Daring Bakers – Eclairs!

 

Welcome to the August 2008 Daring Bakers challenge! Yeah!

This month we are doing Chocolate Eclairs.

img_2642.jpg    img_2668.jpg

To start with, our hosts for this month were Tony Tahhan and MeetaK! Make sure you check out their adventures with the Chocolate Eclairs. I have made my notes in red below.

I actually made the pate choux twice. The first time they didn’t puff up much, which was partly my fault. I didn’t get them piped out very well and kind of shaped them with my hands and pressed them down too much.

 img_2636.jpg

The second batch came out good.

img_2671.jpg

Verdict: Yummy! We really liked these. The taste of both tries were wonderful. I actually used some of the leftover pastry cream and chocolate sauce on waffles, decadent. I would totally make these again. This recipe does use a lot of dishes, but it doesn’t take that much time. You can easily make these in one day. The filling and glaze make enough to do 2 batches.

img_2672.jpg
The Recipe is from Pierre Hermé from a cookbook written by Dorie Greenspan: Chocolate Desserts By Pierre Hermé

Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé
Éclairs consist of 3 elements:
Pâte à Choux, also known as Choux Pastry or Cream Puff Dough
– Pastry Cream
– Chocolate glaze

First the modifications, the possibilities are endless.
1. The dough used for the eclairs must be a pâte à choux from the recipe given below.
2. Keep one chocolate element in the challenge. The recipe below is for a chocolate glaze and a chocolate pastry cream. You choose which chocolate element you want to keep. Then feel free to mix and match flavors to the base recipe.
3. Everything else is fair game. Enjoy!

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Notes: 1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.


Assembling the éclairs:
• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

img_2659.jpg
2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

Notes: 1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water, stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
bubbles.

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.
img_2641.jpg
Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk almond milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces earth balance
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature 2 TBSP egg replace whipped to soft peaks with 1/3 cup water

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
boil.

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough. I mixed it by hand.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Notes: 1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk soy milk
• 4 large egg yolks tofu & soy yogurt – ¼ cup each
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature earth balance

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.  In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled.  Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it  remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

Notes: 1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.
img_2637.jpg
Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream mimic cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature earth balance
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Notes: 1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104  F) when ready to glaze.
img_2639.jpg
Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream mimic cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly.  Then reduce the heat  to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Notes: 1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or  a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

img_2640.jpg 

Here is the second recipe I made for the eclairs, it turned out great.

img_2664.jpg  (post filling, pre glaze)

Eclairs
2 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whipped until stiff with 1/3 cup water

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup soy milk

1 TBSP cider vinegar

2 tablespoons earth balance vegan margarine

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare baking sheet with a silpat.

  2. Whip together the egg replacer and water until stiff peaks form. This will take about 10 minutes. After about 6 minutes, add the cream of tartar.

  1. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

  2. In a sauce pan, bring the soymilk, vinegar and margarine to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the flour all at once, and reduce heat to low. Stir constantly until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the pan and the spoon and is glossy and smooth.

  3. Remove from heat and add the Ener-G Egg Replacer, about a third at a time, beating well after each addition until the dough is glossy, smooth, and pulls away from the pan.

  4. Shape the into eclairs. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 350 for another 15 minutes.

  5. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 2 minutes. Cut the eclairs in half, return them to the oven and turn it off. Allow to cool, with door slightly cracked for another 20 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks before filling.

 img_2645.jpg    img_2669.jpg

Double Daring Bakers – 4th Daring Bakers Rewind

It’s time for our 4th Double Challenge. What was our 4th making up for lost time challenge?

Chocolate Intensity Cake!

img_2689.jpg

What is a Chocolate Intensity Cake? Well, its basically a flourless chocolate cake. Some have described it as a baked custard in cake form. After tasting it, I would describe it as the pudding middle of the Melting Chocolate Cakes, also called Chocolate Lava Cakes. This cake is actually pretty easy to make and doesn’t take a lot of time. You can put it together and pop it into the oven in about 30 minutes. It bakes for about 45 minutes and then you can chill it for a couple of hours or overnight, which is what I did.  I have made Melting Chocolate Cakes before and they turned out well, but I had a little more trouble with subbing for this one.  I guess I was trying to get too creative with the subs instead of going with my first thought of using all tofu for the butter and the eggs.  It still tastes great though.  The other oops I had was forgetting to put the parchment paper in the bottom of the cake pan.  I did spray it, but forgot the paper, which means, I couldn’t get it out of the pan in order to pour the ganache on top.  So, I left it in the pan and spread a layer of the ganache on top and just scooped servings out into bowls. 

The substitutions I made were substituting the butter with coconut milk, I used earl gray black tea for the coffee and soy yogurt, flax meal and whipped egg replacer for the eggs. Now that the cake is done, I would’ve used egg replacer and silken firm tofu in place of the eggs. I also added 1 tsp of baking powder and 1 TBSP of vinegar to add a little lift to the cake. For the ganache topping, I used coconut milk in place of the whipping cream. Next time, I would probably use a Darjeeling tea instead of Earl Gray, just because it has a little stronger flavor. Now that I think about it, some Yerba Matte might work well too.

img_2691.jpg

Verdict: It is very rich, yet really good. My non-sweet loving husband could only handle one bite, a bit too decadent for him to have more. He did like it though. I really liked it, but could only handle a small piece. A dollop of Soyatoo whipped topping would be nice on this as well. I would say that this cake would serve about 18 – 20 people.

img_2692.jpg

Here is the original recipe:

 

Chocolate Intensity (from Tish Boyle’s The Cake Book)

DB Challenge #4: Feb 2007 Host: Peabody (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)

Servings: One 9 inch cake

img_2687.jpg

Cake Ingredients & Directions:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 62% cocoa), finely chopped

12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces 12 oz coconut milk

1 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup brewed coffee ½ cup black tea

6 large eggs 1 TBSP egg replacer, 2 tsp flax meal (w/ ½ cup warm water), 1/3 cup soy yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract added 1 tsp baking powder and 1 TBSP vinegar (could have left these out)

1/8 tsp salt

 

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter the bottom & sides of a 9” round cake pan. Line the bottom with a parchment round & butter the parchment. (If you’re using a pan with a removable bottom like a springform, make sure to wrap the pan with 2 or 3 layers of foil.)

Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir butter, sugar & coffee until the butter is melted & mixture is boiling. Pour the hot mixture over your chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted & the mixture is smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously until blended. Whisk in the vanilla & salt. Slowly add about ¾ cup hot chocolate mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. (Tempering the eggs with a little bit of the hot chocolate mixture will prevent “scrambled eggs” when combining the 2 mixtures.) Add the egg mixture to the hot chocolate mixture & whisk to combine well.

Strain the batter through a sieve (to catch any cooked egg bits) & then pour batter into prepared pan. Set cake pan in a large roasting pan & fill the pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center is shiny & set but still a bit jiggly. Transfer cake pan to a cooling rack & cool for 20 minutes.

Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a cardboard round on top of the pan & invert the cake onto it. Remove pan & carefully remove the parchment paper. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before glazing with chocolate glaze.

Bittersweet Ganache Ingredients & Directions:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream 2/3 cup coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove pan from heat & add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted & the glaze is smooth. Gently stir in the vanilla. Transfer glaze to a small bowl & cover the surface of the glaze with plastic wrap & let cool for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.

img_2688.jpg

To glaze the cake: Place the chilled cake, still on the cake round, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Slowly pour the hot glaze onto the center of the cake. Smooth the glaze over the top & sides, letting the excess drip onto the baking sheet. Scrape the extra glaze from the baking sheet & put it in a small ziploc bag. Seal the bag & cut a tiny hole in one of the bottom corners. Gently squeeze the bag over the top of the cake to drizzle the glaze in a decorative pattern. Refrigerate the cake at least one hour before serving.

img_2693.jpg

National Days for August 29-31

August 29th is More Herbs, Less Salt Day     

This is good advice for everyone, not just those watching their sodium. The less salt you eat, the less you need for something to taste salty. Its all about training your tastebuds.

August 29th is Swiss Winegrowers Day     

Another one of those very specific day

August 29th is Chop Suey Day       

Tasty!

August 29th is Lemon Juice Day    

Okay, so you may prefer to drink some lemonade instead.

August 30th is National Toasted Marshmallow Day    

I bet this sounds good if you like marshmallows. Someday I’ll try making my own and see if I like those better.

August 31st is National Trail Mix Day    

I love trail mix!!!

August 31st is Eat Outside Day    

Take a hike and pack a picnic, what a great way to spend an evening!

Recipes To Rival for August

I had the privilege of co-hosting our third challenge for Recipes To Rival with Lori from http://lipsmackinggoodness.blogspot.com/ . I got to pick the recipe for August and I was trying to decide what was one thing I love to eat, but have never really made. A couple of things came to mind, but there was really only one obvious choice. My favorite food that I can’t seem to eat out at restaurants, because of my food allergies, is Tamales! I love tamales, I can never get enough of them. Served with refried beans and Spanish rice, or topped with chili. In my pre-vegan days, I would serve them for breakfast with scrambled eggs and salsa. There are so many possibilities. You can make them full fat or low fat, sweet or savory! Tamales freeze really well, so you can make a lot at one time and have tamales anytime. Don’t be afraid by how many pages this is. It’s long because there are filling options at the end.

Tamales

img_2623.jpg

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE TAMALES!!! Since I got to choose the recipe, it was already vegan, so I didn’t have to worry about that, but I did need to choose a filling. Well, I had found three ideas that came with the tamale recipe, so I decided to do all three. Well, one of the fillings I used is actually supposed to be used as the dough for the tamales, but I thought it would make a great filling. The fillings I used were Black Bean and Chipotle, Shredded Seitan and Ancho, and lastly, Green Corn and Black Bean Tamales.

img_2608.jpg    img_2614.jpg

My favorite turned out to be the Shredded Seitan and Ancho filling.

img_2607.jpg    img_2613.jpg

If I make the Black Bean and Chipotle filling again I would use actually chipotles in adobo instead of the chipotle chili powder that is called for. It just has too much of a tangy flavor, not near as smoky and deep as the chipotles in adobo.

 img_2606.jpg    img_2612.jpg

Tamales are actually really easy to make. They do take a bit of time, but they make so many that you have a lunch or dinner ready in a flash out of the leftovers. They freeze so well too. I made a half recipe and I got 24 out of it. The hardest part that anyone really had with this was finding the corn husks. Luckily I already had them on hand, but I also saw them at the store all month (of course, I live in Arizona, so its pretty easy to find items for Mexican food) at my local grocery store. I tend to find them in the baking aisle, but others have found them in the ethnic aisle as well.

img_2605.jpg    img_2604.jpg

There are tons of ways to serve these. I like them with a little salsa over the top, drenched in enchilada sauce (green or red) or topped with chili. I also like them with Spanish rice and refried beans on the side. There are also endless options for fillings, and options for what to do with leftover fillings. I had some leftovers of the fillings, so I made burritos with them. You could also make enchiladas or tacos with the leftover fillings. There are a bunch of recipes out there for dessert tamales as well that I really want to try (yes, I love sweets).

The verdict: I really liked these a lot! My husband who is not a tamale fan even liked them! They were a thumbs up for all who tried them. I still have a few in the freezer to enjoy for a quick lunch during the next few weeks.

img_2621.jpg with some rice and salad

img_2625.jpg yummy filling!
Check out the recipe here: http://recipestorival.blogspot.com/2008/08/tamales.html 

Check out everyone’s efforts here: http://recipestorival.blogspot.com/

If you like tamales at all, you have to try this recipe out! Fantastic! Enjoy!

Some more pictures for you:

img_2603.jpg  The masa dough

img_2611.jpg  Filled and wrapped

img_2618.jpg  Steaming

img_2620.jpg  Ready for dinner

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies???

Okay, so our aunt & uncle have a garden and they planted zucchini’s.  Well, if you have ever had, or lived near any who has a garden, you know that there is a point where they are doing everything they can to give away their overabundance of veggies.  For us, its zucchini’s (well, cucumbers too, put that’s another post).  What to do with all of the zucchini’s?  Well, I’ve sauteed, stuffed, stir-fried, and baked them.  I was searching the web trying to find another way to use them when I came across some baked goods.  Well my m-i-l has made some bread with them, but I wondered about cookies.  I know you can use them for sweets, but I hadn’t thought about cookies, so I went searching and found a recipe from “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” and thought I would give it a try.  Here is my version of their cookies.

img_2681.jpg

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

From “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer

1/3 cup warm water
1/3 c applesauce
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c honey
1 T vanilla extract
1 c spelt flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1 c finely shredded zucchini
12 oz chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg replacer and water until frothy.  Stir in the applesauce, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla extract. 

3. In a small bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 

4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.   The dough may seem a little dry, but that’s okay, the moisture from the zucchini will be all it needs.  Add the grated zucchini and chocolate chips, stirring until incorporated.

5. Spoon the dough onto your cookie sheets and bake for 12 – 15 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and enjoy!  These will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3 – 4 days, if they last that long.

img_2680.jpg

They turned out awesome!!!  My hubby was on the phone when I made them, so I just handed him one.  He later came in and said they were really good.  But, what was the green flecks?  I told him zucchini and he said, yum.  (He is not afraid of strange food combos, which is good)  You totally can’t even taste the veggies.  Next time I think I would actually only use about 10 oz of chocolate chips instead of 12 (I know, I can’t believe I said that!), there were just a few too many of them.

img_2678.jpg

National Food Days for August 22-28

August 22nd, is National Tooth Fairy Day  

Just a thought, but teeth make chewing things WAY easier.

August 23rd is National Eat a Peach Day  

Yum, especially if you like fuzz. If not, give it a peel.

August 24th is National Peach Pie Day      

If you still have some peaches left from yesterday, make a pie!

August 25th is National Banana Split Day  

Enjoy, but don’t go overboard.

August 25th is Whiskey Sour Day              

August 26th is National Cherry Popsicle Day 

Sounds nice and refreshing.

August 27th is National Pots de Crème Day   

Yum! A good sub would be to make some pudding and ganach and stir together!

August 27th is Banana Lover’s Day                  

Bananas are so good for you, full of fiber and potassium

August 28th National Cherry Turnover Day       

Who doesn’t like cherries, well, besides my mom who is allergic.

Dinner and Dessert

For dinner we had a yummy noodle salad and some fruit salad for dessert. 

img_2647.jpg    img_2654.jpg

I made the Asian Noodle Salad from the June/July 1999 Cooking Pleasures Magazine.  I didn’t have to tweak it too much, but did change a couple of things.  We ended the dinner with a yummy fruit salad of just some chopped cantaloupe, raspberries, and blueberries.  The fruit all had great flavor!  Hooray for summer and fresh fruit season.

img_2646.jpg 

Asian Vegetable Salad

I used green tea soba noodles, they had some great flavor. If you can find them, they complement this dish very well.

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 6 minutes Serves: 4

Salad

6 oz Soba Noodles

2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup snap peas (snow peas would work great too)

½ red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

¼ cup mushrooms, sliced ( I used cremini)

½ cup baked tofu, thinly sliced

1 TBSP sesame seeds, toasted

Dressing

3 TBSP soy sauce

2 TBSP rice vineagar

2 tsp sugar

½ tsp fresh ginger, grated

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the package directions.

  2. In the last 2 minutes of cooking time on the noodles, add the broccoli, snap peas and bell pepper. Drain and rinse.

  3. While the noodles are cooking, whisk together the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Add the mushrooms, noodles, and vegetables, tossing to combine. Top with the tofu and sesame seeds.

  4. This salad can be served warm, room temperature, or cold.

img_2649.jpg

img_2653.jpg

National Food Days for August 15-21

Sorry I didn’t get this posted yesterday, but that ice cream was just too good to make it wait!

August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

                  – not my favorite, but I know my m-i-l is famous for hers.

August 16th is Bratwurst Day and National Rum Day

                  – and I always thought that you combined beer with brats!?  There are some decent vegan brats in the stores, you can use one of those to celebrate, and I guess drink a daiquiri along with it.

August 17th National Vanilla Custard Day

                – this would be even better if made with tofu!

August 18th is National Ice Cream Pie Day

                – ooh!  Use that Mint Chocolate coconut milk ice cream from Turtle Mountain, YUM

August 18th is National Soft Ice Cream Day

                – you can make your own, check out Vegan Ice Cream Paradise for some great recipes.

August 18th, is National Homeless Animals’ Day

                  – Wow, the 18th is a busy day!  Try volunteering at an animal shelter, or offer to take your neighbor’s dog for a walk.

August 19th is Potato Day and Hot & Spicy Food Day

               – What a great day.  Anything spicy is good to me!

August 20th is Lemonade Day and National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day

                – YUM!  Enough said

August 21st is National Pecan Torte Day

                – Wait, wasn’t yesterday a pecan day too?  Must be the season for pecans

August 21st is National Spumoni Day. Spumoni is an Italian dessert made of ice cream, candied fruit & nuts.

Enjoy your days this week, they look tasty.

Turtle Mountain Coconut Milk Yogurt & Ice Cream

The health food store in town finally got the new Turtle Mountain products in.  They have made yogurt and ice cream out of coconut milk so that they are soy and dairy free! 

img_2508.jpg

It comes in Plain, Vanilla, Raspberry, Blueberry and Passionate Mango.  I tried all of the yogurts, which tasted really good, but the texture was just a hint off for me.  It mixed well with granola (which helped the texture) and tasted good on their own too.  I baked a cake with the plain one and it baked up beautifully. 

img_2514.jpg    img_2515.jpg

Here are the ingredients and nutritional information for you.  I like that it has 3 grams of fiber in it!  If you aren’t used to eating a lot of coconut, just remember that it is a natural laxative, so you don’t want to go overboard and eat 3 or 4 of them a day.  Stick to one a day and you should be fine.  Although, if you mix it with the coconut milk ice cream, you may want to work up to eating them both in a day:

img_2501.jpg

These taste amazing!!!  They come in a variety of flavors, but I have only tried these two.  I started with the coconut flavored one:

img_2504.jpg   

The flavor was great, but since it also had shredded coconut in it, the texture for me was a little off:

img_2507.jpg

The mint chocolate chip one:

img_2505.jpg

Wow, I could eat the whole pint in one sitting!!! (That would be bad though)

img_2506.jpg

I’m drooling just looking at it.  Wow, yum.  Of couse, mint chocolate chip has always been my favorite flavor of any kind of ice cream (second would be Purely Decadent Cherry Nirvana), so I’m a little biased. 

If you are allergic to soy, or are just trying to stay away from it, these are a great alternative.  Get out there and try some this week!