Vegan Mixed Berry “Ice Cream” (#60-D/E)

12 07 2013

Apologies!  I realize it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a new recipe.  But now that we’re into July and there’s nothing in the forecast but sunshine, it’s definitely time to kick up ice cream consumption into high gear.

Environment Canada weather forescast

Nothing but sunshine in Vancouver’s summer weather forecast!

There’s nothing better than a huge bowl of creamy goodness when it’s 27 degrees out.  Except if you have a dairy or egg allergy or if you are vegan.

That’s where alternative frozen treats come in.  Walk into any grocery store and dairy-free and egg-free options abound — there’s rice milk ice cream, nut milk ice cream, soy milk ice cream, and coconut milk ice cream.  But personally, I’ve been pretty disappointed with alternative ice creams.  The taste seems artificial and the texture far too gummy.  And brands that pass the taste and texture test are usually pretty pricey, up to $9.00 a pint.  Solution?  Make your own, of course!

There are two routes for making dairy-free/egg-free/vegan ice cream at home:

  1. Use a non-dairy milk as the base (e.g. rice, nut, soy, or coconut milk)
  2. Use frozen banana as the base.

I’ve explored the first option (check out my recipes for Banana Bread Ice Cream, which has the option of using soy milk, and Purple Yam and Coconut Ice Cream, which uses both soy and coconut milk), so I figured it’s time to start exploring the latter.  The method is super simple and you don’t even need to have an ice cream maker!  For this particular recipe, it was just a matter of whirling up frozen, ripe bananas and mixed berries.  Done.  Ripe bananas are so sweet that you don’t even need to add any extra sugar, which is a bonus.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Vegan Mixed Berry Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

4 very ripe bananas, peeled, sliced, and frozen overnight
2 cups of mixed berries, frozen overnight (I used a combination of blueberries and strawberries)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vodka

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Chocolate Raspberry Frozen Yogurt (#59-Y)

11 06 2013

There are a lot of people out there who don’t like yogurt.  For many, it’s the characteristic tang of yogurt that’s the deal breaker.  The solution?  Chocolate.  And lots of it.

This frozen yogurt recipe calls for a whopping 3/4 cup of Dutch cocoa powder — the same amount as in my recipe for Ultra Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream, which I made waaaay back in Week #5.  I assure you that the deep, chocolatey taste of cocoa powder will mask any hint of tang in the yogurt.  Even if you have the most discerning palette, hyper-sensitive sour taste buds, and can pick out even the slightest whisper of tang in your food, you will likely attribute that taste to the sweet-tart macerated raspberries that are churned throughout the frozen yogurt.

Rather than using 2% plain Greek yogurt (Oikos brand – 130 calories, 3.5 g fat, 17 g protein per 1/2 cup) as I did with my last two frozen yogurt recipes, I gave 3% plain regular yogurt (Astro brand – 80 calories, 4 g fat, 5 g protein per 1/2 cup) a try this week to see if there’d be any difference in using a thinner yogurt, albeit one with a slightly higher fat content.

Astro 3% plain yogurt

3% plain regular yogurt has fewer calories and is cheaper than 2% plain Greek yogurt, but doesn’t compromise on taste and texture in frozen yogurt recipes.

Results?  Taste: AWESOME.  Texture: AWESOME.  Granted, I ought to test this recipe using both 2% Greek yogurt and 3% regular yogurt and do a side-by-side comparison, but based on this recipe alone, I’m convinced I could use either variety in my frozen yogurt recipes and have fantastic results.  Bonus: regular yogurt is usually cheaper than Greek yogurt!

(Readers: please let me know if you try this recipe using fat-free, 1%, or full-fat varieties of yogurt.  I’d be very interested in hearing about your results!)

Chocolate Raspberry Frozen Yogurt  (Makes about 1 L)

For the Chocolate Frozen Yogurt:

3/4 c Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup white sugar
3 cups of plain yogurt

For the Macerated Raspberries:

1 cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon vodka

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Strawberry Balsamic Frozen Yogurt with Balsamic Syrup (#58-Y)

20 05 2013

The Victoria Day Long Weekend calls for an impromptu dinner party, and an impromptu dinner party calls for quick, simple dishes:

French bread, tapenade, olives, bruschetta

Olives, bruschetta, tapenade, and crusty French bread.  (Pick up from the deli and ask the bakery to slice the bread for you.)

fennel orange salad


Fennel and orange salad with lemon olive oil dressing.  (Pre-washed spring mix is such a time saver!)

Linguine with clams, pasta with clams


Bucatini with Clams (An easy and impressive main with just 12 minutes of cooking time!)

And to finish, Strawberry Balsamic Frozen Yogurt.  But I’ll save that photo for the end of this post, along with the Official Taster’s comments 🙂

If you haven’t had strawberries with balsamic vinegar before, you must.  They are a classic and wonderfully complementary pairing, with the depth and tang of balsamic vinegar bringing out the sweetness of the strawberries.  Absolutely divine!

The recipe itself is deceptively simple: whirl together four ingredients, chill, and churn.  It’s fantastic served on its own, but dress it up with a drizzle of homemade balsamic syrup for that additional WOW factor.

Store any leftover syrup in a jar in the fridge — it will keep indefinitely.  The syrup will be very thick when it’s cold, so warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave before using it.  Try it drizzled over asparagus or a tomato bocconcini salad.

Strawberry Balsamic Frozen Yogurt with Balsamic Syrup  (Makes about 1.25 L)

For the frozen yogurt:

1 lb strawberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 cups of 2% plain Greek yogurt

For the balsamic syrup:

1 cup balsamic vinegar

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Rhubarb Orange Star Anise Frozen Yogurt (#57-Y)

6 05 2013

I was rummaging through the freezer the other day and realized I still have lots of frozen fruit from last year.  With fresh, seasonal produce soon to be in great abundance, I figured it’s time to use up last year’s frozen goodies.  A bag of chopped rhubarb was among my collection.  Perfect.  I’ve had rhubarb, orange, and star anise compote on my mind for the past few weeks now!

For those who are unfamiliar, star anise is a spice that is commonly used in Asian cooking.  These beautiful little stars come from the pod of an evergreen magnolia tree and have an anise or licorice flavour.  Star anise pairs wonderfully with citrus and adds intrigue to rhubarb.

star anise

Beautiful, sweet smelling star anise

Rather than making a compote and churning it into a standard custard as I’ve done in the past, I decided to use 3 cups of yogurt as my base this time.  That’s right, I’m shaking things up and adding frozen yogurt to the 52 Scoops repertoire!

If you’ve been hesitant about making ice cream because of the higher fat content, you now have a healthier, lower fat alternative that is still be incredibly delectable, rich, and creamy!  I’ll be using 2% Greek yogurt for all my frozen yogurt recipes, but feel free to experiment with 1% or fat-free varieties.

Results?  Delicious!  The rhubarb, orange, and yogurt all have a mild tang, while the star anise adds just a hint of sweet licorice.  A marvelous first attempt at making frozen yogurt.

Because of the lower fat content, the frozen yogurt will become very hard overnight.  Enjoy it as soon as it is churned or after a quick chill in the freezer.  Two hours for me was perfect.

Rhubarb Orange Star Anise Frozen Yogurt  (Makes about 1 L)

2.5 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 cup white sugar
2 star anise
Juice and finely chopped zest of one medium orange
3 cups of Greek yogurt

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Banana Bread Ice Cream (#15-D/E)

20 06 2012
bananas

Ripe Bananas 29 cents / lb

These bananas just about overstayed their welcome at the produce store.  With so much competition from other summery fruits (Berries!  Melons!  Mangoes!), they were neglected, never chosen.  Brown spots started appearing, and that’s when they were demoted to the back of the store — marked with a blue felt-tipped pen and tossed into a bin that said Ripe Bananas 29 cents / lb.  Brilliant.  Eight pounds, please.

Speckly brown bananas are soft and sweet, have a deep flavour, and have none of those annoying stringy fibres.  While probably past their prime for eating outright, they are perfect for making banana bread — and even better — banana bread ice cream.

This is the first 52 Scoops ice cream recipe that is egg-free.  The gooeyness of mashed, ripe banana makes for a delectably thick ice cream mix that is very similar in consistency to a cooked custard.  When churned, it yields a well-structured ice cream where the flavour of the fruit takes centre stage.

As noted in my post on egg-free ice cream making tips earlier this week, egg-free ice cream recipes tend to work best with fruit flavours.  With summer officially in full swing (Happy Solstice, everyone!) and fresh fruit abound at the markets, I promise there will be more egg-free ice cream recipes to come!

Banana Bread Ice Cream (Makes about 1.25 L)

Adapted from Serious Eats

2 tbsp butter
4 bananas (about 2 cups mashed)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream*
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c chopped walnuts, toasted

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