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Chocolate Avocado Coconut Mousse

Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_Vegan-dessert_Merry-Christmas_Svetia_Yes,-more-please!

Chocolate, who can’t resist chocolate specially at this time of the year?…Dreaming of luscious chocolate desserts, this Chocolate Avocado Coconut Mousse recipe it’s the ticket for a simple crowd pleaser dessert. You would not believe how free of everything this mousse is. It should be called “Chocolate Freedom”. The truth is, If you want to make a dessert suited for all guests, taste good for all palates, and diverse diets you are at the right place.

For me, Chocolate Mousse is the perfect ending dessert for a dinner party. You can prepare it ahead, its no fuss, looks gorgeous, and suits all crowds. This recipe, especially suits guests with diverse diets: dairy-free, gluten-free,  sugar-free, nut-free, grain-free, egg-free, all free diet situations. I feel people with food sensitivities are often neglected, or end up with fruit as a dessert, why not go the extra mile? On the other hand for the cooks at home its always a little stressful to think or trying to cook or bake with un-familiar ingredients, well I got you covered, this recipe is also easy on the Cook. Simple ingredients, a few simple steps and your guests will appreciate you going the extra mile. Its is always nice to make the effort to make a happy ending dessert for everyone especially during the holiday season.

Read the recipe very carefully, and please, do not make faces; yes I can see you from here frowning about avocado and chocolate. I was one of those people as well. Now I’m converted. To be honest, once you try this combination I know you’ll be converted too. Let’s talk a little about it.

Avocado is a natural source of creaminess and good oils in combination with the coconut cream and the chocolate gives this dessert all the lusciousness by mimicking the texture that cream, butter, and eggs give to a more traditional mousse recipe.

Avocados only mission in this recipe is to give a light body and creamy texture to the mousse. It imparts no discernible flavor. Next ingredient: the coconut cream, which adds that velvety silky soft texture that is characteristic of any mousse. And of course the main ingredient: Chocolate. Almost all the success on this recipe will depend on the chocolate quality you choose. That is what shines: Dark, rich, chocolate. Be splendid and generous when buying your chocolate, choose at least a good 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate. I have some suggestions for you at the end of the recipe.

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In other recipes you could place almost all recipe ingredients into a food processor and be done but I went ahead and added just a few steps that make this recipe dreamy.  Like, sieving the avocado to make it creamier and remove any fibrous treads. Also by folding some whipped coconut cream at the end, which for me makes a huge difference, giving this mousse a cloudy silky texture.

And last but not least, another great “free” quality about his mousse, is that I used Svetia. Svetia it’s a Natural sweetener made with the Stevia plant. An all natural sweetener. A little of this powerful Svetia Sweetener goes a long way, I like my mousse lightly sweetened and using this calorie free sweetener completes the dreamy dessert, for those guest with sugar sensitivity.

If you are ready to try something new this season, and make your special guests happy! Give this Chocolate Avocado Mousse a chance and surprise all your guests, by revealing the ingredient at the end of the dinner. I bet you they would not even believe that an avocado was incorporated. And on the other side of the table your vegan, dairy free, gluten-free and sugar-free guests will be really happy and gratefully ask for the recipe.
Enjoy
Happy Holidays!

Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_Vegan-Dessert-Yes,-more-please!

Chocolate Avocado Coconut Mousse

Serves 4- 8 servings depending on scoop size.

10 oz fresh ripe Avocado Hass flesh*
1 can coconut cream unsweetened,** I used Chaokoh Thailand brand
2 teaspoons Walnut oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch kosher salt
2 Svetia sweetener envelopes or 2 tablespoon of any other alternative sugar option like coconut sugar, date sugar, or maple syrup.

8 oz of at least 70% Cacao Bittersweet chocolate bar, roughly chopped, melted and slightly cooled. I used Green and Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate.***

1 can coconut cream to make whipped coconut cream

3-4 Sugar free-gluten free Candy Canes to crush and garnish.
You can use fresh berries to garnish, cacao nibs, toasted coconut or toasted nuts in case of no nut allergies.

Important Notes:

*Since avocados differ in size and amount of flesh depending on avocado types, please weigh the avocado flesh, and make sure you buy avocado Hass which are the most creamy and less fibrous.

**When buying coconut cream, I prefer any brand from Thailand, whole foods or Traders Joe’s, because they have the best richness and creaminess. check and read the labels.

***Other vegan bars:Theo 82%, Madecasse 80%, Scharffen Berger 82%
I found an article on line about Green and Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate label in which I read that it does not have any milk powder or solids on the formula, but it is made adjacent to a facility that makes milk chocolate. So by regulation, they had to specify that on the label.

Preparation Method:

1. Cut avocados in half, remove pits, and place flesh on a scale, you need 10oz of avocado flesh. Then on a bowl and holding a fine sieve, mashed the fresh avocado fresh through the sieve until smooth.
2. With a hand blender or on a food processor add the sieved avocado, and purée until smooth and frothy. You should have a silky and lump free avocado purée.
3. To this avocado pure add 1 can of unsweetened cream of coconut, salt, cinnamon, walnut oil and vanilla. Whip until smooth, frothy, and pale green using a hand mixer. Set aside.

Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_sieve,puree,-sweeten-and-puree 4. Melt all the chocolate on a double boiler until warm and smooth. Set aside to cool down.
5. Once chocolate has cooled down a little, add melted chocolate to the avocado coconut mixture. Mix well until smooth and room temp. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes to an hour, or until firm to the touch. It should feel like cold frosting on a cake.
6. Meantime, place the second can of coconut cream on the freezer for at least 30-45 minutes. Make sure the can is standing up. After 45 minutes, Open the can carefully and by now the coconut solids have separated. The coconut fat will rise to the top, leaving the coconut water on the bottom. With a spoon collect all coconut fat and place on a small bowl. Save the coconut water for another preparation, or discard.
7. If coconut solids are to frozen wait until they are soft and cold enough to whip them. When ready to whip Add some Stevia or any other sweetener of your preference and using a hand mixer whip until soft picks form. Reserve some of this Whipped Coconut Cream to garnish.
8. Remove Chocolate mixture from the refrigerator. Whip mixture with hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Using a spatula, gently fold in the coconut whipped cream into chocolate mixture using up and down folding movements until all the whipped coconut cream is incorporated, and the mousse looks light and fluffy.

Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_Mix,-Refrigerate-whipChocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse-Coconut-Whipped-Cream_fold

9. Chill some glasses, and using an ice cream scooper, scoop one or two servings on each glass or ramekins. Keep mousse refrigerated until time to serve.
When time to serve, add a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with crushed sugar-free candy canes. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_Crushed-Sugarfree-Candy-CanesChocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_Yes,-more-please!Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_Sugarfree_Yes,-more-please!

This post was sponsored by SVETIA.US
The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*

Thank you SVETIA! for providing the product and sponsorship.

Music Pairing: Love Actually- Christmas its all Around Us.

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Mariana’s Pipian Verde

Mariana's-Pipian-Verde_Pumpkin-seeds_Yes,-more-please!

One of the most iconic and traditional Mexican dishes, Mole Poblano, gets all the fame and glory, but what about the rest of the Moles? There are at least another 7 moles from Oaxaca, imagine that is just one state… equally delicious, easier, different chiles and seeds combinations, seasonal, upon what is available in different regions and Grandmas’, Moms’, and Aunts’ taste. Each family has their own traditions, style and way to prepare them. Which one is more authentic?.. The one that is more you-er than you. I do not like to refer to a dish as authentic, I believe its more about tradition. Unless we go authenticating Grandmas, Moms and Aunts out there…unless it’s a Picasso painting.

Tradition is what a dish should reflect. The way and manner it was prepared in your family, at a place in time and history that has carry on within. That’s what resonates more with a recipe, like that yellowish piece of paper that has butter spots and crunchy edges, you can barely read from your grandmas handwriting, and that you have slightly adapted because of personal preferences but its done and evokes you memories and flavors that ground you, and hold a spot in your family history.

Mariana's-Pipian-Verde_ingredients

In this case Pipian Verde it is not part of my family history, nor was traditionally made at home, but it is part of my culture and my Mexican flavors. I’ve always admired this dishes for the complexity yet so warm and comforting flavors. This Pipian Verde tells my story as a cook, the way I’ve adapted and embraced flavors in a foreign country, and the eagerness to rescue my Mexican cooking flavors.

My Pipian Verde recipe its my own translation of this traditional Mole. Not only on flavor, but also with a simpler method and an updated way to prepare it at home.
With all intention of show casing the pepitas flavor, the herbaceous distinctive smell and color, I used what is best available in austin, Texas, the city I currently call home. I thought about herbs and ingredients, that will mimic the flavors in a new refreshing way. Light, velvety and bright flavor with a hint of heat that will warm the back of your throat. This is my recipe for Pipian Verde, adapted for what I could best find in my city. If you decide to make this recipe, be fearless, do it with the best ingredients you have, use your instincts, adapt. I will assure you it will be the best Pipian you’ve ever had. Youer than you.  After that, you will fall in love with this green mole.

This mole is the beginning of my own traditions.
I hope you enjoy it and embrace the anewness

Mariana's-Pipian-Verde_toasting-and-grounding-the-pepitas

Mariana's-Pipian-Verde_chopped-ingredients

Mariana’s Pipian Verde

Serves 6-8

The unique flavor of toasted pepitas, chiles, corn masa and herbs give this beautiful bright green Mole a lighter quality and a velvety sauce. It is absolutely outstanding combination with any white fleshy fish, shrimp, chicken, turkey or roasted vegetables and root vegetables, like zucchinis, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, mirliton, carrots, rutabagas, parsnips… among others. Because of the amount of fresh herbs this Mole taste better the day its made, and it will hold for the next two days in the refrigerator.

¾ cup raw pepitas, toasted and finely ground*

8-10 (upon size) green tomatillos
2 medium poblano peppers chopped and de seeded.
3-4 Serrano peppers
¼ medium sized onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup up to 1 cup slightly packed, fresh epazote leaves**
¼ cup parsley leaves
½ romaine heart lettuce
2 cups baby power greens, like spinach, kale, arugula, mustard, chard.****
½ teaspoon anise seeds toasted
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds toasted
6 peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt
A few drizzles of extra virgin olive oil

3-4 cups chicken stock***

4 tablespoons white corn masa harina, diluted in 6 tablespoons water or chicken stock.

Notes:
*I used my spice “coffee” grinder to pulverize the toasted pepitas. Pulsing on a food processor might work too.
** Smell and taste the epazote, if this is the first time you use it, taste it it has a minty-liquorice flavor. If it is to strong for you, start by adding ½ the amount, adjust to your tastebuds.
*** I made my chicken stock using a small whole chicken. I usually add to my stock, 1 carrot, ½ onion, 1 long celery stalk, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 large bay leaf , salt and pepper to taste. It is easy to prepare, you make the most of your ingredients, using the stock and the chicken.
****Why baby greens? because they are tender and the flavor will not mask the nutty delicate pepita flavor.

For Vegan version: Use a roasted vegetable stock, preferable to add extra flavor.

Mariana's-Pipian-Verde_baby-greens

Preparation Method:

1.In a blender add the chopped tomatillos, poblanos, serranos, onion, garlic, epazote leaves, parsley leaves, romaine lettuce, power baby greens, toasted anise seeds, toasted cumin, peppercorns, salt, 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and blend well for about 3-4 minutes until pureed.

Mariana's-Pipian-Verde_blend-it-up!
2. On a 7 QT. clay or enamel Pot, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil. Once it starts to ripple , carefully add the green blended concoction. It might splatter so use an apron. Stir, and let low simmer for 10 minutes. Remove any white foam that comes to the surface. Stir now and then.
3. With the help of a whisk incorporate into the green sauce the pulverized toasted pepitas little by little to avoid clumps. If the sauce is getting to thick add one more cup of warm chicken stock little at a time. Chicken stock has to be warm so the mole do not break and separate.
4. Gently whisk, and add the diluted masa harina little at the time. And add another cup of the chicken stock. Whisk gently. And let the mole on a gently slow simmer for another 10 minutes stirring now and then making sure you scrape the bottom to avoid hot spots. As it cooks the mole will thicken, If the consistency its to thick add more chicken stock, little at the time, you want a creamy consistency, that will cover the back of a spoon.
5. At his point I used my immersion blender and blend for 1 minute until smooth and velvety. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use the food processor or a blender. Please, be really careful and cautious when handling hot sauces into the blender.
6. Taste for salt , adjust if necessary let it simmer at the lowest.

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7. Serve warm over a piece of chicken, pork, white fish grilled or sauteed, or any Vegetables. Be generous with the sauce, cover the entire surface, and maybe a little more. Garnish with toasted pepitas, a side of brown rice, or your favorite garlicky rice pilaf. Enjoy!

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Interested on cooking this delicious Pipian Verde and learning other 2 moles with me?

Come and join me at Kitchen Underground headquarters for a Moles and Mezcal Cooking class

Pipian Verde * Mole Amarillo * Mole de Novia

For registration and more information about this class: Kitchen Underground

“Para todo Mal un Mezcal, y para todo Bien… también!”

Looking forward to see you there!…

Any Class suggestions, Yes, more please! shoot us a comment…

Music Pairing: Luis Cobos Huapango Popurri

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Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_ingredients_Yes, more please!

Sweet peppers are what you can find at the markets in Austin, Texas right now. Beautiful varieties, colorful, different shapes and sizes. Perhaps one or two sassy ones among the bunch, but mostly they are fleshy, sweet and flavorful.

For me, grilling these kind of sweet peppers bring the best flavors in them. The sweet mild flesh with the charred pieces of skin are what inspired me to make this salad. We love to grill at this time of the year when it does not feel like you are grilling your self over, September its a better Grilling Time for us.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Grilling-Sweet-peppers

So what to do with all these chard sweet peppers? I combined them with the most handsome Italian grain of them all: Farro, my favorite grain, because of his nutty flavor,  great bite and texture. This gigolo of a grain has to become part of your pantry. I cook farro the same way I cook pasta, in lots of water and a couple of pinches of salt,  for about 20-25 minutes. Once its cooked, I strain the water, air dry it, and while still warm I add a sensible vinaigrette, of green grassy extra virgin olive oil along with a generous splash of red wine vinegar for a bright flavor. Coriander seeds, garlic, salt and pepper where my flavors of choice for this grilled salad.

Last but not least, I added grilled Sweet Peppers, grilled red onions, some fresh celery for crunch and sprinkled some bulgarian feta to add some salty and creamy texture. It is a great hearthy salad.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Charred-red-onions

This Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad will flirt with lunch or dinner, the perfect match for roasted or grilled, chicken, pork or lamb. If you are feeling not so carnivorous, put an egg on it. This Farro salad best companion was a glass of red wine, we had a good Tempranillo and some Lamb Loin chops on the side. It was a great end of the Summer welcome Fall dinner.

Enjoy!

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Yes,-more-please

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad

Serves 4-6 Italian portions

1-1/2 cup dry Farro
18-20 Sweet peppers any kind, any color, mix and match.
1 large red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh celery, include the leaves

For the vinaigrette:

1/2 to 1  teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and coarsley chrushed
1 small garlic clove finely chopped or smashed through a garlic press.
1 teaspoon honey
1 lemon, grilled and juiced.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.

In a mason jar place all the vinaigrette ingredients, close jar with the lid on tight and shake-shake shake…then ready to use.

Bulgarian Feta crumbs to top.
Chopped Mint or Texas Marigold (optional)

Preparation Method:

1. On a large pot filled with water, and 2 good pinches of salt, add Farro, bring to a boil and cook for 20-25 minutes. Taste for doneness. Drain water and air dry on a colander.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Cooked-Farro

2. Grill red onion and sweet peppers. Once the peppers have cool enough to handle them, peel them, remove seeds and cut into stripes.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Grilled-Sweet-peppers-and-OnionsSweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Chop,-chop,-chop

3. On a large plater or a bowl, combine the cooked farro along with all the vinaigrette, the sweet pepper stripes, grilled onions, celery, mint, salt and pepper. Use your hands, toss well. When ready to serve sprinkle the feta crumbs.

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Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_a great simple salad_Yes,-more-please

There is nothing like great ingredients, treated with respect, paired and cooked right and you will have a heck of good dinner!
Enjoy.

Music Pairing: I’m Just a Gigolo- Louis Prima

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Hibiscus Mint Fruit Punch

Hibiscus-Fruit-Punch_SVETIA_Yes,-more-please!

While growing up, Hibiscus-Jamaica agua fresca was often the drink of choice to refresh on a Summery day.  I remember my mom and grandma buying the dry flowers in bulk. Hibiscus-flor de Jamaica or Roselle should not be confused by the ornamental hibiscus plants, these ruby red flowers come from a different plant scientific name Hibiscus sabdariffa which are dried and used in many preparations, from sweet to savory dishes. The flavor profile of this Hibiscus is highly acidic, almost citrus like. It contains high doses of vitamin C and a unique flowery citrus flavor that is just right for refreshing drinks and tames the thirst on hot summer days. For me, growing up in Mexico, Agua fresca de Jamaica was my “cool”aid.

Hibiscus-Fruit-Punch_dry-hibiscus-tea

With this in mind and thinking of something refreshing and fun to drink, I thought of making a fruit punch, or the good Sister of Sangria. This Hibiscus Mint Fruit Punch  just got loaded with lots of fresh fruit, and SVETIA sweetener which makes this Fruit punch the good sister of Sangria, or the healthiest Agua Fresca!

I found SVETIA by chance at the grocery store, I gave it a try and I think is a good option to naturally sweeten up drinks and beverages. It is Stevia based and it has a minimal amount of real sugar just to cut the edge of the natural bitterness of Stevia.
I think its a good naturally derived alternative. Check their website for more information click here SVETIA

We are almost on the last weekend of Summer, what a great way to refresh with a refreshing not-too- sweet Fruit Punch. Combined with fresh fruit its almost an afternoon snack itself.  Chunks of crisp apples, juicy slices of orange, Frozen grapes and plum cuts, or plums that you nibble as you drink are refreshing and fun to eat. I freeze some of the fruit, so your drink stays cool longer with out watering down the flavor. Other great additions of fruit could be strawberries or blackberries. I just stick to the ones I use in Sangria.

Fresh-Hibiscus-Fruit-Punch_steep-hibiscus-flowers

To make this Punch will need…

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