Friday, July 30, 2010

mexican chocolate avocado mousse--aka "choco guaco"

First of all, I have to give Naomi at Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried major points for inspiration. She comes up with some grain-free and mind-blowingly innovative foodie ideas. This morning, I found myself dazed and intrigued by her idea of adding avocados to sweet, chocolate recipes.

It made total sense when I thought about it. Avocados are buttery, mild in flavor, and easily disguisable. And though I usually do a pretty epic job of convincing myself that butter isn't dairy OR fattening, sometimes I crave a lighter alternative.

This is a light, fluffy, Mexican-inspired chocolate mousse. I love the combination of sweet & smoky heat so I sprinkle mine with chili powder. Oh, and I promise, there's no detectable avocado. Just creamy goodness.


1 large hass avocado
2 tbs cocoa powder
4 tbs powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 tbs almond (or any kind of) milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg whites
chili powder for garnish

With an electric beater or food processor, combine the first seven ingredients until smooth. (If you omit the cinnamon, this itself makes a great chocolate frosting.) In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff.
Add the chocolate mixture to the egg whites and mix by hand until combined. Chill, and sprinkle with the chili powder.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

crispy oven potatoes

Ah, what more do I need to say? The potato is a beautiful vegetable. These crispy, fluffy-on-the-inside babies give the illusion of eating fried, naughty food. If you can spring for the organic potatoes, do it. There's such an enormous difference in the flavor (meaning, they actually have a flavor.)

When you cut the potatoes, try to make them as thin and even as you can. However, don't fret if you're a sloppy cutter like me. You'll just have to know that some potatoes will be softer and some will be a bit charred ( the words of Alex Guarnaschelli, "a poetic burn.") Secretly, I like the whole 'variety pack' thing!


3 small-medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1/8 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbs salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper

Put your empty cast-iron skillet or baking sheet into the oven and preheat to 350. (Preheating the empty pan will prevent sticking and promote browning on the potatoes)
While the pan is heating, thoroughly dry your potato slices (this also promotes crispiness.) Add them to a bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix until the potatoes are all coated--hands really work best for this task.
Remove the pan from the oven (don't forget oven mitts!) and carefully spread the potatoes in one layer.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until soft. Then, move to the top rack under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
Remove them from the pan asap, so they don't stick.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

sweet cashew cream

Here's a confession: I miss dairy. I mourn the day that I discovered that my chronic "pollen" allergies were, in fact, some warped cow-dairy allergy. Although I've learned to accept it, there are days that I miss delicious, creamy dairy products like a long lost lover. (I'll admit that, on several occasions, I've devoured a whole plate of cheese enchiladas, only to spend the next 48 hours suffering through a shameful, phlegmy head-and-face-ache.)

But enough of my woes. I'm a resourceful lady. Therefore, I've been forced to find creamy, yummy substitutes. Remember the Just Banana Ice Cream? Well, meet another food miracle: cashew cream! This little guy is made from cashews--yes, just cashews. And it can be used in dishes from pseudo-cheesecakes to cream-esque pasta sauces. Or, just add a little agave, some vanilla, throw on some frozen're good to go. Expect more to come from my new friend.

Sweet Cashew Cream

1 cup cashews*
2 cups water
3 tbs agave
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 tsp salt

Put the cashews in a bowl covered with the water. Let them soak overnight in the fridge.
Drain the cashews, reserving the soaking water. Add the cashews to a blender with 1/4 cup of water, agave, vanilla, and salt. Blend, and keep blending, keep blending, until smooth. Serve in a parfait or as a substitute for whipped cream.

* For convenience, I used unroasted unsalted cashews. If you use salted cashews, make sure to leave out the added salt.