in a creamy peanut butter-red curry paste sauce with a hint of Thai basil; Cucumber-Carrot Slaw; and, if you’re feeling really decadent, Chili-Mayo, chopped cashews or peanuts ,and a sprig of Thai Basil.  Buddha would certianly bless this bowl!

 

1 cup fresh lima beans cooked about 20 minutes or until tender in simmering coconut water to cover, cooled, and drained (reserve water for another use)

1 cup julienned or grated cucumber and carrot, combined in any proportion (I use one medium cucumber and one medium carrot and a food processor for this task)

Sea salt

3 tablespoons vegan “fish” sauce, divided into 2 and 1 tablespoons (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil or peanut oil

1 medium red onion, diced

3/4 pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large clove garlic

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (I use Kroger brand “natural”)

1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste (widely available in Asian markets and the international aisles of grocery stores)

1 tablespoon finely chopped Thai basil (also widely available at Asian markets; you can substitute regular basil, but it won’t have that distinctive anise-like flavor)

4 spring roll wrappers

Chili Mayo (optional; recipe follows)

Garnishes: 4 teaspoons chopped lightly salted and roasted cashews or peanuts and fresh Thai basil sprigs

 

While lima beans cook, make Asian Cucumber-Carrot Slaw:  in a small, non-reactive bowl, combine julienned or grated cucumber and carrot with a pinch of sea salt, 1 tablespoon fish sauce and 1/2 teaspon rice wine vinegar and set aside.  Make eggplant filling: heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high.  Saute onion with a pinch of sea salt for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, or until softened.  Add eggplant and garlic and saute, stirring frequently and lowering heat if necessary, for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Stir in water, and allow to simmer while you whisk together in a small cup the peanut butter, the remaining 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, the remaining 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, and the red curry paste.  Drizzle over eggplant mixture, stir to combine, and heat through.  Stir in Thai basil.  Lower heat and keep warm while you prepare spring roll bowls.  Microwave each spring roll wrapper for about 40 seconds on full power or until puffed with no slick, shiny areas.  Check after 20 to 30 seconds.  To serve: place each puffed spring roll wrapper on a plate or in a shallow bowl.  Spoon 1/4th of eggplant mixture in the center, followed by 1/4 of beans and 1/4th of slaw.  Drizzle with Chili Mayo if desired, and garnish each with 1 teaspoon chopped nuts and a sprig of fresh Thai basil.  Serve immediately.

 

Thai Chili Mayo:

6 tablespoonsvegan mayo

2 tablespoons vegan “fish” sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Thai Red Curry Paste

In a small non-reactive bowl, whish together all ingredients until very smooth.  I like to transfer to a plastic squirt bottle from the dollar store for dispensing.

 

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream 3Yield: 1 quart

This is the perfect summer-into-fall recipe!

I love the challenge of developing recipes exclusively for Tofutti Brands, Inc.  When they recently requested a parve recipe for pumpkin ice cream, I mentally created the recipe for a Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream, as I wanted to use their Better than Cream Cheese; and then I set out on a hunt for certified parve products in our local Kroger.

Imagine my delight when every single ingredient I wanted to use, save graham crackers, qualified, provided I chose specific brands!  And I was able to substitute matzo meal for the graham crackers in the crumble topping with a wonderful outcome.

Parve or not, I trust you will rave about this beautifully colored, creamy textured ice cream like my guests have.  And you might be as excited as I was to learn that it is delicious served as a mousse before freezing!

Note: the specific brands of products listed are pareve.  If you adhere to a Pareve diet and choose other brands, be sure to look for the identifying symbol on the package.  Also, when selecting Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese–or Better than Sour Cream–please note that they company offers two kinds:  one contains transfat and one does not; I opt for the latter.

 

 

 

8 ounces Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

1/2 cup Sugar in the Raw natural turbinado sugar

1-15 ounce can Libby’s pumpkin puree

1-15 ounce can Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

“Graham Cracker” Crumble Topping (recipe follows)

 

Place Better than Cream Cheese, sugar, and pumpkin puree in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add cream of coconut, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves and process until completely combined, again scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Chill mixture for several hours, freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions, transfer to a covered carton, and chill for several hours to “ripen.”   Serve sprinkled with “Graham Cracker” Crumble Topping, if desired.

Chilled, but not frozen, this delectable ice cream base makes a beautiful, creamy mousse.

 

“Graham Cracker” Crumble Topping:

1 cup matzo meal

3 tablespoons Sugar in the Raw natural turbinado sugar

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

5 tablespoons melted Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread, melted

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients with a fork.   Press into a 1/4-inch thick circle on prepared baking sheet and bake 25 minutes or until golden brown; check after 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and break into pieces or crumbs of the desired size. Store in a covered container at room temperature.

Note:  For parve maple syrup, sea salt, ground spices, and vanilla extract, look for brands like Camp, Dan-D’s Foods, Danon Foods, Gefen, Liebers, Now Foods, Pereg, Prima, Sobeys Foods, Sobeys West, Victorian Epicure, etc.

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Wild Rice, Corn, Peanuts, Tomato, and Basil SaladYield: 4 to 6 servings

During the first full week of August, I was in MS visiting my family.  They live in Laurel, a small town in Jones County, 90 miles north of the coastal towns of Biloxi, Gulfport, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, etc.  If you watched Hurricane Katrina coverage in 2005, these town names, in addition to New Orleans, may be familiar to you.

Despite being so far inland, then governor of the state, Haley Barbour, declared Jones County the hardest hit of any area outstide the immedate coastal strike zone due to the number of tornadoes spawned by the storm system.

Because of damage to their home, my parents and sister were displaced for nearly a year; but they were fortunate to find a lovely rental home near downtown on 6th Avenue, my favorite street in Laurel, where we spent Christmas that year.

Once you have lived through something like that, you never want to be without prepared foods in the house that don’t absolutely require refrigeration or cooking, at least not until opened.  So, there is a always still a plethora of canned goods about which I tease them good naturedly.  I love to cook for them–and they seem to enjoy it too–so I am frequently creating new dishes, like this one, from their “storm cellar.”

Feel free to cook your rice or other grain “to order,” and use fresh corn but, trust me, this salad is really delicious with the prepared rice and canned corn.  It was inspired by a salad I saw on an airport menu as I dashed through ATL on the way to see them.  All I saw was “Corn and Peanut Salad.”  I have no idea what else might have been in it or what it tasted like, but it doesn’t much matter, as this one is first class (get it?).

1-8.5 ounce package Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice: Whole Grain Medley:  Quinoa and Brown Rice with Garlic (or 2 cups cooked grain of your choice)

1-15.5 ounce cans corn, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups cooked corn, fresh or frozen)

1 cup dry roasted peanuts

1 large tomato, cored and diced

1-2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely slivered or chopped

Sea Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Optional garnish: fresh basil sprigs

In a medium bowl, gently toss together all ingredients except olive oil and white wine vinegar.  In a small cup or bowl, whisk together olive oil and vinegar.  Drizzle over salad and toss again to combine.  Refrigerate, covered, for 2 or more hours to marry flavors.

 

 

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