Monthly Archives: May 2013

Truffles…The Raw, Vegan Kind

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This past week has been a little bit stressful for me. No, I’m not over worked or tired from studying. I’m actually pretty busy doing nothing. I’ve been stressing myself out with the fact that there’s not much for me to do now that I’ve finished my studies for the time being and I’m only working a part time (very part time) job. Is it really possible that I’m able to stress myself out more than when I was super busy working a full time job and going to school full time? Oh yeah, and I’m sure the driving lessons aren’t helping. Nor the fact that my driving instructor always reminds me not to kill him.

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Anyway, I’ve taken to meditation to try and relieve some of the stress and anxiety I’ve been having. The problem is that I’m only able to go for about 10 minutes without wanting to fall asleep or…eat something. Luckily, I’ve come across some studies where chocolate, the dark kind of course, is said to lower stress levels as well. Though, you’d think that with the vast amounts of chocolate I eat I’d be the most care free person in the world.

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These dark chocolate truffles are a take on a recipe from Vegetarian Everyday, the new cookbook from Green Kitchen Stories. They’re a perfect healthy snack with no added sugar and an additional healthy boost from spirulina. I changed up the original recipe a little bit by making a few different variations. One is filled with syrupy balsamic vinegar and rolled in coconut sugar, another is mixed with a little bit of cayenne for some heat and rolled in cocoa, and the last is the regular truffle rolled in dried coconut. I’m sure there are a million different possible variations that would be delicious. Maybe some peppermint extract or some fresh herbs such as basil, rosemary, or lavender would be great. These truffles are also really beautiful and would make a great gift since they’re vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, and raw. They could also be made caffeine free if you’re into that sort of thing (just use carob instead of the cocoa).

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Cocoa Date Truffles with 3 variations (raw, vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free)
Makes about 20 – 30 truffles
Adapted from Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl from Green Kitchen Stories

20 dates, pitted
2 tbsp extra virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil
2 tbsp raw cacao or regular unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp spirulina, or substitute with more cocoa
a good pinch of pink himalayan sea salt

Variations:
Cayenne pepper, to taste
about 1 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
extra cocoa powder
dried shredded coconut
coconut sugar

In a food processor, combine the dates and coconut oil. Blend on low until smooth. Keep scraping down sides of the bowl. Add cocoa, spirulina, and salt and pulse until thoroughly combined. This can also be done in a bowl by using your hands to knead everything together. Refrigerate mixture for about 30 minutes or until cold and firm. Divide the mixture into 3 equal pieces.

Cayenne Truffles: add cayenne powder to taste and knead with a fork or by hand. Start off with about an 1/8 tsp and taste for heat. Roll into balls and roll in cocoa powder.

Balsamic Truffles: remove about 2 tbsp of mixture from the second piece and mash in about 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar. The mixture should be very sticky. Divide the rest of the portion into balls. Flatten each out and place a little bit of the balsamic mixture into each one. Fold up the edges of the truffles and roll into balls. Roll in coconut sugar.

Basic Truffles: roll into equal sized balls and roll into coconut flakes or whatever else you would like

Truffles are best kept in the fridge.

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Passion Fruit Lemon Macarons

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It’s a well known fact that I’m lazy. When it comes to doing things for myself or anything without a set deadline or schedule I will most certainly put it off. For instance, I told Christoph I’d fix his jacket in time for winter. That was last summer. Recently, I just started learning how to drive…7 years after I said I’d do it (and I’m only doing it because my permit is about to expire).

My point is that I’d like to blog more but I often put it off since I don’t have a set schedule or deadline and such. If this was my full time job I’m positive that I would blog at least once a week and focus all my energy into each post. But, before I started blogging I really never realized how much time and effort goes into one post. The process of coming up with an idea, looking at recipes, creating a recipe, baking, cooking, cleaning, setting up, finding props, making props, finding proper lighting, taking photos, taking more photos, cleaning up, editing photos, choosing photos, thinking of something to write, writing something interesting, posting photos to food websites, etc. is a lot of work!

Which reminds me, I need to work on organizing the dozens of cookbooks I keep on buying. I guess I’ll get to that one day.

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This year for Mother’s day I was requested to make macarons instead of making the usual brunch. Seeing as it was snowing outside it probably wouldn’t have been so nice to have a backyard patio brunch anyway. Yeah seriously, snowing a few days after I was getting a tan in my backyard. Luckily, the weather is back to normal and I can sit here on my patio sunning my seriously pale legs.

I was planning on making lemon macarons but at the last minute added passion fruit puree to the curd and it was delicious. Also, what’s great about filling macarons with this curd is that you’ll be able to use up your left over egg yolks after making the macs. Good thing too, cause I’m sure I’d just leave them in there for days telling myself I’d use them later.

Passion Fruit Macarons
Makes about 40 1.5″ macaron sandwich cookies

For the macaron shells make a double (x2) batch of Basic Macarons and colour the egg whites with a few drops of yellow gel colouring during the last minute of whipping

Passion Fruit and Lemon Curd
Adapted from this recipe 

1/2 cup unsweetened passion fruit puree (without seeds)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick/113g) of salted butter, cut into pieces
2 tbsp cornstarch
4 large egg yolks, lightly whisked in a bowl

Add all ingredients except for the yolks to a heavy bottomed medium sized pot. Simmer on medium high heat while whisking constantly for about a minute till the mixture has thickened. Temper the egg yolks by adding a few spoonfuls of passion fruit mixture to the yolks and whisking quickly. Keep adding a few spoonfuls at a time until the egg mixture is warm. Add the egg mixture to the pot and quickly whisk in to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Keep whisking for a couple more minutes until the mixture is very thick. Transfer to a heat proof bowl and cover the surface of the curd directly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.

To assemble the macarons, fill up a plastic piping bag with the curd and pipe about a teaspoons worth of curd onto half the macaron shells and sandwich with the other half. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to eat. They will keep fresh for a few days.

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