Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Food Processor Needs a Home on the Counter....

...Why, you ask? Because that makes tackling seemingly-inconvenient recipes a daily possibility (without having to lug the heavy, awkward beast out from the nether regions of my pantry every other evening). You'd be surprised how integral the food processor is to the plant-based kitchen!

Aw! Home Sweet Home!

Two recipes that are simplified by an easy-access food processor are nestled in this rather lengthy entry. Stick with me! :)

Alas, after a wonderful week "abroad" with my parents, I got some R&R and had some plant-friendly food fun! It's always a blessing when others exert themselves to accommodate my new eating style.

More often than not, I feel like a downright nuisance when I'm in guest-mode (a vestige of my "never-put-your-host-out!" upbringing, I suppose). But with one's parents there is a special kind of freedom to be yourself as much as you please. Plus my rents are pretty awesome cooks. Thanks, guys!

This meal was one of the food highlights of the week: Grilled veggies, four bean salad, broiled potato slices, and corn on the cob. YUM!

The second highlight was a show-stopping vegan hummus wrap from a humble sandwich shop called The Island Star. Zach got the same one and enjoyed it, too! I appreciated how they did not skimp on their homemade hummus (Panera gives you a measly scrape on their Mediterranean version. Bummer!).

Between the avocado, sprouts, and generous slather of hummus, it was so to-die-for yummy I was tempted to skip around the cottage like a school girl! Alas, I didn't snag a picture for you because I wolfed it down too quickly. Sorry, folks... That happens sometimes.

And then I came home to tackle a recipe that's been beckoning to me like a sailor's siren from a sea-sprayed rock in a dark and misty ocean. Okay, that imagery's a bit much, but still. I love Asian food (Asian and Mexican cuisines = hands-down favorites). So anytime I can make said ethnic fare for myself I feel like I get to bring the restaurant experience into my home!

So yes, this meal was begging for a go-around. The recipe and step-by-step instructions can be found here. (I'm developing a blog crush on Angela Liddon's Oh She Glows something fierce. My only regret is that there aren't enough meals or dessert ops in the week to try pretty much everything on her site!)

My attempt was worth all the random ingredients, dirty dishes, and the commissioning of Mr. Food Processor. The peanut butter lime sauce alone was spoon-worthy! (Yes, a spoon was the utensil of choice!)

For an oil-free version, I would suggest swapping out the sesame oil with broth or tahini and seeing if that comes out well.

Angela suggests rice wrappers and romaine lettuce as 2 veggie bundling options, but I adore some good old fashioned nori and made my trial wrap with a sheet of that green goodness first. Mmm. :)

Working with the rice wrappers wasn't too tricky. I used a shallow pie dish with warm water to soak the wrappers since a narrower bowl caused ripping. 

Overall, I think making our own sushi at home conditioned my fingers for the task. I must have done something amiss, however, because they did have a hard time holding up when it came to chowing down on them. 

I wish I could dive in that little tea cup and swim in it! :) Ok, enough from me. Make it for yourself and see!

Another reason the food processor needs a prominent place in my kitchen is because of my recent discovery of the increasingly popular frozen banana "ice-cream" revolution! I loved, loved, loved ice-cream in my dairy days with a capital LOVE. The perceived abolition of this beloved comfort food was probably one of the heftier sacrifices I made in going plant-based.

But wait! A new dawn rises! 

Now that processing some bananas and throwing in a fun array of flavors and toppings is such an easy and DELICIOUS substitute, I find that I can be plant-based AND relish guilt-free "ice-cream"! I actually thank the Lord for this! :) 

My first batch was made as follows:

Serves: 2
Nutrition (without add-ins): Calories: 143; Fat: 3.6g; Fiber: 4.7g; Sugar: 14.8g; Protein: 2.2g

  • 2 frozen ripe bananas
  • Splashes of almond milk if needed (this is to help the blending. You want an ice cream consistency. Too much liquid = smoothie, so add liquids with caution).
  • 2 heaping tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
That's it! No added sugars needed. The ripe bananas provide ample sweetness. Just process the bananas until smooth (it takes time and a few jabs with a spoon), adding small splashes of plant milk, if needed, to help lubricate blending. Once chunks are gone, add cacao, vanilla, and cinnamon and mix until incorporated.  

When I still had about half left in the processor, I thought: Why not blend some peanut butter in there?? 

And so I did! It was chocolate-peanut-butter-ice-cream-tastic. And then I thought: in my next batch, I should try mint extract, mint chocolate bar pieces and make mint chocolate chip ice cream. 

You can obviously experiment with endless possibilities here (and more sugar might end up in the end product this way, so consider your options accordingly). Don't like chocolate? Make a "vanilla" soft-serve sans the cacao. Add in nuts, fruit, granola, coconut, cookie crumbles, etc. Whatever ice-cream flavor you favor can be recreated one way or another this way!

Who says you can't eat out of teacups?

Voila! Easy, delicious, healthy! Go ahead... lick the spoon, lick your bowl, lick the processor. Bananas (with no sugar but their own!) never hurt a single ice-cream-loving soul. :) 


  1. I made the ice cream! It was very chocolatey but tasty nonetheless. I think I'll just use a little less cocoa next time.

  2. Banana sizes also vary so much... could be the ratio was off. But yeah, you can even cut the cocoa in half and compensate with other flavors! Glad you liked it! :)