July 23, 2014

Figs'n'Honey Ice Cream

Yes, I am back with another ice cream recipe. This time it is another family favorite - Figs'n'honey. We are big fans of dried figs and honey. Though the original version is made with fresh figs, I am making it with dried figs. If you have not tried dried figs yet, you got to try it, quite a treat. Though desserts are meant to be enjoyed in moderation, you can indulge in this one because it is made with nutritious ingredients like dried figs, raw honey and do not have any refined sugar, or other processed ingredients. Here's for a quick'n'healthy summer :)


Ingredients:
  • Organic dried figs - 15 
  • Organic raw unpasteurized honey - 3 Tbs
  • Organic non-homogenized organic whole milk - 2 Cups
  • Organic arrowroot powder -1 Tbs

Directions: 
  • Make sure you have the ice cream maker bowl in the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight. 
  • Soak dried figs in 1/2 cup of milk.
  • Mix arrowroot powder in 1/4 cup of milk without any lumps. Add the remaining milk and mix well.
  • In sauce pan on medium heat, cook the arrowroot milk mixture, stirring constantly till the mixture starts  to thicken. Remove from flame and let it cool down.
  • Blend the soaked figs along with soaking milk and honey to get desired consistency. Some smalls bites of fig remaining would be nice.
  • Transfer to a bowl, add the arrowroot mixture, mix well. Keep this refrigerated for a couple of hours or till nicely chilled.
  • Add the mixture to ice cream maker bowl and run it for 20 minutes or as per manufacturer's instructions. 
  • Serve immediately for a soft serve ice cream. For a scoop-able version, keep frozen for a couple of hours.
  • Scoop and serve. This makes about 3 cups of ice cream. Enjoy !!


Sharing with:
Hearth and Soul Blog Hop@Zesty South Indian Kitchen
AllergyFreeWednesday@TessaDomesticDiva

July 19, 2014

Mango Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Do you make ice cream at home? I have been making ice cream for quite a while now. Ice cream has to be frozen and creamy, and of course should be sweet and tasty too. We find most store bought ice creams to be too sweet, while also containing a big list of known and unknown ingredients. So when you make it at home you can control all the ingredients. Making it creamy is the only tricky part. If you directly freeze the ice cream mix, it is just going to freeze into a big chuck of ice and not ice cream. The trick is to not let the mixture form into big chunks, but to let it freeze into tiny frozen crystals making it creamy even after it freezes. This can be achieved in different ways, stirring the mixture every 30 minutes or so while it is freezing so as to block the formation of big ice crystals is one way, but should have a lot of patience and time :-). Another way would be to play the zip lock ice cream game, it is a lot of fun and a lot of mess to clean up. Then there is Vitamix, in which you can make instant ice cream with a mix of frozen and chilled ingredients. I am sure there must be other methods by which people all over the world make the ice cream creamy.



Now, if you have to make your 'creamy' ice cream ahead of time and keep it frozen and still retain the 'creaminess' so that you can enjoy it, you definitely need a better plan. So I finally decided to buy an ice cream maker. The $50 price tag for the Cuisinart ice cream maker was just equivalent to buying a good brand of ice cream a few times. Easy to store, easy to clean and easy to use. The first ice cream I made in my machine is an all time family favorite - mango coconut milk ice cream. The taste was nothing new, since we have enjoyed it a lot during mango seasons in the past, the star was the the texture this time. We have reinvented our family favorite ice cream with the new ice cream machine - and this is one ice-cream we cannot have enough of no matter how many times we keep making it !!!


Ingredients:
  • Thick coconut milk * - 1 1/2 cup
  • Fresh mango (well ripened) - 2 cups (peeled and diced into cubes)
  • Raw unpasteurized honey - 5-6 Tbs
Directions:
  • Make sure to keep your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer for at least 6 -8 hours.
  • Make about 5 cups of coconut milk (recipe here) and keep it refrigerated for a few hours so that thick coconut milk (cream) separates on top. Separate it little by little carefully with a spoon. You will get about a 1 1/2 cups of thick coconut milk.
  • Add mango cubes and honey to a blender and puree well. Transfer to a bowl, add the thick coconut milk and mix well.
  • Keep refrigerated for 2-3 hours or till chilled well.
  • Add the chilled mango-coconut milk mixture to ice cream maker bowl and run it for 25-30 minutes or till desired consistency is reached. 
  • Serve immediately for a soft serve or keep frozen for a couple of hours for a 'scoop-able' consistency.
  • This can be stored in freezer in freezer proof containers for a few days. 
  • Enjoy !!


Sharing with:
Plant based pot luck party @UrbanNaturale



July 15, 2014

Tapioca (Yuca) Pancakes

Sometimes kitchen experiments turn into disasters, and sometimes you do end up with some great accidental recipes in the process. This time the agenda was the world cup soccer final and as our tradition goes, my son wanted me to cook up something from the finalist countries. Though Germany and Argentina were in the finals, I wanted to show empathy to the beautiful host country and keep Brazilian food as the main theme. I had in my mind this Brazilian fish stew 'Moqueca' made with fish, veggies and herbs cooked in coconut milk. To go with the stew, I wanted to make something with Tapioca (Yuca or Cassava) which is a staple in Brazil and many other South American countries. The tapioca did not turn out the way I wanted it to, but I got 2 interesting recipe ideas in the process. One is this oh-so-easy pancakes and the other an even easier dish which I will post soon.

Now talking about tapioca or yuca, it is a staple in many South American countries and around the world including our own Indian subcontinent. It is a good substitute for a gluten-free or a grain free diet. You can use tapioca either freshly cooked or via tapioca flour in place of grains or other carb sources like rice, wheat, etc.

Ingredients:
  • Tapioca (Yuca) root - 1 (Medium)
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup (I used dried coconut, but fresh would work too)
  • Green chilly - 2-3
  • Fresh ginger root  - 1 inch long 
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Sea salt - as per taste 
  • Coconut oil - 1-2 Tbs (for the pan) 

Directions:
  • Cut the tapioca root into 3-4 pieces, peel off the skin completely using a sharp knife. Cut into big chunks, wash and rinse a few times in fresh water.
  • Boil about 4 cups of water and add the tapioca chunks and turmeric powder. Cook till tapioca is just cooked enough (firm and not mushy) in about 6-8 minutes.
  • Drain completely and keep aside. Once it cools down, you can directly make the pancake or keep the cooked tapioca refrigerated for making the pancakes (or anything else) later. 
  • For the pancake: chop the cooked tapioca into smaller chunks, add them to a dry blender or food processor. Add shredded coconut, green chillies, chopped ginger, cumin seeds, and salt and process everything till they resemble a meal and slowly starts to bind together. You can do this in batches. 
  • Transfer to a bowl and mix everything well and form a very firm dough. Make small lime sized balls out of the dough.
  • Heat a cast iron or non-stick pan. Apply some coconut oil on your palms and press the tapioca balls between your palms. Cook on medium heat till golden brown on both sides. 
  • Serve them with your choice of topping - salsa, chutney, guacamole; be creative. Enjoy !!


July 10, 2014

Banana-Bread Style Energy Balls

Have you tried dried or dehydrated bananas? If you have not, then you should try it, they are so good. Just slice them and put it on the dehydrator setting in your oven if you have it. Or just put it on the lowest temperature that your oven offers. My oven has the lowest setting at 170 deg F, it is technically not raw if you dehydrate at that temperature, but I am not bound by any contract that I will only eat raw, so I am okay :-)) If you have a dehydrator, well that is the best.  Now if you don't want to go the long route, there is this great brand of products that Costco has started selling. 'Made in Nature' dried fruits are organic, non-GMO verified and with no added sugar or other preservatives, just simple, plain dried fruits. Bananas are the latest that we have started enjoying from them. You can grab a few slices and enjoy them just like that. Add them to your breakfast porridges, homemade granolas, or use them to make energy bites like these.


Ingredients:
  • Dried Bananas - 1/2 cup
  • Dried Figs - 4-5
  • Pecans - 1 cup
  • Cinnamon - 1 tsp
  • Dried ginger - 1/2 tsp
  • Himalayan pink salt - a pinch

Directions:
  • Add half of the pecans to a dry blender or food processor. Pulse till they are coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Add the remaining half of the pecans to blender, pulse till powdered. Transfer to the bowl as well.
  • To the same blender/food processor jar, add dried banana chunks, chopped figs, cinnamon, ginger and salt and pulse till everything ground and becomes like a sticky mass. 
  • Add the ground and chopped pecan little by little pulsing to mix them up. At the end you should have sort of a dough.
  • Transfer to the bowl. Divide into small portions and roll them into balls. 
  • Makes about 12 balls. Enjoy!!
Note: As always, try to use organic ingredients as much as possible. It tastes better and is better for you.

Sharing this at:
Hearth and Soul Blog Hop
Allergy Free Wednesdays
Naturally Sweet Tuesday