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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Raw Banana Ice Cream

I have been greatly enjoying learning different aspects about raw foods. This recipe may not be perfect for an ice cream connoisseur but I was happy with how it turned out and thought I should put it up and share my experience.

Very simple and easy.
No sweeteners no dairy no eggs.
Surprisingly satisfying :-)
I loved it.

Inspired from various sources:
For raw ice cream click here.
For fresh coconut milk click here.
I did not discard the water from the coconut and used it to make the milk. And I felt too lazy to peel off the dark outer side of the coconut so I left it on thinking that it might add a nice creamy color to the "milk".
Both these sites are very well written with absolutely beautiful pictures.
Highly recommend you read the info there.

You can make this without a fancy blender like a Vitamix or an ice cream maker. I own a Braun Multiquick 400W Immersion hand blender. Which is just AWESOME and I love it to death. I have had it for 8 years now and no complaints. Bought it from amazon but sadly it is now unavailable..... anyway the point of this whole story is that any decent (300W and up) blender should work. The end product might not be super flawlessly smooth but it will be good enough.

This will not freeze like regular ice cream. After an overnight in the freezer  it will be too hard or crumbly to scoop out. You will need to rest it on the counter top for 7-10  minutes to soften a little before you can handle it.

(serves 3-4)

Raw cashews 3/4 cup (soaked in cold water for 2 hours)
Raw coconut milk 1 cup
Very very ripe bananas 4 large
By very ripe I mean the peel should be 70% dark brown. After peeling cut into small pieces and freeze over night - you should have about 4 cups.

Toppings *optional

Raw cacao nibs 1/4 cup  *I bought mine from Marie & Frères
Walnuts 1/2 cup (freshly shelled and chopped roughly)

Coconut Milk

Making fresh coconut milk is easy once you have successfully cracked it open :-)
First I poked 2 hole in the "eyes" of the coconut and collected the water - it was about half a cup. I used a clean screwdriver and hammer to accomplish this.
Then I smacked the coconut very hard with a hammer several times and all over to crack it open.
Once it was open I used the power of my bare hands to break it into large chunks.
To take the hairy shell off  I used a butter knife and stuck it between the shell and the flesh to loosen the flesh. This was easy... the flesh came out without much effort in large pieces.
I washed and then chopped up the flesh into 1" chunks and threw everything in a blender.
I added an extra 1/2 cup of regular plain water.
And then I let the blender do it's thing for several minutes.
I drained the pulp through several sheets of cheese cloth and collected the "milk" in a cup.
I was also left with maybe 1/2 Tbs worth of coconut butter at the bottom of the blender and I added that to the milk. You can see bits of the fat floating in the liquid in the picture below.
I have to say that the milk and the especially butter was so MmmmmMmm YUMEE!
Very delicate coconut flavor and so fresh tasting..... way better than anything out of a can.
Seriously I wanted to just drink it plain!


Blend the frozen bananas, coconut milk and cashews (throw away the soaking liquid) in a blender until smooth.
My blender took me 3-4 minutes, depending on what you use... yours might take less or more time.
I also had to stop a couple times during blending and use a spatula to dislodge frozen bananas in the blender.
It should look like soft serve with a slight texture after everything is blended well.
At this point you can eat it plain or with some walnuts and cacao nibs sprinkled on top.
If you want it to be more frozen or if you have left overs then pour out the slush in a large bowl.... freeze it for an hour and then blend it again. I used the stick attachment for this.
Do that 2-3 times and you will have a nicer and smoother consistency.
Mix in the walnuts and cacao nibs or just sprinkle on top.

You can easily use an ice cream maker if you have one... just follow instructions on the manual.
Typically that means freezing the bowl insert overnight and then churning the cooled ice cream custard - which in this case would be the blended slush - for about 30 mins..... hmm I am thinking maybe you don't need to use frozen bananas for the ice cream machine?

I should also point out that I happen to love fruity or nutty ice-creams more than chocolate flavors. What makes it good for me is a natural flavor and a natural color.

I really enjoyed some pretty awesome banana ice-cream last year in Hotspot Lahore. It had walnuts and bits of chocolate in it. In fact I made the above recipe thinking about the one from Hotspot.

And while we are on the subject..... OMG 3 Twins Ice Cream!
The scoop shop in SF had the best ever banana (not listed on their site) and strawberry ice-cream. Needless to say both flavors were incredibly tasty but what drew me to them was their perfect color!

Really good blueberry ice cream  from Cascadian Farms.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Buckwheat Pancakes

Very very good!
I first had them at Chace's Pancake Corral a few years ago and fell in love. This is my absolute favorite type of pancake ever! Since then I have tried them at various other breakfast places and found that many of them use a much higher ratio of plain flour in their mixture, which results in a lighter colored very meh kind of buckwheat pancake.

This recipe uses very little flour and delivers a rich buckwheat flavor. I even dare to believe that this pancake is much better than Chase's :-) Give it try... you might agree with me.

(serves 2 - makes six 4" pancakes)
(prep time 5 mins)
(cook for a few mins per pancake. Total cook time 15 mins)

Buckwheat flour 1/2 cup
All purpose flour  2 Tbs
Melted butter 2 Tbs
Large egg 1
Lemon zest 1/3 Tbs * adjustable - add more,less or none
Fat free Greek yogurt 2 Tbs  *I love Chobani
(Dilute this with enough water to make 1 cup liquid. Start by adding 1/4 cup of water to the yogurt. Mix well with a fork and then add the rest of the water... otherwise the mixture will be lumpy)
Fat free milk 1/4 cup
Pure cane sugar 1 Tbs
Salt 1/4 tsp
Baking powder 1/2 tsp
I didn't have fresh blueberries otherwise I would have liked to toss a handful (1/2 cup) into the syrup and/or the batter.

Blueberry Syrup

You can ofcourse use any brand of syrup or jam with these :-)
But just to cut back on sugar and also to make it a syrupy consistency I added one part of water to two parts of Bonne Maman wild blueberry persevses and warmed it up in a sauce pan.


Combine everything in a large bowl.
Heat a non stick pan to medium high.
Add a drop of butter before pouring about 1/4 cup worth of batter on to the pan.
The batter will spread by itself to roughly a 4" diameter.
Cook for a minute or until you see little bubbles forming on the surface on the pancake, this is a good indication that you are ready to flip the pancake and cook the other side... this side will take about 30-45 seconds to cook.
Repeat until the batter runs out with a drop of butter before each pour.

Awesome with butter and warm syrup.
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